Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Game 150

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, Baltimore Orioles 2

Holy COW what a game. Curt Schilling: 8 innings, no runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, FOURTEEN STRIKEOUTS. Yes, 14. Rodrigo Lopez: 7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts. Although the numbers wouldn't suggest it, this was a pitchers' duel of the first order until the eighth inning. Schilling was just magnificent, pitching what has to be his best game of the year and completely overpowering the Orioles offense. Lopez, the old nemesis, did what he's done best against the Sox all year: until the eighth, no one could string enough hits or walks together to score a run. When the Red Sox did score, they did it on a pinch-run Millar sacrifice fly.

Unfortunately, like Bronson Arroyo's 12 strikeout game back in July, the starting pitcher was not destined to get a win, as Keith Foulke gave up a two run homer to Javy Lopez in the ninth. A slide into a four game losing streak was not in the cards, however as the Sox bats finally came alive in the bottom of the ninth, in highly dramatic fashion: a walk by Youkilis to start, followed by a double by Mueller, sending pinchrunner Dave Roberts around to third. David McCarty, pinch hitting for Pokey Reese, popped out and Johnny Damon struck out, leaving Mark Bellhorn - Mark Bellhorn, who earlier had walked once, but struck out twice, to try and save the day. Fortunately for Red Sox nation, Lopez was out of the game and Mark Bellhorn pulled off another clutch hit - a single - to score two runs and win the game off of reliever Jorge Lulio. The team that wouldn't have come back to win a one run game - the team that had lost three times to Rodrigo Lopez earlier this year - had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the best 2003 fashion.

Schilling was quoted afterwards as saying his pitching effort, forced to rely on itself without the usual run support, was "fun" - if he stays on track like this and keeps having fun, the Yankees better watch out come this weekend. The Yankees and Esteban Loaiza beat up on Halliday on his return from the Toronto DL last night, so the standings in the East haven't changed from 4.5 games, but the Angels lost last night - 5.5 games is now the gap in the Wildcard race. Bronson Arroyo versus Sidney Ponson on ESPN - Robin and I will be watching closely. GO SOX!