Red Sox - 200 000 000 000 3 - 5 10 2After losing five of six games on the west coast, Boston won a Friday night nail-biter at Camden Yards.
Orioles - 010 100 000 000 0 - 2 8 4
Terry Francona played with fire yet again, avoiding a rested Jonathan Papelbon when the game was on the line.
Tito was pro-active in choosing Hideki Okajima over Manny Delcarmen for a tie-game in the 7th inning. I liked his choice of MDC for the ninth. Craig Hansen, called in with one on and one out in the 10th, not only shut the door, but pitched a perfect 11th. Francona put his trust in the kids, and they came through.
The Red Sox rallied in the top of the 12th -- a two-out walk to Julio Lugo and a single and stolen base from Jacoby Ellsbury (he stole three tonight) -- but they could not score. Since Boston did not have a lead, and there was no immediate opportunity for a save -- Francona brought in Mike Timlin rather than his best pitcher.
As we have seen at least twice this season, this move has backfired. And when Nick Markakis doubled with one out in the 12th, it looked like Francona would get burned again. Aubrey Huff was walked intentionally and Kevin Millar grounded to shortstop. Lugo bobbled the ball, but it stayed in front of him. He threw high to first, Kevin Youkilis pulled it down, and Millar was nipped -- but only because of the grand piano on his back.
The runners moved to second and third, so Luke Scott was also put on base. Ramon Hernandez, who had failed to drive in the winning run from second against Hansen in the 10th, flew out to left to end the 12th. During that entire 21-pitch inning, Francona was happy to have Bot sit on his ass in the pen, content to trust the game to Timlin. After a Jamesian decision to go with Jeemer in the 7th, Francona acted Gumpian in the 12th. It was the wrong move, but Tito and the Red Sox dodged the bullet.
The Red Sox sent eight men to the plate in the 13th, as a couple of hits, a walk, two Baltimore infield errors and a double steal from Youkilis and Mike Lowell (!) equaled three runs. With a save now up for grabs, Papelbon made quick work of the Birds.
Cliff Floyd's solo home run gave Tampa a 2-1 walkoff win over the White Sox, so the Red Sox remain 1 GB. The Yankees beat the Twins 6-5 to move up into fourth place.
Josh Beckett (4.43, 97 ERA+) / Daniel Cabrera (3.70, 113 ERA+)
I hate off days. With my work schedule (Fri/Sat/Sun), I get four nights at home -- and I'd like to see the Red Sox every night. But the team's off days fall generally on Monday or Thursday. I can often follow the game at work, but it's never guaranteed.
SoSH: While noting that the Red Sox faced a number of good starters in Oakland and Seattle, their batting numbers are still depressing:
14 runs in 6 gamesAL East: Tampa lost to the White Sox last night, so we are 1 GB. Those teams play again tonight at the Trop, while the LPY are in Minnesota.
No runs in 45 of 54 innings
.169 batting average
.252 on-base percentage
More strikeouts (45) than hits & walks (43)
Only 1 hit in one game and 2 hits in another
Youkilis, Varitek, Crisp and Cash went a combined 0-for-40