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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are You Not Entertained? Another Day, Another Walk-Off Win for the Red Sox

At this rate, we can only conclude that A.J. Pierzynski is the anti-Christ while Dan Shaughnessy puts together his newest classic: "The Curse of A.J." The Red Sox improved to 2-0 in the post-Pierzynski era (that has a nice ring to it) and both came in walk-off fashion vs. the White Sox' dogshit bullpen. This afternoon on a perfect summer day at Fenway Park, Boston (41-51 overall, 23-26 home) came away with a 4-3 win in 10 innings thanks to Mike Carp's RBI single that scored Daniel Nava.

In the home finale before the All-Star break, the Red Sox earned a split of the four-game series with the White Sox and built some momentum (what a concept!) heading into the last series of the unofficial first half: three games in Houston.

I'm not Jon Lester's agent, though I wish I was with the dump trucks of money soon coming his way, but this game served as a perfect example of why Boston would be crazy to let him go either in free agency or via trade. He's pitching as well as he ever has in the regular season. It went down as a no-decision but he was brilliant, going seven innings and allowing one earned run on seven hits with 12 strikeouts and no walks. His ERA is down to 2.65.

Boston had more runs than total hits (3), so how did they come out on top? Well Chicago was 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base, sound familiar? White Sox starter Jose Quintana (7 innings, 3 earned runs, 2 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks) pitched well too but for the second game in a row, Chicago's pathetic relievers blew it.

Jose Abreu (2 for 4, walk, stolen base)-who is a lock to be AL Rookie of the Year now that Masahiro Tanaka is on the DL-made it 1-0 with an RBI double in the first that scored Adam Eaton (3 for 5). Quintana was working on a perfect game until the sixth when Boston tied it on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI single and went ahead 3-1 on David Ortiz's two-run double off the Green Monster.

That looked to be enough for the Red Sox as Junichi Tazawa worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts. Koji Uehara couldn't nail down the save though as pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie took him deep for a two-run bomb wrapped around Pesky's Pole. Alexei Ramirez was 3 for 5 with a double, run and stolen base in the loss for Chicago.

No worries, Nava led off the bottom of the tenth with a walk then Mookie Betts sacrificed him over with a bunt. After Stephen Drew was intentionally walked, Carp (pinch hitting for David Ross) delivered with an opposite field single to left that scored Nava. Andrew Miller (3-5) had worked around a single and intentional walk to Abreu to survive the top of the frame.

I'm still not used to having the Astros (39-54 overall, 4th in AL West) in the AL (change is hard!) because I wanted to call this an interleague series. By looking at their record, you'd think Houston is awful and I suppose that yes they still are really bad. The difference is that now they have young stars like Dallas Kuechel and UConn's George Springer doing their thing in H-Town.

The two Texas starters on the Red Sox get outings in their home state-shoutout to Brandon Workman toiling away in Pawtucket!-as John Lackey (9-6) faces Scott Feldman (4-5) tomorrow night (8:10, NESN) in the series opener. Clay Buchholz (3-5) takes on Collin McHugh (4-8) on Saturday afternoon (4:10, NESN) then the jets will be lined up on the runway Sunday afternoon (2:10, NESN) when TBA opposes Houston's Jarred Cosart (9-6). After that, John Farrell, his coaching staff, Lester and Uehara will head to Minnesota for the Midsummer Classic while everyone else scatters around the country with four glorious days off in a row.

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