CLEVELAND -- Joe Torre's gone and everybody should get over it for a few hours. I'm with Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who said he's got more important things to worry about tonight. Namely, a stay-alive Game Five of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. Keep it here for some live updates:
The bottom line: A 7-1 Red Sox victory and Game Six is Saturday night at 8:23 at Fenway. What a performance by Josh Beckett and what a colossal disappointment for the Indians and their fans.
End-7th: The Indians are in big trouble as the Red Sox are in command, 4-1. Boston knocked out C.C. Sabathia with two runs in the seventh on Kevin Youkils' RBI triple off the glove of Grady Sizemore in center and David Ortiz's sacrifice fly. The latest ugly Sabathia pitching line: 6+ IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K , 112 pitches, 70 strikes. Beckett, meanwhile, is spinning a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts and has thrown 96 pitches. Talk about clutch.
Bot-5th: Beckett is definitely pitching with an edge in this one. The benches just cleared and Kenny Lofton had to be restrained (left) from going after Beckett following his fly ball to left. Lofton dropped his bat after taking a 3-0 pitch for a strike and Beckett didn't like that. He barked at Lofton following the fly ball and Lofton yelled back rounding first on his way to the dugout to start the teams' mutual carping session. The Sox still lead, 2-1, as Beckett allowed two straight hits but struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to leave runners at the corners. He's struck out seven and had retired nine straight until Casey Blake's two-out single.
Mid-5th: Sabathia is walking a dangerous tightrope in this one. He's thrown 93 pitches through five innings, allowed eight hits and two walks -- and still trails by only 2-1. The Sox left the bases loaded as Bobby Kielty flied to right on a full-count pitch. After two out, Ortiz singled, Manny Ramirez walked on a 3-2 offering and Mike Lowell was hit by a pitch -- one delivery after he missed a two-run double by a couple of inches when his scalding liner down the left-field line landed just foul. The Tribe could easily be down by three or four runs. It's a good thing they're not because Josh Beckett has retired 10 of the last 11 and hasn't given up a hit since the first.
Mid-4th: The bottom of the order is just killing the Red Sox. Sabathia has already given up seven hits but it's still just 2-1. Boston had two on and no out but No. 8 hitter Coco Crisp failed to sacrifice twice, then struck out to cap a brutal at-bat. Julio Lugo followed with an easy double-play grounder -- Boston's 10th of the series! The Nos. 8-9 slots in the Boston order are just 6 for 33 in the series.
Mid-3rd: Looks like we're going to have a Manny-being-Manny night. Ramirez just drove a pitch deep to right-center for a two-run homer -- or did he? The ball hit the yellow line atop the wall and bounced back in as Ortiz scored from first to put Boston up, 2-1. But Manny stayed at first and the umpires ruled the ball wasn't out. Close call but why wasn't Ramirez at second? Run Manny, run!
End-2nd: I'd say Beckett just threw a purpose pitch to Franklin Gutierrez, a 96-mph fastball over the right fielder's head. Beckett has no walks in the postseason. Hmmm. Hey Josh, it's not Franklin's fault Manny didn't run! Still 1-1 after two.
End-1st: Sabathia and Beckett each gave up three hits in a first inning that ended with the score tied at 1-1. Manny being Manny has to get old if you're a Red Sox fan. A great start for the Sox thanks to a solo home run to left by Kevin Youkilis was shortcircuited when Ramirez was gunned down at the plate for the final out (right) on Mike Lowell's single to right. Franklin Gutierrez threw high to the plate but a leaping grab by Victor Martinez brought the ball down and Manny (perhaps not wanting to ruffle his braids?) didn't slide and didn't collide with Martinez. In fact, TV replays showed him smiling and laughing as he pulled up. I doubt anyone in New England thought this was too funny.
Cleveland tied it when Grady Sizemore led off with a bloop double that landed in no-man's land by the left-field line, went to third on Asdrubal Cabrera's single and scored on Travis Hafner's double-play ball.
(Photos: Associated Press)