Hollywood couldn't write this one much better. A late scratch for Daisuke Matsuzaka leaving the Red Sox' beleaguered pen to record 27 outs? A rookie who had taken an improbable path to the majors batting ninth?
Well, OK, maybe Hollywood would have kept the final score closer than 10-2. And maybe instead of having the rookie turn on his first pitch seen in the second inning for his first career hit, homer, and grand slam, they'd wait until a late-innings walk off situation. But you get the idea.
Things looked dim early, as Scott Atchison, getting the spot start for Daisuke Matsuzaka, gave up two quick runs in the second inning. But it didn't take things long at all to turn around. J.D. Drew led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to right field, and the next three batters all reached to set up Daniel Nava with a bases loaded, zero out situation for his first major league at bat. If you hadn't guessed, that's when the grand slam came in. One game, one at bat, one pitch, and one grand slam.
The Sox would score five more runs over the course of the game, but they would hardly be necessary. Somehow, after the first two runs, the Red Sox bullpen that hadn't been able to hold leads all year kept the Phillies scoreless for the next seven innings. Between Atchison, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Ramon Ramirez, and Jonathan Papelbon, the bullpen held Philadelphia to just two runs on seven hits and two walks. Quite the night when so little was expected.
The Red Sox go for a sweep tomorrow night against Cole Hamels. Hopefully they can live up to the first two performances.