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Home » April 2011 Game CommentsApril 2011 » Better Late

Better Late

Perhaps inspired by the astounding comeback victory by the Bruins against the Canadiens the Red Sox rallied in the eleventh inning to beat the AL West-leading Angels. I tried very hard to stay awake for the end of the game, but the last thought I had before I drifted off to sleep was, “When I wake up I’m going straight to the MLB site and see the results of this game.”

Had Josh Beckett sustained a no-hitter I would have fought drowsiness to witness all the oblique references to the potential momentous performance: the camera panning across the scoreboard to linger on the runs, hits, and errors column, shots of Beckett alone in the dugout, Don Orsillo cryptically mentioning how many previous baserunners there were. Up until the sixth the count would have been one: Maicer Izturis led off the fourth with a nine-pitch base on balls.

Perhaps Erick Aybar was motivated by the Red Sox scoring in the top of the sixth or maybe he just wanted to avoid the no-hitter. The shortstop chopped a single high off the plate, so high that by the time Beckett gloved the ball he couldn’t have fired in first in time for the out. Jason Varitek, who will now see more time behind the plate because he seems to coax better pitching out his battery mates and because Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s bat hasn’t had much of an impact, missed the opportunity to increase his record for no-hitters caught. There is no other active catcher with more than three no-hitters under his chest protector.

The Red Sox had a two-run lead from the sixth thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury’s looper to shallow right that plated David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie. Ortiz reached on a leadoff walk and Lowrie lined a single to left. Both were moved over by Carl Crawford’s sacrifice bunt, a somewhat dispiriting thing to see out of one of the key off-season acquisitions.

Torii Hunter tied the game in the seventh with a towering two-run shot over the center field fences that had Ellsbury clambering half-way up the wall.

For just the second time this year Orsillo wore a paisley tie. His April 11 tie was on the scene for the Sam Fuld fiasco. His beige little brother witnessed this season’s first extra innings contest and saw Adrian Gonzalez’s go-ahead double roped to right. J.D. Drew scored and was followed by Dustin Pedroia on Lowrie’s bases loaded sac fly to center.

Pedroia was a party to plays inversely proportional to his size. The second baseman was the cutoff man in the eighth when Aybar tried to stretch his double to right to a triple. Pedroia scored the insurance by avoiding an untimely out at the hot corner. He was caught off third base by Izturis but evaded the third baseman’s tag. It appeared he eluded a tag and injury in the third inning; replay showed he was caught stealing and his play for the rest of the game proved the latter.

Kevin Youkilis was pulled in his second at bat because of a foul ball off the shin. Fortunately the third baseman’s x-rays came back negative. The last thing this under-performing team needs is a spate of injuries.

Game 18: April 21, 2011 ∙ 11 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Bobby Jenks (1-1)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (4)
2B: David Ortiz (3), Adrian Gonzalez (5)
Los Angeles Angels
L: Rich Thompson (0-1)
2B: Erick Aybar (4)
HR: Torii Hunter (4)

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