|Game 131: September 1, 2009|
|Red Sox||8||W: Jon Lester (11-7)|
S: Jonathan Papelbon (33)
|77-54, 4 game winning streak|
|Rays||4||L: Andy Sonnanstine (6-8)||71-60, 1 game losing streak|
| Highlights: Hideki Okajima got into a spot of trouble in the eighth. The sequence of single, walk, RBI single, single, RBI single looks worse in writing than what the hitters actually accomplished. The first single was a bunt, the walk was only relinquished after nine pitches, and while the first RBI single was laced soundly by Pat Burrell the next two hits were soft bloopers that batters got under but somehow the balls dropped just beyond the reach of Dustin Pedroia and out of range of J.D. Drew.|
Jonathan Papelbon took the mound with the bases loaded and six outs away from arrant disappointment or utter contentment. Twenty-eight pitches later the Red Sox opened the series with a resounding victory. It was a statement louder than a thousand cowbells.
Joe Maddon let out all the stops in trying to eke out a win, subbing a runner here, a hitter there, and summoning eight pitchers to the mound. His team looked quite a bit less determined to get the win.
In the second Mike Lowell got a free pass with one out. With his greatly reduced speed he was surely the perfect mark to be the first kill of a ground ball double play. Akinori Iwamura flubbed the play and the inning continued with two runners. Next Alex Gonzalez popped out to third. Jacoby Ellsbury took note of Evan Longoria’s position and range and lifted a single just over the third baseman’s glove and Lowell scored.
Four innings later Carl Crawford couldn’t catch up to David Ortiz’s fly ball to the opposite field. To be charitable one could attribute the missed catch to Crawford playing the designated hitter to pull, but to be frank he simply didn’t go all out for his team.
Where Crawford failed Ellsbury excelled. The Red Sox center fielder snared two key outs, sacrificing his body on the unforgiving FieldTurf.
J.D. Drew, Jason Bay, and Kevin Youkilis all tried to knock the cowbells out of fans’ hands with home runs to the stands. Even Carlos Pena doesn’t like them; he tried to do the same with his fourth-inning longball.
Off the field there’s been a couple of things piquing my ire: Curt Schilling’s bid for Ted Kennedy’s vacant position and Heidi Watney’s Olympia Sports commercial. Curt Schilling assuming a Senate seat is analogous to Watney as a spokesperson for feminism. Both have their surface appeal but in the end pander to our basest instincts. “Vote for me, I’m a sports hero! (pounding of chest)” “Oh, is this cab taken? (batting of eyelashes)”