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Home » April 2009 Game CommentsApril 2009 » Verging


Game 9: April 15, 2009
WinRed Sox8W: Tim Wakefield (1-1)3-6, 1 game winning streak
Athletics2L: Brett Anderson (0-2)4-5, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: You can’t be a little pregnant and you can't have a bit of a perfect game or a smidgen of a no-hitter. Wakefield was three innings from a perfect game until Mike Lowell’s error on Kurt Suzuki’s batted ball in the sixth. He was then five outs from a no-hitter when Suzuki lined a single into left.

The Red Sox offense picked a fine time to bat around the order for the first time this season. The knuckleballer sat in the dugout for 25 minutes waiting to return to the mound. Tim Wakefield said the delay didn’t impact him, but Dennis Eckersley thought otherwise.

Mike Lowell was the only glimmer of offense for either team until that fateful eighth. It came in the second inning and was Lowell’s second homer of the season.

As he did in Jon Lester’s no-hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury played a key role, although his contribution wasn’t as stunning as his catch last year. The ball hawk made an outstanding grab to end the third, tracking down Landon Powell’s deep fly and snagging the ball on the run.

The play of the game, however, was Nick Green’s twisting snare behind second on Jack Cust’s flare for the second out of the seventh. Had Wakefield pitched a perfect game or no-hitter, Green’s name could have risen out of obscurity. Now the best the infielder can hope for is to be as insignificant as Gerald Green. Winning the slam dunk contest doesn’t do one-dimensional players very well.

Kurt Suzuki is from the island I was raised on (Maui) and he went to my high school (Henry Perrine Baldwin High School). I admit to owning a baseball card of him and rooting for him when he isn't playing against Boston. Shane Victorino, Suzuki — can’t keep a Maui boy down.

I have a number of odd devotions revolving around baseball: kids from Hawai‘i, knuckleballers, triple plays (unassisted and conventional), hitting for the cycle (the Red Sox are due for one, it hasn’t happened since 1996). We’re not even through the first 10 games we’ve already had our first triple play (turned by the Pirates this past Sunday) and two players hitting for the cycle (Orlando Hudson of the Dodgers and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, both second basemen).

Suzuki will always be from Maui and he has many more games in front of him, but who knows how many more innings the 42-year old has left, let alone perfectly pitched ones strung together. Perhaps one day Wakefield will emulate fellow knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, who had a no-hitter on September 20, 1958, against the Yankees no less.

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