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August 13, 2007
Game Story: Syracuse hands PawSox 8-6 win
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When an opponent tries to hand you the game, or even begs you to take it, you might as well go ahead and take them up on their offer.
Last night, the Pawtucket Red Sox, who were the beneficiaries of five Syracuse errors, did just that, in taking a messy extra-inning 8-6 triumph before 7,809 at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Junior Spivey’s two-run double in the top of the 10th inning proved to be the difference in what was a truly bizarre affair.
“It was a good game,” said Spivey, “I was just fortunate to come up with a hit right there. I’d been scuffling at the plate, so that’s a start.”
Spivey’s hit came with one out and the bases loaded off Syracuse reliever Blaine Neal (5-7) and came after the second error of the game by Chiefs first baseman Kevin Barker.
Both errors, including one in the fifth inning, opened the gates for six unearned PawSox runs, helping them to a four-game sweep of their set with the Chiefs.
“It was one of those nights,” said left fielder Bobby Scales. “How many times are you going to see a team make five of them? You’ve got to take advantage of them. When a team gives you that many extra outs, you’ll be disappointed if you didn’t win the game.”
The first frame itself was a matter of get and give back.
Syracuse committed three errors in that inning which the PawSox parlayed into a 2-0 lead.
But the Chiefs replied in their half with a two-out, three-run shot by John-Ford Griffin off Pawtucket starter David Pauley.
In the fourth, Syracuse plated three more runs to expand their lead to 6-2.
But the PawSox got back into the game in the fifth, tallying four times to tie the score, 6-6.
It was Barker’s bobble of a throw from shortstop Sergio Santos that allowed lead off man Jacoby Ellsbury to reach safely.
Two outs later, Ellsbury scored ahead of Bobby Kielty, who slugged a towering home run off Chiefs starter Mike MacDonald, to make it 6-4.
Brandon Moss followed with a single, before Scales deposited a line drive into the left field bullpen.
“There’s no substitute for the two run homer,” said Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson, “to get you back into the ballgame.”
A quartet of relievers held Syracuse scoreless for five innings, which bought the PawSox enough time to put together the winning rally.
“I just didn’t want to get too jumpy, right there,” said Spivey. “I didn’t want to hit the ball on the ground. I wanted to get it in the air, and I was able to do that.”
Reliever Lincoln Holdzkom (1-0) earned his first Triple-A win while Travis Hughes closed out the Chiefs in the 10th to pick up his 18th save.
--DAN HICKLING (Special to the Journal)
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 11:03 PM to PawSox
Game Story: Wakefield stops the bleeding as Sox win 3-0
BOSTON – On Saturday, a day after the Red Sox had coughed up a four-run lead with six outs to go, the Red Sox turned to Josh Beckett in the hopes that the presumptive Cy Young Award favorite would make sure that the crushing defeat from the night before wouldn’t carry forward.
When the same kind of late-inning loss stung the Sox Sunday afternoon, the Sox had a less obvious stopper on the mound. But Tim Wakefield, who recently turned 41, was no less dependable than Beckett.
Holding the Tampa Bay Devil Rays hitless for the first six innings, Wakefield tossed eight shutout innings and steered the Red Sox back on course with a 3-0 victory, his 14th of the season.
``Unfortunately, we had some games won there (in Baltimore),’’ Wakefield said.
``That’s baseball sometimes. That’s why you play 162 games. And I think it was very important to come back home and get some momentum going our way on this homestand.’’
It helped, of course, that the opponents were the Devil Rays, who came into last night with the worst record in baseball, having lost five of their first six games with the Red Sox this season. It helped, too, that Wakefield was 17-2 lifetime against the Rays.
Wakefield and catcher Doug Mirabelli had the suspicion that Wakefield’s knuckleball, as unpredictable as any pitch in the game, might be particularly good in his bullpen session prior to the game. Just how good wasn’t clear until the game began, however.
``He came out of the bullpen with a good one,’’ said manager Terry Francona, ``and took it right into the game. It was pretty obvious that he had a good feel early on.’’
Indeed, Wakefield retired the first nine Rays in succession before walking Akinori Iwamura to start the fourth. After the free pass, Wakefield began another streak, getting the next seven in a row.
After six, the Rays were still hitless. Wakefield said he became aware of the no-hitter after five.
``It’s such a close ballgame,’’ he said, ``you’re just trying to keep runners off base, especially the top three guys in the (Tampa) lineup that can run really, really well. Dougie and I were on the same page together, mixing some good pitches in when we needed to.’’
The no-hit bid didn’t last much longer. Carl Crawford singled through the hole between first and second to lead off the seventh and quickly stole second base.
When Crawford advanced to third following a flyout to center by Carlos Pena, the shutout bid and the Sox’ lead were both soon at stake, with the Sox clinging to a 1-0 advantage.
But Wakefield got Delmon Young to swing at strike three, stranding Crawford and preserving the slim margin, a strikeout that the normally placid Wakefield called ``huge…probably one of the biggest of my career.’’
The Rays managed just one more hit – a harmless one-out single from Jonny Gomes in the eighth – before Wakefield gave way to closer Jonathan Papelbon, who recorded his 28th save and fifth in his last five scoreless appearances.
For six innings, the one run the Sox managed off Tampa Bay’s James Shields stood up. Julio Lugo (three hits) led off with a single and scored all the way from first on David Ortiz’ booming double to the triangle in center.
In the seventh, two-out walks to Mirablelli and Hinske set the table for Lugo, who singled up the middle, scoring Mirabelli.
``He swung the bat well,’ said Francona of Lugo, who has boosted his batting average to .238. ``I think he probably gets a little excited to play these guys (Lugo played for the Devil Rays from 2003 through the middle of last season). I think most players do against their former friends and teammates. I think that’s usually the case.’’
A run-scoring single from Mike Lowell in the eighth extended the lead to 3-0.
``Our offense did a great job scoring enough runs to bring in Pap to close it out,’’ said Wakefield.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 11:00 PM to McAdam
Bruins in the house
The Boston Bruins' Bobby Allen, Marc Savard and Mark Mowers took BP at Fenway this afternoon. Allen, a Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout, displayed a sweet swing and put two into the Monster seats. Mowers hit the left-field wall a couple of times, and Savard should stick with hockey.
After the BP session was over, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling came over and introduced himself to the threesome.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:40 PM | Permalink
Pregame Notes, Aug. 13
-- Coco Crisp is out of the lineup for the second game in a row. Manager Terry Francona said that Crisp underwent some blood tests this afternoon to make sure that his problem is viral. Crisp also has been having issues with his legs. Francona hopes to have him available tonight.
-- Dustin Pedroia also is out of the starting lineup. Francona wants to give his diminutive second baseman a day off to keep him strong for the stretch and sitting Pedroia also allows Francona to give utilityman Alex Cora a start. Cora had only one start on the recent nine-game road trip, on Aug. 5 in Seattle.
-- Francona said that, despite Eric Gagne's recent struggles -- the newly acquired right-hander's poor performances led to two blown games in Baltimore over the weekend -- he still "is going to put him into situations he's supposed to pitch in."
-- Warwick native Dan Wheeler is a member of the Devil Rays bullpen, having been acquired from Houston around the non-waiver trading deadline. Wheeler said he went to 10-12 games at Fenway Park as a kid, still remembering "how awesome" it was his first time walking through the concourse and seeing the Green Monster, but he hasn't yet pitched here, something he is looking forward to very much.
more to come later on projo.com
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:39 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, Aug. 13
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:37 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 13
-J.D. Drew, 13 for 29 (.448) on just-concluded road trip.
-Julio Lugo, team-high four-game hitting streak, during which he is 7 for 16 (.438).
-For Tampa Bay: Delmon Young has a team-high nine-game hitting streak, during which he is 14 for 37 (.378). Young is the only Tampa Bay player to appear in all of the team's games this year.
-Eric Gagne has surrendered seven runs in four innings (five appearances) since arriving from Texas.
-For Tampa Bay: Josh Paul is 0 for his last 15.
Devil Rays vs. Tim Wakefield
-Akinori Iwamura, 3 for 6 (.500), 2B, BB
-Dioner Navarro, 2 for 4 (.500)
-Carl Crawford, 22 for 67 (.328), 4 2B, 3B, 2 HR
-B.J. Upton, 2 for 7 (.286), BB
-Josh Paul, 1 for 4 (.250), 2B
-Jonny Gomes, 4 for 17 (.235), 2B, HR, 5 BB
-Brendan Harris, 1 for 6 (.167), 2B
-Carlos Pena, 2 for 16 (.125), 2B, HR, 5 BB
-Greg Norton, 1 for 11 (.091), 2B, 2 BB
-Delmon Young, 0 for 6
-Wakefield is 17-2 with three saves and a 2.96 E.R.A. in 34 career appearances, including 24 starts, against Tampa Bay. He has beaten the Devil Rays more times than any other pitcher, and his E.R.A. against them is lower than that against any other club.
Red Sox vs. James Shields
-Doug Mirabelli, 1 for 1 (1.000), HR, BB
-J.D. Drew, 2 for 3 (.667), 2B
-Mike Lowell, 2 for 4 (.500)
-Jason Varitek, 1 for 2 (.500)
-David Ortiz, 3 for 8 (.375), 2B, 2 HR, BB
-Alex Cora, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Coco Crisp, 2 for 7 (.286)
-Manny Ramirez, 1 for 7 (.143), HR, 2 BB
-Julio Lugo, 0 for 2, BB
-Wily Mo Pena, 0 for 2
-Kevin Youkilis, 0 for 7
-Shields is 0-1 with a 5.87 E.R.A. in three career starts against Boston.
-All-time series: Boston 103, Tampa Bay 54. At Fenway Park: Boston 57, Tampa Bay 21. Since 2003, the Devil Rays have a lower winning percentage at Fenway (.171) than any other team at any park.
-Boston has won 37 of its last 45 home games against Tampa Bay.
-The Red Sox' four-game division lead is their smallest since May 1, when they led Toronto by 3 1/2 games.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 4:05 PM to Projo Sox Streakers