DUSTIN PEDROIA

TOO MANY INJURIES
TO STAY COMPETITIVE ...
Dustin Pedroia hits three homers
to win one for the Sox

June 24, 2010 ... Dustin Pedroia clapped his hands and let out a roar as he rounded first base. His shot had barely cleared the yellow line in left field, dropping down over the fence and erasing the pain of another late-inning loss, another blown save for Jonathan Papelbon. Not that it was over when Pedroia's third home run of the night, a two-out, two-run shot that scored Marco Scutaro (infield single), exited the park, giving the smoking second baseman his fourth extra-base hit and fifth hit of the night.

Papelbon still had to finish it off in the 10th. That seemed almost as frightening a prospect as any, with a closer who had allowed three runs in the ninth Wednesday, and two more in the ninth last night as the Rockies tied the score off him. But, with the Sox attempting to avoid a sweep at Coors Field, the closer managed to end a wild and messy 13-11 win with a 1-2-3 10th, getting Melvin Mora on a swinging strikeout to end the game after 4 hours and 48 minutes.

Papelbon blew a save for the second straight night, as Coors Field turned into a house of horrors. Heading into the bottom of the ninth with an 11-9 lead, courtesy of Pedroia's second home run and third extra-base hit of the night, Papelbon came on and struck out Jonathan Herrera to begin. That was the best he would look. The Rockies followed with three straight singles, the third of which was dumped into left field by Brad Hawpe. Two runs scored, two more question marks for those who are concerned about Papelbon's residency in the closer's role. It marked the first time in his career Papelbon had blown saves on consecutive days, and the first time he had blown saves in consecutive appearances since May 7 and 9, 2008.

It was 11-11, with 31 combined hits. It was past 11 p.m. local time when the game headed to extra innings and Pedroia time. Long before Pedroia's final heroics, Ian Stewart's face and swing have become uncomfortably familiar to Sox fans over the past few days.

With the Sox having survived a shaky start by Daisuke Matsuzaka (5 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks) in his return from the disabled list, it was the bullpen that imploded for the second straight night. After Matsuzaka had lasted five innings, including throwing 37 pitches in the first, his relievers failed to provide relief, in one of the ugliest innings this season.

For the second straight night, Stewart delivered, following his tying homer in the ninth Wednesday with a tiebreaking single against Hideki Okajima in the sixth last night. Not that it was all Okajima, nor was it all Stewart doing the damage, as 11 Rockies batted and six runs scored in the inning.

Manny Delcarmen entered to begin the sixth, and allowed consecutive singles and a walk. The bases were loaded with no outs, forcing manager Terry Francona to make the slow walk to the mound, calling for Okajima. Facing Todd Helton, who is emerging from his slump against the Sox, Okajima allowed a two-run blooper, cutting the Sox' lead to 6-4.

Carlos Gonzalez followed with an infield single to third, reloading the bases and giving the meat of the order its shot. But Hawpe popped to third base, and Seth Smith popped to shortstop. There were finally two outs. Miguel Olivo sent a potential final-out grounder toward first, but David Ortiz tossed it to a late-arriving Okajima. Everyone was safe, and it was 6-5. Then came Stewart's two RBIs, and another from Clint Barmes.

It was fortunate that the Sox didn't have to get even more out of their bullpen, likely nervous that Matsuzaka might not make it out of the first. The right-hander returned by allowing the first five Rockies to reach. After Herrera singled up the middle to begin the inning, Matsuzaka walked Helton and Gonzalez, loading the bases. Then Hawpe dumped a pitch over the leaping Adrian Beltre at third, scoring two. But after Smith walked, Olivo struck out swinging on three pitches, and Stewart grounded into a force out at home, Matsuzaka to Jason Varitek. Barmes ended it with another swinging strikeout. Through three innings, Matsuzaka had thrown 67 pitches, and he was done after five, having thrown 105. It was never easy, with Matsuzaka allowing at least one base runner in each inning. He managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam with a grounder to first in the fourth, after an error by shortstop Marco Scutaro, a single, and a walk.

But the Sox supported Matsuzaka with four runs in the fourth inning and two in the fifth. In the fourth, Pedroia's 10th home run snapped Jason Hammel's scoreless streak at 28 1/3 innings. And with Ortiz's single and Beltre's double, there were men on second and third and one down for Mike Cameron. And Cameron delivered, smacking a double to center that scored two runs and gave the Sox the lead. Not to mention that the center fielder added a stellar diving catch of a liner by Stewart to lead off the bottom of the fourth. The Sox added another on Matsuzaka's second single of the season, which drove home Cameron.

They added two more runs in the fifth. Though he didn't go down on one knee to do it, Beltre hit a two-run shot that also scored Pedroia (walk) to give the Sox a 6-2 cushion.

The Sox and Rockies could have been excused for a bout of dizziness. With the way the score was jumping back and forth, and back again, and the way the batters were circling the bases on both sides, the only thing that appeared certain was that pitchers across the board would see large upticks in their ERAs.

 
 
 

 

at Coors Field (Denver) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

4

2

0

3

2

0

2

 

13

15

2

COLORADO ROCKIES

0

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

1

 

6

8

2

W-Jonathan Papelbon (3-4)
L-Huston Street (0-1)
Attendance 29,240

2B-Pedroia (Bost), Beltre (Bost), Cameron (Bost), Varitek (Bost),
Smith (Colo)
HR-Pedroia (3)(Bost), Beltre (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Marco Scutaro ss 6 1 2 .283  

 

Daniel Nava lf 6 2 1 .350  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 5 4 5 .293.  

 

David Ortiz 1b 5 2 1 .252  

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 1 0 0 .306  

 

Adrian Beltre 3b 4 3 3 .342  

 

Jason Varitek c 5 0 1 .267  

 

Mike Cameron cf 5 1 1 .261  

 

Jonathan Papelbon p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Josh Reddick rf 2 0 0 .160  

 

Darnell McDonald rf/cf 2 0 0 .273  

 

Daisuke Matsuzaka p 2 0 1 .500  

 

J.D. Drew ph 1 0 0 .274  

 

Manny Delcarmen p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Hideki Okajima p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Ramon Ramirez p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Victor Martinez ph 1 0 0 .295  

 

Scott Atchison p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Daniel Bard p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Bill Hall rf 1 0 0 .235  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Daisuke Matsuzaka 5 5 2 4 6  
  Manny Delcarmen - 2 3 1 0  
  Hideki Okajima 0.2 4 3 0 0  
  Ramon Ramirez 0.1 1 0 0 0  
  Scott Atchison 1.2 2 1 1 2  
  Daniel Bard 0.1 1 0 0 1  
  Jonathan Papelbon 2 3 2 0 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2010 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 45 27 -

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 43 29 2

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 44 30 2

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 39 34 6 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 20 52 25