By Joe McDonald
BOSTON _ It's a night Charlie Zink will never forget.
After making his major-league debut for the Red Sox Tuesday night, the 29-year-old knuckleball pitcher was sent back to Pawtucket.
He had an interesting night where he saw his 10-run lead erased when he surrendered six runs in the Rangers' eight-run fifth inning, only to watch an explosive Boston offense come from behind and eventually win, 19-17.
Zink was moving right along until that fifth inning. After the Sox gave him a 10-0 lead after the first inning, he allowed a pair of runs in the top of the second before imploding in the fifth.
"The fifth sped up on me a little," he said. "Guys started getting more and more hits and I just didn't know how to slow myself down at that point."
Even before Zink threw his first major-league pitch, the Red Sox were very interested to see if his minor-league success would translate at the big-league level.
"I thought he handled his emotions real well," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He competed. He threw the ball over the plate for the most part. The fifth inning unraveled, but it unraveled on everybody. . . Charlie's fastball, even his cutter, didn't have the same life it had earlier in the game. He threw a lot of pitches against a pretty good lineup."
Despite the no-decision, and after watching one of the more interesting Red Sox games in a while, Zink is heading back to the minors with a very special memory.
"This will still be the best memory of my life," he said. "Hopefully there are more to come, but if there's not, this was still an amazing night."