Placido Polanco snaps Sox five game win streak with come back victory in the ninth


Placido Polanco snaps Sox five game win streak with come back victory in the ninth

(May 7, 2008) – For the first time this season fireball, closer Jonathan Papelbon could not close the door behind him in the bottom of the ninth. Detroit second baseman Placido Polanco became the Tigers hero when he took a two-out Papelbon offering and blooped it over the head of Julio Lugo.

Papelbon came on in the bottom of the inning to close out the game after Dustin Pedroia singled to left to drive in right fielder J.D. Drew in the top of the eighth inning for a 9-8 lead. The Sox looked as if they were heading towards win number 23 as Papelbon entered the game in the ninth. But tonight the Sox closer just did not have his quintessential control.

One of the biggest rules in baseball for a pitcher is to get the lead off batter of an inning out. After Papelbon allowed a base hit by Matt Joyce to start the inning, the Sox closer did not get much help from his defense. Shortstop Julio Lugo would misplay and bobbled a slow roller by Tigers shortstop Edgar Renteria and allow the former Sox shortstop to reach base on Lugo’s error. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez would sacrifice pinch runner, Ryan Raburn and Renteria to third and second, respectively.

Although Curtis Granderson had failed to get a hit he was productive in the Tigers 10-9 win, with his ground out to second in the ninth for the second out of the inning he drove in Raburn with the tying run of the game. As well as the chance for Polanco to a hero.

It was not going to be Clay Buchholz’s night from the very first inning of the game and his 6.48 ERA away from Fenway Park was not helping much either. The Tigers bats woke up against Buchholz in the bottom of the third inning when Gold Glove award winning catcher Ivan Rodriguez singled into center field to lead off the inning. After center fielder, Buchholz struck out center fielder Curtis Granderson, Polanco took a fastball offering from the Sox young pitcher and hammered it into left for a double to drive in Rodriguez. First baseman Carlos Guillen would tack on another run by plating Polanco with a base hit into center field. Detroit’s number four hitter, right fielder Magglio Ordonez would add an additional run driving in Guillen with a base hit to right center. By the end of it all the Sox would have a 4-0 deficit on their hands.

The Sox would cut the lead in half right after the media came back from break. With two outs in the inning, third baseman Mike Lowell extended the inning with a single into center field to give first baseman Kevin Youkilis a chance to step to the plate. Youkilis would make the most of the opportunity and drove an Armando Galarrago offering around the left field foul pole that just barely stayed fair. It was his first homerun of the game

Sox were playing catch-up all game. It was a cat fight, no pun intended. Whenever they got close the Tigers clawed back offensively. After Youkilis homerun in the top of the fourth, Ordonez game back and drove in Polanco in the bottom of the inning for the 5-2 advantage. It occurred again in the fifth inning. Sox scored two runs with an RBI sac fly by rookie infielder Jed Lowrie, who was making the start at second to give Pedroia a day off, and base hit RBI single by David Ortiz. But Detroit would come back in the bottom with three of their own to push their lead to 8-4. It was a game of cat and mouse; just when the Sox thought they had the mouse, the Tigers would yank the string away.

But the Sox made a valiant come back starting in the sixth and with Youkilis’s second homerun of the game to bring them closer at 8-5. Can you say this guy is hot? Literally. No I am serious he is literally fuming. Not just is he hot at the plate but hot in the head. After Lowell’s second homerun of the season in the seventh off of reliever Zach Minor to even the score at eight a piece, Youkilis was rung up by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds. Unhappy with the call, Youkilis had a few choice words for Reynolds. The rift continued well into the bottom half of the inning with Youkilis barking towards the plate and then over to second. It might be a safe assumption that Youkilis has never heard of the saying “Do not get into a pissing match with a skunk.”

But he appeared to have learned his lesson. After getting caught looking at strike three for the second out of the top of the ninth inning, Youkilis said nothing and did not look back at Reynolds. Good Youkilis. You just might get that number one star of the game back.

Josh Beckett takes the mound in tomorrow night’s series finale against Tigers right hander Jeremy Guthrie. With the Sox leading the season series four games to two the best Detroit can not win or tie the season series, they can only hope to win three games instead of two. While the Tigers will be looking for win number three against Boston, Beckett is looking for his fourth win of the season to give the Sox the 5-2 season series win.

On the season, the ace of the staff is 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA and a 0.96 ERA. He is coming of a 12-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on last Saturday. In the win, Beckett was a work horse, as always, pitching eight complete innings while allowing four earned runs on seven hits while striking out five Ray batters and walking just one on 100 pitches. Beckett’s counterpart in the other dugout, Guthrie, is 1-3 with a 4.32 ERA with 32 strike outs and 1.26 WHIP. He is coming of a 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim where he pitched seven complete innings allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out six and walking just two Angels on 109 pitches.

WIN: Todd Jones (1-0)

LOSS: Jonathan Papelbon (2-1)


Game Notes:

Jacoby Ellsbury is five stolen bases off Tim Raines’s record of the first 27 stolen bases of his career with being caught. Ellsbury currently sits at 22. He stole two bases off of Ivan Rodriguez tonight.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Placido Polanco, DETROIT --- 5-6 Double, 3 RBIs
  1. Ivan Rodriguez, DETROIT --- 2-4 2 RBIs, 2 Runs-Scored
  1. Mike Lowell, BOSTON --- 3-5 Double, Homerun, 3 RBIs

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