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Home » September 2007 Game CommentsSeptember 2007 » Barnburner


Game 146: September 11, 2007
Devil Rays 10 L: Jon Switzer (o-1) 61-84, 1 game losing streak
15-27-5 series record
WinRed Sox 16 W: Bryan Corey (1-0) 88-58, 1 game winning streak
30-12-5 series record
Magic number: 13
Highlights: Something old, something new -- David Ortiz and J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia all homered. Something borrowed, something blue -- Eric Gagne made his first appearance since August 26 and gave up two sharp raps and a run; Joe Maddon presides over one of the two teams tied for the worst record in baseball. Ozzie Guillen is the manager for the other team, and he was just inked to a five-year extension. I don’t think the Devil Rays ownership will be as munificent.

Whatever was ailing Tim Wakefield still seems to be nagging him. For the second start in the row the knuckleballer did not last the minimum for a decision and was knocked about soundly by a team he normally dominates.

In September Wakefield’s ERA is 17.55. Opponents are batting .512 against him while chalking up .795 in slugging.

Although the division title is nearly in hand, if Wakefield’s recent performance doesn’t turn around he may be a question mark in the playoff rotation. His woes, along with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s late-season decline, make the well-oiled pitching machine of the regular season seem like a broken-down clunker in the fall.

Tampa Bay’s second and fourth innings outbursts were unrelenting liners and grounders punctuated by a home run in the top of each frame. The entire gamut of Devil Rays talent managed to make contact off Boston twirlers: Brendan Harris, who hit his career-high 11th homer of the season, blasted a solo shot in the second off Wakefield and Carlos Peña, also on a career jag, launched his 39th longball in the fourth with two men against Kyle Snyder.

The Red Sox sluggers were able to salvage a win by exacting the same punishment on the Devil Rays pitching corps. They scored in five straight innings to surmount the Devil Rays’ early lead.

In the fourth Boston plated four runs of their own. Joe Maddon stayed with Andy Sonnanstine as Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Coco Crisp, and Julio Lugo all singled. But when Kevin Cash smoked a single down the first base line for two runs Maddon at last realized his starter was cooked.

Scott Dohman, who probably strongly dislikes preponderance of “The Simpsons,” allowed a sacrifice fly off the bat Pedroia. B.J. Upton nearly hosed Julio Lugo at home but Dioner Navarro couldn’t keep a handle on the relay. Goodness knows that 175 pounds of Lugo right on top of one would make anyone queasy, let alone a product of the Yankee farm system.

In the fifth the same Red Sox batters savaged Dohman. Lowell led off with a ground ball that Josh Wilson gloved but couldn’t dig out. Drew lined to center and Kevin Youkilis waited out for a free pass to load the bases. With three more runs thanks to two sacrifices and a Lugo double, the local nine pulled within one run.

The Red Sox completely stole the show in the next inning, the opening act being Pedroia’s Wily Mo Peña-like line drive homer into the Monster seats.

With the bases jammed, Youkilis ricocheted an arcing blow off the base of the far left field wall that receded away from Upton’s grasp. The bases emptied and the corner infielder stood at third, his team’s triumph all but assured.

From that point the Devil Rays seemed to be pondering which Landsdowne bar to visit rather than the game itself. The final total of 16 runs topped the 15 runs plated on July 5 against none other than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The magnitude of the victory hopefully eased the pain of the fan who was hit with Crisp’s fly ball in the second. It may have been the first home run preempted by face interference.

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