They might have broken Salty's bat, but they can't break his spirit! Or something like that. . . . (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
So, somehow, the Red Sox actually managed to play eighteen innings of baseball yesterday. Two games that seemed to end up lasting about thirty-five hours with all the delays due to rain, but two games nevertheless.
And, mirabile dictu, the Sox won them both! The story of the day was good offensive production and unlucky pitching staffs.
The noon game started out inauspiciously, as Jon Lester would give up runs in each of the second and third frames: in the second on a homer to Brandon Allen, and in the third a wholly manufactured run that ended up being unearned due to Marco Scutaro's error in Scott Sizemore's at-bat. After that, however, it was smooth sailing for Lester, whose day lasted six innings, with only the two runs, three hits, and two walks.
The Sox's offense, however, seemed to recover after the mini-swoon on Friday. Marco Scutaro doubled and was driven in by Dustin Pedroia, although the Elf was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double. Three more runs would come in the second, courtesy of a Jason Varitek homer and a Jacoby Ellsbury double. A David Ortiz double and a Carl Crawford sacrifice fly would score Adrian Gonzalez, Pedroia, and Ortiz in the third, and a Scutaro single scored Mike Aviles in the fourth. Varitek would have his third RBI of the day in the fifth inning, driving in a rampaging David Ortiz, who has had an ABABIP (apparent batting average on balls in play) of 2.384 since returning from his boot-induced vacation.
The first rain delay of the day came in the top of the seventh inning—around the point where it was 9-2, and you're thinking, "Why are they playing the rest of this game, anyways?" (Apparently, the Sox committed a "no-no" when they did this back in 2009, and are not being allowed to use common sense to shorten the game. Whatever, Selig.)
Following the rain delay, Dan Wheeler replaced Jon Lester, and a seeming cavalcade of Oakland Relievers relieved Guillermo Moscoso. There was not much excitement during this garbage time, except for an unfortunate ninth inning from Michael Bowden, who in his second inning of work, appeared to have hit a wall, as he decided to channel drama!Papelbon in loading the bases and allowing a run on a Cliff Pennington single. But, all in all, not a bad first half of the day's work for the Sox, winning by a final score of 9-3.
Game 2 after the jump.
The Sox tried their best to get this one started, but curiously decided to wait an extra 15 or 20 minutes longer than needed. This would end up having an indirect impact on the game.
In the night game, the main heroes on offense were Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ortiz brought home the Elf on a homer that bounced off of the Monster seats. (Yeah, an opposite field homer for Ortiz? Does. Not. Compute.) Salty provided the rest of the scoring offense. Three straight singles, by Pedroia, Ortiz, and Jed Lowrie loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. The typical Sox fan, seeing this, probably shrugged his or her shoulders, saying "Oh well, better luck next inning." Crawford popped out to second, but Salty drove in a run on a grounder to third, before Josh Reddick flew out to center to snuff the scoring potential.
The unfortunate victim of the day turned out to be Erik Bedard, who once again was denied his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Although he had a very shaky first inning, with walks to Jemile Weeks, Josh Willignham and Brandon Allen sandwiching a Coco Crisp flyout and a Hideki Matsui punchout, he was able to escape unscathed after Sizemore ground out to Scutaro.
After that, though, Bedard settled down, allowing only a walk to David DeJesus and a Weeks single in the second. The third and fourth showed Bedard in cruise control, getting 1-2-3's in both frames. Unfortunately, before the fifth inning could be completed, the evil and nefarious tarp made its appearance once again, cruelly dashing Bedard's chances of victory. A lengthy delay led to Alfredo Aceves coming out in relief, completing the fifth inning to scavenge the win. However, Aceves once again was very sharp in long relief, pitching three innings and allowing just one walk to DeJesus to open the seventh inning.
The final two frames were pitched by the dynamic duo of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, each of whom retired the Athletics on just nine pitches (Papelbon notching 2 K's in the process). The Sox offense likewise sputtered after the delay, except for the sixth, in which Lowrie reached second following a Sizemore error before Crawford flew out to right and Salty reached second on a pop-up that bounced out of Allen's glove.
The net result of the waterlogged day of baseball? Two wins for the Sox, and now a four-game lead in the win column against the New York Yankees heading into their showdown next week.
In the meanwhile, the Sox have two days off. Poor Pedroia—and poor Mrs. Pedroia, who will have to put up with Pedey for two days without baseball to keep him preoccupied. For the rest of you in Irene's path, stay safe and we'll see you on the other side.