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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Requite


Game 69: June 21, 2009
Braves5L: Jeff Bennett (2-4)32-36, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox6BS: Ramon Ramirez (2)
BS: Hideki Okajima (2)
W: Jonathan Papelbon (1-1)
42-27, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: You could only tell it was the official first day of summer by looking at a calendar. The gusts in the park were so strong you could hear them buffeting the on-field microphones. Every fly ball was an adventure in the swirling winds.

Luckily for the home team the wind didn’t push Brian McCann’s first-inning double over the right field wall. It curled along the curve in the wall long enough to plate to two runs.

Dustin Pedroia figured out another way to get a hit in these conditions: he powered a liner to left for a leadoff double. Jair Jurrjens inelegantly attempted to field Kevin Youkilis’s squibber and instead of the ball came up with runners at the corners with one out.

Jason Bay’s fly ball to right could have been a homer but blew back onto the field for a sacrifice fly. David Ortiz followed up with a blast to left-center that defiantly sailed against currents into the Monster seats.

Ortiz singled to start the home half of fourth but it could have just as easily been called an error on either Yunel Escobar or Chipper Jones. Ortiz scored on a bases-loaded sac fly off the bat of George Kottaras. Kottaras might not be a stud who hits bombs, but he didn’t ground into a double play or pop out uselessly to an infielder.

Without stroking an extra base hit the Braves tied the game in the seventh. With a quartet of bloops and bleeders the score knotted at 4-4. Youkilis stopped the bleeding with diving snare of the hardest hit ball of the inning. Escobar’s bounding liner was nearly past Youkilis but the infielder made the catch and beat Gregor Blanco to the hot corner.

“Did his parents drop the “Y”?” asked Dennis Eckersley.

Kottaras doubled off the wall to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Pedroia failed to move the runner over and his batting helmet took the brunt of his frustration. J.D. Drew seemed to get the benefit of a strike called a ball by home plate umpire Bill Hohn and carved the next pitch over Anderson’s head. Eric O’Flaherty, Chipper Jones, and Bobby Cox were ejected in the aftermath. That was the hottest I had seen Jones; he was probably happy to leave the field given the weather and the taunts that he surely received for the fourth-inning foul-up.

Eckersley mentioned that Cox gets thrown out just to stay in shape, and was he ever right. Cox is the all-time leader in ejections with 143.

Against Hideki Okajima the Braves re-tied the game in the eighth. Kelly Johnson doubled off the wall much as Kottaras did and was then driven in by Anderson. It’s easy to underestimate the veteran left fielder but he still gets a timely hit here and there.

Jonathan Papelbon struggled in the top of the ninth, giving up two walks and a single to load the bases with two outs. Matt Diaz struck out swinging at a nose-high pitch.

With the eight and nine-hole hitters coming up I thought the Red Sox had a two-out comeback in the ninth brewing. Nick Green thought otherwise.

Green has always had to think otherwise. Labeled a part-time utility guy, the infielder kicked around five teams before finding a home with Boston because of injuries to Jed Lowrie and Julio Lugo. If he improved his defense, he could distinguish himself from the Alex Cora utility infielder model with his power.

On Sunday, a blast of wind and Pesky’s Pole came to the aid of a shortstop. Instead of the Mother’s Day Miracle from two years ago NESN can now play the Father’s Day Frenzy when they lack programming thanks to Green’s unlikely walk-off home run.

If I’m Terry Francona, I’m starting Green against his all of his former teams.

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