Joel Pineiro was in the game, in relief of Curt Schilling (7-4-1-1-6, 102), protecting a 3-1 lead. But Pineiro walked both Gerard Laird and Ian Kinsler, and Kenny Lofton bunted for a base hit. Bases loaded, no outs. Time to Hop on Pap?
Nope. Tito called in Javier Lopez. But with lefty Frank Catalanotto due, and still up by two, it was a reasonable decision. Of course, the Rangers countered with righty Nelson Cruz, who ripped the first pitch off Kevin Youkilis's glove. Yook recovered to get a force at second, but Lofton scored and it was 3-2. Now what?
Tito brought in the Bot. Yes! Excellent call. Would he go five outs? I don't know, but this was the absolute right call to make.
Pap v. Michael Young:
Fastball 94, slightly up and in, swing and miss.Pap v. Mark Teixeira:
Breaking ball 87, low in dirt, ball.
Fastball 95, again slightly up and in, swing and miss.
Fastball 96, on the low, outside black, called strike three.
Fastball 94, popped up to Lowell on the infield grass.Five pitches and the fire was out.
The bottom of the ninth: Sammy Sosa fouled off a 93 fastball, then popped up a 94 fastball to Youkilis on the infield dirt. Papelbon threw four breaking balls (88-89) to Hank Blalock (sbbf) before smoking him with a rising fastball at 94. Then Brad Wilkerson swung and missed two fastballs up and out of the strike zone (both at 94) before Papelbon poured a fastball at 96 right down the middle of the plate. Wilkerson just stood there. Game over.
Padilla (7-4-3-1-4, 98) matched Schilling, but the Rangers pitcher had to face David Ortiz and G38 did not. Tiz crushed a solo home run in the first inning and then hit a two-run shot in the third to account for all three of Boston's runs.
I don't know about you, but those last two innings sure didn't feel like an April 8 game. (box)
Tito: "It's just hard to let a game get away without using Pap. I just don't want to see the game decided without him having something to say about it."
Curt Schilling / Vincente Padilla, 8 PM
Kevin Youkilis twisted his left ankle running down the line after batting in the seventh inning last night and was quickly replaced at first base by Eric Hinske. Yook is not worried: "It's nothing like a sprain or anything. I just rolled it a bit. I'll tape it up and be in there [tonight]."
Padilla allowed six runs and nine hits to the Angels in 4.2 innings on Opening Day. Texas lost 8-3. ... Manny Ramirez is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts against Padilla. JD Drew is 6-for-14 with one home run. ... Frank Catalanotto is 10-for-19 against Schilling with four doubles.