... and that is why you never pinch-run for David Ortiz in the ninth inning of a tie game.
Long home runs by Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (off the roof of the restaurant in center field!) helped give Boston a 5-0 lead. Then Terry Francona fell asleep in the seventh inning, woke up groggy and confused, and fucked it all up.
In short: Bronson Arroyo should not have started the seventh. In the sixth, up by three, Arroyo allowed a full-count double to Frank Catalanotto and an eight-pitch walk to Vernon Wells. When he fell behind tying-run-at-the-plate Corey Koskie 3-1, he had thrown 89 pitches -- and Tito had a crowded, fully-rested bullpen.
Arroyo got a double play and another ground out to escape trouble, and Boston tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh. Arroyo, if he was out there at all, should have been on a short leash. But Francona apparently didn't even have anyone warming up to start the inning.
Arroyo walked Eric Hinske. Then Gregg Zaun singled over Trot Nixon's head in right. Only then did Keith Foulke, who probably should have started the inning, begin warming up. Arroyo got ahead of Aaron Hill 0-2, but lost him on another eight-pitch walk. Bases loaded. Tito went with Foulke, not the best choice for a getting a much-needed ground ball (where was Bradford?). Foulke allowed a single to right and a sacrifice fly, then got a strikeout. It was 5-2, there were runners at first and third, and nine of Foulke's pitches had been strikes.
Francona came out and replaced him with Mike Timlin -- one righty with another. I started bitching immediately -- thinking both of Timlin's Inherited Runners problem and his gopher-ball tendencies (which has actually not been much of an issue this season). Foulke should have been allowed to face Wells. ... Timlin's third pitch -- after two balls, Varitek set up outside, but the pitch hung up inside -- was belted to left for a game-tying home run.
A loss in this game would have been a huge kick in the guts. But Jonathan Papelbon pitched three no-hit innings (only one walk in 10 batters) and Ortiz hit his 40th home run of the season in the 11th -- the inning began with a huge "Let's Go, Red Sox!" chant -- to give Papelbon his first major league victory.
Jays Announcer Notes: Fairly innocuous, if somewhat misinformed. They said the versatile Tony Graffanino can play first base and outfield for Boston, although he has played only five innings in left field and a similar amount at first in his entire career. ... Their stats when the pitcher begins his appearance include WHIP! ... On Manny in Boston: "They either love him, hate him, or a little of both."
All their silliness was wiped away when they were discussing Timlin in the eighth. They began by noting that Timlin and George W. Bush are both from Midland, Texas (though born there, Bush actually grew up in Connecticut). Anyway, one of the guys (I think it was Jamie Campbell and not Pat Tabler) said, "One guy has three rings -- two here in Toronto and one in Boston. The other guy has an unpopular war going on and gas prices through the roof."
Agree with that statement or not, it is something you would NEVER hear from an American sports announcer during a baseball game. Amazing.
The lead increases to 3.5 games and the magic number dips to 17. New York is in Florida dealing with their Tampa Daddies, while I head off to the Rogers Centre for tonight's game. I'll be in Aisle 116, Row 38 -- wearing my Godpapi shirt... Damon was sent back to Boston for an MRI. Not good.
Clement / Downs at 7:00.