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Home » May 2006 Game CommentsMay 2006 » Clout


Game 30: May 6, 2006
Orioles (14-18), 3
Red Sox (18-12), 9
L: Erik Bedard (4-2)
W: Tim Wakefield (2-4)
H: Mike Timlin (8)

The Red Sox improved their winning percentage to .600 last night with a game that had as much rhythm as Elaine Benes. It was an odd match-up that played out in fits and starts, as desultory as the pitches Tim Wakefield throws. But with the refreshed Doug Mirabelli as backstop and a vigorous offense, the knuckleballer recorded just his second win of the season. He pitched six innings with a line of seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts, and a single homer.

Erik Bedard lost the game, his standing as a member of the Red Sox antagonists club, and the distinction of being the guy on the Orioles that most resembles a high school at his first job. Taking over the later accolade would be Baltimore second baseman Brandon Fahey, who could be mistaken for a ball boy. In fact, I think I saw Miguel Tejada telling Fahey to go get him some Bengay for his knee before realizing that it was his double play partner.

At times, the Orioles looked as bad as the Devil Rays are purported to be. Bedard imploded in the second inning. He walked Manny Ramirez on four pitches and fell behind Mike Lowell 3-0 before managing to connive a called strike. Lowell ended up taking first on a base on balls anyway.

Wily Mo Peña entered the batter’s box and Bedard must have been relieved to finally work the count into his favor as the center fielder fouled the first pitch off and watched another pitch go for a strike. Here’s where Peña did something surprising, something you probably wouldn’t have seen him do before he came to the Red Sox. He dialed back his stroke on the third pitch, grounding a ball up the middle to drive in Ramirez and advance Lowell. Luis Matos’s attempted hosing of Ramirez would have been closer if his throw wasn’t deflected by the mound. The Red Sox would bat around and then some in the second, with Alex Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis also singling in RBIs of their own.

Since I mentioned Elaine Benes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remark on Youkilis’s impersonation of her dance moves. The first baseman had to avoid being nailed by Mark Loretta’s batted ball when running from first to second and executed what could be best described as a polka/jig hybrid. The motion was made all the more amusing by his dainty attempt at avoiding Chris Gomez’s tag. Honestly, it should be Youkilis in that Jimmy Fallon/Parker Posey Pepsi commercial.

Mirabelli knocked his first hit in as a Red Sox player this season in the third inning. He Lowelled, I mean, doubled, down the left field to plate Peña. What does a batter think when he initiates a pitching change, I wonder. Mirabelli’s extra base hit chased Bedard from the game.

Wakefield was totally helping Kevin Millar pad his stats. Millar singled to begin the fourth inning and scored on Gomez’s home run into the stanchion.

Not to be outdone by Gomez, Ramirez jettisoned his first home roundtripper in the bottom of the fourth. The left fielder swung low and catapulted the ball over the wall in the imperial way that only he can do.

Julian Tavarez entered the game in the seventh to a lukewarm reception. Perhaps to overcompensate for the humdrum middle innings, Tavarez spiced things up in the eighth. After two routine outs, he drilled Matos. Matos took it well enough and smiled as he took his base but also said something. Tavarez came closer to Matos, cupping his ear because he didn’t hear. The move towards the hitter was enough to empty the benches and, after some time, the bullpens. This indicated that the Red Sox protect their own, even if it is Tavarez.

The adrenaline levels were probably a tad too high for Tavarez, who gave up a towering, wall-scraping double to Gomez. Mike Timlin had to get the final out of the eighth.

Ramirez and Peña’s sacrifice flies in the home half of the eighth provided enough cushion for even Rudy Seanez, who pitched a perfect ninth. The near-brawl probably inspired the ultimate fighter to greater heights of performance.

The worm has turned in this team match-up at last. This afternoon, Boston will try to kill three birds with one stone for the second series sweep this season.

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