TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 14: Mike Aviles #3 and Mauro Gomez #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 14, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
I'm not sure how, but the Red Sox won.
This was perhaps the most Daisuke game ever, at least as far as performances that end with fewer runs than innings pitched are concerned. In a so-bad-it's-impressive third inning, Matsuzaka hit a batter, walked a batter, struck a batter out, walked two more, let a run score on a wild pitch, walked another batter while letting a run score on the wild pitch that was ball four and finally let a third run come in through the back door on a ground ball. That's one ball in play with three base on balls, one plunking, one strikeout, and three runs in. It was Daisuke in a nutshell.
The Sox did not let that lead last long at all, however, with Ryan Lavarnway hooking a line drive over the left field fence with Cody Ross and Mauro Gomez on base before an out was recorded in the fourth. Just like that, it was 3-3, and not an inning later, 5-3. This time the Sox had Brett Lawrie to thank, as the third baseman tried to tag Mike Aviles for out number three instead of just firing to first. Aviles spun around him to reach third safely, and after Lavarnway drew a walk, it was Daniel Nava bringing two runs home with a single.
But from there the lead slowly fell away. Matsuzaka somehow made it to the sixth, but then gave up a one-out triple which Clayton Mortensen couldn't keep from scoring. Junichi Tazawa provided a very impressive seventh, but Vicente Padilla managed to surrender a single and double in the eighth to tie the game before he had even recorded an out. Only a sliding grab from Daniel Nava kept the Jays from taking the lead.
For once, however, it was a night for positive late dramatics courtesy of the Red Sox, and they were started by the only two players who actually look like they belong in the lineup long-term (contract issues aside): Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross. Ellsbury led off with a sharp single--his second hit of the game--and Ross added a line drive of his own to left to make it first and second. The finisher, however, would be Mauro Gomez, showing off some of his international league MVP stuff with a triple past a diving Anthony Gose to make it 7-5, and then scoring on a Lavarnway sacrifice fly to make it 8-5.
What can you say about this game? It was tortuously long, and the first half of it reeked of Daisuke for all the wrong reasons. The Toronto Blue Jays did not deliver us a quick mercy killing. But Jacoby was good, Ross was clutch, Lavarnway hit a homer, Tazawa was awesome again, and the Sox get to say they fought back for one short night rather than going completely quietly into that good night.