|Kevin Youkilis' two-run home run in the top of the ninth put the Red Sox on top for good on Friday.|
With two down and pinch-runner Willie Harris on first, Youkilis deposited a Todd Jones fastball over the left field wall, giving the Sox the 3-2 lead. From there it was Jonathan Papelbon's game, and it didn't take long for the Sox to close it out for the win.
Rogers was near spotless, going seven, striking out seven, and allowing only one walk and only one run. The one run came after Coco Crisp beat out a single and then stole second base, getting into scoring position and allowing Manny Ramirez to knock him in.
We only stood a chance when Jones entered the game. Jones is the closer, but certainly isn't the lights out closer that is typical in the AL East. After two outs, Mike Lowell hit a single - his third hit of the day - and Harris pinch-ran for him. There on, it was magic-time.
Let's give credit where credit is due: the pitching. Both Curt Schilling and the relief did a stellar job. Schilling went six, giving up seven hits and two runs, but walked none and struck out eight lonely Tigers. Schilling did well, but the relief is what won the game. David Riske and Rudy Seanez combined for two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two.
The relief was topped off with Papelbon's performance. Papelbon started the inning by striking out Craig Monroe. Then he induced Brandon Inge to ground out to Alex Cora, who made a nice backhand play in the hole to get the out. Ivan Rodriguez then pinch-hit for Vance Wilson, but whiffed on a high fastball.
This was definitely one of the toughest starters the Sox have faced this season. The Sox really didn't have an answer for Rogers, but then were even more perplexed when the fireballer Joel Zumaya entered the game. Luckily, Jones finished - or at least tried to finish - the game.
It could have been one of those games we don't like looking back at as Red Sox fans. But thanks to late-game heroics and pitching, the Sox were able to come back and win one against the MLB's best team.