Get your mind out of the gutter, not that head.
I speak of Marco Scutaro and Victor Martinez, the tandem who launched a combination attack on Adrian Beltre’s head after his fourth-inning grand slam. The shortstop trotted up behind Beltre to remove the third baseman’s helmet and catcher massaged Beltre’s melon. As Beltre mans the hot corner he has a fast reaction time, but not even his reflexes could fend off that fiendish duo.
Up until the fourth inning rookie Josh Tomlin was enjoying a perfect game. Scutaro sent a single over the third base bag with one out and Martinez and Drew walked to load the bases. Beltre’s fly ball cleared the Green Monster and the crowd erupted.
Daisuke Matsuzaka has gotten over his first-half inconsistency and first inning jitters at last. In his eight innings on the mound the starter allowed 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. That he got to the eighth was particularly beneficial with a four-game series against the Yankees looming.
Even with a 6-1 lead Terry Francona couldn’t guide his team to a win without burning one of best relievers. Hideki Okajima took over in the ninth and struggled to get just one out while allowing Cleveland’s seven-hole hitter Luis Valbuena to drive in a run on a single roped to right. Okajima landed on the disabled list with a calf strain and was replaced on the roster by Felix Doubront.
Jonathan Papelbon inherited runners on first and second and struck out Andy Marte but walked the excitable Shelley Duncan to load the bases. It feels like a coin flip with Papelbon toeing the rubber in such situations; neither a game-tying grand slam nor a dominating whiff would surprise me. This time it was the latter.
|Game 109: August 5, 2010|
|2||L: Josh Tomlin (1-1)|
|2B: Luis Valbuena (7)|
HR: Shin-Soo Choo (14)
|6||W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-3)|
S: Jonathan Papelbon (26)
|HR: Adrian Beltre (20)|