Game 130: August 30, 2005
Devil Rays (55-78), 6
Red Sox (76-54), 7
H: Chad Orvella (13)
L, BS: Joe Borowski (2, 1-1)
W: Mike Timlin (6-2)
Schilling’s outing was one-third Jeff Weaver and two-thirds Tom Seaver. He struggled mightily in the first two innings, giving up grandiose fly balls to hitters of all stripes and 5 earned runs. Veteran that he is, Schilling was able to settle down for his last four innings, allowing only a single base hit and no additional extra base hits. In his postgame press conference he stated that the 2nd inning may have been the nadir of his career and that he was particularly motivated to expiate his early sins. Shutting down the Devil Rays after they had pummeled him and keeping their speedy players off the bases was redemption enough.
The Red Sox began their comeback in the 3rd inning with a leadoff double by Bill Mueller, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Edgard Renteria doubled into the left field gap on a line drive that Carl Crawford intercepted just before the warning track, scoring Mueller and Tony Graffanino, who had walked to get on base.
Jason Varitek continued the barrage in the 4th inning with a leadoff single that shot through to center field. The blonde Kevin Millar, whose hair matched Schilling’s, followed up with a double off the Monster that advanced his captain to third base. Trot Nixon, the hero-to-be of this game, grounded out to short but Varitek was able to score and Millar even advanced to third on the play. Mueller, the unsung hero, brought the Red Sox to within 1 run with his sacrifice fly to center.
In the 6th inning, Graffanino showed that he was inspired by the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid with his technique. He stumbled while retrieving the feed from Renteria of a Toby Hall grounder, but still managed get Hall out with his cunning legwork. Sweep the leg, Graffanino!
In the visitor’s half of the 8th, Nixon hosed Hall on his attempt to score on a Crawford single. Apparently the Devil Rays catcher thought that hanging around with other guys that are fast rubbed off on him.
Johnny Damon pinch hit for Millar and led off with a walk in the bottom of the 8th. Nixon, the hometown hero and right fielder then doubled over Crawford’s glove with a line drive that bounced off the wall. Mueller then grounded out to first to score Damon and advance Nixon, and Borowski gave up his first run since becoming a Devil Ray on July 12th. Another pinch hitting substitution was strikingly effective when John Olerud took the place of Gabe Kapler to hit an RBI single to tie the game.
Both Nixon and Manny Ramirez came through with adept catches in the top of the 9th, particularly Ramirez’s, who backhanded Aubrey Huff’s fly ball offering after taking a bit of a circuitous route. With David Ortiz, Ramirez, and Varitek loading the bases, Damon came to the plate and lined out to shallow right. Dale Sveum, for once, did not risk his designated hitter’s life and limb and kept Ortiz at third. This set the stage for Nixon to line to right and drive in Ortiz for the winning run. If your game needs some fixing (not the Black Sox sort of fixing, mind you), you can count on Nixon.