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Home » September 2005 Game CommentsSeptember 2005 » Series


Game 145: September 14, 2005
Red Sox (85-60), 5
Blue Jays (72-73), 3
W: David Wells (13-7)
H: Chad Bradford (7)
S: Mike Timlin (8)
L: Josh Towers (11-11)

2.5 games ahead in the division
1 game winning streak

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray to Theo: Ortiz to keep.
And if we lose before I wake
I pray Millar a pitch to take.

In the 1st inning Tony Graffanino demonstrated his outstanding baserunning. He tore out of the batter’s box after grounding a hit to center field to leg out a double, setting himself up to score on two productive outs by Bill Mueller and Ortiz.

The Red Sox were vicitimized by a questionable call in the 2nd inning. Lance Barksdale called Shea Hillenbrand safe at second base despite Graffanino tagging the Jays first baseman. Barksdale, like Chris Guccione, is an umpire call-up from the Pacific Coast League. The botched ruling allowed Hillenbrand to stay on base and eventually score the second and final run of the inning with a Frank Menechino double to left field.

Jerry Remy noted that Toronto puts a strange shift on Ortiz. Instead of simply moving second baseman Menechino and shortstop Aaron Hill over towards first base, Hill plugged the gap between first and second because he has a stronger arm than the second baseman. When Ortiz grounded into a double play to end the 3rd inning, it was 4-5-3. John Gibbons can shuffle the infield all he wants, but he can’t have them camp out in the stands when the league’s premiere designated hitter hits a four-bagger. Which is exactly what Ortiz did in the 8th with Mueller on base to give his team the lead.

The game was not without its moment of poignancy. In the 5th inning, Gabe Kapler fell down while rounding second base on Graffanino’s home run. Since it was a line drive shot, Kapler couldn’t tell that the ball was out of the park and was therefore running at full speed. The slow motion replays showed the difference in footing between the field turf and the basepath may have led to Kapler’s downfall. Alejandro Machado was brought in to complete Kapler’s run, which is possible under the provisions of Rule 7.01. The diagnosis on Kapler is a ruptured left Achilles tendon, an injury that typically takes a year of recovery. We may have seen the last of Kapler in the major leagues. Fittingly, he went down fighting: he reached first base by running hard and taking advantage of Corey Koskie’s offline throw to Hillenbrand.

With a makeshift lineup that did not include the recovering Johnny Damon nor the fatigued Edgar Renteria, the Red Sox pulled out a pivotal road series win against the exasperating Jays and move on to another crucial series at home. As a former Red Sox player has said, how can you take Oakland seriously? They wear white shoes.

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