Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hallelujah: A Memorable 98th Anniversary

It sure didn't look like it would be the Red Sox night on Tuesday, which was the 98th anniversary of Fenway Park's opening in 1912.

Tim Wakefield was getting hit, giving up six runs and putting the Red Sox in a 6-1 hole by the fourth inning. The Texas Rangers ran wild on Victor Martinez, and stole nine bases on the night.

All I could think to myself was, "Can't anyone on this team pitch anymore?"

Well, after Wakefield left after 5, the pen shut Texas down and gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. Jeremy Hermida hit a home run, and in the sixth, Josh Reddick hit a ball in left that Josh Hamilton overran as he headed to the left field seats and it bounced in, and appeared to hit a fan in the head. But the umps missed it, and allowed a second run to score to make it 6-4.

It stayed that way until Darnell McDonald, just called up earlier in the day to replace Jacoby Ellsbury, who went on the DL, blasted a pitch into the Monster Seats with one on to tie it up at 6. He was the first Sox player since Orlando Cabrera in 2004 to homer in his first Red Sox at-bat. It looked like McDonald's homer might just be a footnote, as the Red Sox reverted to their usual ways by leaving the bases loaded to finish the inning.

The Red Sox had first and third and one out in the ninth and Adrian Beltre popped up to keep the runners where they were. (Oh no, not another wasted opportunity.) Jason Varitek walked to bring up that man again: McDonald. He hit a pitch that I first thought was heading into the seats, but instead Hamilton just missed catching it to give the Red Sox an extremely needed big-time win, 7-6. (I didn't mind the wild celebration in the infield, as you know I'm a critic of those inane "walkoff" things. But the Sox needed to let out the frustration. I just glad they didn't kill McDonald.)

To paraphrase Warner Wolf, who would say this whenever a struggling team won: "Hey, the Red Sox won a ballgame tonight!"

The five-game losing streak is over and now the Red Sox have to build on this to get the ship righted.

And my buddy Eric pointed out after the game that the combination of Darnell McDonald and Josh Reddick, with just one game this season between them, have 5 RBI in 5 at-bats. The combo of Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, in 60 at-bats, have a grand total of: 1 RBI.

And Mike Lowell pinch-hit for David Ortiz (two more strikeouts last night) in the 8th inning with a lefty in the game and walked. I have a feeling that won't be the last time we see that happen this year.

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