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Unlikeliest of Heroes: Darnell McDonald Wins it for the Red Sox

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It was Darnell McDonald's night.

In a game that saw the Rangers steal 9 bases, David Ortiz pinch hit for, and Bill Hall actually doing things right, it was Darnell McDonald who stole the show.

With the Red Sox down 4-6 in the 8th after a Tim Wakefield blow up, Darnell McDonald came to the plate to pinch hit for Josh Reddick with Jason Varitek on second. Signed as depth to stash in AAA Pawtucket, McDonald was a guy who most fans hoped they wouldn't have to see. But with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron both heading to the DL, McDonald's services were needed. Tonight he delivered, taking a Darren Oliver slider up-and-Over the Monster to bring the Red Sox back to a tie.

After Jonathan Papelbon held the Rangers scoreless in the 9th, the Red Sox put themselves in the perfect position to walk off with a win when Kevin Youkilis hit a hard grounder back at Texas reliever Frank Francisco, who couldn't make a play, and advanced to second on a passed ball. Bill Hall sacrificed him over to 3rd with a good bunt.

With 1 out and a man on 3rd, the Red Sox only needed a sacrifice fly to walk away winners--a position they had been in very recently against the Tampa Bay Rays when they loaded the bases with no outs in the 12th inning. In that game, David Ortiz had grounded out, and Adrian Beltre grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Rangers opted to walk Mike Lowell, giving Beltre a chance to redeem himself, but the undisciplined third baseman swung at a pitch well out of the zone, and popped it up directly in front of home. Jason Varitek would walk to load the bases, giving Darnell McDonald another shot at heroism. And, after taking a called strike inside, McDonald came through again, hitting a high fly ball to left that ricocheted off the wall just above Josh Hamilton's outstretched glove, snapping the Red Sox' losing streak.

Game Notes:

  • The fact that the Red Sox ended up winning the game should not obscure the fact that Victor Martinez simply cannot catch. Something needs to be done behind the plate.
  • If Martinez isn't catching, though, he'll be playing as the DH. With a visibly upset David Ortiz having been sat down for Mike Lowell, is it only a matter of time?
  • On the subject of unlikely heroes, Manny Delcarmen performed pretty well, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. He walked 2, but one of those came at the end of the outing, and he is not a 2 inning pitcher.
  • Credit Josh Hamilton with 2 runs too. With 2 out and 2 on, Josh Reddick hit a fly ball to left field, which was misplayed disastrously by Josh Hamilton, turning an out into a double. The ball appeared to bounce up and hit a fan after it fell fair, which should have been ruled a ground-rule double, saving a run for the Rangers, but the umpires missed the call.
  • Reddick didn't look good at all otherwise, swinging at a lot of ugly pitches.
  • Jeremy Hermida continued his honeymoon period with the Red Sox, going 2-for-3 with a home run.
  • Victor Martinez broke an 0-for-32 drought with runners in scoring position with a base hit in the first. The Sox proceeded to rack up 3 more hits with RISP on the night.