KOJI UEHARA &
"THE FUTURE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE"
The Sox rally in the 7th
without a hit
April 14, 2015 ... The
Washington Nationals, down by one run, had the heart of their order
coming up and Koji Uehara was pitching for the first time this season
after coming off the disabled list. He had not successfully closed
out a game since Aug. 12, going into a worrisome slump after that
game and losing his job. That explained why the cheers for Uehara
were louder than usual when the bullpen door swung open in the ninth
inning. The 40-year-old sprinted to the mound, eager to pitch.
Three outs later, the Red Sox had their closer back and an 8-7 victory. David
Ortiz, as tradition now dictates, flung Uehara over his shoulder in celebration.
The perfect inning had some drama. After Uehara struck out Bryce Harper with a
splitter, Ryan Zimmerman hammered a fastball down the line in left. Umpire Manny
Gonzalez called it foul, which stood up to a review. Zimmerman lined to left
field, then Uehara went back to the splitter to strike out Clint Robinson.
The victory also served as an example that this Red Sox team is capable of
finding its way through adversity. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the teamís hottest
hitter, was unavailable because of a right knee injury. Another masher, Pablo
Sandoval, left the game in the sixth inning with a bruised left foot. That
forced Hanley Ramirez to move from left field to third base. He had not played
there since 2012. Ramirez did not have a ball come his way.
Despite the changes, the Sox had 11 hits and came back from a two-run deficit
with three runs in the seventh inning thanks to sloppy play by the Nationals.
Ramirez reached on an error by shortstop Ian Desmond. Matt Thornton then hit
Shane Victorino with a pitch. With one out, right-hander Blake Treinen came in
and hit Allen Craig with a pitch. Ryan Hanigan bounced a ball to the left side
of the mound that could have resulted in a double play. But Treinen dropped the
ball, picked it up, and threw past catcher Wilson Ramos. Two runs scored and
Craig went to third. Brock Holt grounded to shortstop and Desmond had a play at
the plate on Craig. But after looking that way, he went to first and the Sox had
the lead. It wasnít an error but it was a mistake. Elias Sports researchers said
the Sox were the first team since at least 1961 to score three runs in an inning
without a hit or walk.
The Sox led, 5-1, after four innings, working over Nationals starter Stephen
Strasburg for nine hits. Mookie Betts, the new prince of Fenway, had a two-run
double in the second inning. Daniel Nava and Hanigan had RBI singles in the
In the fourth inning, Pedroia sent a Strasburg fastball over the wall in left
field for his third home run. Pedroia did not hit his third home run until June
8 last season and finished with seven. His power is back.
Justin Masterson, appearing in his first game at Fenway Park as a member of the
Red Sox since July 29, 2009, couldnít hold the four-run lead. He allowed six
runs in the fifth inning as the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate. They had
not scored more than four runs in any of their previous seven games. The big hit
was a two-run triple from Michael Taylor off reliever Alexi Ogando.