Dustin Pedroia’s two-out ground rule double to left sparks late eighth inning rally, gives Sox 5-3 win


Dustin Pedroia’s two-out ground rule double to left sparks late eighth inning rally, gives Sox 5-3 win

(May 26, 2008) – Just what the doctor ordered. A nice dose of the AL West bottom feeders is what the Sox needed to end their seven game road losing streak. In just his second start of the 2008 campaign Bartolo Colon picked up his second win of the season in the Red Sox’s 5-3 victory over the hapless Seattle Mariners.

For the first seven innings of the game it was tight pitcher's duel, between Colon and Seattle’s youthful right hander Felix Hernandez. Hernandez retired 11 consecutive Sox batters before reaching David Ortiz in the top of the fourth inning. For the second time in three days, the Sox designated hitter broke up a potential no-hit bid with his solo homerun to dead center field. It was Ortiz’s 12th homerun on the season tying him with Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton for second place in the American League homerun category. But that would be all the runs the Sox would score until the top of the eighth.

The Sox batted around in the top of the eighth and put a four spot on the board. At that point the game against a weak hitting Seattle team the game was over. The four run rally all started with two outs and when it looked as if the Sox would squander another opportunity to re-take the lead. But cocky little second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, came through, pulling a Hernandez fastball to left field for a ground rule double, scoring Julio Lugo from second base. Hernandez would intentionally walk Ortiz to face the equally dangerous left fielder Manny Ramirez.

After being in a horrific slump the past two weeks, the RBI Machine has begun to come around at the beginning of this 10 game road trip. In the eighth inning of last night’s 5-3 victory, Ramirez took an inside pitch to right, scoring Pedroia from second base and advance Ortiz to third. Sox third baseman Mike Lowell would drive in Ortiz from third with his first hit of the game, a line drive down the third base line that the Mariners Adrian Beltre could not make a play on.

Hernandez would give up a single to J.D. Drew and a bases loaded walk to Jason Varitek before Seattle manager John McClaren had seen enough and opted for the 25-year-old left hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. Smith was able to get Sean Casey, who was batting for the second time in the inning to ground out to second but the damage was done. In the words of Christine, “Take the ‘D’ from Dover and it’s over.” Hernandez pitched 7.2 innings allowing a streak of ugly fives (five runs on five hits while walking five and striking out five).

Even with a strict pitch count, the hefty Sox veteran right hander – Colon – was able to make his way through seven complete innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. In seven innings, Colon recorded just one run on five hits while walking one and striking out for Seattle hitters. Left handed set up man, Hideki Okajima came on in relief of Colon to pitch the bottom of the eighth. After giving up a single to right off the bat of Jose Lopez, Okajima stranded the second baseman at first, retiring the following three batters to end the inning.

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth inning – in a non-save situation – to get some work. But things did not go the way the Sox closer would have liked. Papelbon struck out lead off batter, right hander Jeremy Reed to begin the inning but allowed first baseman Richie Sexson to reach on his throwing error. Catcher Kenji Johjima lined a base hit into right center that sent Sexson to third. Center fielder Ichiro Suzuki lined a base hit into center to plate Sexson with Seattle’s second run of the game and moving Johjima to third. With runners at the corners the Mariners appeared as if they had something going. Johjima would score on Papelbon’s wild pitch to designated hitter Jose Vidro to cut the Sox lead to two.

It was a gut-wrencher in the bottom of the ninth because it looked as if the Sox were doing everything in their power to give the game to Seattle. Papelbon’s error. Varitek not being able to handle a Papelbon pitch in the dirt to Vidro allowing the Mariners catcher to score. But like all good teams, the Red Sox were able to survive the rocky ninth and pull out their 32nd win of the season when Vidro grounded out to Pedroia to end the ballgame.

Daisuke Matsuzaka looks to take game two of the three game series against the Mariners when he toes the rubber against Seattle right hander Miguel Batista. Matsuzaka is hoping to be come the first American League pitcher to reach the nine win mark. He is currently the last remaining MLB pitcher who is undefeated at 8-0 with a 2.40 ERA, 53 strike outs, 38 walks and a 1.32 WHIP.

Making his 11th start of the season against the Sox Japanese pitcher, Batista is 3-6 on the season with a 6.47 ERA, 35 strike outs and a 1.97 WHIP. He is coming off a 9-2 loss against the Detroit Tigers in Motown where he allowed five runs – four earned, - on seven hits while walking one and striking out two in just three innings. Against the Red Sox in his career, Batista is 4-5 in 8 starts with a 6.20 ERA, a 33-to-34 strike out-to-walk ratio and a 1.92 WHIP.

Unlike Batista, the Sox starter tomorrow night has better numbers against the team from the Emerald City. Matsuzaka is currently 1-1 in four starts with a 4.33 ERA, 23 strike outs and a 1.15 WHIP. Mariner batters are hitting just .220 against Matsuzaka and that includes Ichiro’s 1-for-12 (.083) with two walks and three strike outs against his fellow countryman.

WIN: Bartolo Colon (2-0)

LOSS: Felix Hernandez (2-5)


Game Notes:

Kevin Youkilis was originally in the starting line up but was last minute scratch due to pain on the top of his right hand. Youkilis told the Sox medical personnel that he felt it yesterday against the Athletics and is currently day-to-day, according to the Sox public relations staff. The Sox first baseman was replaced in the line up by The Mayor Sean Casey.

Nine lives

Ichiro Suzuki got another chance at the plate in the first inning against Sox starter Bartolo Colon. On the third pitch to the Seattle center fielder, Suzuki skied a pop up to Jason Varitek who bobbled the ball and let it slip out of his glove and into the stands; thus giving Ichiro an extra life at the plate.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Bartolo Colon, BOSTON --- 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 1BB, 4K
  1. David Ortiz, BOSTON --- 1-5 Homerun, RBI
  1. J.D. Drew, BOSTON --- 2-3 2 Singles

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