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Home » April 2007 Game CommentsApril 2007 » Aerie


Game 14: April 19, 2007
WinRed Sox 5 W: Mike Timlin (1-0)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (4)
9-5, 2 game winning streak
3-1-1 series record
Blue Jays 3 H: Scott Downs (2)
BS, L: Shaun Marcum (1, 1-1)
8-7, 2 game losing streak
2-1-1 series record
Highlights: The Red Sox have their first late-inning, come-from-behind win of the 2007 season with their stopgap starter, Julian Tavarez, facing staff ace Roy Halladay. Boston also benefited from a balk for the first time this year, too, the infraction coming against Scott Downs in the eighth with Coco Crisp on first.

Yesterday Alex Rodriguez was not the only one to have a late-inning dinger to help win a game, even though ESPN would have you believe otherwise. To be sure, Manny Ramirez’s game-tying shot came in the eighth, but since the Red Sox were the visitors, a walk-off wasn’t possible, anyway.

There would a lot of second guessing of John Gibbons’s decision if the hockey playoffs weren’t going on. Actually, that’s not entirely true, as there would never be any questioning of a Blue Jays manager because baseball falls beneath curling and lumberjack contests in importance for inhabitants of the Great White North. Gibbons pulled Roy Halladay in favor of Scott Downs to match the southpaw against David Ortiz. The stratagem was initially successful as the Red Sox designated hitter struck out after a seven-pitch battle.

Then Gibbons called on Shaun Marcum to put away Ramirez. Marcum fell behind with two consecutive balls. Ramirez knew that the righty would have to get a pitch over the plate and crouched in calm anticipation. Trailing by a run with Coco Crisp on second thanks to a balk, Ramirez tied the score with a single swing. It was a response to the left fielder’s critics for his cold start as well as redemption for grounding into an inning-ending double play in the third.

Two of Toronto’s runs came by the home run: Frank Thomas in the second and Alex Rios in the sixth. A second run in the sixth plated thanks to Vernon Wells’s double to left.

Mike Timlin got into a jam in the eighth by surrendering yet another double to Wells. Wells advanced to third on a ground out by Thomas. Lyle Overbay was intentionally walked to set up the double play. Aaron Hill, who had so deftly nullified Red Sox baserunners throughout the series with his radiant defensive play, had a reversal of fortune at last and became the victim of a superb 1-6-3 double play.

The visiting team took the lead in the ninth. Versatile bench player Eric Hinske (who had sacrificed in the second for the first run of the game) walked to lead off the inning but was effaced from the basepaths on Dustin Pedroia’s bunt attempt. Julio Lugo pinch ran for Pedroia and had a chance to flash his speed thanks to Alex Cora’s go-ahead RBI triple. Cora would score on a sacrifice fly launched by Crisp into center to give his team some breathing room, although with Jonathan Papelbon closing, such a concept is superfluous.

Gregg Zaun certainly knew how to wait out Red Sox pitchers this series. It seemed that with each appearance he finagled a free pass and this was no different in the bottom of the ninth facing Jonathan Papelbon. Jason Smith and Matt Stairs are not made of the same mettle; both struck out on a combined 10 pitches. Rios battled for 10 chances of his own, but against Papelbon the strength of Rios’s final swing only extended as far as J.D. Drew’s glove.

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