Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

55

It was one of those nights that at one point looked like Jon Lester's effort might go down the drain on the freakiest of plays. With two on and two out in the seventh, Lester struck out Alexi Ramirez on a pitch in the dirt that he swung and missed, but it hit the corner of the plate, took a bounce away from Jason Varitek, and scored the tying run from third. Then a line drive off Mike Lowell's glove gave Chicago a 3-2 lead and the night was over for Lester.

The Red Sox tied it in the bottom of the seventh, and took the lead back for good on Jason Bay's blast into the Monster seats to make it 4-3. They scored two more to add some insurance for Jonathan Papelbon, who allowed just a double in the ninth while striking out two to lock down a big 6-3 win over the White Sox.

The night got off to a fast and historic start as Jacoby Ellsbury lined a ground-rule double into the bullpen in the first, and on the next pitch to Dustin Pedroia, stole third and broke Tommy Harper's 1973 Red Sox record for stolen bases in a season with 55. He received a standing ovation from the sold-out house, and scored the first run when Pedroia grounded out.

The Red Sox are now six games back of New York in the AL East. They nearly pulled out a win last night over Texas, but the Rangers held on by the skin of their teeth, 10-9. The Drunken Headhunter got whacked for seven runs in four innings, and the Red Sox Wild Card lead remained at 1 1/2 over Texas, and 3 over Tampa Bay, who also won in Toronto last night.

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