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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Boon


Game 12: April 16, 2006
Mariners (6-7), 2
Red Sox (8-4), 3
L: Jarrod Washburn (1-2)
W: Josh Beckett (3-0)
H: Mike Timlin (4)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (6)

Sometimes Jim Rice’s mixed metaphors are (unintentionally?) poetic. In the pre-game show to this game he said, “This is the time you have to put the nail in the coffin or they’ll come back to haunt you.”

Unlike Josh Beckett’s other two starts, the right-handed pitcher’s first inning was a walk in the park. Not that he literally walked anyone. Well, he did, but not until the fourth inning when Matt Lawton got a free pass. Beckett has been a big hit in Boston so far because he hasn’t given up a lot of them; just six in this game. The former Marlins pitcher has been on a great run (although he gave up just two runs, one unearned) as this is the first season he has started the season 3-0. After achieving prominence in the World Series, Beckett wasn’t known for striking out with ladies such as Leeann Tweeden; instead he struck out hitters, like the five Mariners he did on Sunday. Two of those strikeouts were key as they came in the sixth inning with a runner on third, one out, and the score 3-2. Beckett could have opened the door for Seattle to walk right back into the game, but he slammed it shut to end the inning.

Jerry Remy let slip that Tony Massarotti was the official scorer for this game. On the phantom safe call of Jason Varitek by first base umpire Rick Reed, Massarotti gave Adrian Beltre a throwing error rather than doing the homer thing and giving the captain a hit. In the second inning, Massarotti labeled Alex Gonzalez’s oddly hopping grounder as an error on Beltre rather than a hit. It almost seemed like Boston Herald scribe had it in for Beltre or just didn’t want to dole out Red Sox hits. Massarotti also charged an error to Mark Loretta in the third when the second baseman bobbled a grounder of the bat of Ichiro Suzuki. It probably would have been called a hit at Safeco. In his one act of mercy, Massarotti changed his mind on Wily Mo Peña’s dive for Raul Ibanez’s liner in the sixth inning. At first he called it a double and error, but he eventually changed it to a triple. Replays showed that Ibanez would attempt to leg out a triple no matter what Peña did.

The Red Sox bettered their one-run game record to 4-0, winning games on strength of pitching rather than offensive onslaughts. The home team scored early thanks to Kevin Youkilis leading off the game with a five-pitch walk. The leadoff hitter advanced on a Mark Loretta double that caught the bottom of the wall and then scored on Manny Ramirez’s ground out to first base. If an RBI could be granted to an umpire, Reed would be leading the league with his one-run miscall of the Varitek/Sexson play at first which scored Loretta.

Seattle responded with runs of their own in the top of the third inning. Suzuki reached on error and seemed to distract Beckett. After throwing pickoff, strike, pickoff, strike, ball, Jose Lopez got a hold of pitch and lined a triple into right field to score Suzuki. Ibanez then lobbed a wind-assisted RBI single to shallow center that eluded Gonzalez, which tied the score.

Gonzalez would use the wind, and a rookie center fielder’s inexperience, to his advantage in the fourth inning, however. Varitek poked a grounder just past Yuniesky Bentancourt’s outstretched arm for a single. After seemingly regaining his wits to strike out Mike Lowell, Jarrod Washburn proceeded to walk Dustan Mohr and hit Peña with a pitch to load the bases. Gonzalez came to the plate swinging, falling behind the count 0-2. On the fourth pitch he lofted what should have been a fly out to center but became an RBI single thanks to the buffeting gusts moving from left to right field. Jeremy Reed misjudged the strength of the win and, for the second straight win in a row, Gonzalez proved to be the difference maker.

Ramirez again showed flashes of brilliance on the field. With extended glove hand he caught Suzuki’s fly ball on the run as it trailed away toward the wall and to his left for the first out of the eighth inning. He then hauled in Ibanez’s slicing ball away on the backhand as it arced away from him towards the right. Peña could learn from his counterpart across the outfield.

The bullpen tandem of Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon once again treated the fans at Fenway with a near-perfect pair of innings. I suppose they wanted to be sure that every Red Sox fan attending this homestand will get to see a Timlin hold and Papelbon save.

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