And that is how you manage a baseball game. Brilliant move by Terry Francona bringing in Jonathan Papelbon with one out in the 8th. With a 4-1 lead, but Vladimir Guerrero at the plate as the tying run, it's crunch time. Go with your best right then and there.
And the Bot just smoked Vlad. Four fastballs -- three fouls and a whiff -- at 94, 94, 96 and 97. Then he got called a strike on Anderson before Mrs. Garrett lined out to Manny. Just a great, great feeling -- to see Papelbon in action, hear the roar of the crowd, watch the Angels being simply overmatched, and to know Tito is managing as if it's October 2004, i.e., like a genius.
With the lead safe, I wondered if Tito would bring in Mike Timlin for the ninth with the three-run lead and save Papelbon's arm for more dire circumstances, possibly tomorrow. Maybe he'd let Pap get the first out.
Boston sent ten men to the plate in the home half of the 8th and scored six times. So there was no thinking involved. Timlin retired the Angels in order on eight pitches.
(I'm more giddy about Francona than Papelbon tonight, because Tito's decisions will affect more games than Pap pitches in. I kind of wish the Sox didn't blow it open. When it was 6-1, I was sure Timlin had the 9th. I would like to have seen what Francona did if the lead had stayed at 4-1.)
Three cheers for Doug Mirabelli for getting the Red Sox on the board and tying the game at 1-1 with a home run in the 5th. He also singled in a run in the 6th. He has now reached his quota for pre-All-Star Game hits.
John Lackey / Tim Wakefield, 7 PM
First of four against the Angels.
In Wakefield's 11 losses last year, his teammates scored a total of six runs. Six. When Wakefield pitched in Texas last week, the Sox were shut out 2-0. Score the man some runs, dammit!
Manny Ramirez is 9-for-18 against Lackey, with three doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs. David Ortiz is 7-for-20 (.350).
Vladimir Guerrero -- batting .405 this season (15-for-37) -- is 6-for-13 with four homers against Wakefield, while Garret Anderson is hitting .316 in 57 career at-bats.