Did Eduardo Perez get all of that one? Yoinks.
Pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth after Boston had rallied for two runs to tie the game at 4-4, Perez blasted a high fastball from Alan Embree off the "D" ring catwalk for a Devil Rays victory. It was Embree's only pitch of the game.
Terry Francona planned to have Embree face two batters (Sanchez and Crawford), then go with Mike Timlin. Lou Piniella sent up Perez -- who homered twice off another lefty, Randy Johnson, earlier in the week. Embree was obligated to face at least one batter -- and Perez tagged him.
The home run ruined what was a nice comeback. Boston trailed Scott Kazmir 4-1 after seven innings, but rallied against the Rays pen with one in the eighth -- Manny Ramirez tripled and scored on Kevin Millar's single -- and two in the ninth. Facing Danys Baez, Trot Nixon walked and Mark Bellhorn doubled him home. Ramon Vazquez, again filling in for the still-sick Bill Mueller, bunted Bellhorn to third. Johnny Damon's single through the infield into right brought in the tying run. Unfortunately, Edgar Renteria lined out to the pitcher and Damon was doubled off first to end the inning.
Again, Extra Innings denied me NESN. The Fox Sports Network duo of Joe Magrane and Dewayne Staats was horrible. In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Mantei had trouble finding the strike zone (to put it charitably). He allowed an infield single, then walked two batters, and threw a wild pitch (Jason Varitek saved a few others).
Because Kazmir had hit two Red Sox batters earlier, the announcers were accusing Mantei of headhunting -- a colossally stupid observation. They figured Mantei was thinking: "My team's losing 4-2 in the 8th, I've loaded the bases, now I'll hit someone to make it 5-2." ... When Baez walked Nixon to start the ninth, the announcers were hoping that Baez would avoid "answering" Mantei's close pitches.
Will Perez hear any chin music for his bat-flip and dugout-point after the home run? Schilling / Waechter at 6:15.
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