Martinez threw a fastball inside and Posada's bat seemed to crumble under its weight; he had not hit it very hard. But the ball rose over second base, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and second baseman Todd Walker racing for it, reaching for it, in vain.
Williams scored, and Matsui sprinted around third and ran for home, and a handful of Yankees came out of the dugout to meet them at the plate. The score was tied. Little came out of the Boston dugout, to replace Martinez.
"He made some good pitches," said Little. "(Posada) squeezed his ball out over the infield and there's nothing we can do about it now."
Martinez said, "There is no reason to blame Grady. Grady doesn't play the game. If you want to point the finger, point the finger at me."
The Yankees loaded the bases against Mike Timlin but could not score any more runs in the eighth, or the ninth, or the 10th. Rivera had taken over to pitch the ninth, blowing away the Red Sox hitters with his fastball, but then Torre had needed him in the 10th, and the top of the 11th -- the longest he had pitched in seven seasons.
We have to get this game, Rivera thought, and as he came off the mound after the 11th, he glanced over his shoulder, checking the scoreboard.
Wakefield, the Boston knuckleballer who beat the Yankees twice in this series, pitched the 10th, and came out to pitch the 11th, as well. Boone was to lead off in the 11th, for his first at-bat of the game. He had been benched at the outset of Game 7, when Enrique Wilson started because of his good career numbers against Martinez.
But Wilson also started, in part, because Boone had been terrible in this series -- terrible, really, since joining the Yankees. Wakefield just wanted to get ahead in the count, and Boone just didn't want to be overmatched. He felt uncomfortable against Wakefield in this series, felt like he really didn't have anything to hit.
Wakefield threw his first pitch of the 11th inning, and there it was, inside, below Boone's hands, about the only spot where he has been hitting pitches lately.
Boone saw the ball, hit it squarely, changing history for baseball's greatest rivals, and keeping it intact, as well.
Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.