Today is a great day. How? Let me count the ways...
- The Red Sox won.
- They finally beat the damn Orioles again.
- David Ortiz hit a ridiculous homer over everything in right.
- Will Middlebrooks was very good.
- The Sox reached .500.
- They are now tied with the Yankees.
So that's six. There's probably some more, likely to do with the Houdini act of Vicente Padilla and the "actual pitcher" act of Andrew Miller.
One thing that is certainly not about to make the list is Clay Buchholz. Far from being a bright spot, Buchholz returned to his awful form tonight, falling apart in the third inning after a leadoff ground ball single. The four-run inning was complete with two RBI walks, and if that wasn't enough, Chris Davis led off the next inning with a solo shot to center.
Every single member of the lineup contributed to Boston's attack tonight, with even Che-Hsuan Lin contributing his first major league hit and scoring a run. Dustin Pedroia seems to be finding his swing again after a couple of mediocre games looking off-balance, and Will Middlebrooks looked a lot more comfortable against off-speed pitches than he has in recent days, picking up three hits in five at bats.
Individual performances aside, however, and putting Clay Buchholz' bad outing behind us, this is the sort of game the Sox don't win not too long ago. It's the sort of game were they curl up in their hole after seeing their 2-0 lead become a 5-2 deficit in the blink of an eye, and allow the Orioles to build their lead through bad bullpen pitching and mistake-laden defense.
Tonight they won it, as they have been doing more and more often of late. And now, just like that, a playoff spot is just a few wins away.