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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Nearly


Game 56: June 6, 2009
Rangers1L: Derek Holland (1-3)32-23, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox8W: Jon Lester (5-5)33-23, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Don Orsillo has an unusual amount of experience in calling no-hitters for someone who has been a major league play-by-play man since only 2001. His first game was Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter against the Orioles and he has since announced no-hitters by Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester.

This game had everything: a perfect game bid, a disputed home run, a balk, a double steal, and a David Ortiz home run.

Last night Dennis Eckersley contained himself and didn’t say baseball’s n-word, but as before, his restraint (or lack thereof) did not determine the outcome of the game. It was Jon Lester’s combination of his fastball velocity and location set against his deceptive breaking ball delivery that bewildered the Rangers’ hitters for nine innings.

Only Michael Young could solve the southpaw pitcher. The Texas third baseman broke up the perfect game with one out in the seventh. Lester’s fastball caught too much of the plate and the instant the ball came off Young’s bat it was clear that not even Jacoby Ellsbury would run down the missile.

Lester received an appreciative ovation after that hit. His applause was only overshadowed by the cheers for Ortiz’s sixth-inning homer off Pesky’s Pole. Ortiz got a curtain call that he was reluctant to take; it was only after urging by Dustin Pedroia and Terry Francona grabbing him by the back of the jersey and pulling him up that Papi climbed to the top of the dugout steps to acknowledge the crowd’s summons.

I can imagine Pedroia smirkingly remarking to Papi after the acclaim, “Man, you took a curtain call for that cheap home run?”

Mike Lowell squeaked a home run over the left field wall in the second inning, but the ledge confused the umpiring crew more than differential calculus. For the fourth Red Sox game this season and the third time at Fenway the officials convened in the video booth to make a ruling on a home run. Unlike the last time a questionable Red Sox fly ball had to be reviewed (Kevin Youkilis’s shot on May 24), last night Boston’s third baseman came away with a four-bagger.

Rangers rookie Derek Holland kept the game close until the fifth inning. He lost composure when he balked with Pedroia in the box; Holland must have seen the second baseman’s Dunkin’ Donuts commercial and was rightfully intimidated. Pedroia rocketed a shot into left, rendering the score 2-0. Holland walked Ellsbury in five pitches. The homegrown duo of Pedroia and Ellsbury executed a double steal with Jason Bay at the dish. After fouling off five pitches Bay lined a single a few feet deeper than Pedroia’s, allowing both baserunners to score.

Josh Beckett took his recent no-hit bid deeper into the game but he and the rest of the team seemed to let up after the no-hitter fell by the wayside. Not so for Lester, who stayed in for all nine innings and hurled 107 pitches in doing so with a 67% strike rate. Eckersley has been rubbing off on Don Orsillo. “If it’s me I gotta have it,” Announcer Boy commented on a close pitch in the eighth.

“Now you want everything, huh?” replied Eckersley.

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