This was an exciting night. It contained everything from joy and excitement to overwhelming despair.
Lackey was flat out great for the first 8 innings- allowing one unearned run which came after he walked Milton Bradley who stole second and eventually scored on a passed ball. It wasn't until 2 outs in the 8th inning that Lackey finally allowed a hit, to offensive black hole Josh Bard. Still, he left the game with a 6-1 lead, and all there was left to do was some basic 1-inning cleanup. The offense had been great against Ryan Rowland-Smith, though quieted down against the Mariners' weak bullpen.
Enter Sox pitching hero, Manny Delcarmen. First he gave up a single to Chone Figgins followed by a 2-run blast to Franklin Gutierrez. It ended up being a long inning, involving Delcarmen and Papelbon both being fairly awful, and combining with atrocious errors on the parts of Scutaro and Hall to allow 5 run over the inning, so into extra innings we went.
Bard came and pitched a perfect 10th, though the offense again, couldn't manage anything against the Mariners. To the chagrin of this Sox far, Okajima came in for the 11th, but somehow had a 1-2-3 inning. Again, nothing from the Sox offense. In the 12th, Okajima stayed in and it got nasty. A couple of hits and an intentional walk later, the bases were loaded with just one out. Okajima needed a bit of luck and some good pitching to avoid losing the game in an embarrassing fashion, and he got just that, getting to quick easy popups.
Finally, something clicked for the Sox. In the bottom of the 13th, Youkilis singled, Cameron singled, and Sox offensive superstar Eric Patterson (who had pinch hit for Hall earlier) got the 2 run double to make it 8-6. Ramirez came in and somehow pitched a perfect bottom of the 13th, giving the Sox a much-needed grueling win over the last-place Mariners.
This was not a pretty game. It featured bad fielding and terrible work from the bullpen. Still, at last it was what we really expected to see from Lackey- who couldn't get the win despite his no-hit bid- and that in itself was uplifting.