Despite rift with Youkilis, Manny Ramirez drives in 5 of 7 Sox runs as Boston sweeps Tampa Bay


Despite rift with Youkilis, Manny Ramirez drives in 5 of 7 Sox runs as Boston sweeps Tampa Bay

(June 5, 2008) – A new chapter has been added to the Red Sox-Rays rivalry as the Sox completed the three game sweep against Tampa Bay with a 7-1 win. Coco Crisp wrote the next edition of the eight year rivalry last night when he took out Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the eighth inning. The play last night had Tampa Bay manager, Joe Maddon, miffed and sparked a cross-field argument between Crisp and Maddon in the top of the ninth.

With Maddon outwardly upset at the Sox centerfielder’s actions in the previous night’s game, it comes as no surprise the Rays would seek revenge against Crisp in the future. But it is intriguing starter James Shields decided to hit Crisp in the side of the left leg with one down the bottom of the first. Instead of walking down to first base, Coco became enraged after being hit and charged the mound with Dioner Navarro charging behind him like Benjamin Watson chasing down Broncos safety Champ Bailey in the 2006 AFC Division Game in Denver.

Navarro took down the Sox center fielder like Mike Vrabel dropping Peyton Manning for a 10-yard loss, but not before Crisp got one swing at Shields. As soon as Crisp was down for the count, designated hitter Jonny Gomes and left fielder Carl Crawford decided to get in on the action with a few sucker punches of their own. Crisp and Shields were ejected from the game immediately following the dugout emptying brawl while Gomes was gone not too long afterward. There will be major suspensions to Crisp, Shields, Gomes and possibly Crawford, handed down by the Commish in days to come.

Down two runs in the second inning, it was not the time for the Rays to go after Crisp and send Shields, one of their best pitchers, to the showers just two innings into the game. Tampa Bay will see the Red Sox later on during the year; they should have been patient in their retaliation efforts against Boston and not struck so quick. When you have the upper hand in a scrum, you want to send the message that you may strike at any time. But tonight just showed the inexperience of the Rays.

After Crisp was ejected from the game, Jacoby Ellsbury moved from left field to center while recent Pawtucket call-up Chris Carter went into left. Getting another opportunity to play at the major league level, Carter finally received his first big league base hit with a single into center field off Grant Balfour, who replaced Shields after he was ejected in the second.

The Sox outfield started the game with Ellsbury, Crisp and J.D. Drew (left to right) but finished with Carter, Drew and Kevin Youkilis. In the top of the fourth, Ellsbury recorded the first out of the inning with a diving catch off the bat of fellow rookie Evan Longoria, whose liner was sure to drop for extra bases. But the rookie would not get up right away. After making the catch, the Oregonian turned his wrist over and was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons. Drew shifted over to center while Youkilis entered the game in right field.

Lost in the game was another outstanding performance by the Sox young left hander, Jon Lester. In 6.1 innings, the lefty allowed just one earned on eight hits while walking no opposing batters –for the first time this year – and striking out five Tampa Bay hitters. Also lost was Manny Ramirez’s 2-for-3 night which included his 13th homerun of the season in the bottom of the first to put him tied with teammate David Ortiz and Seattle’s Adrian Beltre for third place for the AL lead in homeruns. Ramirez’s 503rd career homerun drove in Dustin Pedroia, who was hit on the elbow by a Shields’s inside pitch, and Drew, who doubled to left center, sending Pedroia to third.

Ramirez would drive in five of the Red Sox seven runs in the game but it still would not matter to Youkilis who got in the face of the Sox’s eccentric left fielder between the fourth and fifth innings. Is there trouble in paradise for the typically mild-mannered Sox clubhouse or is it just “intra-family issues?” Neither Ramirez nor Youkilis wanted to comment on the situation so speculation welcome from either side. Radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione commented that maybe Youkilis was tweaked because Ramirez was one the last people out of the dugout during the brawl in the second. But why should the Sox hot-tempered first baseman care, because as the day’s designated hitter Ramirez was not due up until sixth that inning (should the Sox go that far) could have been in the clubhouse watching tapes. Note to Youkilis: do not get into a pissing match with the man who produces the majority of the runs for the team!

The Red Sox will take on the Seattle Mariners for a weekend three game series on Friday night with Bartolo Colon (3-0) getting the start against Felix Hernandez (3-5). Colon will be followed by Tim Wakefield (3-4) and Miguel Batista (3-6) on Saturday and Justin Masterson (2-0) and Jarrod Washburn (2-7) on Sunday.

WIN: Jon Lester (4-3)

LOSS: James Shields (4-4)


Game Notes:

Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the second, to drive in Chris Carter – pinch running for Coco Crisp – off reliever Grant Balfour with one out in the inning for the Sox’s fourth run of the game.

J.D. Drew drove in the fifth run of the game for Boston with a bases loaded walk in the fourth before Manny Ramirez drove in his fourth and fifth RBIs of the game with single into left field. After Jason Varitek grounded out to second to begin the inning, Carter and Julio Lugo followed with back-to-back base hits. Relieving Balfour, J.P. Howell got Kevin Youkilis to fly out to center to advance Carter to third before walking Pedroia to load the bases.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Manny Ramirez, BOSTON ---- 2-3, Homerun, 5 RBIs
  1. Jon Lester, BOSTON --- 6.1IP, 8H, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
  1. Chris Carter, BOSTON --- 2-3 2 Singles, 2 Runs-scored

No comments: