Thursday, May 12, 2005

Game 34

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Oakland Athletics 5

"I had to explain to my boss why I was watching the Red Sox in my office and why I jumped up and yelled, 'Jason Varitek I love you and want to have your man-babies!'"

Well, I nearly blew that one, but I'll get into that in a bit. First, let us bask in the glory that is Matt Clement. Seven innings pitched, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts. All this goodness from a man who was seven and eight before the All Star break last year and was dropped from the Cubs rotation before the end of the year. Clement was helped out by Barry Zito's continued pitching problems, resulting in a Bill Mueller RBI single, Jason Varitek RBI double and Manny Ramirez two run Monster shot. The A's got a run in the fourth but couldn't pull anything off of Clement or his relief of Timlin and
Myers. Foulke came in right around when I was posting yesterday and got the two outs easily enough, striking out Erubiel Durazo, giving up a walk to Bobby Kielty but getting him when Scott Hatteberg hit into a fielder's choice. Joe and Jerry were even commenting on how Foulke has settled down lately and how nasty his changeup was looking...and then things fell apart. A double by Marco Scutaro and a single by Keith Ginter lead to two runs scored. Eric Byrnes drops one up on top of the Monster for a two run home run...and then, with the save blown and the score 5 - 4, advantage Athletics, Foulke finally finishes the inning. The whole time, oddly enough, Tito did not bother warming anyone else up, apparently trusting his closer to get the job done eventually. As it turned out, this behavior was justified, but it makes me wonder if Francona had either a.) given the game up, b.) gone to sleep and forgotten he could put SOMEBODY in to get that third out or c.) consulted his crystal ball and figured out what would happen in the ninth inning.

Octavio Dotel came on in the ninth again to try and seal the deal properly this time and once again walked David Ortiz. "Interesting," I thought, "he's setting us up for another walk off comeback. But that's not going to happen again..." Millar came up and almost repeated his Tuesday heroics, but got under a pitch and hit a routine fly ball to left instead. Up comes Jason Varitek, El Capitan,* murder with a stick. And with a 1 - 1 count, Dotel hangs a pitch and Varitek pulls it screaming down the first base line. Away it flies into the right field corner as I'm willing it mentally to make it, make it...HOMERUN. I'm dancing in my seat. I'm loving it. The crowd is going nuts. On the replay, you can see Varitek moving so slowly up the line before the ball goes into the crowd that it looks like he's moving in slow motion, as if he's trying to move the ball with his mind. Rightfielder Bobby Kielty made a valiant effort to leap for the ball as it sailed into the crowd, but it was almost as if the collective will of the hundreds of fans in that corner of the ballpark and the thousands in Fenway drove him back and he fell off the retaining wall and on his back. Sox win on their second walkoff homer in as many nights, a feat which has a bit of its own interesting history.

Sox are off tonight and tomorrow night are off in Seattle for the start of a West Coast road trip against the Mariners and Athletics. I've discussed how much I hate West Coast road trips before, but Friday nights game at least will be ameliorated when Robin and I go to the Hairy Monk, a Red Sox bar on the East Side. Unlike The Riviera, the Hairy Monk is supposedly designed to be a Red Sox bar, with Sox memoriabilia on display. From the description here, it also sounds like they have decently sized TVs, too.** I'll definately have a review in my next post. GO SOX!!!

* - Who by the way is hitting .520 against lefties like Zito right now. Doesn't really come into play in this story, although it explains his double earlier in the game. Also, Johnny Damon has a sixteen game hit streak, the longest running in the majors right now and one game shy of his career high. I love it.
** - There a few places on that list that sound like they could be interesting. I may have to make a mini tour...