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August 10, 2007
Game Story: Orioles 6, Red Sox 5
BALTIMORE – The seeds were sown for a stirring come-from-behind victory for the Boston Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
But the Red Sox’ generally air-tight bullpen was gashed for five runs over the final two innings as the Orioles wound up overtaking Boston, 6-5.
Eric Gagne melted down in the eighth, charged with four runs that turned a 5-1 advantage into a 5-5 tie.
Hideki Okajima blew the save in the eighth, allowing a tying single by Melvin Mora, and then lost the game in the ninth on a leadoff ground-rule double to center by Brian Roberts, a sacrifice bunt by Corey Patterson and a sacrifice fly to center by Nick Markakis.
The stunning setback cut the Sox’ American League East lead to five games over the New York Yankees.
In some respects, this was a case of two games in one.
In the “opener,” Baltimore’s Erik Bedard dueled Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka. Through seven innings, the Orioles were ahead, 1-0, on a walk, a stolen base and Miguel Tejada’s two-out RBI single in the first inning.
Then came the eighth, when the teams combined for nine runs, sending a total of six pitchers to mound and heading to the ninth with the game tied at 5-5.
Boston scored five, assuming a 5-1 advantage. The Sox got a clutch game-tying single from Wily Mo Pena on Bedard’s 114th pitch — after he could have been punched out twice by the umpires — and then Julio Lugo’s daring perfectly placed bunt single on the first pitch from reliever Chad Bradford opened the floodgates.
David Ortiz (two-run single) and Manny Ramirez (RBI single) produced a four-run bulge, which, given the Sox’ mighty bullpen, should have been more than enough.
But Eric Gagne floundered in the setup role, giving coughing up three hits and walking one of the five batters he faced. A misplay in right by J.D. Drew, turning a single into a double, put the tying run at second with one out, and Melvin Mora’s single through the left side off Hideki Okajima knotted the game at 5-5.
While the implosion of the Sox’ bullpen was a surprise, Lugo’s bunt qualified as the biggest surprise of the game.
Lugo pushed the bunt expertly between the mound and first base, past Bradford into no-man’s land on the infield grass. All Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts could do was pick it up and take a bite out of it.
It was a clean base hit, an RBI single that snapped a 1-1 tie. By the time the inning was over, Boston had thrilled the pro-Red Sox crowd of 48,993 by scoring three more times.
The rally produced a stunning turn of events. The pivotal inning began with the Red Sox down 1-0. Boston had only two hits, back-to-back singles by Lugo and Dustin Pedroia in the fourth.
And the momentum shift was delivered by an unlikely hero — Pena — with side drama provided by Baltimore manager Dave Trembley and the umpiring tandem of C.B. Bucknor behind the plate and Joe West at first base.
Also playing an unwitting supporting role was Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, who kicked what might have been an inning-ending double-play ball, though he was able to bat the bobbled ball to third baseman Melvin Mora for a force out, accounting for the second out of the inning.
So with runners at first and second and two outs, Trembley elected to stick with Bedard, who had thrown 109 pitches to that point on a night when where the weather temperature for the first pitch was 93 degrees and humid.
Trembley, no doubt, was mindful of the fact that his predecessor, the first Sam Perlozzo, had pulled Jeremy Guthrie with aone out in the ninth while he was working on a shutout in Fenway Park, opening the gates to a five-run Red Sox rally and victory.
Trembley preferred a matchup of a tiring Bedard against Pena, as opposed to bringing in Bradford, a move Boston manager Terry Francona would have countered by sending up Drew.
The first pitch was a strike. Pena thought he checked his swing on the next pitch, but West ruled he had gone around, making it an 0-and-2 count. Pena reacted angrily, spinning out of the batter’s box and walking taking a walk away from the plate.
On the next pitch, Pena again checked his swing. This time West ruled he hadn’t gone around, though replays showed he might have gone around more than he had on the previous pitch. Bedard’s 1-and-2 fastball looked like a strike, and Bedard started walking off the mound, thinking he had whiffed Pena and preserved his 1-0 lead.
But Bucknor, inconsistent all night, frustrating both teams (notably on a tough strike-three call on Ortiz with runners at first and second and none out in the fourth), called it a ball. And Pena then dunked a game-tying single to center, ending the night for Bedard.
The hits just kept on coming, four in a row for the Sox, before the final out was recorded by the fourth Baltimore pitcher of the inning.
Gagne and Okajima, though, couldn’t stem the Orioles’ tide in the bottom of the inning.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 11:25 PM | Permalink
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Burns goes the distance, PawSox rout Chiefs, 11-3
Syracuse, N.Y.--Mike Burns gave an overworked Pawtucket Red Sox bullpen a much needed night off. The PawSox offense did its part too in an 11-3 pasting of the Syracuse Chiefs yesterday at Alliance Bank Stadium.
"It was a phenomenal effort," Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson said of his starter’s first complete game since "A" ball. "He knew he’d be out there awhile. We had no one in the bullpen. We had Burns and Burns today."
The effort came on the heels of the doubleheader, where the second game went extra innings and used the entire PawSox bullpen Thursday in Scranton, it magnified the start by Burns knowing there was no one to go to.
"Mike (Burns) was unbelievable tonight," Kevin Cash (1-4 with 2 RBIs) said. "He gave everybody a rest. Wherever I set up he’d hit the spot. His performance was huge. There was no one in that bullpen that could have gone out and been able to pitch at 100 percent."
Cash was behind the plate for his 34th consecutive inning in the last 48 hours as George Kottaras continues to mend from a knee injury. He’s remains day-to-day.
Burns (4-7) had allowed only one earned run in his last 14 innings. That came to an end quickly when Russ Adams and Kevin Barker hit back-to-back solo homers to right in the first inning.
That didn’t rattle Burns as the righty allowed only one run on five hits over the next eight innings.
"It was a battle all night," Burns said. "The bullpen needed the rest. We put up 11 runs and I had to do whatever I could to go as far as I can. It was a matter of getting the outs as quick as you can. The whole goal of going nine innings was to keep the pitch count down."
Burns tossed 99 pitches over the nine innings, 77 for strikes.
It’s been three days since Bobby Kielty was signed by the Red Sox organization and assigned to the Pawtucket.
It appears that decision was a good one for both parties.
Kielty crushed a two-run homer to left in the third inning that helped Pawtucket to an 11-3 win over the Syracuse Chiefs yesterday at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Kielty now owns a modest three-game hitting streak, notching his first homer and RBI in a PawSox uniform.
Kielty has been sitting around for about three weeks and his timing seems to be coming around.
"I finally was able to lean in on a ball," Kielty, (2-5 with two RBIs and scored twice) said of the monster homer. "The bottom line is Burns threw a great game tonight. We needed that big time."
The switch hitting right fielder reached base in each of his first four at-bats. A key throwing error by Adams allowed Kielty to reach in the fifth which opened the flood gates in the six-run inning. Kielty also singled and scored in the sixth.
"I have to hand it to our offense tonight," Johnson said. "We had been struggling and they came out and scored a bunch of runs."
It was veterans like Kielty that helped blow open the game.
"You have to have guys like that at this level if you’re going to win," Johnson said. "McEwing and Kielty came up big for us tonight. You have to have that veteran presence."
McEwing, and Cash, a former Chief, each delivered two-run doubles in the fifth inning.
All the runs came off of former major league veteran Mark Redman (0-1). Redman was recently signed by Syracuse after spending time with the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers earlier this season.
"We had a good day at the plate," Kielty said. "I had faced Redman once or twice but that was the first time I hit a home run off him. It’s funny the way things go in baseball. He’s a good pitcher and he’ll find his way back to the big leagues."
Notes--The PawSox activated lefty Abe Alvarez off the disabled list while first baseman Jeff Bailey has landed on the DL with a strained neck.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak.
First base umpire Brian Kennedy tossed Syracuse manager Doug Davis in the seventh inning. Davis argued close calls at first on outstanding defensive plays by PawSox shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lowrie had to go deep into the hole and fire to first baseman Bobby Scales, who did a pair of splits to nip Robinson Diaz and Ryan Roberts.
Tonight, Pawtucket’s Charlie Zink (RHP, 1-1, 7.41), will face Jeremy Cummings (RHP 2-1, 2.64), for Syracuse.
--ED GONSER, Special to the Journal
Posted by Chris Venditto at 10:30 PM to PawSox
Pregame Notes, Aug. 10
-- David Ortiz, who had a cortisone shot in his ailing left shoulder on Wednesday in Anaheim, is back in the starting lineup tonight. Ortiz, who did not play Wednesday night and had the benefit of an extra day of rest yesterday because of the team's scheduled day off, took early batting practice today and told manager Terry Francona he was ready to return to the starting lineup.
-- Eric Hinske, who missed the series with the Angels because of the death of his grandmother and the birth of his first child, rejoined the team. Brandon Moss, who had been called up from Pawtucket to take Hinske's place on the roster, was returned to the PawSox.
-- J.D. Drew is not in the starting lineup against left-hander Erik Bedard. He is replaced in right field by Wily Mo Pena, who is 5 for 9 in his career against Bedard.
more on projo.com later
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:46 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, Aug. 10
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:43 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 10
-Kevin Youkilis has handled 1,311 consecutive errorless chances at first base, a club record. He has played 151 games at first without an error, also a Red Sox record.
-Dustin Pedroia has multiple hits in 11 of his last 20 games. He's hitting .381 over the last 20 games.
-Mike Lowell has a club-high eight-game hitting streak, during which he is 12 for 32 (.375) with four doubles.
-For Baltimore: The Orioles are 9-0 in games started by Erik Bedard since June 21. Bedard has received the win eight of those times, and his E.R.A. over the nine games is 2.24.
-Jason Varitek is 0 for his last 15.
-David Ortiz is 0 for his last 8.
-For Baltimore: Jay Payton is 0 for his last 11.
Red Sox vs. Erik Bedard
-Wily Mo Pena, 5 for 9 (.556), 4 BB
-Eric Hinske, 3 for 9 (.333), 2B, HR, BB
-David Ortiz, 5 for 19 (.263), 2B, HR, 5 BB
-Julio Lugo, 7 for 27 (.259), 2B, 3 BB
-Manny Ramirez, 4 for 17 (.235), 2B, 2 BB
-Doug Mirabelli, 1 for 6 (.167), 2B
-Jason Varitek, 2 for 14 (.143), 4 BB
-Kevin Youkilis, 1 for 16 (.063), 4 BB
-Coco Crisp, 0 for 5, BB
-Dustin Pedroia, 0 for 6, BB
-Bedard is 4-4 with a 5.16 E.R.A. in 10 career appearances (including nine starts) against Boston. He beat the Red Sox on July 31.
Orioles vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
-Matsuzaka has not yet faced Baltimore.
-All-time series: Boston 461, Baltimore 396. In Baltimore: Boston 227, Baltimore 202. At Camden Yards: Boston 71, Baltimore 41. This season: Boston 6, Baltimore 2.
-The Red Sox have won 12 of their last 14 games at Camden Yards.
-With four strikeouts tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka will surpass Ken Brett (1970) for most Ks by a rookie Red Sox pitcher. Matsuzaka has 152 entering the game.
-Manny Ramirez enters the game tied with Andre Dawson for 31st all-time in RBI, with 1,591. He needs four RBI to tie Mike Schmidt for 30th. He needs one RBI to tie Jimmie Foxx for the sixth-most in Red Sox history.
-Boston is 25-13 against the A.L. East this season.
-The Red Sox' 69-45 record is their best through 114 games since 1995.
-The Red Sox are 66-1 when leading after eight innings. They are 45-1 when scoring at least six runs.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:41 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk: Relief strength, starting questions
Sean McAdam is off today, and Art Martone joins us for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the audio file. The topics: the Red Sox' bullpen strength; signs of starting pitching weaknesses; David Ortiz's health; J.D. Drew's struggles; the end of West Coast games; and the arrival of an easier stretch on the schedule.
Here are some excerpts from Art's comments:
On Wednesday night's bullpen rotation (Okajima in the sixth and seventh, Gagne in the eighth, Papelbon in the ninth): "I think that's going to be the blueprint for success for them the rest of the way, and I certainly think that once they get to the postseason, you'll be seeing that scenario quite a bit more. The starters will only have to go six [innings] -- shorten the game. This is why they acquired Gagne -- this is exactly what they had in mind."
On the starting rotation the rest of the regular season: "Lester is the X-factor, the wild card. They really don't have another option to put into that spot right now. Having put Tavarez back in the bullpen, he's not stretched out, and plus Tavarez is what he is, which is basically a one-time-around-the-order pitcher. So I think they're going to have to worry about Lester a little bit. There's also talk now of bringing up Clay Buchholz, which I think is wildy premature. I don't think he's ready to step into the situation that they'd be asking him to step into. I think they're just going to have to wait for Lester to come around."
On the Yankees: "I know there's a tendency for people to believe, 'Well, the the Yankees have been playing nobody,' which is true; and, 'They've been fattening up on teams that aren't really good,' which is also true, but the Red Sox kind of did the same thing in 2004. And what they ended up doing was, they built up momentum, and when they headed into a stretch of games against real teams, they carried that momentum right through and they continued to win. And that could happen with the Yankees as well."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:21 AM to Martone
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Baseball Today: Friday, August 10
GOTTA GET BACK IN TIME: Good news for the sleep-deprived: From now until the end of the regular season, no Red Sox game will start later than 8:11 p.m. and only three -- on August 23 and 24, and September 16 -- will start later than 7:10 p.m. (projo.com) Those who've been up until the wee hours watching the games from Seattle and Anaheim this last week no doubt welcome the news, though all bets are off once the playoffs start.
HEAD TO HEAD: That Sept. 16 game is a Sunday night battle at Fenway between the Sox and Yankees, the last regular-season meeting of the year between the teams, and it'll go directly against the Patriots' home opener, a nationally televised night game against the Chargers in a rematch of the AFC semifinals. (projo.com)
ONE TEAM'S ROAD TO OCTOBER: It appears more and more as if the Sox will be leaning on their bullpen to get there (Boston Herald), though the Herald's Tony Massarotti wonders if the starting pitching is strong enough to carry the load. There's also plenty of concern about David Ortiz, who's experiencing an historic power drop this season. (Boston Globe)
AND ANOTHER'S: The Yankees start playing varsity teams again tonight in Cleveland, and they hope the momentum they've built pounding the JVs over the last month will carry them into the postseason. (New York Daily News)
MACHO MEN: Roger Clemens' retaliation for Josh Towers hitting Alex Rodriguez will cost him a start, and Joe Torre a game, as suspensions were handed down yesterday. (New York Post)
FUTURES GAMES: The rest of the Red Sox' season begins in Baltimore, where the Orioles have abandoned all pretense of trying to win now and are instead building for 2008 and beyond. (Baltimore Sun)
A LITTLE LATE, BUT WORTH THE WAIT: It took a few days, but Curt Schilling finally talked about his performance Monday night. (38pitches.com)
NOT SO APPEALING: Steve Silva critiques Sox Appeal, as only he can, on Boston Dirt Dogs.
HISTORY LESSON: The next time a Yankee fan crows "1978" in an attempt to resurrect the past, point out 1988, when the Yankees had a 10-game lead on the Red Sox on June 10 and finished the season 6 1/2 games behind them . . . a 16 1/2-game turnaround. (joyofsox.blogspot.com)
WHAT HE MEANT WAS . . . he'd love to stay with the Red Sox. That's what Wily Mo Pena's agent says, refuting a Globe story in which Pena said he'd welcome a trade. (Boston Herald)
AND WHAT HE MEANT WAS . . . he still wants to pitch. That's the word from David Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton, even though Wells himself said he'd retire if the Padres released him, which they did. (Both stories, San Diego Union-Tribune) The Diamondbacks may be interested if Clifton, and not Wells, is right. (East Valley Tribune)
ONE OF US: Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield lives in Maine and wants to work for the Patriots in the offseason. (Witness the night he was so pumped by the Pats' drafting of Ty Warren that he had extra energy for his duties with the Jays.) He's a de-facto member of Red Sox Nation, in other words, as evidenced by the way he feels about the Yankees. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
GOING NINE: Chad Finn touches on eight things Red Sox and one thing Celtics in his latest Touching All The Bases column, which begins with him wondering ''how giddy Suzyn Waldman will be if David Wells shows up in Georgie Porgie's private box.'' (weei.com)
THRILL OF A LIFETIME: Brandon Moss is back with the PawSox, but he'll never forget his first three days in the bigs. (projo.com)
I KNOW THAT VOICE: Did ESPN's call of Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run sound familiar? It should; it was Dave O'Brien of the Red Sox' radio broadcast team. (Boston Globe)
LOOKING AHEAD: Speaking of Bonds, he hit home run No. 757 and is starting to think about 2008. (San Francisco Chronicle)
THANK GOD IT'S OVER: That's how Hank Aaron feels about Bonds' pursuit of his record. (Atlanta Journal and Constitution)
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION: Mike Lupica of the Daily News says the players' union obstructionist stand on testing for performance-enhancing drugs casts the shadow of guilt on everyone, including Alex Rodriguez.
LEAVE ME OUT OF THIS: Chipper Jones, who opened the Is-A-Rod-On-Steroids? door two days ago, slammed it shut yesterday by refusing to talk to the New York media. (New York Daily News)
THE COMPLETE LIST: ESPN.com's Rob Neyer moves beyond steroids and lists the ten biggest cheaters in baseball history.
MOVE OVER, BABE, HERE COMES RICK: Rick Ankiel's conversion from pitcher to outfielder -- done successfully almost 90 years ago by this guy -- got off to a rousing start. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
QUICKLY: Shannon Stewart apparently was claimed off waivers by the Cubs (San Francisco Chronicle), though Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune notes there's no guarantee they'll get him . . . Bobby Jenks has recorded 36 consecutive outs, the sixth-longest streak in baseball history, but he doesn't want to jinx it by talking about it (mlb.com) . . . The Yankees, satisfied with the state of Mariano Rivera's health, hope to reach agreement with their veteran closer on a new contract soon after the season ends (New York Times).
OLD FRIENDS: Joel Piniero, last seen buried at the bottom of the Red Sox bullpen, pitched seven shutout innings for the Cardinals in a start against the Padres (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) . . . Derek Lowe has a sore hip and the Dodgers are ''very concerned'' (Los Angeles Times) . . . Byung-Hyun Kim's return to Arizona was less than spectacular (Arizona Republic) . . . Willie Harris helped the Braves steal one from the Mets (New York Daily News) . . . Tony Graffanino is out for the season (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) . . . Dave Roberts injured his leg last night and could be headed to the disabled list (San Jose Mercury News) . . . Phil Dumatrait pitched well for the Reds in his second big-league start (Cincinnati Post) . . . Tomo Ohka was released by the Mariners (Seattle Times).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:43 AM | Permalink