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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Doused


Game 109: August 5, 2006
Red Sox (65-44), 5
Devil Rays (46-65), 8
W: Casey Fossum (6-4)
H: Jon Switzer (4)
S: Brian Meadows (8)
L: David Wells (0-2)

David Ortiz is many things, but a natural first baseman he is not. Entering the bottom of the fourth the Red Sox had the lead and David Wells had a no-hitter going. But the irksome Damon Hollins led off with a single and Carl Crawford squibbed a grounder to Ortiz that should have been fielded to erase the lead runner.

Instead, the sometime first baseman fumbled with the ball in his haste. Jorge Cantu, Greg Norton, B.J. Upton, and Josh Paul singled for a carousel inning of four unearned runs.

Wily Mo Peña did have his first outfield assist as a left fielder when he snatched Cantu’s hit and gunned out Crawford for the first out of the inning. The slugging outfielder is still working on his fielding; he dove awkwardly for Hollins’s leadoff line drive in the fifth. The extra base hit would be rendered harmless because Wells was able to recover from the fiasco in the fourth, striking out Crawford and inducing ground outs from Cantu and Travis Lee.

Coco Crisp impressed both at the plate and in the field. In the bottom of the second he ranged far to nab the final out and rob Norton of extra bases and led off in the top of the third with a double to left field. But he would be stranded, a recurrent theme in this game that saw ten men left on base.

Ortiz thwarted Joe Maddon’s unorthodox shift in the eighth with a bunt single that flirted down the third base line. Manny Ramirez launched his 31st dinger of the season, extended his hitting streak to 21 games, and brought his team to within one run. The designated hitter for the day tied Mo Vaughn’s club total of 230 roundtrippers, and the pair is now tied for fifth for the franchise mark for homers.

In the home half of the eighth, Craig Hansen showed that his closer abilities have not yet translated to the major league level. He did strike out Jonny Gomes on three pitches, but there aren’t many pitchers against whom the slumping sophomore Ray looks good against these days. The bottom third of the Rays’ order scored three runs to seemingly put the game completely out of reach.

The visitors would get a run back after Ortiz lined a single past the shift to plate Mark Loretta. The wan Tampa Bay bullpen seemed poised for another meltdown as Ramirez singled and Kevin Youkilis walked to load the bases. But Javy Lopez can make even Brian Meadows, a member of the rotating arms that make up the closer’s role who possesses a 4.20 ERA, seem like relief pitcher of the year. Lopez grounded into a double play to end the game by weakly swinging at the first pitch he saw. Perhaps pitching coach Ron Jackson needs to remind Lopez what the club’s preferred approach at the plate is.

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