Normally this is Ben's territory, but just as the game ended his internet, clearly disgusted with the game, broke. So you get me.
The story of this game was three things:
- Ineffective (though not outright bad) pitching from Jon Lester
- A two out, two strike, two-run ninth inning homer to tie the game by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to send it into extra innings
- Mediocre work by the bullpen (Matt Albers excepted)
On the face of it, Lester pitched pretty well. In six innings of work he had five strikeouts and only one walk, a bugaboo of his this year. Today's issue was weak hits. He gave up eight, only two of which went for extra bases. There was some questionable defense behind him. The most glaring example of which was MIke Aviles' inability to get even one out on a potential double play ball in the third that provided the Orioles with an opportunity that they wouldn't pass up. After Aviles' error the Orioles collected two singles and a walk to push across the game's first two runs.
When the Red Sox struck back in the fifth, the Orioles stole it right back in the sixth. The Red Sox took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the sixth, but then the reliable Scott Atchison gave it right back in the top of the seventh and then some.
That gets us to 6-4 which is where things stood as Jarrod Saltalamacchia came to bat in the bottom of the ninth. David Ortiz was on first after a wall-ball single. Two were down in the inning. The count was 1-2. After fouling three pitches off, two 96 mph fastballs and a 88 mph change up (which I think was a curveball, but whatever), Salty drove an outside fastball just over the top of the Monster, off some fan, and back onto the field. It was called a homer on the field, it was reviewed, and as replays showed it should be, it was upheld. Tie game, pandemonium at Fenway and also in my kitchen.
But Alfredo Aceves, who had had no problems with the Orioles in a 1-2-3 ninth, did as Red Sox pitchers had done all night long and gave the lead right back. A walk to lead off the inning was followed by a series of ground ball singles. This gave the Orioles the lead back and a line drive single by Endy Chavez gave Baltimore an insurance run they wouldn't need. The Red Sox went meekly in order in the bottom of the tenth.
All in all, a disheartening loss, especially after Salty's homer to tie it in the ninth got our hopes up. On a more macro level, you'd like to win games when your ace is on the mound in your home park, but sometimes things don't go your way. They didn't tonight for the Red Sox. We get two more shots at the orange men from Charm City though. Josh Beckett takes the mound tomorrow. Gotta get it back then.