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Home » August 2009 Game CommentsAugust 2009 » Substitutes


Game 125: August 25, 2009
White Sox
BS: Matt Thornton (5)
L: Scott Linebrink (3-6)
63-63, 3 game losing streak
WinRed Sox6
W: Manny Delcarmen (5-2)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (30)
72-53, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: Jacoby Ellsbury broke the single-season franchise record for steals in the bottom of the first. He had just shot a ground-rule double into the Red Sox bullpen and was chomping at the bit to swipe third. A.J. Pierzynski bobbled Freddy Garcia’s first pitch to Dustin Pedroia and didn’t even try to catch the speedy center fielder. Ellsbury can drive 55, and more.

Dustin Pedroia poked the ball to Paul Konerko in his first at bat, plating Jacoby Ellsbury for a quick score.

Nine-hole hitter Jayson Nix improbably tied the game in the third with a longball into the Monster seats. Boston countered with J.D. Drew’s two-out double to the left-center gap, demonstrating that he doesn’t have to bat from the eighth spot to make an impact. From the three-hole Drew went 1-for-3 and walked twice. Kevin Youkilis roped a single to left to drive in Drew for the lead.

Youkilis’s comments about playing in Boston sparked some controversy, but keep in mind that Dan Shaugnessy penned this piece. How it must gall the Curly-Haired Boyfriend that there is a player so popular that he is serenaded by howls of his nickname, so much so that he had to portray that player as an ungrateful, whinging louse. Shaugnessy, when you prowl the field what you’re hearing from the stands aren’t “Youks.”

The Red Sox looked more like Monday night’s White Sox with their on-field blunders in the seventh and eighth innings. With runners on second and third with one out Jon Lester struck out Alexei Ramirez with a biting curveball. The yakker ricocheted off home plate and bounded high and far enough away in the sparse foul territory behind the dish for Konerko to lumber in for the tying run.

Next the pesky Nix flashed a laser to left off Mike Lowell’s glove for the go-ahead run. Hideki Okajima relieved Lester and allowed Scott Podsednik to load the bases. Gordon Beckham might be a candidate for American League Rookie of the Year honors, but he showed his greenhorn ways by whiffing on Okajima’s high fastball.

After the game Terry Francona said that Victor Martinez texted him in the wee hours of the morning begging to be put into the lineup. Francona wrote back that he’ll pinch hit him so that he can get the game-winning hit.

Jason Varitek arced a one-out double to the base of the bullpen wall. Francona placed Nick Green at second as pinch runner and pinch hit Martinez for Alex Gonzalez. The tactic played out perfectly in the form of an RBI single skipped up the middle to tie the game. Francona’s gamble paid off despite the move weakening the defense up the middle.

Okajima, graduate of the Jose Contreras School of Fielding, failed to catch Carlos Quentin’s pop-up behind the mound to lead off the eighth. The southpaw reliever missed Martinez’s return throw and Quentin advanced to second. Konerko dropped a single into shallow right and the Pale Hose were poised for a late-inning comeback.

After a lengthy at bat Jermaine Dye finally skyed Okajima’s sixth pitch to Green. It took another six pitches to put away Pierzynski on a swinging strikeout. Francona called on Manny Delcarmen to get the final out of the eighth and the homegrown hurler delivered.

Jason Bay broke the 3-3 tie with one out in the eighth, sending Scott Linebrink’s 0-2 hanging yakker to the same area as Nix’s homer. Francona’s substitutions paid off again with Green singling and Martinez doubling him in for an insurance run. Not to rest on his record-setting laurels, Jacoby Ellsbury lined a double to center for another run.

Sharp managing, rebounding from mistakes, and a late-inning rally: all signs of a team gearing up for a playoff run.

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