Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Byrd Allows 3 HRs, Sox Win Anyway

These are the kind of games that usually worry me.

The Red Sox were going up against the Baltimore Orioles, who basically playing out the schedule and are currently occupying the basement in the AL East. They were coming off being swept in Tampa by the hot Rays. But it's actually been a decent year in Baltimore, as many experts thought the Orioles would be a sure bet to drop 100. (They are actually 63-74 right now, so they mathematically can't do that.) They made some trades over the winter that have paid off, and they seem to be heading in the right direction. (But with Peter Angelos running the operation, it remains to be seen if they can build on it.)

The Orioles had Garrett Olson going, who is just back from the minors and who've the Sox have hit hard in his career. The Red Sox had Paul Byrd going for them, who currently leads the AL in homers allowed. And sure enough, second batter of the game, Adam Jones, hit Byrd's first pitch into the Monster seats. 1-0 Birds.

Olson walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Jed Lowrie again struck out with men in scoring position. It looked an extension of Sunday afternoon was going on.

But Jason Varitek and Jeff Bailey both went deep back-to-back to make it 2-1. OK, they've got Olson where they want him, right? He actually settled down, and didn't allow another hit until the sixth. Meanwhile, light hitting shortstop Juan Castro hit a homer, and the O's added another run to put them back on top, 3-2.

But Olson's luck ran out in the sixth, as he gave up back-to-back doubles to Jason Bay and Lowrie, and it was tied. Coco Crisp singled in a run, and then Our Little Big Man, Dustin Pedroia, singled in two runs to make it 6-3. With that hit, he set a new single season record for a Sox second baseman with 185, breaking Del Pratt's record. (He did it in 1922, 86 years ago. Omen?) And with that, the "M-V-P" chants for Dusty gets louder.

Byrd allowed another home run, this time to old friend Kevin Millar to make it 6-4. The Sox answered that with another run to make it 7-4. Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door in the ninth, but not without doing a tightrope walk by putting two on before getting the final out. It was Byrd's third win in four starts for the Sox. Tampa Bay and Minnesota were both off, so the Red Sox are 5 back in the East, and lead Minny by 3 in the Wild Card.

OK, I worried for nothing.

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