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Home » July 2007 Game CommentsJuly 2007 » Triskaidekaphobia


Game 86: July 7, 2007 · 13 innings
Red Sox 2 L: Jonathan Papelbon (0-2) 53-33, 2 game losing streak
19-8-3 series record
WinTigers 3 W: Jason Grilli (3-2) 51-34, 4 game winning streak
18-8-3 series record
Highlights: Boston is now 1-5 in games over regulation. Kason Gabbard’s two walks in the fifth and the two-out rope to left by Craig Monroe to drive them in was not the downfall of the Red Sox. Leaving 12 men on base grounding into four double plays toppled the team.

Every member of Boston’s relief corps should be given the opportunity to sucker punch a Red Sox hitter of their choice. Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin, and Javier Lopez contributed all-out innings to hold the Tigers at bay while their batters squandered opportunity after opportunity. Yes, even Timlin, who pitched around ducks on the pond in the eleventh.

Broadcasters like to equate series against two division leaders as heavyweight bouts. Such an analogy implies that blows are actually being landed.

Last night’s contest was like a slow-motion quarterstaff match. The Red Sox played Daffy Duck to Detroit’s Porky Pig in that most famous of quarterstaff (or $1.25 staff) confrontations, the standoff in “Robin Hood Daffy.” Ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!

Okajima parried against two leadoff walks in the tenth and battled out of a bases-loaded jam. The enmity exuded by Tigers fans was palpable; their sweetheart missed the chance at his first All-Star game appearance by losing to the Red Sox reliever. They coveted a loss to be born by Okajima in retribution for the snubbing of their ace.

Okajima wouldn’t play a part in their passion play. After intentionally walking Brandon Inge to load the bases, Okajima induced a tapper of the bat of Curtis Granderson to first to expunge Ivan Rodriguez at home. He toyed with Omar Infante; two called strikes arced over the plate with no response by the second baseman. Behind the count the infielder was forced to swing at the next pitch, which he lifted harmlessly to center field.

Bonderman acquitted himself well over eight innings. His only misstep happened in the first inning against one man whom pitchers would be loathe to throw anything but paint. David Ortiz crushed the 2-1 offering that had too much of the dish into the right field stands with Dustin Pedroia perched on third.

After Ortiz’s leadoff double in the sixth, Tigers pitchers would not repeat that mistake. They took the bat out of his hands in the eighth, tenth, and twelfth.

Terry Francona must be a fan of Kirk Gibson (or not terribly enamored of J.D. Drew’s recent exploits). He tried to recreate the pinch hitter’s 1988 World Series glory on a small scale by sending Kevin Youkilis to the plate in the twelfth. The hobbled first baseman was undoubtedly hindered by rust standing in against Bobby Seay. Nothing like a bases-loaded, two-out bat to get the juices flowing. Like Infante he watched two strikes cross the plate and had to swing behind in the count; he flied out to right to end the threat.

As Kason Gabbard succumbed baserunners without hits in the fifth so did Jonathan Papelbon in the thirteenth. The relief ace drilled Gary Sheffield to leadoff the inning and his presence on first galled the battery for the duration of Magglio Ordóñez’s at bat. Six pickoff attempts were interspersed in the four pitches it took to dismiss the right fielder but Sheffield still swiped second with the first pitch to Carlos Guillen.

Coco Crisp almost made the catch of the season on Ivan Rodriguez’s liner to the right-center gap, but the Red Sox had expended all their luck by the bottom of the thirteenth.


reminds me of the june 5th game against the a's when sox hit into 5 double plays. it's a curse...

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