Manny Ramirez’s 492nd homerun of his career leads Sox to first victory against New York


Manny Ramirez’s 492nd homerun of his career leads Sox to first victory against New York

(April 12, 2008) – If it is not the intense and fierce rivalry between these two cities that makes these games longer than the average game, it is Mother Nature. The Red Sox had to wait through a two-hour six-minute rain delay in the middle of the top of the eighth inning just to even up the three game series with a 4-3 win against the Yankees. Manny Ramirez drove in three of Boston’s four runs in today’s nationally televised, matinee against the Yankees. Ramirez’s 2-3 day gave Josh Beckett his first victory of the season, who started the game over five hours ago.

Ramirez hit his 492nd career homerun and second on the season against Mike Mussina in the bottom of the fourth inning giving Beckett and the Red Sox the 1-0 advantage. It was his 53rd homerun against the pinstripes. Beckett cruised through the Yankee line up even before Ramirez’s homerun so it looked as if that run might be all he would need. But it was not too be.

The Sox ace ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning. Giving up back-to-back base hits to catcher Jose Molina and shortstop Alberto Gonzalez to lead of the inning, the Bronx Bombers – in an atypical fashion but typical this year – used small ball to take the 2-0 lead against Beckett. With runners at first and second, lead-off hitter and left fielder Johnny Damon placed down the perfect bunt down the third base line to sacrifice Gonzalez and Molina to second and third, respectively.

Center fielder Miguel Cabrera would tie the game with a fly ball to Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Molina was tagging from third on the play and scored easily but the quick thinking Gonzalez was also tagging to put the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. It did not help that Ellsbury went into an unnecessary slide when he caught Cabrera’s fly ball, making it much easier to pull into third uncontested. Gonzalez’s quick thinking was essential in pushing across New York’s second run of the game when Beckett uncorked a wild pitch up the first base line that traveled far enough away from Varitek so the Yankee shortstop could score.

After the Yankees put up two on the board in the top half of the inning, the Red Sox came back with a rally of their own. It started with back-to-back hits from Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia at the top of the Sox order to lead off the inning. Mussina’s day would be over when he gave up Ramirez’s two-run double to right center but his replacement, Brian Bruney, gave up Mussina’s fourth run of the game with a base hit up the middle off the bat of third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

When the inning was all said and done, the Yankees tried to make a valiant comeback in the top of the seventh against Beckett. They were able to push one run across the plate but not the two runs they needed to tie the game at four a piece; although Yankee hitters were able to force Beckett from the game with a Robinson Cano double to left to drive in designated hitter Jorge Posada, who was on second after a single and a wild pitch. Terry Francona would make the trek to the mound to bring in the right handed Manny Delcarmen to relieve Beckett. Delcarmen would face only one batter, Molina, and would get the Yankee catcher to strike out swinging. Hideki Okajima was brought in to start the eighth inning for the Sox but would be pulled after walking Cabrera and allowing a scorching base hit past Okajima and into centerfield. Francona saw enough from Okajima and decided to call on his closer Jonathan Papelbon to attempt to get the final four outs of the game.

But before Papelbon could throw his first pitch to Alex Rodriguez, the umpiring crew spoke with the Red Sox grounds keeper and made the decision to delay the game due to the wet weather and storms approaching Greater Boston. When the players did finally return to the field after two-hour and six minute delay, Papelbon struck out the reigning American League MVP on three pitches. Papelbon went on to strike out the first two batters in the top of the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season and preserve the Red Sox’s 4-3 victory over the Yankees.

The Red Sox look to take the series 2-1 when Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his third start of the season on ESPN’s Game of the Week tomorrow night at eight. Matsuzaka is coming off an Opening Day 5-0 win against Detroit. He is currently 2-0 on the season with 1.47 ERA and 22 strike outs. Opposing batters are hitting at a .131 average against the Japanese sensation. Phil Hughes, the 21-year-old right-hander, will be making his debut in the historic Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, for the Yankees. Hughes is coming off a 5-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals, where he allowed three runs on six hits in just three innings of work. His failure to get ahead of Royal hitters led to his early exit but he will be looking to change that when he steps on the Fenway Park mound for the first time.

WIN: Josh Beckett (1-1)

LOSS: Mike Mussina (1-2)

SAVE: Jonathan Papelbon (4)


Game Notes:

Yankee second baseman, Robinson Cano, hit a ground ball to Pedroia that was initially ruled an error for Pedroia but changed in the top of the fifth to a hit. The official scorer at Fenway had it correct the first time. It was an easy ground ball that Pedroia should have had. Pokey would’ve had it!

Game delayed due to rain with two outs and two on in the top of the eighth inning just as Francona decided to bring in closer Jonathan Papelbon.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Manny Ramirez, BOSTON 2-4 Homerun, Double, 3 RBIs, Run-scored
  1. Kevin Youkilis, BOSTON 2-4 RBI
  1. Alberto Gonzalez, NEW YORK 1-3 Run-scored – his quick response on the base path in the fourth earns him a star of the game

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