Sorry for the delay folks. I was out at the family lakehouse celebrating my grandmother, mom, dad and uncle’s birthdays. They all fall within nine days of each other.
Typically, events like last night can lead to one of two things, a let down or continued momentum. For the Red Sox it was a case of continued momentum as they got more help from rookies today in their 3-2 win over Baltimore. Jon Lester went 6 strong innings for the Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury had his first MLB home run to go along with a sweet catch in the 5th inning. Another rookie Dustin Pedroia made another outstanding play and also chipped in with 2 hits as well.
The local nine got on the scoreboard in the 1st inning today. Pedroia led off with a single. After an Alex Cora strikeout, David Ortiz worked a walk off of Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera. Mike Lowell then wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 15 games as he a long single off the Green Monster that scored Pedroia easily for the first run on a crisp afternoon in Beantown. Cabrera got out of the inning as he got J.D. Drew to fly out and Kevin Youkilis to strikeout.
Jon Lester got himself into a jam in the fourth, something that happened to him a lot last season. Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millar received free passes from Lester. Aubrey Huff singled to short left-center field to load up the bases for Melvin Mora. Mora was unable to come up with a big hit as he hit a liner to Pedroia at second for the first out of the inning. Ramon Hernandez then hit a fly ball to J.D. Drew in right field. Tejada tagged up on the play but was gunned out at home by a great throw by Drew. That was probably the best thing Drew has done all season with the Sox as it helped Lester escape the jam.
In the Sox half of the 4th inning, Cabrera got the first two outs of the inning. Ellsbury followed up the Youkilis and Brandon Moss outs with his first MLB home run that went into the Sox bullpen. The homer gave the Sox a 2-0 lead.
Pedroia and Ellsbury both flashed their leather in the 5th inning. With one out in the inning, Tike Redman hit a ball up the middle that Pedroia was able to get and throw out the speedy Redman at first. Ellsbury finished off the inning with a diving grab of Jay Payton liner in center field.
The 5th inning brought another run for the Red Sox. Pedroia led off the inning with a double and went to third on a sacrifice by Cora. Instead of facing Big Papi, the Orioles decided to intentionally walk him to face Lowell. The move didn’t pay off as Lowell hit a sacrifice fly making it 3-0 Sox. With Drew at the plate, Big Papi stole second base. Yes Big Papi stole second base. Drew ended up walking but Youk struck out, the second of his four on the day, to end the inning.
Baltimore finally broke through for a run in the 6th inning of off Lester. After Nick Markakis flew out to left on a nice catch by Brandon Moss who slammed into the Green Monster. He would be fine and Ellsbury did a little maintenance work, putting one of the numbers back up on the Monstah. Tejada reached on an infield single and went to second on a Millar single. Lester got Huff to pop out to third but Lester was unable to work out of the jam this time as Mora brought in Tejada with a single. Millar ended up getting thrown out trying to advance to third. Tejada barely had crossed the plate when Millar was thrown out.
Lester came back out for the 7th inning but Ramon Hernandez chased him from the game with a solo home run, cutting the lead to 3-2. Javier Lopez came in and got three outs preventing any further damage.
The Sox were actually held without a hit or baserunner from the 6th inning on as Cabrera and two Orioles relievers were spotless.
Hideki “Darkman” Okajima, just another rookie on the Red Sox, started the 8th inning by giving up a double to Markakis. Darkman got Miggy to ground out to second that moved Markakis over to third. Markakis would be stranded there as Darkman got Millar and Huff to strikeout.
Jonathan Papelbon came in and worked a 1-2-3 inning for his 31st save. Lester got the win as he moved to 3-0 in his time with the Sox this season.
The win coupled with the Yankees loss moved the lead back to 6 games in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays now come to town for a 3-game set. The Sox hand the ball off tomorrow to another rookie, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be looking to get his 14th win in his first MLB season.