September 15, 2005

G145: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

The series in Toronto has given me a better understanding of the mindset of people who follow cult leaders. Take the Heaven's Gate bunch, for example -- 39 people "committ[ed] suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship that they thought was hiding behind the comet [in 1997]; members reportedly believed themselves to be aliens."

Sounds nutty, right? How could a seemingly rational person believe something like that? ... Well, if David Ortiz announced that he was starting a new religion, I think I'd do just about anything he suggested.

Papi broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run home run to dead center in the eighth inning. Bill Mueller had singled with two outs to give The Greatest Clutch Hitter In The History Of The Boston Red Sox a chance to do his thing. ... Everyone was expecting a pitching change. Ortiz, Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun, and starter Josh Towers all looked into the home dugout, waiting for manager John Gibbons to pop out and make a move.

Didn't happen. Towers, who had kept Ortiz in the infield in three at-bats (3-1, 4-5-3 DP, K), threw a ball and a strike before DO unloaded. HR #41 and one step closer to the AL MVP award. ... Entrusted with a 5-3 advantage, Chad Bradford and Mike Timlin breezed through one inning apiece and Boston left Canada having won two of three.

The other big news was the loss of Gabe Kapler. In the fifth, Kapler reached on an infield error. Tony Graffanino smacked a line drive to left and Kapler (assuming the ball would hit off the wall) sprinted around second, where he suddenly fell down near where the shortstop normally plays. The ball cleared the fence, but Kapler could not stand up. Graffy had to pause his home run trot at second base -- so as to not pass the runner ahead of him -- while the Sox trainers dealt with Kapler.

Alejandro Machado came out to finish Kapler's trip around the bases and play center field. Kapler ruptured his Achilles tendon. And the Sox are even more pressed to get another outfielder. (Adam Hyzdu has joined the club.)

I'm sure a situation similar to Kapler's has happened -- and probably not that long ago -- but I don't think I've ever it in almost 30 years of watching baseball. Rule 5.10(1) sets out what to do:
If an accident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to which he is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of one or more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.
The Yankees held on to beat Tampa 6-5 and Cleveland beat Oakland 6-4. New York remains 2.5 games behind the Sox and 1 game behind Cleveland for the wild card. The A's, who start a series in Boston tonight, are 3.5 back in the wild card, though only 1 game behind the Angels in the West. Andrew at 12eight looks at possible tiebreakers and playoff matchups.

Schilling / Blanton at 7:00.

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