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Home » May 2007 Game CommentsMay 2007 » Ruling


Game 50: May 28, 2007
Indians 3 L: Cliff Lee (2-2) 31-18, 1 game losing streak
12-4-1 series record
WinRed Sox 5 W: Curt Schilling (5-2)
H: Javier Lopez (6)
H: Brendan Donnelly (6)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (13)
35-15, 4 game winning streak
13-3-2 series record
Highlights: Trot Nixon returned to Fenway since he signed with the Indians. It was the seventh anniversary of his home run off Roger Clemens with the Yankees in a game that also featured a complete game by Pedro Martinez.

They swept the cowboys; how would they do with the Indians? First-place American League Central teams come to Fenway to have their mettle tested. Shortly after the Tigers slunk away from Boston with a series loss they were swept by Cleveland to fall to second in their division. Already dominating their own division, the Red Sox sought to wreak havoc in other divisions.

Curt Schilling dispelled growing worries about his declining performance with his dominant seven-inning showing. He gave up a six hits, no walks, and a single earned run. He struck out 10 batters, dismissing Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner twice. Every Cleveland hitter except Trot Nixon struck out at least once.

Schilling’s rebound was overshadowed by Kevin Youkilis’s inside-the-park home run in the seventh. I was sitting in the upper third of Section 37, so the triangle was not visible from my seat. I used the crowd reaction to gage whether Sizemore had robbed Youkilis as he did Wily Mo Peña in the fourth inning. A cheer erupted, so I knew at the very least that the center fielder didn’t make the play. My first assumption was that it was a ground-rule double because the clamor wasn’t loud enough to be home run.

But then I saw Youkilis motoring hard around the keystone sack. With mounting excitement, the spectators eyes widened with amazement as the Red Sox first baseman strode across the plate for the fourth run of the game. Fittingly, the previous inside-the-parker was accomplished by none other than Trot Nixon on July 15, 2005 against the Yankees.

All of the Red Sox production came on doubles or homers. In the fourth Youkilis led off with a double; J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell followed suit. Manny Ramirez slugged a traditional four-bagger in the fifth against the third row podium. In the eighth Dustin Pedroia and Julio Lugo both aimed two-baggers into right field.

Jonathan Papelbon’s less than overpowering save in the ninth was obscured by the Casey Blake incident. David Dellucci led off the inning with a walk, Ryan Garko singled, and Josh Barfield doubled. The latter two batters did not tarry at the dish and swung early in the count. The gambit paid off in a run scored and a possible comeback.

Papelbon induced a pop fly off the bat of Sizemore, granting runners at second and third with one out for Blake. The controversial fourth pitch hit Cleveland’s third baseman on the hands and home plate umpire Rick Reed called it as such. The canny Lowell was part of the Red Sox lobbying party that insisted that first base official Chuck Meriwether rule on whether or not Blake had swung at the pitch.

The call was revisited and Blake was called out. Confusion reigned in the stands as the ball was clearly deflected by something, and if it wasn’t Blake’s flesh it must have been his bat. Jason Varitek didn’t catch the ball and no throw was made to first, but Blake also didn’t even attempt to take first. As it turns out, such an action wasn’t necessary. The SoSH game thread found the two rules that applied to the at bat:

Section 2.00, Definition of Terms
A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which
(a) Is struck at by the batter and is missed;
(b) Is not struck at, if any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone;
(c) Is fouled by the batter when he has less than two strikes;
(d) Is bunted foul;
(e) Touches the batter as he strikes at it;
(f) Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone; or
(g) Becomes a foul tip.

Section 6.05, The Batter
A batter is out when --
(f) He attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him....

Even after watching the replay of the game when I got home I still question if Blake was swinging. What was unquestionable was Papelbon’s ability to collect himself to strike out the lethal Hafner, ending the threat and the game.


Yes I called it. I wasn't fully certain about it, but I knew there was a rule about being hit by a pitch and having it called a strike if you swung at it or a body part was in the batter's box. Woohooo!!!! My only question really is did the ball really hit him or did it foul off of his bat. It's hard to distinguish the sound of flesh or bat from our seats though.

Great seeing you again Empy.

Hey, Ed! It was great to see you again and meet your girlfriend.

Good call; you are already a better umpire than Tim Tschida.

I will be writing more about this game and the Royal Rooters hijinks when I post my photos from this game. I'm waiting until June because of bandwidth issues.

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