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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Down 8-3, Red Sox Rally For 12-8 Victory Over Yankees; Boston Now Has Most Wins in MLB

Don't look now but the Red Sox are suddenly the team to beat this October in the American League. It's hard to recall a team that has rallied so many times and pulled out one improbable win after another in a single regular season. Tonight, Boston (86-57 overall, 39-32 away) trailed New York (75-66 overall, 43-30 home) 8-3 after five innings but they managed to score five runs in the seventh and four in the eighth for a soul-crushing 12-8 triumph.

This was Boston's fourth win in a row and 11th in their last 13. Last night and this evening show what makes the Red Sox so tough to beat: they can win any style of game. Their offense usually carries them (see: tonight) but they get enough pitching and help from the bullpen to be in almost every contest. It also helps when they compete in a glorified Little League park like Yankee Stadium (foreshadowing!).

Dustin Pedroia (3 hits, double, walk, run) started the rally in the seventh with an infield single that scored David Ross (2 hits, RBI). Mike Napoli (3 hits, 3 runs, double, 2 walks) flied out to right, I mean got extremely lucky to hit a grand slam (sixth of his career; third this season) just over the reach of a leaping Ichiro to tie it at eight. It was his 19th homer of the season.

New York's clownshow bullpen lived up to that moniker (which I just created): Shane Victorino (2 hits, 2 runs)-playing center field and batting leadoff with Jacoby Ellsbury resting-hit a two-run homer (his 14th of the season), Daniel Nava aka Mr. OBP (.392) walked with the bases loaded and Stephen Drew (2 RBIs) made it 12-8 with an opposite field single.

Brandon Workman (5-2) got the win after playing the role of Junichi Tazawa and recording four outs (2 strikeouts). I'm not a fan of using Koji Uehara's precious right arm in non-save situations but he didn't seem to mind, retiring the Yankees 1-2-3 in ninth on 12 pitches/11 strikes (2 strikeouts). What do I know?

Earlier highlights were Alfonso Soriano's two-run homer in the first, his whopping 13th since he was traded to New York. Will Middlebrooks (2 hits, 2 runs) continued to rake out of the nine-hole with a solo shot in the fifth (his 14th of the season).

In a shocking development, both games this weekend are 1:05 p.m. starts. It's almost as if these teams are telling you to enjoy college football on Saturday and the glorious NFL on Sunday. Tomorrow afternoon (NESN), John Lackey (8-12) faces converted reliever David Huff (2-0).

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