Tough-as-nails Pedro Martinez shook off a back injury and fired six no-hit innings in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS
In the early innings of Game 5 of the 1999 American League Division Series, the Red Sox probably imagined their dream comeback was dwindling away.
They'd stormed all the way back from an 0-2 series deficit against the Indians, and started out Game 5 with a 2-0 lead thanks to Nomar Garciaparra's first-inning homer off Charles Nagy.
In a perfect scenario, this game, which happened 19 years ago today, would have been started by Pedro Martinez, but a back injury that ended his Game 1 appearance after four innings had forced manager Jimy Williams to elect for the veteran Bret Saberhagen, which obviously didn't turn out as planned. Through two innings, Boston was trailing, 5-2, as Saberhagen and Derek Lowe hadn't missed many bats. After three, Boston was trailing, 8-7, in what had become a slugfest.
In a win-or-go-home Game 5 situation, the Sox put all their faith in Martinez, sore back and all ... oh, and he also didn't have much command of his fastball or slider, perhaps as a result of being less than 100 percent.
Pedro may as well have looked at his teammates in the dugout and said, "It's OK, guys. I got this," because he definitely did. For six innings, the Indians' offense had absolutely no answer for Martinez's pitching (which was mostly curveballs!), only mustering three walks but being held hitless for the rest of the game.
In the seventh, Troy O'Leary capped off one of the best nights of his career with a three-run homer, giving him seven RBIs in the game and the Red Sox a late 11-8 lead:
Pedro then sailed through the final three innings, locking down the 12-8 series-clinching win for Boston on little more than sheer determination and an impressive ability to just totally ignore the type of injury that would put any of the rest of us in bed for a few days.
That's just so Pedro, isn't it?