David Ortiz’s first homerun of the season lead Sox to a 3-1 series win over Oakland


David Ortiz’s first homerun of the season lead Sox to a 3-1 series win over Oakland

(April 2, 2008) – Who said the number 13 was an unlucky number? It was not for David Ortiz at least. On Ortiz’s 13th at bat of the season, he dropped a bloop single in front of Emil Brown in the fifth for his first hit of the season. Two innings later he would break the nothing-nothing tie with a high, two-run homerun to right centerfield. The Sox went on to win 5-0 behind 6 2/3 strong innings by Sox lefty Jon Lester, who allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out three.

Early on in the game, Harden did not look like the same pitcher who struck out nine Red Sox hitters in Japan. In 14 pitches, he allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia, two walks to Kevin Youkilis and Ortiz with not a single out in the inning. The Sox were poised to do some major damage against Harden in the first.

But then the light seemed to switch on in Harden’s head becoming the pitcher he was seven days ago, striking out both Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell swinging for the first two outs of the game. Playing in his first game of the season since sitting out the previous three games with back spasms, J.D. Drew stranded Pedroia, Youkilis and Ortiz by grounding out to first base to end the first inning.

On the mound for the Red Sox, Lester had his way with Oakland hitters. Although allowing sporadic hits to Oakland hitters (Daric Barton and Jack Hannahan) they never materialized into scoring opportunities for the Athletics. Every time Oakland got a runner on base he was wiped out by either a double play or a strike out. The only time the Athletics got a runner to third base, on Lester, was in the first inning on Mike Sweeney’s fielder’s choice to shortstop sending Barton (who doubled to left in his at-bat) to third.

Lester benefited from some good defense behind him in three consecutive innings. In the bottom of the second, he walked shortstop Bobby Crosby on four pitches he was aided by a double play ball, by catcher Kurt Suzuki, to shortstop to end the inning. The next inning, third baseman Hannahan singled to lead off the inning but Lester was able to get center fielder, Chris Denorfia to ground to shortstop for another double play. The fourth inning saw another lead off walk by the Sox left hander but after a Jack Cust strike out, Lester was able to get Brown to pop out to Drew who then threw to first to get Sweeney who strayed to far off the bag.

Harden left the game after five innings and was relieved by Andrew Brown. After hitting Lowell in the ribs, Brown appeared to on the verge of getting out of the inning unscathed. He struck out Drew and catcher Kurt Suzuki caught Lowell trying to steal and only needed one more out but that out would not come without some pressure. Brown walked Varitek and gave up a hit to Coco Crisp before being relieved by former Sox pitcher, Alan Embree but did not offer any relief. Embree hit the first batter he faced (Alex Cora) in the hand to load the bases. For the first time since the first the Sox had the bases loaded and just like the first they squandered the opportunity to put points on the board when Pedroia grounded into a fielder’s choice to shortstop.

But good teams find a way to win. When Youkilis led off the seventh inning with a double to left center, Ortiz took a 1-2 fastball to deep right center to give the Red Sox the 2-0 lead. From their they would not look back and went on to the 5-0 victory as well as their first series win of 2008.

The Sox will send Tim Wakefield to the mound when they travel North of the Border to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to play the Blue Jays on Friday April 4 at 7:15pm. Wakefield will be making his first start of the 2008 season and will be opposed by Jays right hander Shaun Marcum. Marcum was 12-6 last year with a 4.13 ERA and 122 strike outs. The Red Sox knuckleballer is coming off a 17 win season (17-12) with a 4.76 ERA and 110 strike outs.

WIN: Jon Lester (1-1)

LOSS: Alan Embree (0-1)


Game Notes:

Daric Barton’s double in the bottom of the first was his first hit of the season. Coming into today’s game, Barton was 0-for-9.

David Ortiz’s First Hit Watch:

Ortiz got his first hit of the season in the top of the fifth inning with two outs and a man on first. It was a bloop single just over the head of third baseman Jack Hannahan.

Third Time’s a Charm:

For the third in the game and second time with no outs, the Sox loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but for the first time they took advantage of the opportunity. Pedroia and Youkilis singled home Varitek and Crisp, respectively, against left hander Lenny DiNardo and right hander Santiago Casilla, respectively, to give Boston the 4-0 lead.

Top Three Stars of the Game:

  1. David Ortiz, BOSTON – 2-4 Game Winning 2-run HR, 2RBI
  2. Jon Lester, BOSTON – 6.2IP, 2H, 0ER, 3BB, 3K – 94 pitches – 53 for strikes
  3. Jason Varitek, BOSTON – 2-4 HR, RBI

1 comment:

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