June 18, 2005

G66: Red Sox 6, Pirates 5

Now that was a lot of fun.

A leadoff double from Kevin Millar (and Kevin Youkilis as a pinch-runner (!)), a bunt from Jason Varitek that pitcher Rick White fumbled for an error, an intentional walk to Bill Mueller, a force play at the plate from Mark Bellhorn, then Johnny Damon's single (his AL-best 90th) through a drawn-in infield to center field for the win.

Damon redeemed himself after Ryan Doumit's first inning line drive went sailing over his head in straight-away center after he had broken in about three steps. Wade Miller retired the first two Pirates in the game, but then things went haywire: single, double, double, walk, stolen base, two more stolen bases, walk.

Pittsburgh led 3-0 after one inning, but Boston got the runs back in the second, thanks to singles from Manny Ramirez and Varitek, Mueller's double and Bellhorn's three-run home run into the Pirates' pen.

With the score tied 5-5, Ramirez gunned down Jack Wilson at the plate in the top of the eighth (his 9th assist, more than any other MLB outfielder). Varitek blocked the plate so well with his left leg while reaching to his right for Ramirez's throw that Wilson, though he got to the plate ahead of the ball, slid into and over Varitek's shin guard and never touched the plate.

The Red Sox wasted a lead-off triple from Edgar Renteria in the bottom half of the eighth, before winning their fifth game in a row in the ninth. ... Johnny Damon leads the team with hits with runners in scoring position (28-for-69, .406). He's now 6-for-13 with the bases loaded.

Curt Schilling threw 47 pitches during a 15-miunte bullpen session before Friday's game. "My goal is to be pitching by the All-Star break, and that's trying to be realistic."

Schilling will pitch BP Monday in Cleveland, have a side session on Wednesday, then make his first rehab start on Saturday, June 25 (probably with Pawtucket). Staying on schedule, Schilling would make two more minor league starts on June 30 and July 5 and rejoin the Red Sox on July 10, the day before the All-Star break. The Red Sox are in Baltimore that weekend and they host the Yankees after the break.

Colorado edged Baltimore 2-1, so Boston is now only 2 games out.

Wakefield (who has never faced the team he debuted with back in July 1992) / Williams at 7:00.

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