See? It's all about the pitching -- which we have, damn it -- and having Manny Ramirez swinging a stick in the cleanup spot.
Bronson Arroyo retired the first 12 Oakland hitters. Then he hit a rough patch, walking three guys in the fifth (one of them scored). In the sixth, he allowed two quick singles, but got a double play (excellent pivot by Edgar and a good scoop from Millar) and was out of trouble.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the eighth and I wanted him out there for the ninth. Terry Francona overruled me and stuck Mike Timlin out there. Timlin threw nine pitches, all strikes, and got the side in order, so I didn't mind.
Pap's first batter, Marco Scutaro, lined a 2-1 pitch down the right field line that hit about one inch foul. Papelbon's next pitch was perfectly placed, up and in, knocking him back, Pedro-to-Shemp-style. Very nice! I'm going to love watching him in the rotation next season.
The Sox scored a run in the first inning, and had the bases loaded with one out against Dan Haren, but (surprise) Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar both struck out. You really had the feeling of a lost opportunity coming back to haunt the Sox.
In the sixth, Ramirez turned on an inside pitch and blasted it well over everything in left. (Off the bat, I actually thought he had popped it up foul, so I was quite surprised.) Manny did that little shoulder thing where he seems to be straightening out his uniform shirt before beginning his jog and it was 2-1.
The Yankees held off the Jays 1-0 (thanks for nothing, Shea), so the East lead remains 1.5. Cleveland beat the Royals to stay on top of the wild card list; they also moved 3.5 games behind the slumping White Sox (who led the Central by 13.5 at one point, if I recall). Oakland is now five behind in the WC, but only 2 behind the Angeles in the West.
Clement / Saarloos at 2:00.