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Home » April 2010 Game CommentsApril 2010 » Late Night Elation

Late Night Elation

Are the Red Sox a good team playing badly or a bad team playing well? Perhaps the team manufactures these dramatic late-inning wins so that they can draw Boston sports fans’ attention away from the playoff runs of the Bruins and the Celtics.

Like so many games this season Josh Beckett conceded the lead early. The Rangers have an outstanding Josh of their own in the form of the reinvigorated left fielder Hamilton. His walk in the first led to the visitors’ first score and he singled up the middle to drive in the third run in the second frame.

As he did in the opening game of the series Darnell McDonald provided the spark, this time by leading off the third inning with a walk. Bill Hall and Marco Scutaro then lined singles into right field to load the bases. With the count 2-2 J.D. Drew got under a hanging change-up and lofted the ball to right field, curling a home run around Pesky’s Pole. In the Nouveau Stade Fasciste the shot would have curved foul, but in Fenway it was a grand slam for the lead.

As Drew completed the circuit Bruins winger Milan Lucic and Sabres defenceman Craig Rivet scuffled on the ice and were both penalized with five for fighting. Boston’s stepchild knows how to get attention in the over-saturated sports market.

The Red Sox increased their lead with McDonald’s solo shot in the fifth and Mike Lowell’s RBI single to the base of the left field wall in the sixth. Beckett was in a groove, retiring eight batters in a row until the top of the seventh.

McDonald contributed to that string of outs with a 8-2 double play to end the fourth. The center fielder trotted towards Michael Young’s fly ball and used the momentum from his route to zip the ball home. Kevin Youkilis let the ball bounce by him rather than cut it off and the seconds it would have taken to do so proved to be the difference. Jason Varitek executed his signature home plate block maneuver and the inning ended. Replays showed that Julio Borbon may have gotten a hand in before the tag, but home plate umpire Brian O’Nora was anxious to finish the game and get back to the Bruins/Sabres match.

Hamilton isn’t a hockey fan, however, and his game-tying three-run blast in the seventh pushed the game into extra innings.

Just a week ago this game would have ended in a humiliating and historic manner for Boston, like a walk-off balk for the visitors to take the lead and an unassisted triple play to close the home-half of the inning.

The bullpen trio of Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon, and Hideki Okajima rescued the game with five innings of one-hit ball. While Okajima became the pitcher of record, Miroslav Satan scored the inning goal in overtime for the Bruins. They played “Dirty Water” in the Garden.

The Rangers countered with phenom Neftali Feliz, who wields triple-digit heat, but Dustin Nippert could not maintain the tie. Much like McDonald’s game-winning hit from the night before, Youkilis’s clout knocked off the left field wall. The Standells haven’t had this much airplay since 1966.

Game 15: April 21, 2010 ∙ 12 innings
7L: Dustin Nippert (0-2)
2B: Chris Davis (5), Vladimir Guerrero (2)
3B: Julio Borbon (1)
HR: Josh Hamilton (1)
WinRed Sox
8W: Hideki Okajima (2-1)
2B: Kevin Youkilis – 2 (5)
HR: J.D. Drew (2), Mike Lowell (1), Darnell McDonald (2)

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