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Notes: No hostility from Garko

Notes: No hostility from Garko

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BOSTON -- One wouldn't think a team with a $143 million payroll and a World Series on the line would need extra motivation.

But, hey, it's October, and players are always looking for even the slightest bit of incentive.

So it was with what the Red Sox posted on their clubhouse door before Game 6 on Saturday night. A newspaper article quoting Ryan Garko was used as bulletin-board material.

"The champagne tastes just as good on the road as it does at home," Garko had said after Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, as the Indians prepared to head back to Fenway Park.

Garko was made aware of the mini-controversy after his mother heard about it on television.

"It wasn't a very meaningful quote," Garko said with a shrug. "That wouldn't get me fired up, if I read it."

In fact, the quote in question, Garko claimed, had nothing to do with Fenway Park. He said he was referring to the Indians' AL Division Series clinch at Yankee Stadium at the time he made the statement, and it got misconstrued.

"It had nothing to do with the Red Sox," he said. "You live and you learn. Kenny [Lofton] was talking to me about it. Media here and in New York can twist things. You've just got to learn your lesson. I don't think it had much to do with what took place [Saturday] night."

The Indians haven't posted any articles in their clubhouse.

"If you need a quote to motivate you right now, your heart's not where it should be," Garko said. "We're playing to go to the World Series."

Hafner stays upbeat: Designated hitter Travis Hafner walked out on the field at Fenway Park on Sunday night knowing that one big game could erase his problems of the past.

"We're in Game 7 tonight," Hafner said. "I'm not really worried about what's happened in the past. I just want to win tonight."

Hafner went into the game hitting .130 (3-for-23) in the ALCS and hasn't been much of a factor since his Game 1 home run off of Josh Beckett. He was 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts in his four previous games.

"I need to do a better job of getting good pitches to hit," Hafner said. "When I do get a good pitch, I have been fouling them off. It has been frustrating when you get into games like this. Obviously, you want to help your team win. But now, it comes down to one game, and I just want to go out and do well."

Hafner remained in the No. 3 spot of manager Eric Wedge's lineup.

"He needs to trust his ability and let things happen," Wedge said of Pronk. "He needs to try not to get two hits with one at-bat. Take it pitch to pitch and let good things happen."

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No Laffey matter: Not everything that came out of Saturday's Game 6 loss was bad. Aaron Laffey turned in a long-relief performance that might have aided the Tribe's cause in Game 7.

With the game out of hand in the third inning, the rookie Laffey relieved Rafael Perez and turned in 4 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed just one hit and a walk with three strikeouts.

Not bad for a kid who hadn't pitched since the regular-season finale against the Royals on Sept. 30.

"That was pretty neat, huh?" Wedge said. "The kid hasn't pitched in three weeks. We send him out and, oh, by the way, David Ortiz was the first guy he faced. I thought he was fantastic. He threw the ball over the plate, he mixed his pitches. It's amazing, if you think about it."

Laffey prevented Wedge from having to exhaust his bullpen. The only pitchers unavailable for Sunday's game were Laffey and Game 6 starter Fausto Carmona.

"He really helped us, bullpen-wise," Wedge said.

About the 'pen ... Despite the controversy that surrounded Paul Byrd and his link to baseball's human growth hormone scandal on Sunday, the right-hander was available out of the bullpen for Game 7.

Wedge, though, was quick to point out that left-handed ace C.C. Sabathia, who pitched Game 5 on Thursday, was also available out of the 'pen, should starter Jake Westbrook struggle.

About the lineup ... Wedge went back to the lineup that got him here on Sunday. Trot Nixon, who got the start in Game 6, was back on the bench, and Franklin Gutierrez was back in right field.

"He's one of the big reasons we're here," Wedge said of Gutierrez. "I liked the matchup [Saturday] night with Trot and [Curt Schilling]. But we've got our best defense out there and a guy who can score from first or score from second. [Gutierrez has] been working to see the ball a little bit better. If we're going to have our best chance to do what we need to do tonight, I think Gutierrez is the guy."

Gutierrez came into the game batting just .160 with a homer and four RBIs in nine games this postseason.

Tribe tidbits: Garko had an error stricken from the record from Game 6. He had been charged with an error on a ball hit by Ortiz in the third inning, but the official scorer reviewed the play after the fact and took the error away. ... The Indians came into Sunday hoping to summon the powers of the 1992 Atlanta Braves. That Braves club is the only team in postseason history to hold a 3-1 advantage in an LCS, lose Games 5 and 6 and recover to take Game 7 and advance to the World Series. Five other teams dropped Game 7 in such a scenario. ... The Indians' 59 strikeouts in this series are just three shy of a record by any team in an LCS of any length. It's a record held in-house by the '97 Indians team, which struck out 62 times in the six-game ALCS against the Orioles. ... Six of the 12 LCS winners since 2001 have clinched their World Series berth on the road.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
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