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Home » June 2008 Game CommentsJune 2008 » Atonement


Game 78: June 22, 2008 ∙ 13 innings
Cardinals 3 BS: Chris Perez (1)
L: Mike Parisi (0-3)
44-33, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 5 BS: Jonathan Papelbon (4)
W: Javier Lopez (2-0)
47-31, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: A baker’s dozen of innings to while away the hours on a sleepy Sunday. Craig Hansen was as much a hero as Kevin Youkilis; in his one and two-third innings of work not one base runner reached and three went down flailing at his now-restored slider.

Jon Lester notched his fourth quality start in a row, but by the end of the game any memories of his outing evaporated like the puddles on Lansdowne on a summer day. He only struck out three batters, but when you only allow one free pass and nine hits sprinkled over seven and one-third innings the damage can be contained.

It was a day of folly on the field. Yadier Molina expanded his horizons by manning first base instead taking his customary position behind home plate. Brian Barton tripped over Rick Ankiel in their dual pursuit of Jacoby Ellsbury’s fly ball to the left-center gap in the first inning.Coco Crisp clanged up against the garage door in center to rob Ankiel of a hit to lead off the fifth inning.

Ankiel’s unfamiliarity with Fenway’s center field seemed to have hindered him in the bottom of the eighth. As he backed up on Crisp’s deep fly ball he stumbled, allowing the ball to stray into the triangle. I thought Crisp would leg out an inside-the-parker, but the more prudent course of action would to stand at third and wait to be plated in a less dramatic but far more assured manner.

Julio Lugo lofted a sacrifice fly to right-center to tie the game. Dustin Pedroia singled to right and tallied the go-ahead run after Chris Perez walked three batters in succession. Kevin Youkilis stood in the box with the bases loaded and the chance to ice the game in that inning.

Youkilis has never hit a grand slam and as of last night still has yet to. Perhaps like Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek it will take time for the first baseman to accomplish such a feat. Youkilis had scored the first run of the game with his solo shot into the Monster seats in the bottom of the seventh. However, in the eighth inning he whiffed on a high fastball. He would have a chance to redeem himself, however.

Jonathan Papelbon came within one out of his 22nd save but granted a free pass to Chris Duncan. Duncan would score on pinch hitter Adam Kennedy’s fly ball over Crisp’s glove.

Mike O’Malley visited the NESN booth just long enough to plug his upcoming series with Christian Slater but left abruptly when Duncan (him, again!) doubled to center with one out in the top of the thirteenth (and they say ballplayers are superstitious). Right after his departure, Kennedy blooped the ball into right field. J.D. Drew deftly fielded it and threw it on target to Varitek’s glove.

Duncan tried to bowl over Varitek, but the Red Sox backstop clutched the sphere steadfastly. Varitek rolled with Duncan’s tackle and came up holding the second out of the inning. The final out of the inning settled in Crisp’s glove without fanfare thanks to O’Malley’s timely reversal of the jinx.

Hopefully O’Malley also visited the young fans in the left field boxes who interfered with Ellsbury’s hit in the tenth inning and taught them a thing or two about propoer baseball etiquette.

Youkilis’s shot at atonement came in the bottom of the thirteenth. Surfeit with the multitude of wasted opportunities, Youkilis unleashed his frustration on Chris Parisi’s unseasoned pitching, launching one into the Monster seats to secure the walk-off win.

This will inevitably become part of the highlight reel of 2008 when we meditate on those pivotal moments of the season.

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