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Lowe Grabs Chance After Demotion

Times Staff Writers

Boston Red Sox right-hander Derek Lowe was very public in voicing his displeasure with his demotion to the bullpen to start the playoffs, and that was fine with Manager Terry Francona.

“He wasn’t too thrilled, and we expected that,” Francona said. “To his credit, he got it out of his system.”

Just in time. Lowe pitched the 10th inning of the division series-clinching victory over the Angels, and when Tim Wakefield volunteered to pitch in relief against the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the American League championship series, it created an opening for an emergency start for Lowe in Game 4.

The sinkerball specialist made the most of it, holding New York to six hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-4 Red Sox victory. Three days later, Lowe gave up one run in six innings of a 10-3 series-clinching victory over the Yankees.

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That earned Lowe, who will be a free agent this winter, his rotation spot back, pushing Bronson Arroyo to the bullpen, and Lowe will start Game 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight.

“Game 7 [of the AL championship series] came, and they could have chose between Arroyo, Wakefield and myself, and they opted for me,” Lowe said. “Sometimes in life you only get an opportunity to pitch a game like that once, and I wasn’t going to let that time slide.”

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Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said he left Game 3 of the AL championship series in Boston about the time the Yankees led, 17-8, on their way to a 19-8 win and a three-games-to-none lead.

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Upon returning to his home in Milwaukee, Selig said, he spent the next four games watching on television, “sitting there in shock.”

The Red Sox, of course, became the first team to win a series after losing the first three games, proving again, Selig said, that this will be known as the baseball season to top all seasons.

Selig cited as proof growing attendance figures and television ratings, gripping league championship series and another wild-card World Series entrant.

“This year will be the gold standard by which all future years will be judged,” Selig said. “It’s been that good.”

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The World Series Hotel Saga took a new twist Tuesday when the Cardinals’ Ray King said it wasn’t the players who were angriest at the Red Sox for putting them in a remote hotel about 45 minutes from Fenway Park.

“If any of you are married, you’ll understand what I’m about to tell you,” he said. “When we flew in from St. Louis, we went straight from the airport to the ballpark. It was our wives who went to the hotels first.”

So?

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“So you’ve got to understand all the grief we took when we got there,” he said. “They were mad about the location, mad about having nothing to do. It was all about dealing with our wives and families.”

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Tuesday was the 19th anniversary of umpire Don Denkinger’s bad safe call at first base in the ninth inning that allowed the Kansas City Royals to win Game 6 of the World Series against the Cardinals.

Denkinger called Jorge Orta safe at the start of the ninth with St. Louis leading, 1-0. The Royals eventually won Game 7.

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Dave Roberts compared the experiences of playing in Los Angeles and, now Boston, to “the difference between night and day.”

“In Los Angeles, there’s lots of movie stars, lots of things to do,” he said. “In Boston, these people get to know every single player.... In L.A., you might get stopped by a sports fan. In Boston, I’ve had mothers, grandmothers, little girls and boys, everybody stopping you and wishing you luck. It’s an experience like no other, and I’ll never forget it.”

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Seattle Mariner designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who retired after the season, was presented with the Roberto Clemente Award, given each year to the major league player who combines outstanding baseball skills with devoted work in the community.

Martinez, a native of New York, recalled watching the 1971 World Series, in which the Puerto Rican-born Clemente’s Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles in seven games, and becoming a fan.

“I went outside of my house and started playing in the backyard,” Martinez said. “I was sold on baseball after that.”

Martinez was honored for his charitable endeavors in Seattle, particularly in helping to find a cure for muscular dystrophy.

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Times staff writer Bill Plaschke contributed to this report.


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