Thursday, September 23, 2004

Game 151

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 7, Baltimore Orioles 6

Another white-knuckled, jumping-up-and-down, pounding-on-the-tables victory, although this one was significantly more bloody, with much back-and-forth throughout the game. Arroyo had a good start to the night, but was touched for five runs before being removed in the sixth. Sidney "Pontoon" Ponson, Mr. Meatball himself, had a comparatively stable outing - it took seventh innings for the Sox to finish him off and even then, Boston was only up by one run. For the second night in a row, Foulke blew a save by giving up the longball - this time to Rafael Palmeiro, coming in to pinch hit for DH Luis Lopez, tying the game 6 - 6. Three pitchers later, Curtis Leskanic, the eighth Sox pitcher of the night, loaded the bases, then got out of the inning by forcing Jay Gibbons to ground into a 3 - 2 - 4 double play, just barely getting the runner at first. The next inning, Orlando Cabrera, just back from a six hour flight from Bogota, Colombia, where he had been caring for his sick wife, hit a solo shot into the Monster Seats off of Rick Bauer to win the game. Madness ensued, both on the screen and in the living room of my apartment. The recap of the game quotes Cabrera as saying that his teammates were so excited that either Manny or Millar tried to pants him...such is the life of America's most fun-loving team.

Incidentally, that double play in the top of the twelfth was courtesy of the dream infield of Mientkiewicz, Reese, Cabrera and Mueller. Three Gold Gloves amongst the four and they certainly showed how they earned them last night - that play was executed as cleanly and smoothly
as if they were in practice. Leskanic was clearly as flabbergasted as most of the audience - he started waving his hands and yelling "bang" afterwards like he couldn't believe what had just

If I were a superstitious man, I would say that both the go-ahead run, a monster homerun by Ortiz that flew 460 or so feet into the center field bleachers and the game-winning walkoff homerun by Cabrera in the twelfth, which flew up into the Monster Seats, were both inspired by outside circumstances. I'll pretend I'm not superstition (the paraphernalia that I HAVE to wear be damned), but it makes a good story anyway: prior to the Ortiz homerun, Robin and I were trying to get
Ponson to throw a meatball to one of the Sox power hitters - there were a few situations where there were enough runners on base for a homerun or big hit to really break things open and we wanted some insurance. How do you get a pitcher 200 miles away to throw a meatball? You chant "meeeeeeat" at the television, repeatedly, preferably at different cadences. I kid you not. We sounded like a herd of cannabalistic cows on the warpath. When Ortiz came up, our chanting worked - Ponson hung a pitch that was as meaty as they come and Ortiz CRUSHED it. With that homerun, Manny and David are tied with Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli (1969) for most homeruns in a season by a Red Sox duo. I also heard something about them closing on a record (I believe for back-to-back homeruns) set by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back in the late 20's and early 30's.

The Cabrera homerun came right after the ESPN announcers made a comment about how the Sox would like a homerun right now and how this coming pitch was the 400th pitch of the game...and then Cabrera shot the ball up and up into left field. It was truly a fantastic ending. Meanwhile, Seattle beat up on Anaheim (Sox Wildcard lead lengthens to 6.5 games) and the Yankees and the previously undefeated El Duque Hernandez lost after a tough battle to Ted Lilly and the Blue Jays (Sox AL East deficit shortens to 3.5 games). Both the Sox and the Yanks play today, so we'll see where the standings go after tonight and how it sets things up for this weekend. GO SOX!