Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Manny's the Difference

It took a while for the Red Sox bats to show up last night, and they finally did in the person of Manny Ramirez, who singled in Dustin Pedroia from third to give the Sox a tough 1-0 win at Fenway over the Minnesota Twins last night.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima combined to shut out Minnesota over the first eight, and Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth for his 26th save. (Sounds a lot like 2007.) Okajima came in in the eighth with two on and one out and walked the first hitter to load the bases, but escaped with a foul pop to first and a ground out. Terry Francona really rolled the dice bringing Okie in, as he had allowed 12 of 15 inherited runners to score.

The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the fourth, as with one out, two members of the "Black Hole of Boston," namely Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek, both flied out to end the threat. Minnesota threatened in the first against Dice-K, as they loaded the bases with two outs before he got a ground ball back to the mound to end it.

The 1-0 win was the Red Sox 10th shutout of the season, which leads the majors.

They also got some good news before the game, as David Ortiz took 30 pain-free swings in the batting practice, and hit four out of the park. Still no timetable on his return, but he continues to progress. The Red Sox also sent Justin Masterson back to Pawtucket yesterday to be converted into a relief pitcher, as his rubber arm maybe best suited to help out the struggling core. He should be back shortly after the All-Star Game. Jeff Bailey was brought back up, and will go back Friday when Clay Buchholz returns from AAA to make the start that night against the Orioles.

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