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July 21, 2007
Game Story: Gabbard, Crisp lead Sox to 11-2 win
BOSTON – Kason Gabbard put on another dominating performance yesterday, and Coco Crisp continued his hot streak as the two led Boston to an 11-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
Gabbard, fresh off his complete-game three-hit shutout against Kansas City, limited Chicago to just three hits and one run in seven innings of work.
He received a standing ovation by the sellout crowd for his outstanding performance. Gabbard is 4-0 with a 2.97 ERA in six games for Boston this year where he has limited his opponents to a .184 batting average.
“To have him pitch back-to-back games like that is very impressive,” Boston manager Terry Francona said of Gabbard, who has allowed exactly three hits in each of his last four starts.
“He was huge for us,” Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of Gabbard. “He goes seven innings and dominated.”
“I just made the pitches when I had too and got guys to swing early [in the count],” Gabbard said. “…I do the same thing every time I go out there and pitch. I try to throw strikes, mix my pitches, and go from there.”
Crisp led Boston at the plate by going 3-for-4 with career-tying five RBI. Crisp also had five RBI against Tampa Bay on July 5.
“He’s a very dangerous hitter,” Francona said of Crisp.
Crisp has hit safely in 25 of his last 29 games, batting .370 (40-for-108) with five doubles, five triples, four homers, 22 RBI, and 19 runs scored. He is ranked third in the American League in triples with seven.
“He’s huge,” Pedroia said of Crisp. “He sparks our team. Defensively he’s the best centerfielder in baseball and on offense he makes things happen. Once he gets on base, he can go at any time. It’s fun to watch.”
Crisp didn’t just produce at the plate yesterday. In the second inning he ran down a hard hit Juan Uribe line drive in deep center field and caught it to save a run.
“The guy’s defense has been phenomenal from day one,” Francona said. “That’s about as good a centerfielder as you’ll want to see. He’s catching everything.”
While Crisp provided more than enough runs for Gabbard, it was Chicago that struck first.
In the top of the second inning, Chicago leadoff hitter Paul Konerko hit a line drive to left field. Wily Mo Pena, like a deer in headlights, froze.
He got a late jump on the ball, dove for it, and it bounced under his glove. By the time he got the ball into the infield, Konerko was standing on second base. The play was initially ruled a two-base error on Pena but then got changed to a double for Konerko.
Josh Fields drove him in with a double he sliced down the right field line to give Chicago the early 1-0 lead.
Chicago’s lead didn’t last long.
After Boston loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second, Danks threw five straight fastballs to Crisp to get ahead in the count, 1-2. He then threw two straight change-ups and Crisp made him pay on the second one.
Crisp lined a single to left field that scored Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell as the Red Sox went ahead, 2-1.
The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth inning when J.D. Drew, with a runner on first and second base, extended Boston’s lead to 3-1 with an RBI double he hit down the right field line, scoring Ramirez. Chicago intentionally walked Lowell which loaded the bases for Jason Varitek.
Varitek hit into a fielder’s choice grounder to third. Chicago third baseman Josh Fields threw home and got the force out at home plate to save a run.
Crisp, however, delivered again for Boston, ripping a two-out single to left field that scored Youkilis. Drew tried to sprint home from second base on the play but he was thrown out at the plate by Chicago left-fielder Andy Gonzalez.
Boston scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to break the game open.
After loading the bases, Chicago relief pitcher Boone Logan walked Drew to force in a run which gave Boston a 5-1 advantage. Chicago then brought in Dewon Day to pitch but the result was still the same. Day walked Lowell and Varitek with the bases loaded to force in two more runs.
Crisp then hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run single up the middle to give Boston a 9-1 cushion. Hinske followed that up with a two-run triple that ricocheted off of the right-field wall.
Rob Mackowiak drove in a run for Chicago in the top of the ninth inning before Boston closed the door on the White Sox.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 8:17 PM | Permalink
Schilling happy with rehab outing
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
PAWTUCKET _ Following his first rehab start with the Pawtucket Red Sox yesterday, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he felt a bit awkward on the mound.
Not because he wasn’t pitching effectively, but just the fact he was back on the mound in a game situation for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder on June 19.
The veteran right-hander was very sharp in his three-inning, 40-pitch outing for the PawSox at McCoy Stadium and said he hasn’t felt this good since 2002.
Schilling threw a side session at Fenway Park on Wednesday and played long toss on Thursday in preparation for yesterday’s start. During those two workouts, he told Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell he felt the ball was coming out of his hand better than it has in a few years.
It showed yesterday.
“Everything has felt different in the last two weeks, but in a positive way,” said Schilling. “I feel good about the outing. . . There were some balls today that I threw that I felt very good about. I don’t remember feeling like that for a significant period of time.”
Schilling worked on all of his pitches – curveball, fastball, change-up, split and sliders – saying it was the best he’s felt all season, including spring training.
“For the last five months when my arm got to the top slot the throw was more momentum than power,” he explained. “I would get my arm to a point and didn’t have the ability to finish the pitch and drive the ball through. In the last two or three weeks I’ve noticed that I could.”
He’s scheduled to throw another rehab start for the PawSox on Thursday in Toledo. There’s a possibility he could work a third game for Pawtucket before re-joining the Red Sox in Anaheim on Aug. 6.
“As much as I hate being on the DL and the guilt feeling of not contributing, I have a blast down here with these kids in this environment,” he said. “It kind of revitalizes you a little bit. I had a goal and some objectives. I was scheduled to throw 50 pitches and I only threw 40. I could have gone back out there, but I answered the questions I wanted answered today. That was the big and they were all positives.”
Schilling said he wants to return to the rotation as soon as possible, but at the same time he wants to make sure he’s healthy and doesn’t want to rush anything.
Left-hander Kason Gabbard has replaced Schilling in the Sox rotation and “he pitched really well today,” said Schilling. “The fact that we’re eight games up is huge. I’m not sure that our place in the standings would have changed the timetable for me because the main goal is to come back and pitch all the way through the World Series. I want to be healthy, effective and be the guy I can be.”
Because the PawSox offense struggled in the first two innings, Schilling was able to get back on the mound rather quickly to keep his solid momentum going. The only time he was crossed up was in the top of the third when he had to step off the rubber and ask Pawtucket catcher George Kottaras for a new signals, and because there seemed to be miscommunication the two had a meeting on the mound.
“George was great,” said Schilling. “It was hard to see, that was the only problem. [Working well with a batterymate] is a big thing because, for me, tempo is as important as anything else. If you’re out there shaking, shaking, shaking, you tend not to get into a groove. He was good.”
During his pregame warm up in the PawSox bullpen the Red Sox medical staff was keeping a close eye on the seasoned vet, and Schilling also had his family in attendance.
Even tough he was all business yesterday, arriving at McCoy early and watching a replay of Friday night’s Red Sox game, Schilling had some fun with former World Series teammate and current Louisville second baseman Mark Bellhorn during the outing.
“I made a comment to him after he swung at the first pitch,” Schilling said. “I’ve never seen the guy swing at a first pitch in the history of his career. He swung and I said ‘now you’re going to swing at the first pitch?’ He just kind of laughed.”
Bellhorn struck out swinging and he wasn’t the only one not to have success against Schilling yesterday.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 8:10 PM | Permalink
Schilling in in the third
Because the PawSox haven't had much success offensively tonight, Schilling's been able to get back on the mound quickly.
He allowed a lead-off single to the Bats' Ryan Jorgensen, who reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Paul Janish. Louisville's Chris Dickerson lined out to first baseman Jeff Bailey for the second out of the inning before Schilling struck out Dewayne Wise swinging to end the inning.
Schilling is done after three shutout innings, 40 pitches (32 strikes), two hits and six strikeouts. He received a standing ovation from the fans at McCoy and the ace tipped his hat in appreciation.
Schilling had control of all his pitches, especially his off-speed stuff.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:32 PM | Permalink
Schilling in the second
Schilling continued to dominate in the second. He struck out the side in order and on his last pitch Schilling dialed up a 94 mph fastball. He threw 12 pitches (10 strikes). He's up to 25 pitches (22 strikes) through two innings. He's scheduled to work three innings or 45 pitches.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:23 PM | Permalink
Schilling begins rehab with PawSox
Curt Schilling struck out the first batter he faced -- Louisville's Chris Dickerson -- on three straight pitches. He reached 93 on the gun with his fastball and his change-up dropped off at 75.
He allowed a single to right to the next batter he faced before getting Joey Votto to fly out to center field. Schilling closed out the inning with another strikeout.
The veteran right-hander threw just 13 pitches (12 strikes) in the inning.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:05 PM | Permalink
Upon Further Review . . .
Boston manager Terry Francona was not a happy camper when the umpiring crew erred in not giving J.D. Drew credit for a home run in the first inning of last night's game.
The umpires ruled the ball had hit the wall and not the barrier over the wall.
Today he had a suggestion for making sure the umpires get calls right.
"I think there should be a fifth umpire in the booth. It would give them an extra set of eyes and I think they would see what we see (on replays) and would be an incredible teaching tool. I think the extra set of eyes could eliminate possible things like that," said Francona, referring to the clearly blown call.
Francona said the argument he had with crew chief Tim McClelland, who ultimately ejected him, and the rest of the crew will not carry over to today's game.
"It's not personal," said Francona. "But I knew what had happened. The ball couldn't bounce back into the field of play (if it hadn't hit the barrier over the wall). I asked (McClelland) to check with the other umpires and they did. While I appreciate that, I didn't like the answer. You feel frustration, but it's not personal. It goes away."
Especially since the Red Sox won the game, 10-3.
Francona said he wasn't sure what type of calls the fifth umpire should be able to overrule, nor did was he aware of any forum in which managers are asked for their suggestions to change the game.
McClelland visited Francona's office about an hour before the game. They had a nice peaceful, informal chat.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:57 PM | Permalink
Batting Order Switches
With David Ortiz (bruised left shoulder) unavailable, and with Julio Lugo's resurgence at the plate factoring in as well, manager Terry Francona did some juggling of his batting order for today's game.
He brought Lugo back up from the number nine spot to leadoff. The Sox' shortstop had been exiled from the top to the bottom of the order on June 12 because he was batting .213 at the time.
Lugo's struggles continued from the number nine hole for a while, as well, but he enters today's game boasting a 10-game hitting streak during which he has batted .500 (19 for 38), including a grand slam last night.
Manny Ramirez, meanwhile, was moved up from cleanup to the number three spot, the spot in the order he actually prefers.
"He's a little excited about it," said Francona. "It put a little smile on his face. He loves hitting third."
Three years ago Francona kept flip-flopping Ortiz and Ramirez in the three-four spots, finally settling on Ortiz third and Ramirez fourth and sticking with that alignment through this season.
"If they hit like they can we're more productive the way we have it," said Francona of his Ortiz-Ramirez lineup positioning.
Francona is having Ramirez serve in Ortiz's DH slot today, saving a little wear and tear on his knees. Kevin Youkilis is batting cleanup.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:47 PM | Permalink
Strained Shoulder Benches Ortiz
David Ortiz, who suffered a strained left shoulder Friday night, is out of the starting lineup today.
An MRI taken today at Massachusetts General Hospital before the game did not show any structural damage to the shoulder and Ortiz is listed as day-to-day.
Ortiz suffered the injury while trying to stretch a single into a double. His headfirst slide not only wasn't successful -- he was tagged out -- he also landed hard on the shoulder.
This afternoon, it was clear that Ortiz's shoulder was sore. He yanked his T-shirt off with his right hand while his left arm hung limp at his side, and Ortiz winced as he performed that task.
Manager Terry Francona said that Ortiz would have additional tests on his shoulder, but that he already had passed a strength test in the bruised area.
"He's like we expected. He's stiff and sore. No surprises," said Francona after chatting in his office with Ortiz for about 10 minutes after the Sox' designated hitter arrived in the cloubhouse.
Francona was in his office, having been thrown out of last night's game, when Ortiz made his ill-fated dash to second base.
"I almost fell off the couch. It was like an earthquake," joked Francona.
Francona turned serious when asked how he feels whenever he sees his mammoth DH sliding.
"That's a big body. There's a lot of force when he hits the ground, but you have to play the game," said Francona of Ortiz, who is 6-foot-4 and charitably (unbelievably?) listed at 230 pounds.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:36 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, July 21
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:33 PM | Permalink