Sunday, May 13, 2007

First Big Come Back Win For Sox! (Happy Mother's Day!)

Damn Red Sox! I just wrote a long post entiteld "Sox Blow it at Home Versus Baltimore" and the the bastards come all the way back from 5-0 in the bottom of the ninth to beat Baltimore on Mother's Day and take the series two games to one.

The Sox looked lethargic against O's starter Jeremie Guthrie who pretty much breezed through eight innings giving up only three hits. Guthrie was a bit on the lucky side as he only struck out two and was the recipient of some solid defensive plays and some ropes hit right at fielders. In any case, Guthrie was very effective and had only thrown about 85 pitches going into the ninth inning.

The first hitter, Julio Lugo grounded out. At this point the game was essentially over. The Red Sox had no energy, no momentum and more importantly no runners on base or runs scored. The next hitter was Coco Crisp. He popped a ball up in between the pitchers mound and home plate. After some confusion over who should catch the ball, the O's catcher Ramon Hernandez took charge and then dropped it. Coco was on first, but it still was essentially moot. Guthrie was still in the game.

Then O's manager Sam Perlozzo interjected himself.

He came out to the mound and although it looked like Guthrie was reassuring him, Perlozzo removed Guthrie and put in Danny Baez. Baez wasted no time giving the Red Sox some hope. David Ortiz crushed his second pitch off the center field wall for a double, scoring Crisp (5-1). Wily Mo Pena, for some reason batting for Manny Ramirez, singled hard through the left side of the infield.

That was all for Baez. In came O's closer Chris Ray, who proceeded to walk the next J.D. Drew to load the bases and Kevin Youkilis to bring in Ortiz (5-2). Jason Varitek then doubled, scoring Pena (5-3) and Drew (5-4), and sending Youkilis to third. With second and third, Perlozzo ordered Ray to walk Eric Hinske to reload the bases. Alex Cora was the next hitter, and all he would have to do to tie the game was hit one to the outfield. Alas, he couldn't, grounding slowly to second base. The ball was hit too weakly to turn a double play.
O's second baseman Brian Roberts' only play was at home. Youkilis was running on contact from third, but Roberts' throw got Youk just in time. The play was really close and it looked like Youkilis may have beaten the throw, but he was called out just he same.

So, bases still loaded now with two outs, and Julio Lugo was up again. Lugo, you may recall, made the first out of the inning eight batters ago. A base hit would tie the game, or possibly win it, while anything less would lose it. Lugo managed something in between, hitting a high bouncer in between Millar at first and Roberts at third. Millar ranged over to his right to get the ball and threw to Ray covering. The play would have been very close as Lugo was right on the base just as Ray was, but the throw was low and a bit behind him and he dropped it. Varitek scored (5-5), but the ball rolled away from Ray and Hinske motored home to score the winning run, 6-5! Red Sox win!

Despite today's amazing comeback win, Josh Beckett was lifted after after four innings with a "finger problem." Then Manny Ramirez was taken out of the game in the 8th with the Sox down 5-0. Its unclear if Terry Francona thought it was an opportunity to give Ramirez an innings worth of rest (no idea why that would be necessary) or if Manny's removal was a sign of something more serious.

AL East: Tampa beat Toronto, and they were the only other AL East team to win. The Yankees lost 2-1 at Seattle, dropping the series there by the same score. As (excruciatingly) detailed above, the Orioles lost to Boston, 6-5. The Red Sox lead the Orioles and Yankees by 8.0 games, and Tampa and Toronto by 10.5 games.

Tomorrow (Monday): The Tigers come to town for the first of a four game set. Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-2, 4.80) gets the start against Nate Robertson (3-2, 3.43)

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