Red Sox History: The 10 best moments from Boston’s 2002 season

Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammates after hitting a homer in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees 24 May 2002 at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MOTTERN (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images)
Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammates after hitting a homer in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees 24 May 2002 at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MOTTERN (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Closing pitcher Ugueth Urbina (R) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after beating the Minnesota Twins 3-1 at Fenway Park 11 August 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MOTTERN (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images)
Closing pitcher Ugueth Urbina (R) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after beating the Minnesota Twins 3-1 at Fenway Park 11 August 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO/JOHN MOTTERN (Photo by JOHN MOTTERN / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images) /

May 3rd-4th: Stunning the Rays

May 3rd: Red Sox 3 – Rays 2
May 4th: Red Sox 7 – Rays 5

In just their fourth year of existence, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were a complete laughingstock in the 2002 season. They would finish with a 55-106 record, 25th in the league in runs scored and 30th in ERA. Though they piled up the losses, there were few more painful than the ones they endured in an early May series against the Rays.

The Devil Rays actually were well in position to win the first game. A Steve Cox two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning gave the Devil Rays a quick 2-0 lead, and starter Delvin James allowed just one run over seven innings. That lead held into the top of the ninth, where closer Jesus Colome came in to shut the door.

Colome retired Nomar Garciaparra on a fly ball to center for the first out but walked Manny Ramirez and allowed a single to Daubach to put the tying runs aboard. A lineout by Shea Hillenbrand put the Rays one out away from victory, and Jason Varitek stepped to the plate representing the Red Sox’s last hope.

He ripped a single into left to score pinch-runner Lou Merloni and tie the game at 2. Carlos Baerga was the next man up, but his at-bat would be moot, as catcher Toby Hall’s wild pickoff throw allowed Daubach to score and put the Red Sox ahead for good, 3-2.

The next game was possibly even more heartbreaking. This time, the Rays held a 5-2 lead headed into the ninth inning, and it was Victor Zambrano in to try to close it out. The Rays were again just one out away from victory after a Damon fly out. That’s when it all fell apart for Tampa Bay.

A double by Garciaparra brought the Red Sox within two, and, after a Ramirez intentional walk, Hillenbrand stepped to the plate with the bases juiced and two outs.

For the second time in less than a month, Hillenbrand came through in the clutch. He smacked a grand slam over the left-field wall to give the Red Sox a 7-5 lead. Urbina worked a 1-2-3 ninth, and for the second time in two days, the Red Sox had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.