Jason Varitek’s solo-homerun leads to a four run fifth and the Sox’s sixth consecutive win


Jason Varitek’s solo-homerun leads to a four run fifth and the Sox’s sixth consecutive win

(May 21, 2008) – The Red Sox are on a roll, winning six of their last 10 games as they take game three of the four game series against the Kansas City Royals 6-3. The win gave starter Bartolo Colon his first win of the season in his first outing of 2008, pitching five innings allowing two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four.

The Sox got on the board first when right fielder and lead off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury took Royals starter Brett Tomko deep into the Kansas City bullpen for the early 1-0 lead. But the Royals would tie up the game in the top of the third inning against Colon. To begin the inning, center fielder Joey Gathright led off with base hit into left. Two outs later Colon walked the third baseman Alex Gordon move Gathright up to second. Brendan Donnelly’s “best friend” Jose Guillen drop a base hit in front of Coco Crisp to drive in Gathright from second to tie the game at one a piece before Mark Teahen popped out to Mike Lowell at third. And that is how the game would stay until the fifth inning.

After 2008 All-Star prospect, Gordon, drove in the Gathright for the second and go-ahead run of the game in the top of the inning, the Sox bats broke out in the bottom. With one out in the Sox half of the inning, catcher Jason Varitek launched his sixth homerun of the season into the Red Sox bullpen in right field, just out of the reach of right fielder David DeJesus. The Captain’s solo shot got the Sox bats going in the inning because Crisp followed Varitek’s homerun with a double to left.

Crisp’s double was not an easy double but the speedy center fielder was running hard out of the box and his head first slide clearly beat Guillen’s rocket overthrow that was gathered by Teahen at first. That is what hustle and speed will do for you in baseball. Crisp advanced to third on Tomko’s wild pitch before scoring on shortstop Julio Lugo’s base hit up the middle into center field. After giving up a base hit to Ellsbury, manager Trey Hillman had seen enough of Tomko and opted to go with former Sox left hander and outfielder Ron Mahay.

Mahay did not do much better giving up Dustin Pedroia’s second single of the game with a base hit to right, loading the bases for the most feared hitter in the Sox line up: David Ortiz. Typically in these situations Ortiz comes through and breaks the game open with a two run double but tonight there was no magic in the designated hitters bat. But he still drove in his 38th RBI with a sacrifice fly to Gathright in center to plate Lugo with the Sox third run of the game. On a 2-2 count to Manny Ramirez, Royals catcher John Buck could not handle Mahay’s fourth pitch of the at-bat and the ball rolled to the backstop allowing Ellsbury to score the fourth and final run of the inning. Ramirez ended up striking out for the last out of the inning still two homeruns shy of the evasive 500th career homerun.

Diasuke Matsuzaka toes the rubber tomorrow afternoon in hopes of becoming the first American League pitcher to reach eight wins. He will face Royals right hander Brian Bannister in the Fenway Park series finale against Kansas City. In nine games, Bannister is 4-5 with a 4.29 ERA, 34 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP. The Royals right hander is coming off a 7-3 loss against at Dolphin Stadium against the Florida Marlins where he pitched 6.1 innings allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two.

The Red Sox are 9-0 in games when Matsuzaka starts this season and has been the ace of the pitching staff in just his second year in Major League Baseball. On the season, the Japanese import is 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA, 46 strike outs and a 1.23 WHIP. He is coming off a 6.2 inning win against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of the day-night double header. In the first interleague match up, Matsuzaka allowed just two unearned runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out six Brewers.

WIN: Bartolo Colon (1-0)

LOSS: Brett Tomko (2-5)


Game Notes:

Jacoby Ellsbury got the start in right field when J.D. Drew sat out to rest his knee after getting hit in last night’s win.

Dustin Pedroia added the Sox’s sixth run of the game in the bottom of the seventh with a base hit into center to plate Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury led off the inning with his third hit of the ballgame and then swiped his 19th base of the season before scoring on Pedroia’s third hit of the game.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Dustin Pedroia, BOSTON --- 3-5 3 Singles, RBI
  1. Jason Varitek, BOSTON --- 2-3 Homerun, RBI
  1. Joey Gathright, KANSAS CITY --- 2-2 2BB, 3 Runs-scored

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