Five innings, four hours. Somebody call Joe West, we've officially gone too far.
All kidding aside, though, the Red Sox are now winners in their fourth straight game after knocking off Justin Verlander in a rain-shortened game which ended with the go-ahead run at the plate for the Tigers and two down in the inning.
For a game that lasted just five innings, it certainly seems likely to breed more than its fair share of controversy.
First there was Josh Beckett. Good for the first eight outs, which he recorded all in a row to start the game, and then suddenly bad. An infield single would somehow lead to a complete collapse, as Beckett hit Austin Jackson and then walked Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera to bring in the first run of the game all with two outs in the third. Beckett would leave immediately after the walk to Cabrera, signaling to the dugout for the trainers and having his night end prematurely with back spasms.
If his early departure wasn't already material enough, the fans treated him to a resounding chorus of boos as he left the field. Given the reaction of the media to that, we're sure to hear plenty more on that subject Wednesday as well.
Then there was Justin Verlander, and the close calls he wasn't getting. They cost him a 35-pitch first inning, and then in the fourth contributed to the two-out rally that would cost Justin Verlander four runs and ultimately the game. It was certainly a stingy zone on the night; how much of the rally was caused by the zone is entirely up to debate.
As for the rally itself, the Red Sox can once again thank Pedro Ciriaco for providing a big hit, giving the Sox their first run with a bases-loaded single to right. One of those walks--this one to Jacoby Ellsbury--helped to bring home the go-ahead run. Ultimately a high chopper that left the bat of Carl Crawford, bounced over Justin Verlander's head, and rolled under the bare hand of Omar Infante plated two runs. It was not a convincing rally, but off of Verlander you absolutely take what you get.
The end of the game, however, was where the real controversy occured. Because it wasn't until the Detroit Tigers put the go-ahead run at the plate that the umpires stepped up and called for the tarp.
To be fair...
- It was raining quite hard.
- It had been raining quite hard, leading to a very difficult field and some sloppy moments caused by the conditions.
- The umpires would have been completely justified in calling the game after the top of the fifth, given that the forecast said it wasn't about to end any time in the next few hours.
- There were two outs in the frame with Omar Infante up to bat.
The Red Sox didn't steal Tuesday night's game, nor did the umpires. But it was an especially cruel way to reach what could have been a controversy-free ending, as much for the two-hour rain delay that preceded the official end of the game as for the situation they let the game arrive at before calling for the tarp.
Either way, for the Red Sox a win is a win. We're past the trade deadline, and all that's left is to win as many as they can.