Dan Haren fools Sox while retiring 11 consecutive batters as Arizona edges past Sox 2-1


Dan Haren fools Sox while retiring 11 consecutive batters as Arizona edges past Sox 2-1

(June 23, 2008) – It was an old-time baseball pitcher’s duel between grandfather (Red Sox) and grandson (Diamondbacks) and ended with young Trey being victorious while grandpa was left scratching his head.

Usually when we think of pitchers duels we think of nostalgic baseball, historic franchises – like the Sox – and Steve Buckley. So it made all the sense to think the Sox would be victorious in last night’s duel but not quite, the Diamondbacks proved they were for real against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Dan Haren retired 11 consecutive Boston batters between the third and seventh innings while Brandon Lyon picked up his 15th consecutive save.

After the Sox Daisuke Matsuzaka failed to make it through the second inning on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Sox bullpen was forced to pick up the slack and it carried into the next day’s 13 inning affair. With this being said the Sox relievers were heavily relying on their Ace, Josh Beckett to give them a breather against the Diamondback. Beckett did just that, he went a solid eight innings allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out eight Arizona batters.

Enough to get himself his eighth victory of the season right? Wrong! Haren masterfully matched Beckett’s eight inning performance with a masterful seven innings of two hit ball with five strike outs and one walk. The Diamondbacks right hander retired the first six batters of the game before giving up his first base hit to catcher Jason Varitek who lined a double off the wall in left center. After a two out walk to rookie Jacoby Ellsbury, Haren struck out Dustin Pedroia and set the cruise control button on from there. The Sox could not catch a break against the 6’5” Arizona right hander for the next three innings.

With Harden mowing down the Sox, Beckett was doing the same to the Diamondbacks in the same time span, which included retiring six consecutive Arizona hitters between the third and the fifth innings. Cruising along at an 11 pitch per inning pace, Beckett had all ready accumulated seven strike outs and had yet to walk nobody. But that all changed with a lead off, seven pitch walk to first baseman Conor Jackson in the top of the seventh, leading to a 33-pitch inning for the ace of the staff.

Jackson worked the first walk by Beckett after being down 0-2 in the count. It was the first time in the game the Diamondbacks had the lead off hitter on base and they would not waste the opportunity. Third baseman Mark Reynolds would advance Jackson to second dropping a bloop single in front of Ellsbury before center fielder Chris Young drove in his 40th RBI of the season with his second base hit of the season. Young’s rocket line drive off the wall drove in Jackson from second and sent Reynolds to third. Reynolds scored the winning run on Chris Snyder’s ground out to defensive replacement Brandon Moss at first base. (More on that later.)

After throwing 33-pitches in the seventh and Beckett’s pitch count at 104, it looked unlikely that Beckett was going to come back out for the eighth. But after Jason Varitek struck out with runners on first and second in the bottom half of the seventh, Beckett came back out to the mound to give himself another opportunity to win his eighth game of the season. He gave himself a good chance by retiring the side in order on 12-pitches and keeping the Boston deficit to just two runs.

The Sox bats would attempt another come-from-behind victory when Julio Lugo walked with one out in the bottom of the eighth to bring up the top of the Red Sox line up. Ellsbury singled back up the middle for his first hit of the game (1-for-3 on the night), moving Lugo up to second. Pedroia followed with a base hit of his own to left, loading the bases and bringing June’s hottest hitter, J.D. Drew, to the dish with less the two outs. Although Drew was hitless in last night’s game, he still managed to drive across Boston’s lone run of the game lifting a fly ball to deep center field to drive in the Sox shortstop from third. It was the right fielder’s 10th RBI in his last 11 games and his 23rd RBI this month.

Down by one run after Drew’s RBI, two runners on base and two outs, who would you rather have at the plate other than David Ortiz? That is correct. Manny Ramirez. He is called the RBI Machine for a reason and the reason being is that he is second all time in Runs Batted in since 1998 with 1,281. But as the rest of the night went, Ramirez was robbed off a sure RBI double down the left line as Reynolds made a diving play to snare Ramirez’s line drive. Reynolds had to double check his glove to make sure the ball did not go through the glove because the ball was hit so hard down to the hot corner.

The Sox will try to even up the series in game two tomorrow night when they send the rookie Justin Masterson (4-1 3.00 ERA, 28 strike outs, 1.08 WHIP) to face Diamondbacks left hander Doug Davis who is 2-3 on the season with a 3.65 ERA, 38 strike outs, 25 walks and a 1.60 WHIP. Masterson is making his first start against Arizona while Davis is making his seventh appearance and sixth start against Boston. Against the Red Sox, Davis is 3-2 with one complete game with a 3.78 ERA, 15 strike outs, 11 walks and a 1.56 WHIP. Boston batters are hitting at a .299 clip against the Arizona lefty.

WIN: Dan Haren (8-4)

LOSS: Josh Beckett (7-5)

SAVE: Brandon Lyon (16)


Game Notes:

The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes due to scattered thunderstorms.

Sox are still win-less at home (0-4) against the Arizona Diamondbacks since they starting playing the Diamondbacks in interleague play back in 2002.

Bad Timing

On the same day when back up first baseman Sean Casey dropped his appeal of his three game suspension, Kevin Youkilis had to be taken out of the game before the start of the fifth inning. While throwing grounders to the rest of the infield in between the bottom of the fourth and the top of the fifth, Youkilis took a bouncer from Mike Lowell off his right eye. His eye started to swell up immediately and was replaced at first by Brandon Moss who has never played a Major League game at first in his career.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Dan Haren, ARIZONA ------ 7IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 5K
  1. Chris Young, ARIZONA ---- 2-3 Double, RBI
  1. Josh Beckett, BOSTON ------ 8 IP, 5H, 2R, 1BB, 8K

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