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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Anoint


Game 5: April 8, 2006
Red Sox (4-1), 2
Orioles (2-3), 1
W: Curt Schilling (2-0)
H: Mike Timlin (2)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (2)
L: Bruce Chen (0-1)

Curt Schilling won his second game in a row and the Red Sox won their second one-run game. Schilling’s only mistake was sent out of Camden Yards by Orioles center fielder Luis Matos in the sixth for a home run. It was one of just three hits Schilling served up in the course of his seven-inning appearance featuring two walks and four strikeouts.

The mantle of closer was definitively turned over to Jonathan Papelbon, the only bullpen pitcher who Terry Francona has brought into close games since he and Keith Foulke both pitched in the late innings of the season opener against Texas. In that game, Papelbon shut down the side while Foulke gave up an earned run and long, strongly hit fly balls that required outfield intervention.

Mike Timlin earned his second hold of the season, again in tandem with Papelbon. Get used to the mantra: “Timlin in the eighth, Papelbon in the ninth.”

Since Baltimore lefty Bruce Chen started, Wily Mo Peña made his first start in right field. Peña struck out both in the second and fourth innings, which were his only two times at bat. In each situation he did so to end the inning and stranded four runners total. He saw only seven pitches and swung at six. Peña would do well to emulate Jason Varitek (11-pitch at bat in the second resulting in a walk) and Manny Ramirez (10-pitch effort that ended in a strikeout). Even Kevin Millar took seven pitches from Papelbon as the last batter in the game.

As with seasons past, Ramirez made one of those circus catches you don’t expect. Schilling dug a hole for himself in the second inning by walking Javy Lopez with Jay Gibbons on and two out. Jeff Conine bolted an almost guaranteed extra base hit to left field only to have Ramirez corral the ball while on the run.

Both Coco Crisp and David Ortiz overestimated their speed. After rapping a grounder to center field for a single in the third, Crisp facilely swiped second. Thus emboldened, the Red Sox center fielder charged for third base but was caught stealing. Mark Loretta was at the plate with the count 1-0, one out, and the score knotted at zero. Loretta subsequently flied out to left to end the inning, but nonetheless the attempted theft was unnecessarily risky given Loretta’s batting average of .368.

In the fourth, Ortiz slammed a hit so sharply off the right field wall it caromed back to Gibbons in time to gun out the designated hitter at second. Despite the erasure, Varitek doubled to center and was driven in by Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis is another batter Peña should mirror; the odd prime number baseman worked the count full against Chen and then lined his hit just beyond the ambit of Miguel Tejada to put the first run of the game on the board.

In the bottom of the fifth, Varitek hurt the brick wall backstop. It had to be taken out on a stretcher for x-rays.

Ortiz led off the sixth with a base on balls and advanced to third on a Ramirez single to the opposite field. Varitek, despite feeling a twinge of guilt for felling the wall, lofted a fly ball double to right to score Ortiz. Youkilis once again worked the count, this time to load the bases, but the efforts of Trot Nixon, pinch hitting for Peña with righty Sendy Rleal on the mound, and Gonzalez were in vain.

The Orioles were left in a lurch with the departure of closer B.J. Ryan, but may have found solid bullpen options in LaTroy Hawkins and Chris Ray. Both pitched perfectly in the late innings, perhaps showing that Leo Mazzone’s magic touch has so far impacted his relievers.

Boston goes for the series sweep against a team that has traditionally proved to be a difficult match-up for them. Later today Red Sox killer Rodrigo Lopez faces off against Tim Wakefield, who is looking to rebound from a disastrous start in Texas.

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