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Home » May 2011 Game CommentsMay 2011 » Stung Like a Bee

Stung Like a Bee

Tim Wakefield, the ageless one, took the mound and confounded the Cubs with his exasperating butterfly pitch. Another leaf was added to Boston’s opus surrounding this notable series: Wakefield became the oldest Red Sox player to take the field. He is also the oldest active player in the majors.

The knuckleballer’s arsenal was new to many of the Cubs, particularly Starlin Castro, who is the first player born in the 1990s to make the majors. Castro grounded out and popped out before managing to poke a double just past Kevin Youkilis’s glove to commence the seventh. Wakefield had a no-hitter until the third when Alfonso Soriano singled up the middle. The former Yankee must have some muscle memory of his many standoffs against Wakefield.

With Matt Garza scratched Cubs skipper Mike Quade had to tap into a melange of middle relievers to get him through the series finale. Southpaw James Russell went blow-for-blow with Wakefield, notching scoreless innings with the veteran. But in the fourth Russell was on the ropes after Adrian Gonzalez led off with a single, Youkilis reached on a base on balls, and David Ortiz roped a single to left to the load the bases. Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron landed scoring combinations of sacrifice flies to center.

Quade stayed with Russell into the fifth, even after Jarrod Saltalamacchia landed a stunning blow to the third row of the Monster seats. Jacoby Ellsbury zipped to first safely as Castro’s throw to Carlos Peña was slightly off-target. Where Castro’s toss was lacking Cubs backstop Welington Castillo’s seed to second was flawlessly executed to cut down one of the speediest runners in the league. Ellsbury’s out loomed large when Gonzalez imprinted the left field wall with yet another of his signature opposite field dents.

Youkilis extended his 10-game hitting streak with a two-out, two-on triple laced to the triangle. The additional runs seemed to signal to Quade that the game was out of reach for his squad. He pulled John Grabow in favor of Kerry Wood who, although far removed from his days as a record-breaking starter, can still light up the radar gun with mid-90s heat.

Wood pitched way inside to Lowrie, the leadoff hitter in the eighth. When the next pitch plunked him squarely in the thigh home plate umpire Ed Hickox warned the dugouts. Given that the last time these two teams tangled at Fenway was 1918 and at Wrigley was 2005, Quade might have been right in balancing the books. But perhaps it is this very emphasis on vengeance rather than victory that will ensure that the Red Sox and Cubs will not meet until the next time major league schedulers draw up the regular season schedules making it so rather than in a Fall Classic.

Game 46: May 22, 2011
Chicago Cubs
L: James Russell (1-5)
2B: Starlin Castro (12), Jeff Baker (7), Aramis Ramirez (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Tim Wakefield (1-1)
H: Daniel Bard (9)
2B: Adrian Gonzalez (15), David Ortiz (9)
3B: Kevin Youkilis (1)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3)

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