Dustin Pedroia would not let the Red Sox lose tonight. Simple as that.
Five hits in five at bats, a double, and—oh yeah—three homers, including a two-run game winner in the top of the tenth inning.
MVP! MVP! MVP!
The Red Sox never should have needed that kind of contribution from Pedroia. Daisuke pitched solidly, if shakily, through five innings, holding the Rockies to two runs. The rest of the Red Sox offense managed ten hits and eight RBIs of their own. Adrian Beltre alone went three-for-four with a double and a bomb, and even Daisuke chipped in an RBI single.
But oh, oh the bullpen.
Manny Declarmen started the horror show in the sixth with two hard hit balls and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. This set up Hideki Okajima for one of the most inexplicable appearances in recent memory. Okajima managed a couple of popups, a dribbler to third, and a grounder to first. All of which went for hits, bringing in five runs. Another hard hit off Ramon Ramirez scored a sixth, giving the Rockies an 8-6 lead.
Scott Atchison managed one of the better outings of the night, recording five outs while only having one run cross the plate when Daniel Bard allowed Jason Giambi to knock in an inherited runner before recording the last out of the eighth. And then Jonathan Papelbon struck again.
The inning began innocently enough with a swinging strikeout by Jonathan Herrera. But then Papelbon allowed two line drives and a stolen base, putting the tying run in scoring position. A line-hugging flyball later, and Papelbon had blown his second straight save. The second out almost ended the game as Darnell McDonald had to go up against the wall to snag the ball, but it stayed in and the game went to the tenth, where Pedroia's two-run shot gave the Sox the final lead, 13-11.
Papelbon would end on a high note, pitching a clean tenth and striking out the last batter to close out the night. But with all his fastballs getting either nowhere near the zone, or way too much of hit, and all his splitters sitting up high, there's not much confidence left in the formerly dominant Red Sox closer.
But for tonight, at least, the Sox will walk away with a win, unswept thanks to Dustin Pedroia.