|Game 29: April 30, 2008|
|Blue Jays||0||L: Scott Downs (0-1)
||11-17, 2 game losing streak|
|Red Sox||1||BS: Hideki Okajima (3)
W: Jonathan Papelbon (2-0)
|17-12, 2 game winning streak|
|Highlights: Kinkō means balance or equilibrium, something which Daisuke Matsuzaka achieved in last night’s game by using every weapon in his extensive arsenal. NESN just showed Tim Wakefield demonstrating the knuckler to Matsuzaka, so perhaps we’ll have that to look forward to. The starter had his longest outing of the season, following his fellow rotation members’ recent proclivity for turning in starts in excess of seven innings. Sixty-nine of his 111 pitches were for strikes and he allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out four. The Japanese have a phrase kinkō o yaburu [均衡を破る], which literally means “to destroy the balance” but in baseball refers to the first run to break a scoreless tie that has lasted five or so innings.|
David Ortiz shattered the six columns of stolidly poised zeros on the Fenway scoreboard with his thundering shot to souvenir city in right field. His fifth home run of the season put his team in the lead late, a seeming repeat of Tuesday evening’s foray.
There were many Groundhog Day-like elements to the game. The weather was similarly chilly and the Red Sox notched a run late just as they did the night before. Unfortunately, Hideki Okajima rewound to April 22, a game against the Angels where he came in and relinquished the lead.
But that game was a late-inning, one-run triumph, just as this one would be.
Vernon Wells’s déjà vus were far less enjoyable than his opposition’s. It was off his arm that Ortiz crossed home in the first game of the series, and the center fielder’s arm would be tested twice.
He passed with flying colors the first time. A pair of Pawtucket call-ups, Brandon Moss (covering for an ailing J.D. Drew) and Jed Lowrie, set the stage. Moss shot the ball up the middle, his hit bounded off Scott Downs’s leg before being gloved by Wells.
Wells demonstrated why he is a three-time Gold Glove winner with an accurate heave to home that Rod Barajas ably caught while blocking the dish with his shin. With one sweep of his mitt Lowrie was erased from the game’s equation.
Jason Varitek, another backstop who can formidably barricade runners from home, lined his hit to the right of Downs, causing Wells to have to angle his approach to the ball. That slightest deviation from balance gave Manny Ramirez enough time to hurtle from second to home for the winning run.
That is the sort of déjà vu one could get used to.