But lo! What offense through yonder pale slump breaks?
William Shakespeare, Redsoxeo and Juliet
Compared to the offensive drought the Red Sox have been suffering in recent days, today seemed like a veritable cornucopia of production. However, it should be noted that most of this output came courtesy of the top of the order, with the top four slots accounting for all of the lasting damage against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night.
However, one man was the star of the show Wednesday night, and that man was the Large Father, who in this game was Larger-Than-Life Father. David Ortiz made seemingly every at-bat count, even the ones that didn't turn out as well as expected. One might have even been excused for thinking we had time warped back to 2013 when, in the top of the first inning, he hit a long bomb to right off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma, scoring Dustin "Elf" Pedroia to make the score 2-0 before the Mariners even got to the plate. In the third inning, he'd add another RBI, hitting a single to right over the head of Stefen Romero, plating Brock "\o/" Holt to re-establish a Red Sox lead. Most importantly, he'd bring in the last Sox run of the game in the fifth inning, once again bringing Holt in, although at the cost of a double play. Given how hard runs have been to come by for the Sox lately, I think no one can really complain about having to trade the two outs for the run.
But no man, even Big Papi, can win a game completely on his own—and tonight he got a bit of help from some of his friends, most notably Holt and Daniel Nava. Nava in particular had a good game, with three singles on the night after a line-out in his first plate appearance. He also had one of the more heads-up defensive plays of the night, managing to throw Kyle Seager out at second after being unable to corral his flyball to right. You could argue he let it fly by the seat of his pants (rather literally, as he was still rump-to-the-ground when he made the throw to Stephen Drew). Jonny Gomes looked great in his golden sombrero while making a diving grab in the eighth inning to keep the precarious one-run lead the Sox had at the time intact.
Clay Buchholz's first start since hitting the disabled list on May 28 was a memorable one, if not necessarily an outstanding one. It certainly lacked the panache and sterling results of Tim Lincecum's no-hitter, but it was still impressive in its own right, as Buchholz appeared to be channeling the spirit of Koji Uehara on this fine evening. Although he did give up four runs—all by way of the longball—in his 7.1 innings, his game was remarkably efficient. In those 7.1 innings, he threw just 76 pitches, throwing 55 of them for strikes. He also managed to get through the lineup three full times, for a svelte 2.8 pitches per batter. However, there were also some encouraging signs, as those 7,1 innings of work ended free pass-free. So, you could definitely classify it as a perfectly cromulent return.
When Buchholz left, it was with the aforementioned shaky one-run lead, and it was left to Andrew Miller to get the remaining two outs of the inning. He did so quickly, striking out both pinch-hitters Willie Blomquist and Cole Gillespie to bring us to the ninth inning. Then came the very best time of all: Koji time. We were treated to an extended view of Koji time tonight—perhaps he has been rusty from lack of use this season? In any case, he needed nineteen pitches to retire the side, although I think the official scorekeepers need to recheck their work, because there's a walk charged to Koji, and clearly this must be an accounting error of some sort. Personally, I suspect it's more of AJ Placeholder messing around with the spacetime continuum in ways that muck around with the Sox's karma. (It's as good as any other explanation, as a world in which Koji allows a walk is not a world I understand.)
But a win is a win, and it's a good way to go into a weekend series at the New Headquarters of the Evil Empire.