Monday, September 19, 2011
The World Ends For A Few Hours & Then The Red Sox Crush The Orioles
The Boston Red Sox suffered one of their most soul-crushing defeats of the season this afternoon (6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles)-luckily few were probably watching-but they bounced back for an 18-9 win tonight at Fenway Park.
For my own sanity, I can't go into great deal about a pair of games started by Kyle Weiland (0-3) and John Lackey so I'll just talk about some assorted highlights for the Red Sox (88-66) and the Orioles (63-90).
The loss let New England simmer for most of the afternoon as Carl Crawford mysteriously sat out with a stiff neck (really dude?) and Boston's AL Wild Card lead fell to 1.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays. The nightcap win allowed the Red Sox to go up two games on the idle Rays with eight games left in the regular season.
Jeremy Guthrie (9-17) a middling MLB pitcher but one of the best tweeters in baseball got the win in game one. He went six innings, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Baltimore grabbed an early 5-1 lead thanks to a two-run double by Matt Angle (Kurt's brother?) in the third and back-to-back homers by Robert Andino and Nolan Reimold-the 2004 Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz for the O's-in the fourth sandwiched around Darnell McDonald's solo shot.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit an RBI triple in the fourth to bring the Red Sox within 5-2 but J.J. Hardy's solo shot in the fifth turned out to be pivotal.
In the home half of the fifth, Adrian Gonzalez's (2 hits, 2 RBIs) RBI double plated Marco Scutaro (3 hits, 2 runs) and Dustin Pedroia's RBI triple scored Gonzo. Gonzalez's run-scoring single in the seventh brought Boston within 6-5 but Jim Johnson got a 1-2-3 ninth in seven pitches for his seventh save of the season.
Alfredo Aceves' three scoreless innings in relief were enough to make Ortiz wonder why his Mexican pal doesn't get some more spot starts, I don't know instead of Weiland?
The Red Sox tied a season-high for runs in the second game that like every game in the last few weeks, was a must-win. Thankfully, save for last Friday night, they actually decided to come out on top in one of those.
Lackey did his best to give it away immediately, allowing three runs in the first but the Red Sox responded with four in the first including a three-run shot by Jed Lowrie (his fifth of the season) off O's youngster Brian Matusz who has had a nightmarish season (10.68 ERA).
With two in the second and five in the third, Boston opened it up to an 11-5 advantage but as always, that wasn't good enough for Lackey. He left in the fifth with Baltimore closing to a three-run deficit (11-8). The O's added a run in the sixth before the hometown team exploded for seven in the seventh including two of the most exciting plays in baseball.
Jacoby Ellsbury (3 runs, 3 hits, 2 RBIs) hit his first career inside-the-park homer (his 28th of the season) as a shot to the triangle got away from Baltimore's center and left fielders. After RBI singles by Pedroia (4 RBIs, 3 hits, 2 runs) and Lowrie (4 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 hits), Conor Jackson cranked a grand slam (his fifth homer of the season; first with Boston) over the Monster. It only took a few weeks but Jackson finally did something for his latest club. He also made a great diving catch earlier in the tilt.
Scutaro (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) continued to get on base, even hitting from the two-hole with Crawford MIA. Gonzalez added three more hits and Ortiz had two runs, two hits and an RBI.
Scott Atchison (1-0) got the win by cleaning up Lackey's mess with four straight outs in the fifth and sixth.
Erik Bedard returns from his own shady injury break to face Rick VandenHurk tomorrow night. Who the hell knows what to expect at this point? The Rays and Yankees have a four-game series starting tomorrow including a day-night doubleheader of their own on Wednesday, fun times. Baseball!
After losing this afternoon, I was resigned to watching my team completely fade but tonight's win gave me a temporary elixir to believe that they can do this-mostly because they play Baltimore five more times.