Mike Lowell’s single down the left field in 13th gives the Sox second win of the 10-game trip


Mike Lowell’s single down the left field in 13th gives the Sox second win of the 10-game trip

(May 30, 2008) – It was a good night for Boston. On the same night the Boston Celtics returned to the NBA Finals for the first time in 21 years, the Red Sox pulled out the 5-2 victory in 13 innings with Mike Lowell’s third hit of the game off Chad Bradford. The Sox third baseman drove in the birthday boy, Manny Ramirez, who reached on Melvin Mora’s second error of the game to lead off the inning. It was Lowell’s 22nd RBI of the year.

But the scoring was not done the lucky thirteenth inning. First baseman Kevin Youkilis got into the action with a base hit to shortstop, moving Lowell up to third. The right handed Dennis Sarfate came in to relieve Bradford but the damage was done. To add insult to injury, Lowell swiped his first bag of the season with his steal of third in the inning on a double steal. After Jason Varitek struck out for the first out of the inning, Coco Crisp drove in Lowell and Youkilis when he was safe at first on shortstop Freddie Bynum’s throwing error.

Last time the Sox were in Baltimore, the Orioles were taking infield practice before the game – something that is not usually done by ball clubs during the season. But it was not all that effective. All of the runs scored in the top of the 13th inning were unearned. Sure it will make the pitchers happy not see their ERAs sky rocket but it will make manager Dave Trembley’s blood pressure go through the roof. Honestly, six year olds can play better defense than the Orioles did tonight.

The Sox did not wait around against Oriole starter Daniel Cabrera. Ortiz got the Sox on the board early with a one-out RBI base hit into right center to plate Jacoby Ellsbury, who doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning. Still in search of that evasive 500th homerun, Ramirez prolonged the first inning with another double down the left field line sending Ortiz to third. Ortiz would come home to score Boston’s second run of the game on a long, sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Lowell.

Baltimore cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second when former Sox first baseman Kevin Millar dropped a single in front of Ramirez with one out. Coming into tonight’s game, Orioles left fielder Luke Scott has been 4-for-5 against Josh Beckett and would continue his success against the Sox ace with a single into right to move Millar to third. Trying to piece something together against Beckett, Scott took off for second with Hernandez at the dish. Sox catcher Jason Varitek’s throw traveled a bit too far than the necessary 128 feet, from home to second, and allowed Millar to come on with Baltimore’s first run. Third baseman Aubrey Huff’s ninth round tripper of the season evened up the score at two a piece in the O’s half of the fourth.

It was hard to imagine that both starters started before the tip-off of Game Six but it was true and both were out of the game before the second quarter started. After getting off to a rocky first inning, Cabrera settled down long enough for the Orioles to tie the game in the fourth. Nothing came easy for the tall, lanky Baltimore pitcher but he was able to scratch and claw his way out of jams after a turbulent first. Cabrera went on to pitch seven innings allowing just the two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out three Sox before turning the game over to the Orioles relievers, who as a group, pitched extremely well this year.

In six innings, Beckett allowed one earned run on four hits while striking out 10 orange birds on 118 pitches. He did not pitch like the quintessential Josh Beckett Red Sox fans expect to see but he pitched well enough to have a chance to get his sixth win of the season. During the fifth and sixth innings, Beckett retired four consecutive batters via the strike out before allowing his first walk of the game. That first walk would soon turn into three more and next thing Beckett knew he was facing center fielder Adam Jones with the bases loaded. After a long at-bat, Jones finally succumbed to Beckett’s fastball for the all-star pitcher’s 10th strike out of the game.

Sox left handed set-up, Hideki Okajima came on in relief of Beckett to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. In two innings of work, the Japanese left hander faced seven batters and retired five of them, giving up a one-out single to second baseman Brian Roberts in the seventh before turning the reigns over to Sox right handed set-up man Manny Delcarmen for the bottom of the ninth inning.

After recent call-up Jeff Bailey pinch-hit for the weak hitting Alex Cora in the top of the ninth, Julio Lugo found himself in a very rare situation. He was in the game in the ninth inning. Due to Lugo’s poor performance in the field – 12 errors on the season – Cora will come out as a defensive replacement but tonight it was vice-versa with Cora being pinch-hit for in the top of the inning.

Facing the bottom third of the Baltimore line up, Delcarmen quickly retired Hernandez and Jones on a fly ball to center and a strike out before giving up a base hit by the dive of Dustin Pedroia to shortstop Freddie Bynum. Bynum would steal his first base of the season to place himself in scoring position for Brian Roberts. The Orioles second baseman worked a walk against the Boston native to bring up the father of quintuplets, Melvin Mora. Coming into his at-bat in tonight’s game Mora is had been 0-for-4 with two strike outs and it would only get worse when he grounded out to Lowell at third for the final out of the inning and force extra frames.

Since relieving Cabrera in the eighth inning, Baltimore bullpen has pitched outstanding, retiring 12 consecutive Red Sox hitters since Lowell’s base hit to left center. The Orioles streak was retired when Albers walked Lugo to lead off the inning. With Lugo off on the pitch, Ellsbury hit a squibbler into right field sending the Sox shortstop to third base. For the first time all game the Sox had something boiling with Pedroia at the dish but unfortunately there were all ready two outs. Pedroia hit a weak ground ball to Mora but the second base umpire called base runners inference on Ellsbury to end the inning.

It will be a match-up of Southpaws in tomorrow night’s second game of the four game series. The Sox will send Jon Lester to the hill to face Garrett Olson. Lester is coming his first start since throwing his no-hitter and is 3-1 on the season with a 5.19 ERA with 45 strike outs while Olson is 4-1 with a 4.09 ERA and 26 strike outs.

WIN: Mike Timlin (3-3)

LOSS: Chad Bradford (2-2)

SAVE: Jonathan Papelbon (15)


Game Notes:

SawxBlog gives a Happy 36th Birthday shout out to the RBI Man, Manny Ramirez.

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis had the dreadful baseball hat trick of three consecutive strike outs in the third, sixth and seventh innings.

Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera recorded his first one-two-three inning in the top of the fourth inning when he got Kevin Youkilis to fly out to center, Jason Varitek to pop to shortstop and retiring Coco Crisp by way of the K.

Injury Report:

Before the game the Red Sox put Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list and called up Jeff Bailey from Pawtucket.

J.D. Drew was a late scratch to Friday’s line up after having vertigo, giving Jacoby Ellsbury the opportunity to start in right field, according to Terry Francona.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Mike Lowell, BOSTON ---- 3-5 2 Singles, Double, 2 RBIs
  1. David Ortiz, BOSTON ---- 2-6 Single, Double, RBI
  1. Aubrey Huff, BALTIMORE --- 1-5 Homerun, RBI

No comments:

Blog Archive