HR #31

A SAD END TO A RECORD SEASON
The Sox bullpen
keeps down Chicago

July 8, 2006 ... David Ortiz, who fought off fatigue long enough to hit his 31st home run, and eighth in his last eight games, in the Red Sox' 9-6 win over the White Sox, their second straight win over the defending World Series champions before another sellout crowd of 39,497 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Ortiz, worn down by a three-city trip that included middle-of-the-night arrivals in Miami and Chicago, and a 12:26 local start yesterday after a night game, was very sleepy, and it seemed like the team was gone from the ballpark for just an hour. Ortiz, leads the majors in long balls (26 allowed, an incomprehensible 22 in 64 innings on the road).

But the Red Sox played alert, inspired baseball. No one more so than the bullpen employees who rescued Beckett when he loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, the iron in the White Sox lineup due, and the Red Sox holding an 8-5 lead. Left hander Javier Lopez, who was buried in the minors with the White Sox before Theo Epstein liberated him in a June 15 trade for David Riske, struck out Jim Thome, who earlier had hit his 30th home run, one of three tape- measure shots off Beckett, the other two coming off the bat of Jermaine Dye.

Francona then went to rookie Craig Hansen, who retired cleanup man Paul Konerko on a fly ball that right fielder Trot Nixon grabbed in foul territory and held onto despite an unintended hip check from second baseman Mark Loretta, and ended the threat by inducing Dye to line to Alex Cora at short.  Beckett, who'd been cheerleading from the dugout since his removal, leaped from his perch on the steps and enthusiastically slammed Hansen with a high-five. Tears of gratitude would not have been surprising, except Texans don't cry, even when they know their 11th win would not have been possible without some help. Beckett, now 11-4, in half a season, has given up more home runs on the road than any Red Sox pitcher in the last 40 years.

The Sox, who had 16 hits, including two doubles and a single by up), two singles, a walk, two stolen bases, an RBI, and a run by backup shortstop Alex Cora, and a key RBI single by Doug Mirabelli (one of his two RBIs), let Jonathan Papelbon get the final four outs for his 26th save, lowering his ERA to 0.41.

The loss went to Riske, who walked Cora with two outs in the sixth in a 5-5 game. Cora swiped second and scored on Kevin Youkilis's two-strike single to left.

But for living in the present, there can be no more encouraging development for the Red Sox than Francona's discovery that he can rely on the kids, Hansen and Manny Delcarmen, along with Lopez, to serve as the bridge to Mike Timlin and Papelbon. Now, potentially, you're talking about Papelbon-like ability from the sixth inning on, if your starter has a rough start.

David Ortiz (31) and Manny Ramirez (24) have combined for more home runs before the All-Star break than any tandem in Red Sox history, passing Carl Yastrzemski (29) and Rico Petrocelli (25) in 1969.

Beckett already has given up more home runs on the road (22) than any Red Sox pitcher in the last 40 seasons. Bruce Hurst in 1987 gave up 21, which is how many Earl Wilson gave up when he split the 1966 season between Boston and Detroit. Dennis Eckersley (1979) and interim pitching coach Al Nipper (1987) both gave up 20. Five pitchers, most recently Ismael Valdez (2004), have given up 26 since 1960.

 

at U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

3

2

1

2

1

0

 

9

16

0

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

0

1

0

2

2

0

0

1

0

 

6

13

0

W-Josh Beckett (11-4)
S-Jonathan Papelbon (26)
L-David Riske (0-2)
Attendance 39,497

2B-Ramirez (2)(Bost), Lowell (Bost), Thome (Chi)
HR-Ortiz (Bost), Dye (2)(Chi), Thome (Chi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 5 0 1 .301  

 

Mark Loretta 2b 5 2 2 .305  

 

David Ortiz dh 6 1 2 .281  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 1 3 .311  

 

Trot Nixon rf 4 1 1 .322  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 5 2 2 .302  

 

Coco Crisp cf 5 1 2 .264  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 4 0 1 .176  

 

Alex Cora ss 4 1 2 .313  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Josh Beckett 6 10 5 2 4  
  Javier Lopez 0.1 0 0 0 1  
  Craig Hansen 1.1 3 1 0 0  
  Jon Papelbon 1.1 0 0 1 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2006 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 53 32 -

 

 

New York Yankees 50 35 3

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 48 39 6

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 40 49 15

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 38 50 16 1/2