SWEPT AWAY BY A "RALLY MONKEY" ...
Bay's 9th inning homer breaks the tie

April 27, 2009 ... By the end of eight, the Indians had gotten two men to third base. The Red Sox hadn't gotten one past second. Credit Tim Wakefield, the ace so far of the Sox staff, and Cliff Lee, last year's Cy Young Award winner, for the dearth of offense and the swift pace of the game. Each side had exactly six runners through those first eight innings, walks contributing runners for Wakefield, hits for Lee.

So it was that a crowd of just 18,652 got to see a game that would come down to the end, with nothing doing offensively in the beginning or middle. Then came that end, a ninth inning in which a walk to Dustin Pedroia was followed by a David Ortiz single that fell in front of center fielder Grady Sizemore, bringing up one of the hottest hitters in baseball. But Kevin Youkilis' plate appearance left only a piece of bat skidding between third base and shortstop, another out on the scoreboard, and a chance for Jason Bay.

There it was. The ball sailed into the night, into the seats in left field, yet another dramatic moment for a player who is attempting to turn consistent into clutch. Bay's 408-foot home run broke the scoreless tie and gave the Sox their 11th consecutive win, a 3-1 victory over the Indians.

The brilliance came from Wakefield, who gave the Sox seven one-hit innings, though tonight's win went to Manny Delcarmen. Take out his first start against the Angels, a pedestrian six innings with three runs, and Wakefield has a 1.17 ERA in his last three outings. It seems clear that Wakefield is on one of those runs, when the opponent, batter, and venue don't matter. The only hit Wakefield allowed was a first-inning single to center by Victor Martinez.

Wakefield's knuckleballs, while bedeviling the Indians, also at times got catcher George Kottaras in a knot. Not only did Wakefield walk four and hit one batter, he threw a wild pitch, and Kottaras added two passed balls, his first of the season with Wakefield on the mound.

While Wakefield said he felt good enough to pitch into the eighth, he stood at 112 pitches, and the bullpen had been given a bit of a reprieve Sunday, so there was no need to martyr their knuckleballer. He could get some relief, supplied admirably by Delcarmen, and slightly less admirably by Jonathan Papelbon.

So even though the starters kept the bats contained, the closers, Kerry Wood and Papelbon, didn't quite follow suit. After Wood allowed the three-run homer by Bay, Papelbon began the ninth by allowing two smoked singles to center field, by Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Garko. He got help on a contested third strike call to Jhonny Peralta, but Mark DeRosa drove in a run with a bouncer up the middle. Papelbon ended it by striking out Kelly Shoppach and getting Ben Francisco to pop up.

Julio Lugo returned to the Red Sox yesterday, but his name wasn't in the lineup. Instead, Nick Green, the fill-in shortstop who has hit a surprising .298 so far, was back in the No. 9 spot in the order.

And so the Sox are on a tear not seen since a 12-game streak in 2006.

 

at Progressive Field (Cleveland) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

 

3

8

0

CLEVELAND INDIANS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

1

4

1

W-Manny Delcarmen (1-0)
S-Jonathan Papelbon (5)
L-Kerry Wood (0-1)
Attendance 18,652

3B-Lowell (Bost)
HR-Bay (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Jacoby Ellsbury cf 4 0 0 .275  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 3 1 0 .286  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 1 2 .237  

 

Kevin Youkilis 3b 4 0 0 .414  

 

Jason Bay lf 4 1 3 .344  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 4 0 1 .319  

 

Jeff Bailey rf 3 0 1 .400  

 

J.D. Drew ph 1 0 0 .250  

 

Jon Van Every rf 0 0 0 .000  

 

George Kottaras c 3 0 0 .143  

 

Nick Green ss 4 0 1 .298  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Tim Wakefield 7 1 0 4 5  
  Manny Delcarmen 1 0 0 0 1  
  Jon Papelbon 1 3 1 0 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2009 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 13 6 -

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 14 7 -

 

 

New York Yankees 9 10 4

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 9 11 4 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 8 12 5 1/2