Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Game 33

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, Oakland Athletics 2

Bronson Arroyo lives a charmed life. When I came back home around 8:30, the score was tied at one. Next inning, Arroyo got himself into trouble: runners on first and third. A ground ball; Arroyo stabs it, looks outfielder Bobby Kielty back to third, then flips to first...and Millar fields it too far in front of the bag. Kielty takes off for home and manages to score, everyone is safe and Millar commits his second costly error of the night. A's starter Kirk Saarloos had a good game, reliever Huston Street, who came on in the sixth and stayed until the eighth, was unhittable (and only gave up one walk) and Ricardo Rincon got two quick outs and gave up another harmless walk. It's starting to look like the Sox aren't going to pull this one off after all and Arroyo's streak of perfection will end with his first loss.

It's now the ninth inning. Mantei, who's relieved Embree (another scoreless inning and a third), gets the Oakland batters without incident in a one-two-three with a strikeout and the Sox are down to their lasties.* Octavio Dotel, fireballer who throws in the mid-90s, comes to the mound. Dotel has a reputation for being inconsistent, but he's still formidable...and he's throwing fastballs. He gets Manny to strike out, a pitch that was described as being "in Manny's wheelhouse" but Manny was looking offspeed. No offspeed here, just heat. One out. Suddenly, Dotel gets wild and walks Ortiz. Kevin Millar strides to the plate, looking to atone for the two errors. Dotel gets him to a count of two and two, working the first baseman with inside fastballs. Then, a slip. A fastball across the middle of the plate and a crack of the bat, climbing, arms are now raised over my head in victory salute as the ball hits the top of the Green Monster, just below the light tower and KEVIN MILLAR HAS WON THE BALLGAME. Incredible ending. Watching the replay from NESN today, Don Orsillo's voice gives me estatic little chills. The Sox are now 20 and 13, 1.5 games back from the first place Orioles and in place for their second sweep of the season. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

David Wells thinks he'll be back by the end of the month. Less injured the better and this news is certainly good news, especially with the way Boomer was pitching right before he hurt himself. The Sox pitching has been so hot lately that having another good starter in the mix will not only relieve the stress of performance on individual pitchers but will probably also pull Wells back up to where he belongs as well. I was wrong about Cla Meredith; apparently he's supposed to stay around in the majors for a bit. After Sunday's grand slam, he ditched number 51 (Byung Hung Kim's old number) and chose number 40 instead. Curse of the BK, maybe?

Sox are leading the ninth against Oakland, going for the sweep, although I probably won't get a chance to write about it until later/tomorrow. Let's just say that Matt Clement is joining Bronson "Guns and Streams of Corn" Arroyo in the pantheon of the gods. GO SOX!!!

* - I don't know if they even use this term on the professional level, but one thing I do remember from playing various levels of little league was that it was always better to be the home team, irrespective of what field you were actually playing on, because you got to bat in the bottom of the inning and get your lasties at the end of the game. It certainly helped for the Sox.