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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Flu


Game 17: April 21, 2006
Red Sox (11-6), 6
Blue Jays (8-7), 7

BS: Mike Timlin (2)
L: Keith Foulke (0-1)
W: Justin Speier (1-0)
12 innings

The Red Sox were afflicted by a variant form of avian flu last night. The Blue Jays proved that they are indeed an offensive force to be reckoned with, doing their best impression of the 2004 Red Sox with their come-from-behind, extra innings win.

One good thing coming out of the marathon meeting is the possible injury of A.J. Burnett. The big ticket free agent pickup exited before the fifth inning after just 78 pitches with elbow discomfort. He gave up a pair of two-out home runs to Boston’s dynamic duo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Should this be a long-term injury Burnett, Toronto may prove to be more vulnerable without their ace tandem. But their bats could carry them through the lack of pitching.

In fact, until the twelfth and final inning, all runs had been scored because of roundtrippers. Ramirez gave fans in the right field stands two home run ball souvenirs for the first time this season and Ortiz added another four-bagger to his gaudy numbers. Not wanting to be left out of the barrage, Jason Varitek notched his first homer of the season in the sixth.

In the top of the eighth, did Jerry Remy make a fat joke about Josh Beckett? The color guy said, “Beckett, sitting on the bench, enjoys a little cushion in this game.”

That little cushion was quickly flattened. Beckett commenced the inning by hitting Aaron Hill. Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg immediately warned both dugouts because Alex Gonzalez had been hit by Jason Frasor in top half of the inning. The supposed retaliation proved Beckett’s undoing. Russ Adams, Vernon Wells, and Troy Glaus all homered in the eighth to tie the score, 6-6.

Except for the errant throw by Mike Lowell to J.T. Snow in the eighth that allowed Shea Hillenbrand to reach base, the Red Sox defense displayed its acuity. Lowell played the artificial turf to his advantage in the third inning; after snaring Hill’s grounder, the third baseman bounced the ball to first from his sitting position on the infield, knowing that the fast surface would carry the ball to Kevin Youkilis’s glove. In the fifth, Youkilis himself flashed the leather. He ranged to right for another Hill ground ball and tossed the retrieved orb over to Beckett, who managed to win the footrace to the bag despite his cushion.

With the bullpens depleted, the Red Sox and Blue Jays meet this afternoon for the pivotal middle game of the series. I’m beginning to find the Canadian team more compelling and menacing than that other team somewhere south of Boston, even if Burnett has to sit out for a number of months.

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