I have to admit after the Red Sox fell behind 5-1 this afternoon, I thought this was a game heading for the "L" column. The Red Sox looked like they were sleepwalking through this contest, one of those "it's been a long road trip, let's get on the plane and head home" games. They had just four hits in eight innings against Orioles rookie Brad Bergesen.
They needed to come out and play well after last night's debacle. Josh Beckett started off lousy and the Sox looked terribly disinterested at the plate all day. (Jason Bay really looked lost, as he struck out five times, and went 0-for-15 in the series.)
It was still 5-1 in the ninth when the Sox remembered it was still a game. Kevin Youkilis blasted a two-run shot. Closer George Sherrill of the O's then came in and got the next two outs before Jacoby Ellsbury singled and he walked the next two. And Rocco Baldelli had one of the biggest hits of the season, a seeing-eye single to center to tie the game at 5.
It stayed tied until the 11th, when Ellsbury doubled and moved to third on Jeff Bailey's fly to right. And Julio Lugo had his biggest hit of the year, a single to left to make it 6-5.
Jonathan Papelbon got Baltimore 1-2-3 to get his 20th save of the year and set the new Red Sox record for career saves, at 133.
As bad as the bullpen was last night, they were totally lights out today. The Orioles did not get another man on base after Ty Wigginton's homer off Josh Beckett in the fourth. Beckett, who was not on his game the first three innings, settled down and retired the last 12 hitters he faced. Daniel Bard (who struck out 4 of 6), Ramon Ramirez and Pap retired all 12 hitters they faced. Eight perfect innings to conclude the game. Amazing.
Simply the sweetest win of 2009, after the lousiest one last night. This team really showed me something today. Forget about last night's loss. It's ancient history.
Once again, the Sox win a series on the road, and they take six of the last nine away from Fenway. Now it's back home against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night, with Tim Wakefield going for number 11.