Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Ellsbury's First Career Walk-Off Hit Propels Red Sox To Win
A day that started out with promising news-Clay Buchholz won't need surgery on his back and could return late in the season-ended on a high note as well with Jacoby Ellsbury knocking in Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a walk-off single in the ninth for a 3-2 Red Sox win over the Indians at Fenway Park tonight.
It was the first career walk-off hit of Ellsbury's career and six overall for Boston (67-41) this season. The start of the game was delayed an hour and 45 minutes by rain; I can't ever remember this many rain delays in one season, it's getting absurd.
Cleveland (54-53) starter David Huff pitched well but the Red Sox got his pitch count over 100 in the fifth inning to ensure it would be a short outing. In five full innings (102 pitches), he allowed one unearned run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Josh Beckett lasted a little longer but he was done after six innings (85 pitches) since Terry Francona didn't feel like risking him after he had warmed up twice (during the rain delays). He gave up two earned runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
The two runs for the Indians were provided by a pair of rookies that truthfully, I'd never even heard of before. The latter day Mantle and Maris, Jason Kipnis (first inning) and Lonnie Chisenhall (fourth inning) both had solo home runs.
David Ortiz scored in the second on a wild pitch before Kevin Youkilis tied it up with a blast, his 16th of the season off the Sports Authority sign over the Monster in the sixth.
After Jason Varitek singled with one out in the ninth against Vinnie Pestano (1-1) and Josh Reddick's bloop single fell in for a hit, Ellsbury smoked a single up the middle. There was a play at the plate with Saltalamacchia pinch running for Varitek but a nice headfirst slide helped him avoid Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana's tag.
Franklin Morales had the best outing of his short Red Sox career by pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Jonathan Papelbon (3-0) looked dominant in the ninth as he got a 1-2-3 inning punctuated by a strikeout which led to Ellsbury's heroics.
The win was especially vital since the Yankees shut out the White Sox to remain only one game behind the Red Sox for first-place in the AL East.
History will be on the line tomorrow night as I will be in the ballpark and Tim Wakefield goes for his 200th win against Carlos Carrasco.