Mike Lamb drives in two with a walk-off single off of closer Jonathan Papelbon


Mike Lamb drives in two with a walk-off single off of closer Jonathan Papelbon

(May 9, 2008) – Mike Lamb replaced the injured Brendan Harris in the top of the sixth but became the Twins hero in the bottom of the ninth with a base hit off of Jonathan Papelbon, to give Minnesota the 7-6 win.

Papelbon entered the ninth inning in hopes of saving Jon Lester’s third win of the season but first he would have to deal with the bottom third of the Twins line up. The Sox closer got off to rocky start, giving up a base hit into center field of the bat of right fielder Delmon Young. Twins third baseman Matt Tolbert would help the Sox out by sacrificing Young to second for the first out of the inning. Not really a smart play against one of the top closer’s in the game but tonight it paid off.

After former Sox prospect Adam Everett fouled out to Kevin Youkilis, it looked as if Papelbon would finally get out of the inning. But things are not always as they seem. The young, speedy center field Carlos Gomez earned a walk against Papelbon and quickly stole his 15 base of the year to put the winning run in scoring position.

The Twins started the game with a one out single into left field by second baseman Brendan Harris which would be followed by a single to center by Twins catcher and AL batting leader Joe Mauer. On Mauer’s single, Harris was running full speed on the play and had no intentions of stopping at second base; he was going to continue onto third. That is one thing that Jacoby Ellsbury is going to have to deal with in his career: runners running on his arm. He does not have strong arm in center and it showed in tonight’s game.

Ellsbury’s throw back into the infield overthrew the cut-off and allowed Mauer to move up to second base which took out the double play. A bad mistake on the part of the rookie center fielder. The next batter, first baseman Justin Morneau collected his 26th RBI with a ground ball to shortstop allowing Harris to score before the right fielder Michael Cuddyer stepped to the plate. Cuddyer lined a single into center field to bring Mauer around from second base, putting the Twins up 2-0.

But on this 10 game road trip the second inning should be referred to as the Super Second because in four out of the five games the Sox have scored at least two runs in the second inning. Tonight it all start with a strike out. Yes folks you read that right. A strike out got the whole thing starter. After Boof Bonzer struck out Youkilis in the second inning, when Mauer could not regroup Bonzer’s wild pitch to and throw to first to record the out. Youkilis was safe on the strike out plus the wild pitch. J.D. Drew would follow with a base hit to left field that would send Youkilis to third to bring up the catcher Jason Varitek. Notoriously known for stranding guys on base, Varitek lined a base hit into center field to drive in Youkilis and send Drew to third. Shortstop Julio Lugo grounded out to shortstop for the second out of inning but in the back door came Drew to tie up the game at two a piece.

After the Twins put two more runs on the board in their half of the second and a fifth run in the fourth, the Sox mounted a comeback in the top of the fifth inning. Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with a base hit to second followed by a walk to David Ortiz. Next, Manny Ramirez hit a sinking line drive that Gomez trapped in his glove, to load the bases with nobody out and Mike Lowell stepping to the plate. Last year’s World Series MVP, hit a double into left field to drive in Pedroia and Ortiz to bring the Sox deficit to one run. Youkilis would then drive in his 28th RBI of the season with a ground ball to second to plate Ramirez and Lowell would score on reliever Juan Rincon’s wild pitch to give the Sox the 6-5 advantage.

After getting off to a shaky first two innings, the Sox left hander settled down and pitched another 3.1 innings allowing just one run on three hits before being relieved in the sixth by David Aardsma. Overall Lester pitched 5.1 innings allowing five runs – three of them earned – on eight hits while striking out two and walking one. But one thing can be deduced from watching his start, it certainly was a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde outing for the talented, young lefty.

When Daisuke Matsuzaka steps on the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome mound tomorrow night he hopes to have better luck with command in Minneapolis than he did in Detroit. In his last start against the Tigers on Monday, Matsuzaka struggled with his command walking eight batters in just five innings while striking out just one. But the Sox offense bailed him out, producing six runs to give their Japanese teammate his fifth win of the season.

Matsuzaka will be opposed by the young left hander Glen Perkins who is making his first major league start for the Twins on Saturday. The St. Paul native fills a void in Minnesota’s starting rotation that was left by starter Scott Baker. The Twins put Baker on the disabled list on Wednesday, retroactive to May 4, with an injured right groin. Perkins will be recalled from Triple A Rochester after Minnesota put starter Scott Baker on the disabled list with a right groin injury, retroactive to May 4.

The former Gopher started the 2008 on the wrong foot at Minnesota’s Triple A farm team the Rochester Red Wings but steadied the ship as of late. While with the Red Wings, Perkins was 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 33.1 innings of work as well as holding opposing batters to a .220 average. Against Lehigh Valley on April 26, Perkins threw a two-hit shutout. But tomorrow the young Twins left hander will have his hands full with veteran-laced Red Sox line up who have been red hot as of late – especially first baseman Kevin Youkilis who is 12-for-37 (.324 average) in his last 10 games with five homeruns.

WIN: Jesse Crain (1-1)

LOSS: Jonathan Papelbon (2-2)


Game Notes:

This is the first and only trip the Red Sox will make to Minnesota this year. After a three game series with the Twins at Fenway in July just before the All-Star Game Break the Sox will not play Minnesota for the remainder of the year.

The Sox won the season series last year against the Twins 4-3.

In 130 games played between the Twins and Red Sox at the Metrodome, the Twins are 75-55 against the Sox. Minnesota is also 162-113 against the Sox in the Land of 10,000 Lakes even though the Sox own the all-time series record with 934 wins and 910 losses.

David Ortiz’s double in the first inning extends his hitting streak to nine games.

Brendan Harris left the game in the top of the sixth inning with tightness in his right hamstring. He was replaced in the field by infielder Mike Lamb.

Halfway through this current road trip the Sox have scored 10 runs in the second inning alone and fourth time in five games.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Mike Lamb, MINNESOTA ---- 1-2 2 RBIs
  1. Brendan Harris, MINNESOTA --- 2-3 2RBIs, Run-scored
  1. Mike Lowell, BOSTON ---- 2-5 Double, 2 RBIs, Run-scored

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