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Home » September 2005 Game CommentsSeptember 2005 » Clean


Game 155: September 25, 2005
Red Sox (91-64), 9
Orioles (70-85), 3
W: David Wells (14-7)
L: John Maine (2-3)

Tied for the lead in the division
0.5 game behind in the wild card

3 game winning streak

Nearly everything about this game was encouraging except for the fact that the Yankees next face the Orioles. It seems extremely unlikely that Baltimore will put up any more fight when the New York City club comes calling at Camden Yards this evening.

From out of their bag of tricks the Red Sox pulled their patented two-out magic. In the 1st innning, after Maine struck out Johnny Damon and had Edgar Renteria ground out, the Orioles starter seemed to be on his way out of the inning. David Ortiz was treated gingerly and walked on 5 pitches. Then Manny Ramirez hit his 40th home run of the season and the 431st of his career to tie him Baltimore icon Cal Ripken, Jr. As usual, his timing was impeccable.

The rest of the 1st was an offensive frenzy since the Orioles seemed preoccupied with their offseason golf schedule. Miguel Tejada was particularly lackluster. John Olerud’s liner flashed by him into the left field even though it looked like a playable ball. Trot Nixon scored and Jason Varitek caught the opposing shortstop tarrying and was well on his to home before Tejada realized what yet another run would score. Tejada belatedly threw to home and Olerud reached second base on the throw. Bill Mueller, who ended up going 3 for 4, drove in his first baseman for the 5th and final run of the inning.

With the early lead, Wells would hopefully wear out the corners as he usually did. Home plate umpire Jerry Crawford was uncooperative and Wells had to position his pitches so they would have more of the plate than he is accustomed to. This reduction in zone likely caused the back-to-back round-trippers Wells yielded to Melvin Mora and Tejada in the 1st inning. It seemed that Wells would have another short outing, but the lefty persevered to go 6.2 innings with 6 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks, and 3 strikeouts. He may have stayed in longer had he not reaggravated his knee in the 7th inning. The gadfly Eric Byrnes called time but went unnoticed by Crawford. By the time Crawford noticed Byrnes’s request Wells was in his wind-up and the lefty had to stop in mid-stride. Wells was gone shortly thereafter.

We also continue to wait for Ramirez’s 21st grand slam; he’s had several chances this season to add to his extravagant jackpot total. In the 4th inning the left fielder had another chance to inch closer to Lou Gehrig’s 23 career grand slam total but ended up flying out to center field.

As the team returns home for the stretch run, several positive trends manifest themselves: Trot Nixon’s bat seems to have awoken from its slumber, as did his fellow outfielders’. Ramirez’s timing couldn’t be better as Ortiz is in the midst of a mild dryspell which might be exacerbated as the team faces a gauntlet of left-handed Jays pitchers. The infield’s offense is also showing signs of life, particularly Renteria and Mueller. The Red Sox are poised to prove the adage that birds of a feather do indeed flock together as they try to send both avian teams south for the winter.

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