After an unimpressive 10 game road trip that ended with 4 consecutive losses, the Boston Red Sox happily returned home to the friendly confines of Fenway Park for their weekend interleague match up against the Milwaukee Brewers. Not only have the Sox excelled at home this season, but since 2006 they have dominated the National League. This success continued as the Sox used a balanced offensive attack to sweep away the Brewers in the three game series.
Friday night the rains fell in Boston, forcing the game to be postponed to Saturday. The extra day of rest helped the Sox refocus as they came out and captured the first game of the series 5-3 behind another solid pitching performance by Dice-K Matsuzaka. With the victory, Matsuzaka improves to 7-0 on the season and more importantly the Sox improve to 9-0 in games he has started. Many are starting to look at him as the staff ace, but he isn’t ready to accept the title just yet.
“I want to keep winning,” Matsuzaka said, grinning to an interpreter. “But I think Boston’s ace is Josh Beckett.”
Beckett started out the 2007 season with a 9-0 record before suffering his first loss.
Offensively in the first game, David Ortiz blasted a 3-run homerun in the 2nd inning that would give the Sox a 4-0 lead and all the runs they’d need to hold on for the victory. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 12th save on the season, shutting the door in the 9th inning.
After Fenway Park was cleared and cleaned, the teams changed uniforms and came back out for the night cap doubleheader that featured a little bit of everything, but the end result was all that mattered in a Red Sox 7-6 victory.
Veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield hurled 5 1/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 in the outing. He left the game with the lead but did not end up factoring into the decision because of some costly errors that led to unearned runs. The Sox made 3 errors on the night, which resulted in 3 unearned runs being scored in the 7th inning giving the Brewers a 6-5 lead at time.
The Sox immediately stuck back putting 2 runs up on the board in the bottom of the 7th, capitalizing on 2 errors by the Brewers infield. The only hit in the inning came on a single by Kevin Youkilis that knocked in the eventual game winning run, scored by Dustin Pedroia. Milwaukee made 4 errors total on the game.
Having pitched earlier in the day, closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable for the save so veteran reliever Mike Timlin was called upon to close it out. He recorded a perfect 9th inning, retiring all three batters on only 8 pitches for his first save on the season. Prior to the outing Timlin had not recorded a save since May 2nd 2007.
Game three of the series featured the long ball, and lots of them. Eight homeruns were blasted in the Red Sox 11-7 win, completing the sweep of the Brewers in their first trip to Fenway Park since 1993.
David Ortiz led the way for Boston, hitting two homeruns and knocking in 4 RBI’s on the afternoon giving him a season total of 10 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis also added long balls, their 2nd and 9th respectively.
John Beckett was on the hill for the Sox going for win number 5 on the season. Although he did not very sharp, behind all the offensive firepower, he was able to hold off the Brewers bats just enough to pick up the victory. Beckett lasted 7 innings and allowed 6 runs on 6 hits, 4 of which were Milwaukee homeruns. He struck out 9 in the outing bringing his season strike-out total to 56, 5th best in the AL.
Milwaukee was led by Ryan Braun who hit two homeruns on the afternoon and now has 13 on the season. J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder also homered off of Beckett, who allowed 4 HR’s only for the 2nd time in a game in his career. The previous outing came against the Toronto Blue Jays back on May 30th of 2006.
Since 2006, the Red Sox are now 18-3 against the National League in interleague play at Fenway Park and 31-8 overall. That is not counting the 4 consecutive World Series wins against the Colorado Rockies in their 2007 championship campaign.
The Sox will now welcome the Kansas City Royals into town for a 4-game series. Kansas City currently hold a 21-22 record and is tied for 3rd in the AL Central, but only 2 games out of first place in the division. The teams spilt their 6 games last season, each winning two of three at their home field.
Tonight’s starting match up features Jon Lester vs. Luke Hochevar. Both have similar stats, Lester at 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA on the season and Hochevar at 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA.
Tickets are still available for the remainder of the homestand!
It took another 7 game series, but the Boston Celtics are finally on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics won a great game at the Garden yesterday over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 97-92. Paul Pierce was the big story for the Celtics, scoring 41 points and matching Lebron basket for basket for much of the game. Lebron put up 45 points in the Cavs losing effort.
The win at home was the 8th home playoff win for the Celtics this postseason. They have yet to win a road game. All home teams combined for a 22-2 record in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. If the trend continues the Celtics will be happy as they have clinched home court advantage for the remainder of the 2008 playoffs. The Detroit Pistons are hoping to buck that trend when they visit the Garden for game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday 5/20.
Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals tickets are now available.
In a rain shortened two game weekend series, the New York Mets took both games over the crosstown rival New York Yankees. With Friday night’s game postponed due to rain the matchup of Johan Santana vs Andy Pettite had to wait until Saturday and Santana didn’t disappoint, earning his fifth win of the year in a 7-4 victory by the Mets. Despite giving up homers to Jeter, Giambi and Abreu, Santana was mainly dominant over the Yankees lineup. The Mets got big homeruns out of David Wright and Jose Reyes.
In Sunday’s game two, the Yankees didn’t fair much better against the Met’s Oliver Perez, scoring two runs on a Hideki Matsui homerun. The Mets had another great offensive night, putting up eleven runs on Yankees pitching. Chien Ming Wang took the loss for the Yankees, his 2nd of the year. At 20-24 the Yankees remain in last place in the AL East and are four games below .500. They hope the return of Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday night can jump start their offense.
The hits just keep on coming, and unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, they aren’t the club getting them. Jay Payton blasted a 2-out grand slam in the 7th inning yesterday, propelling the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-3 win over the struggling Red Sox. The loss concludes a 10-game road trip in which the Sox went 4-6 on, losing their final 4 games.
Payton had previously been 0-3 on the afternoon with three infield groundouts before delivering the knockout punch to the Sox. Hideki Okajima, who had just entered the game to face Payton, allowed the homerun ball. It was only the second homerun he has allowed all season.
A few bright notes in the game for the Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury had 3 hits on the afternoon. Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell both hit solo homeruns, and Manny Ramirez made an amazing defensive play in left, making an over the shoulder running grab towards the wall, and after catching the ball Ramirez jumped up the wall and reached into the stands to slap a Red Sox fan high-five. He followed it up by spinning around, hurling a dart to the cut-off man to get an outfield assist and double play to end the 5th inning.
The Sox now find themselves in 2nd place in the AL East behind the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, that is not a typo, the Tampa Bay Rays lead the AL East by half a game on May 15th. This is the latest in a season that the Rays have been over .500 and the first time they have ever led the division in May.
So the big question, what’s wrong with the Sox?
Some will say that it’s a long season and every team has some losing streaks along the way. That right there is the attitude of a loser. The Sox lineup is too strong and their pitching staff too solid to go on 4-game losing streaks, and they’ve already done that two times this season.
Excuses will be made that the lineup hasn’t been completely healthy and the team has faired well considering injuries, sicknesses and leaves of absence by players forcing them to miss games. Only the weak make such excuses. This is Major League Baseball and teams face these issues everyday.
Reporters will begin to slam manager Terry Francona because he’s at the wheel of the ship, guiding the team along the way. That’s why they are reporters and not in uniform coaching. Francona has done nothing but win for Boston. In the 4+ years he’s been head coach the team has compiled a 399-292 record, good for a .577 win percentage during the regular season, not to mention 2 World Series titles. Francona isn’t the problem.
The problem lies within the players. They are the reigning World Series Champions and they’re taking it for granted. Too many hitters are not busting up the line to first base on ground balls, or making the extra effort in the field to back up a play. The fundamentals that got the team their success are slowing washing away and it’s not good.
The Red Sox better be careful or people will begin comparing them to their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.
Well for starters, they are going out and spending ridiculous amounts of money every single year to farm a great team. Sound familiar? The Yankees have baseball’s highest payroll, the Sox are currently 4th.
Besides the ever growing payroll, like the Yankees, the Sox have brought in talented players that play uninspired baseball and show no emotion. The front runner for this category for the Sox has to be J.D. Drew. You can never get a read off this guy when he’s playing because he never shows any signs of life. He could strike out 4 times or hit for the cycle and the look on his face wouldn’t change.
As a whole, the Sox look like they are just going through the motions and someone needs to light a fire under their bench to wake them up. Hopefully heading back to Fenway Park for this 7-game home series will ignite something that sparks a little life into their lineup. They’ve played much better at home then on the road this year, going 14-5 in front of the Fenway faithful.
It’s too early to say that the Sox are in trouble, but it’s also time for a gut check. Like it or not, they have their work cut out for them this summer and nothing is going to come easy. Red Sox Nation believes that it can happen again, now its time for the players to believe too.
Right now the Boston Celtics may not have any answers on the road, but hey, if they continue to take care of business at home, so what! Last night they demonstrated their home court dominance with their 96-89 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, taking a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final playoff match up.
Kevin Garnett led the way with a clutch double-double performance scoring 26 points and owning 16 rebounds in one of his best playoff efforts to date. Paul Pierce also had a big offensive night netting 29 points on 8-19 shooting from the field. Rajon Rondo contributed in a big way dishing out 13 assists and scoring 20 points in 42 minutes of action.
Through 12 playoff games, the Celtics are now a perfect 7-0 at the TD Banknorth Garden. Their road record is a different story, a pathetic 0-5 and as the series now shifts to Cleveland for Game 6, questions will again arise about Boston’s inability to win on the road during the post-season and what adjustments need to be made. It really shouldn’t be rocket science to figure out because during the regular season, these same Celtics had the best road record in the NBA.
So, what happened to that team? Why are they only showing up to play at home? And who told Brian Scalabrine to wear those blue pants out in public last night?
All three are very legitimate questions that Celtics fans may be asking themselves today, but in reality not even the team has any of the answers. If they did they would have swept the Hawks in four games, would be holding opponents to under the 99.6 points on the road which they are currently allowing during the playoffs, and Scal would have been in a suit like every other bench player not dressing for the game.
Seriously though, the Celtics just look like a different team on the road during these playoffs then we saw all year. Coach Doc Rivers has somehow found a way to play every combination of players that during the regular season never stepped foot on the hardwood together. He’s abandoned assistant coach Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy of defense first, and not slowed his team down from the run and gun style they’ve been playing compared to their normal half court set offense that helped them win 66 games during the year.
In Games 1 and 2 of the series, the Celtics did a great job of containing Lebron James, forcing him to take bad shots and turn the ball over. When the King made his way home, that defensive minded mentality went out the window and James had his way offensively, getting to the basket with ease against whomever he wanted. This success continued last night when he scored 35 points in the loss, leading all scorers in the game.
Despite the Celtics recent struggles on the road, the Cavs now find themselves in a win-or-go-home situation tomorrow night,
“Whether we get 35 or 20 (from James), it doesn’t matter at this point,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “To lose the game … that’s what’s more disappointing than anything else. Whether he gets this or that, I’m not really concerned, because he’s going to contribute in other ways.”
The Cavs will look to Lebron for a big performance that would force a Game 7 in Boston on Sunday afternoon while the Celtics have other plans and intend to pick up their first playoff victory on the road to seal the deal.
Garnett put it well after the Game 5 win when he said, “This momentum, and what we did here tonight, we’ve got to figure a way to carry this on the road.”
After nearly sweeping the Tigers in Detroit, the Boston Red Sox came into Minnesota with high hopes to continue a successful road trip against the Twins. Four games and three losses later, the Sox are back at square one and reeling to try and salvage a winning trip now with only two games remaining in Baltimore.
After a Jonathan Papelbon blown save on Friday, a 9th inning rally falling short on Sunday and a 12-hit effort gone to waste on Monday, the Red Sox leave the Twin city shaking their heads, knowing that they could have again easily swept the four game series, but this time walk away with three more games in the loss column.
Last nights defeat came at the hands of 34-year old pitcher Livan Hernandez, who looks to be not only 30 lbs overweight, but hasn’t seen a fastball touch the mid 90’s since the mid 90’s. The Sox clobbered him for 10 hits over 6 innings, but could only muster 3 runs, all of which came on Manny Ramirez’s 498 career homerun in the first inning.
“It’s tough, but you have to give the Twins credit,” Ramirez said. “They have a great bullpen that pitched great, and you have to tip your hat to them.”
Clay Buchholtz saw control problems early on in this one and didn’t make it out of the 5th inning, surrendering 8 hits, 5 walks and all 7 runs in only 4 1/3 innings. Up to this point in the season Buchholtz is 2-3 on the year and been the most inconsistent starter in the rotation, showing spots of brilliance and at other times looking like the rookie he is.
“I don’t know what anybody can tell me,” Buchholz said. “It’s sort of in my hands right now. I was leaving pitches up, and they got hit. That’s what happens.”
Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young all chipped in with two hits a piece in the winning effort for the Twins.
“Everybody’s starting to swing the bats, and it’ll be fun around here when we start to see everyone get going,” said Craig Monroe, who belted a two-run double in a game changing three-run 5h inning.
The Twins improve to 20-17 on the year, which currently is tops in the AL Central by 1.5 games over the Cleveland Indians. After the series, the Red Sox record falls to 24-17, still good enough for best in the AL East where they lead the Tampa Bay Rays by half a game.
Josh Beckett returns to the mound for the Red Sox tonight to try and get them back in the win column. Beckett has logged two wins in a row, and looks to make it three going up against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie who is 1-3 on the season with a 4.32 ERA has had some success in the past vs. Boston logging 20 2/3 career innings against the Sox with a 2.61 ERA. His most notable performance against Boston came last season on Mother’s Day at Fenway Park when he held the Sox to only 3 hits and 1 unearned run over 8 1/3 innings before he was pulled from the game, only to watch his bullpen blow a 5-0 lead in what is now referred to as “the Mother’s Day Miracle”.
Wednesday’s match up will feature Jon Lester pitching against Daniel Cabrera. Lester is coming off of a no decision while Cabrera hurled a complete game 3-hitter in his last outing for the win.
Following the Baltimore series the Sox will return to Fenway for a 7-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals. Tickets are still available for both series!
On Saturday Night the Celtics lost their third consecutive playoff road game. While the C’s have been stellar at the Garden, they have had a tough time adjusting to both the Hawks’ and Cavs’ home play. The Celtics only managed to shoot 31% in the first quarter, while the Cavs stormed out of the gates shooting 65%. The Celtics never found their rhythm, playing catch-up for the rest of the game.
“We can’t just ease into these games and expect these guys to lay down, especially on their home court,” said captain Paul Pierce.
C’s coach Doc Rivers put the team through a grueling Sunday workout, hoping to get the team back into playing shape on the road. The session was punctuated by a viewing of just the first quarter of Saturday’s game.
“That was all we needed to see,” said Rivers.
Monday night’s matchup gives the Celtics another chance to play like they did during the regular season on the road. The C’s were 31-10 outside of the Garden this season, the best 2007-2008 NBA road record (including a Texas sweep). So far they have not lived up to that reputation in the playoffs.
“We all need this win on the road, man. It’s like a gorilla on our back trying to get a road win”said an emphatic Paul Pierce after Sunday’s practice session.
Despite the loss, the Celtics have continued to hold LeBron James to an average of 22 points and 22% shooting in the series.
Tip-off Monday is at 8pm, the game will be televised on TNT.
Kevin Youkilis blasted his 4th homerun in as many days to help the Boston Red Sox capture a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers last night at Comerica Park. Youkilis came into the Detroit series with 3 homers on the season and leaves Motown with 7 round trippers, and the Tigers pitching and coaching staff couldn’t be happier to see him leave town.
“Our entire staff did a poor, poor job the entire series against Youkilis,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “Not with the thought process but executing pitches. We just gave him cookie after cookie and he just beat our brains out.”
Justin Verlander was the most recent culprit to surrender a Youkilis blast, giving up the two-run bomb in the 5th inning, putting the Sox ahead 5-1, a lead that Josh Beckett would make hold up for his 4th win of the season. Verlander falls to 1-6 on the year and his ERA rises up to 6.43.
For the second consecutive start Beckett looked very comfortable on the mound and the outcome relayed this feeling as he was able to mix in all of his pitches throughout the night with ease.
“I made pitches when I needed them, and that’s what it boils down to,” Beckett said. “If I hadn’t been able to make a couple key pitches, I would have given up a lot more runs. I had all four pitches working when I needed them, and that’s big.”
Over 7 innings of work, Beckett allowed 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 8 Tigers. Along the way he recorded his 1,000th career strike out en route to the victory. Craig Hansen relieved Beckett and pitched a perfect 8th while Manny Delcarmen recorded all three outs in the 9th.
The Sox recorded 13 hits on the night led by a 3 hit performance by Coco Crisp while Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell all chipped in with 2 hits respectively. Ortiz now has an 8 game hitting streak and has raised his average 55 percentage points over that time.
Boston took three of the four games in Detroit and squandered the possible sweep with an unusual blown save on Wednesday night by Jonathan Papelbon. The team now travels to Minnesota for a four game set against the Twins who are currently in first place on the AL Central Division with a record of 17-16. Over the past ten games both clubs are playing extremely good baseball. The Sox are 8-2 over that period while the Twins are 7-3.
Tonight’s pitching match up features Jon Lester of the Sox going against Boof Bonser of the Twins. Over his last two starts, Lester has looked very impressive hurling 14 innings while only allowed 1 earned run and striking out 11 opponents. Lester is 2-2 on the season with a 3.94 ERA and has never started in Minnesota.
Bonser is coming off a no decision against the Tigers on May 4th where he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. He is 2-4 on the season with a 4.29 ERA. He has never faced many of the Red Sox starters, including Youkilis who has never homered at the Metrodome but still looks to stay hot in Minnesota.
The scheduled first pitch tonight is at 8:10pm EST.
- Curt Schilling threw long toss before Thursdays game, completing 25 tosses of about 60 feet in length. There is still no estimated return for Schilling who began the season on the 60-Day DL.
- On Tuesday night, Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin became the first pair of 40 + year old pitchers to combine for a shutout since 1990 in the Sox 5-0 win over Detroit.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Craig Hanson and Clay Buchholtz are all currently on the Red Sox official 40-man roster. This is the first time in the 43-year history of the amateur draft that an organization has moved its top 4 picks from the same draft (2005) onto the roster at the same time within 3 years of having been drafted.
After holding the Cleveland Cavaliers to only 72 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final playoff series, the Boston Celtics defense came right back out to play shutting down Lebron and Co. again in their 89-73 Game 2 win at the TD Banknorth Garden yesterday evening. At home during the playoffs, Boston’s defense has now held opponents to an average of 75.5 points per game while they’ve averaged 95.7 per contest at the Garden.
The Celtics looked to be in trouble early, trailing by as many as 12 points midway through the first quarter. Cavalier’s center Zydrunas Ilgauskas led the early charge starting the game 6-6 from the floor, hitting mid-range jump shots with confidence on multiple occasions. After the1st quarter the Celtics trailed 24-17 and looked to be in for a long night.
That thought quickly evaporated into the rafters of the Garden as the Celtics bench came out in the 2nd quarter on a mission. They picked apart the Cavs defensively which sparked an offensive run in which they outscored Cleveland 13-3 during the first seven minutes of the quarter. The C’s bench would score 20 of the 27 points during the 2nd, putting the Celtics up at the half 44-36.
As the Celtics continued to ride the high wave of energy reigning down on them from their home court fans, the Cavaliers never were able to find the same rhythm from the first quarter. Lebron James’s offensive woes continued after going 2-18 in Game 1, he followed it up with a 6-24 shooting performance last night, and for the first time all season looked frustrated. The defensive tenacity of Paul Pierce and James Posey has been one of the main reasons for James’s struggles. He scored 21 points on the night, 9 coming from the free throw line.
“I’m a little shocked that he’s 8-for-42, but this is what we work on. We work on trying to contain him,” said Pierce, who also struggled in Game 1 going 2-for-14. “LeBron is what makes them go. And if we can somehow control him, we control their team. And with the help of the guys around me, we’ve been able to do that.”
While the Celtics continued to play great defense, their Big Three got back into the offensive swing of things after a poor showing in Game 1 where Kevin Garnett was forced to carry the load. In that game, Ray Allen went scoreless and Pierce only had 4 points but both were able to break out of it last night in the winning effort. Allen dropped 16 points and Pierce rebounded from his Game 1 performance scoring 19 on a 7-13 shooting display. Garnett chipped in with 13 points and 12 rebounds in his 32 minutes of action.
“It was good to see Ray get it going. I thought that lifted everybody up on our team,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who called the first several plays of the second half for Allen. “I made a concerted effort. I told the coaches at halftime, ‘We’re going to him over and over again. We’ve got to get him going.’”
The teams will now hit the road and travel to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4, with one squad hoping to end the series and the other wanting to extend it.
“Being down 0-2, that’s a tough hole to dig yourself out of. But if we want to win the series we’ve got to do it,” James said and noted that last year Cleveland went down 0-2 against Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals before winning four in a row to make it to the NBA Finals vs. San Antonio. “We’ve been in this situation before, and I’ve got to let them know that I’m not frustrated.”
His teammates must not be getting that message.
“He’s got to be frustrated,” Cavaliers guard Wally Szczerbiak said. “He’s such a good player. He puts so much on his shoulders.”
As the series shifts to Cleveland, the Celtics will hopefully pack their bags and bring along with them the same defensive intensity that they demonstrated in Games 1 and 2 in Boston. They already saw in Atlanta what can happen when the team relies too heavily on an offensive game, and lost three times in high scoring shoot-outs to the younger Hawks line-up. The key to having success on the road will be to continue to stress defense and shut down Lebron.
Easier said then done, but this Celtics line up looks more focused then ever on their quest for Green 17. Celtics Playoff tickets available for all potential games.
The Boston Red Sox did everything they could to win last night’s game against the Detroit Tigers, but sometimes everything just isn’t enough. Placido Polanco’s broken bat single in the 9th inning off of Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon would knock in the game winner as the Tigers pulled off the 10-9 come from behind victory, snapping their five game losing streak and ending Boston’s five game winning streak.
“We had a great comeback and we couldn’t finish it,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
The Red Sox had trailed most of game and overcame a 4 run deficit that they faced after 5 innings when the Tigers led 8-4. Kevin Youkilis’ second homerun of the game in the 6th pulled the Sox within 3 runs, making the score 8-5 Detroit, and with two outs in the 7th inning Mike Lowell would belt a 3-run shot to knot the game at 8-8. The homerun came off of relief pitcher Francisco Cruceta, who had just entered the game.
Javier Lopez came out of the pen and pitched a scoreless 7th for the Sox retiring Ivan Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Placido Polanco in order. This was the only time Boston pitchers were able to retire the three in a row all evening. Detroit collected a season high 18 hits off of Red Sox pitching.
J.D. Drew led off the 8th inning with a walk and stolen base. After a Jason Varitek line out, Julio Lugo also walked putting runners on first and second with one out for Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury would strike out swinging in a very good at bat leaving the stage set for pinch hitter Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia who had been given the night off delivered in the clutch, ripping the go ahead RBI single to left, plating Drew to put the Sox ahead for the first time all night 9-8.
Hideki Okajima preserved the lead pitching the 8th inning allowing a few hits but retiring the side without allowing a run. The inning ended on a strike him out; throw him out double play where Varitek caught Magglio Ordonez trying to steal third after Gary Sheffield struck out swinging.
The Sox threatened to add some insurance to their lead in the 9th inning off of Tigers closer Todd Jones, but Jones was able to get out of the jam stranding runners on first and second base.
With a lead in the 9th inning, Terry Francona did what he’s done a hundred times before, calling for the services of All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to finish off the Tigers. Unfortunately for Papelbon and the Sox, the save just wasn’t in the cards last night.
Matt Joyce led off the inning with an infield single and was replaced at first base with pinch runner Ryan Raburn. Edgar Renteria then grounded to short in what looked to be a taylor-made double play ball only Julio Lugo rushed fielding the play, worrying too much about Raburn’s speed and made a very costly error. Ivan Rodriguez’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position and the tying run was knocked in by a Curtis Granderson ground out to second base.
With the winning run at third, Polanco stepped up to the plate already having collected 4 hits on the night. He was able to foul off a few Papelbon fastballs before shooting a broken bat single over the head of Lugo into left field for the game winning RBI.
“It tells you a lot about our team,” Polanco said. “We had some really tough at-bats against Papelbon to make something happen.”
The blown save was Papelbon’s first of the year, he had previously been 10 for 10 in save conversion opportunities.
“We didn’t get many breaks,” Papelbon said. “When they get little breaks like that, they’re going to make you pay for it.”
In tonight’s final game of the four game series, the Red Sox will send Josh Beckett to the mound to duel against Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander. Both are off to slow starts, Verlander especially who is currently 1-5 with a 6.28 ERA on the season. Beckett is coming off a strong 8 inning performance in which he picked up the win vs. Tampa Bay last week at Fenway. He is currently 3-2 on the year with a 4.19 ERA.
Boston will then travel to Minnesota for a four game series against the Twins, and wrap up the road trip with a quick two game stop in Baltimore to face off against the Orioles.
- Jacoby Ellsbury has successfully converted every stolen base attempt in his major league career. Last night he stole 2 bases to put him up to 13 on the season, and dating back to his debut last year he is a perfect 22-22 on stolen bases.
- After his two blasts in last nights game, Kevin Youkilis has now hit 7 career homeruns at Comerica Park, this is 5 more homeruns than he has hit at any other visiting stadium. The only other time Youkilis has had a multi-homerun game also came in Detroit back in Aug. of 2004.
- Alex Cora went 2-4 and scored a run in 7 innings of a rehab stint in Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday night.