NEW YORK — The tomorrows keep multiplying for the Boston Red Sox, the team that has exhausted so many yesterdays since last winning a World Series.
The Red Sox, down to their last strike only a week ago, Sunday night moved to within two games of their first Series title since 1918. They beat the New York Mets, 9-3, before a stunned crowd of 55,063 in Shea Stadium, to take a 2 games to none lead in the 83rd World Series.
Just a couple of days ago, New York Mayor Ed Koch--concerned that there wouldn't be enough ticker tape to bury the Mets in a victory parade--had appealed for people to donate extra telephone books.
Forget the ticker tape. With the series switching to Boston for the next three games, the Mets have to be concerned about being buried by the Red Sox, who won easily even though ace Roger Clemens didn't last five innings.
Boston batters, however, hit all night long, routing Met ace Dwight Gooden for six runs in five innings and five Met pitchers for 18 hits.
"We're not in a good spot, but it can be done," said Met first baseman Keith Hernandez, who picked a bad spot for his first throwing error of 1986, opening the way for Boston's three-run third inning.
"All we have to do is win Tuesday. If we don't, we're in trouble.
"They kicked our butts. Give them some credit. They beat us up, stepped on us, did everything they possibly could do."
Red Sox center fielder Dave Henderson, the part-timer whose home run in Anaheim may have been an Angel season-stopper, once again displayed a sharp sense of timing with a leadoff home run in the fourth after the Mets had drawn to within 3-2 against a faltering Clemens.
Met Manager Davey Johnson elected to stay with Gooden rather than lifting him for a pinch-hitter with the two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth, a strategy that was suitable for Flushing when Dwight Evans bombed a two-run homer in the fifth.
That finished Gooden, and the Red Sox finished off the Mets with five hits and two runs in the eighth and another run in the ninth, as every starter in the Boston lineup had at least one hit.
"I wouldn't say getting 18 hits is extraordinary for us," said Wade Boggs, the Red Sox third baseman and American League batting champion who had two doubles and a walk.
"But it is the World Series. You see different pitchers than you've seen all season and you're not familiar with them.
"That's why, coming into the Series, I predicted low-scoring games. We just blew that theory."
Boggs also blew the theory that he's all-hit, no-field with four splendid fielding plays, three of them in the third, when he took hits away from Lenny Dykstra, Hernandez, and Gary Carter.
With two runners on and none out, Dykstra dropped a bunt that Boggs converted from a hit into a sacrifice with a barehand pickup and throw on the run.
Hernandez then hit a smash off the left leg of Clemens, but the ball caromed to Boggs, whose sidearm throw nipped Hernandez by a step.
Carter then ripped a groundball to Boggs' left, but he made a diving stop, scrambled to his feet and threw out the Met catcher.
"I've been getting better as the years go on," Boggs said of his glovework. "In a situation like this, you want to show the world you can play both offense and defense."
So far, the Red Sox have made a good show of showing up the Mets, who came into the Series as heavy favorites.
Now, Boston has to like its chances. History, too, is on its side. Only one team has ever lost the first two games at home and gone on to win the Series. That happened just a year ago when Kansas City rallied to beat St. Louis in seven games.
"If I was an oddsmaker, I would have underdogged us a little bit," said Henderson, who also had two singles to go with his home run, giving him five hits in the first two games of the series.
"But not by 2-to-1. We won our league. We deserve to be here."