White Sox - 044 100 000 - 9 14 0A comeback seemed possible all night, but the real excitement, as it turned out, began after NESN showed Nick Green warming up in the bullpen as the Red Sox came up in the bottom of the seventh.
Red Sox - 000 020 021 - 5 9 1
Green ended up pitching the final two innings, walking three but allowing no hits and no runs. Twenty-two of his 35 pitches were balls. The Fenway crowd was completely behind him, cheering like crazy as he ended the eighth inning. Even as the Red Sox cut the lead to 9-4, Terry Francona stayed with Green (although it looked like Hideki Okajima would have pitched the ninth had the Sox scored a couple more runs).
Green hit 90 with his four-seam fastball and had a consistent release point. He may not have won the #3 starter spot in the playoffs with tonight's performance, but he's got to be part of the discussion. Dude was painting with easy cheese!
J.D. Drew and Alex Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers in the fifth; Drew hit a second dong to began the bottom of the ninth. A two-out rally in the eighth -- a Kevin Youkilis walk and doubles from David Ortiz and Jason Bay -- accounted for the other Boston runs.
After an easy first inning, Tazawa (4-10-9-1-2, 85) was hit hard for the rest of his time on the hill. He could not keep his fastballs down in the zone and his curve had no bite.
Jacoby Ellsbury sustained a mild left ankle sprain on a play at the plate in the fifth inning. He was replaced by Rocco Baldelli.
John Danks (3.85, 122 ERA+) / Junichi Tazawa (3.57, 133 ERA+)
Tazawa has been allowing a lot of base traffic (26 hits, seven walks and two HBP in 17.2 innings), but has been able to houdini his way out of trouble. Opposing batters are hitting .091 (2-for-22) with runners in scoring position.
Here is an odd fact: In his last start, Tazawa "became the first Red Sox pitcher since 1988 to log six or more scoreless innings while allowing at least one hit in every frame". ... Also, on 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 counts this season, opposing batters are 9-for-10 against Tazawa.
Billy Wagner will be in the pen tonight. He last pitched on Monday, so he should be available. [UPDATE: Wagner said this afternoon that he will throw a bullpen session before tonight's game. That may mean he's unavailable. Or not.]
But first: Rangers/Yankees at 1 PM.