Wow, look at that!
In the bottom of the 9th inning, I kind of had that feeling the Sox could pull something off. But it would be hard, of course. They were looking weak against Jeremy Guthrie and if the O's were to get into trouble, Chris Ray would bring his wacky windup into the game and set the Sox down, extinguishing any possible flame.
But since we're talking about the game of baseball here, it didn't exactly happen like that. Not even close, actually.
The Sox got things started in the 9th with a dropped pop-up by O's catcher Ramon Hernandez. One thing (error) lead to another, and the Sox began to erase the goose eggs on the scoreboard. Soon enough, the Sox were down by one, 5-4, with Julio Lugo at the plate. A chopper to former Sox Kevin Millar seemed easy enough to end the game, but Lugo challenged Ray to the bag and the ball was mishandled.
Error. Sox score two. Game over.
In a game that started with hype surrounding Josh Beckett's quest for win number eight, it ended in dramatic fashion thanks a determined Red Sox team.
The real question, though, is did the Red Sox win this game, or did the Orioles lose it? I'm going to have to say both. The Red Sox won this game like they have won so many in the past. They were gritty, got on base and pushed runs across the plate. Sounds simple, but the Sox seem to do it when it matters the most. The O's, on the other hand, took Guthrie out of the game and things began to crumble. It seems ridiculous to me why Guthrie was taken out. He was at 91 pitches. Instead, Danys Baez comes in. As soon as he walked out of the bullpen, a smile came across my face. We've hit him in the past, so I knew we could hit him again.
We got really lucky with Ray, though. In my opinion, if Ray doesn't completely lose his mind after games like this then he could be a top-notch closer in the MLB some day. Today, however, the Sox rattled him. He threw a lot of balls. The strikes he did throw could have gone the other way, too. Ray hasn't been lights out this season but I still think we got pretty lucky.
Take it all in, Red Sox Nation. We don't see too many games like this. Not many games come much better, either. The O's will leave Boston with a series loss; something that looked to be in Boston's possession after one out in the 9th in today's ballgame.
Hopefully we won't have to win games like this in the future.
Winner: Julio Lugo. He made it happen when it counted.
Winner: The Orioles.