Our worries about Jason Johnson, who started tonight on 11 days rest (and hasn't been all that good on a normal schedule), were well-founded. Four pitches into the first inning and Florida led 1-0 (foul, Hanley Ramirez single, HBP, Mike Jacobs double). Johnson allowed five runs, six hits, one walk, and two HBP in the first two innings.
But from there, the Sox pitchers held the line. Johnson faced the minimum six batters in the third and fourth, Julian Tavarez pitched shutout ball in the fifth and sixth, Rudy Seanez got out of trouble (2nd/3rd, 1 out) in the seventh, and Craig Hansen threw eight pitches in breezing through the eighth.
There was a hint of a comeback in the sixth. Coco Crisp began with a walk against Dontrelle Willis. Mark Loretta struck out and Kevin Youkilis singled. Then Manny Ramirez singled to right, scoring two runs. (Manny collected his 1997th, 1998th, and 1999th career hits tonight.)
Mike Lowell followed with another single, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. Jason Varitek flied to right on a 3-2 pitch and Gabe Kapler grounded into a force. And that was that.
Despite being at 104 pitches, Willis batted in the bottom of the sixth (Tavarez walked him) and came out for the seventh. I thought maybe the Sox could nail him quickly for a run or two, but he needed only 12 pitches to get the side in order.
With one out in the ninth, Kapler reached on an infield error. With pinch-hitter David Ortiz on deck -- and a buzz in the crowd that was audible over Marlins radio -- Alex Gonzalez struck out on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt (many SoSHers said all five pitches he saw were balls). Ortiz lifted a ball to deep right that was caught at the wall. (It must have been close, though, because Gameday's red dot was actually on the other side of the fence.)
Elsewhere: Five Yankee pitchers combined to one-hit the Mets 2-0 (I guess we put 'em in a slump (the hit came leading off the sixth)), and Toronto beat the Phillies 8-1. So New York is 3 GB and Toronto is 4 GB.
Crisp, CF Ramirez, SSRed Sox Winning Streaks
Loretta, 2B Uggla, 2B
Youkilis, 1B Jacobs, 1B
Ramirez, LF Cabrera, 3B
Lowell, 3B Willingham, LF
Varitek, C Hermida, RF
Kapler, RF Ross, CF
Gonzalez, SS Treanor, C
Johnson, P Willis, P
15 April 25-May 10, 1946
13 July 18-27, 1948
12 June 16, 2006 -
12 August 3-14, 1995
12 July 15-25, 1988
12 May 29-June 11, 1946
12 July 4-16, 1939
12 July 28-August 8, 1937Jason Johnson (5.96) / Dontrelle Willis (4.05), 7:30 PM