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Home » May 2010 Game CommentsMay 2010 » Winds of Change

Winds of Change

The Angels jumped to an early lead due to Daisuke Matsuzaka’ first inning wildness. The starter walked three batters, allowed two hits, and inflated his pitch count to 39 pitches; when he finally struck out Mike Napoli to end the inning the visitors had put up four runs.

Victor Martinez halved the deficit in the third with a wind-aided two-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen. If Mike Timlin were still around he probably wouldn’t have gotten up to catch the ball with a towel since the fly ball didn’t seem to have a chance to clear the bullpen fence.

The fifth inning was as bad for Scott Kazmir as the first was for Matsuzaka. The Red Sox batted around and tallied five runs in honor of Nomar Garciparra. Oh, that was yesterday’s game.

Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia singled and doubled respectively with well-hit shots to the outfield. Martinez’s double wasn’t struck particularly hard but it skipped along the first base line long enough to plate two runs to tie the score 4-4.

In the midst of the rally, Erick Aybar tried to fake his way into a triple play by dropping Mike Lowell’s liner with runners at first and second but James Hoye wasn’t having it. Aybar continued the act long enough to make me think he wanted a shot at an Oscar nomination. Lowell tried this a couple of years ago but eventually conceded his ruse with a grin.

Terry Francona pulled Bill Hall in favor of Jeremy Hermida with ducks on the pond and two out, a move that paid immediate dividends. Two runs scored on Hermida’s single up the middle and another run on Darnell McDonald’s line drive double to center.

Francona had the quick hook on his starter; after Juan Rivera’s sixth-inning double Matsuzaka was removed from the game and Manny Delcarmen took over. Matsuzaka received rather warm applause given his line: 5⅓ innings pitched, 5 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

Just as the Red Sox catcher benefited from the evening’s gales so did Napoli. The visiting backstop’s body language after his swing was resignation at a can of corn to right field, but the jet stream from left to right carried the ball into the home bullpen. After the two-run shot the Angels were within a run of the opposition. Manny Delcarmen stood with hands on his hips, seeming to say, ‘So much for home field advantage.’

Pedroia made his way around the bases in the home half of the sixth by way of a single, a stolen base, a ground out, and finally to home after Brian Stokes walked the bases loaded and then walked J.D. Drew. The diminutive second baseman almost didn’t make hit home when a shot foul smoked by Lowell zipped by him, but Pedroia evaded the ball with a skateboard aerial-like move.

In the midst of the four-run rally by the local nine Howie Kendrick booted Hermida’s ground ball in his attempt to start the double play then opted to get the easy out at first. But in his haste to pivot to first he fell down awkwardly and the throw ended up just a few feet away from him. Mike Scioscia’s pining for Chone Figgins was all but palpable; his look of disgusted scorn said, “Chone would have turned that.”

While the Angels are not playing like the contending team of the past seasons, this four-game series sweep might be proof that Red Sox are no longer the disappointing team of April.

Game 29: May 6, 2010
6L: Scott Kazmir (2-2)
2B: Howie Kendrick (6), Bobby Abreu (10), Juan Rivera (6), Erick Aybar (6)
HR: Mike Napoli (1)
WinRed Sox
11W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1)
H: Manny Delcarmen (3)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (10), Victor Martinez (6), Darnell McDonald (3)
3B: Kevin Youkilis (2)
HR: Victor Martinez (2)

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