“DIARY OF A WINNER”

 

 

A POWERFUL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
It's Big Papi with another walk-off game winner

September 12, 2007 ... As the night went deeper, and the zeros advanced across the scoreboard next to "BOSTON," it became increasingly difficult not to notice what was happening next to the "NYY." A seventh straight win by the Yankees could put them in the position to apply a python's squeeze on the Sox' lead in the American League East this weekend.

But there are the moments that David Ortiz is best known for. He is the master of the dramatic, the player who makes the fans hold their breath, the man who keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. So tonight, Ortiz stepped up in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out and one man on. Julio Lugo had walked and the Red Sox trailed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 4-3. Right-hander Al Reyes threw a 3-and-1 pitch, and Ortiz connected. The ball took off toward right field. Delmon Young ran toward the Pesky Pole, but when he realized the ball wasn't drifting that far right, he reversed his field. But he had turned around to such an extreme that he couldn't make the grab, and the ball just made it into the seats.

The Red Sox, led by closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had pitched the top of the ninth, came charging out of the dugout to surround Ortiz, who earned his first walkoff homer of the season as Boston came from behind to win for the second straight night, 5-4.

When Ortiz's first homer, his 30th, cleared the Devil Rays' bullpen to make it 4-3, Tampa Bay, it appeared the teams intended to stage an encore of the 16-10 hit-o-rama from the night before. But Devil Rays starter Edwin Jackson righted himself, allowing just two singles before leaving after the sixth, and Julian Tavarez, pitching for just the second time in 12 days this month, rescued Jon Lester after his premature exit, Lester knocked out with two outs in the fourth after a yield of four runs on eight hits and four walks.

Tavarez pitched three hitless innings before turning the game over to Manny Delcarmen with two outs in the seventh and Brendan Harris on first. Delcarmen faced pinch hitter Greg Norton and retired him with a behind-the-back ole on a comebacker, though Delcarmen nearly threw the ball away when he flipped to Eric Hinske at first.

Delcarmen gave way to Hideki Okajima with two outs in the eighth and Josh Wilson on second after his blooper fell between second baseman Pedroia and right fielder J.D. Drew for a single, and an infield out followed. Okajima struck out Carl Crawford to keep it a one-run game, but the Sox, 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position through seven innings, could not score the equalizer.

The Sox' best hitter yesterday outside of Ortiz, who also lined out twice to first baseman Carlos Pena, was Ramirez, and his swings were limited to batting practice, when he hit three balls in the seats in compelling testimony that his strained oblique muscle is getting better. Drew reached base four times on a single, bad-hop double, and two walks, but each time was left on base, as the bottom of the Sox' order could mount just two hits, a double by Brandon Moss in the second, and Coco Crisp's single in the sixth.

Hinske, playing first base because Kevin Youkilis flipped to third to spell Lowell, had the roughest go of it, tapping out with the bases loaded, striking out while Crisp stole his 25th base in the sixth, and whiffing again to end the eighth.

Lester's abbreviated outing hardly was a balm for a Sox bullpen that went six deep the night before after Tim Wakefield was knocked out after just three innings. That was four short outings in a week for a Sox starter, two for Wakefield and one each for Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Lester's troubles began with the game's first batter, Akinori Iwamura, who singled, took second on an infield out, and scored on Pena's hit. B.J. Upton followed with a fly down the right-field line that hit the foul pole for the cheapest of home runs, and it was 3-0 while many in the crowd of 36,931 were still in the concourses. One out later, Brendan Harris doubled and scored on a hit by Jonny Gomes, and the Devil Rays, who had blown an 8-1 lead Tuesday, had themselves a 4-0 advantage.

Drew's single, a double by Moss, and a walk to Crisp loaded the bases for the Sox in the second, but Hinske rolled out to end the threat. Lugo singled and stole second to open the third, Pedroia walked, and Ortiz launched an 0-and-1 pitch over the visitors' bullpen, making it 4-3. But Jason Varitek struck out with two on to end the fifth, Lugo grounded to short with a man on second to end the sixth, and Varitek rolled out to first with two on to end the seventh.

The importance of this game to the Sox was underscored when Terry Francona sent out closer Jonathan Papelbon to pitch the ninth with the Sox down by a run, a rare occurrence.

The Yankees held service in Toronto, beating the Blue Jays behind the resuscitated Mike Mussina, 4-1. The Sox, already down one cleanup hitter (Manny Ramirez), spotted the Devil Rays another when Mike Lowell called in sick (officially, it was a text message).

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SCORECARD

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

TAMPA BAY RAYS

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

4

9

0

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

2

 

 

5

9

0

 

 

W-Jonathan Papelbon (1-2)
L-Alberto Reyes (2-3)
Attendance - 36,931

 2B-Harris (TB), Moss (Bost), Drew (Bost)

 HR-Upton (TB), Ortiz (2)(Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Julio Lugo ss 4 2 1 .241  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 4 1 2 .327  

 

David Ortiz dh 5 2 2 .321  

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 3 0 0 .287  

 

J.D. Drew rf 2 0 2 .263  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 0 0 .258  

 

Brandon Moss lf 4 0 1 .222  

 

Coco Crisp cf 3 0 1 .272  

 

Eric Hinske 1b 4 0 0 .216  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Jon Lester 3.2 8 4 4 5  
  Julian Tavarez 3 0 0 1 1  
  Many Delcarmen 1 1 0 0 0  
  Hideki Okajima 0.1 0 0 0 1  
  Jon Papelbon 1 0 0 0 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2007 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 89 58 -

 

 

New York Yankees 83 62 5

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 72 73 16

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 61 83 26 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 61 85 27 1/2

 

     
 

Number to clinch - 12