picture explains it all

A lot has been said about David Ortiz not being as “clutch” as he was last year in key situations. Well tonight he proved the naysayers wrong as his double in the 8th inning brought home two runs to tie the game. He came around to score the winning run on a Manny Ramirez double to give the Sox the 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The win gave them a sweep of the doubleheader.

With Jonathan Papelbon closing out game 1 and not being available for game 2, Eric Gagné was annointed the closer for game 2. Well, he was given a 1-run lead to hold and ummmmmmm, he didn’t. Gagné got lit up like Clark Griswold’s Christmas tree for 3 runs as the Halos came back for a 7-5 win over the Sox. Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez had blown the save in the 8th inning when him and Scot Shields gave up 4 runs as the Sox rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

Shields came out to start the 8th in relief of Justin Speier. Shields started out by striking out Eric Hinske but then issued a walk to Julio “E-6” Lugo. Red Sox rookie phenom Jacoby Ellsbury worked a walk as well. Dustin Pedroia followed that up with a single to load up the bases for David Ortiz. Coco Crisp was summoned off the bench to pinch-run for Pedroia and K-Rod was summoned from the Halos bullpen to get 5 outs. With Big Papi at the plate, K-Rod uncorked a wild pitch that scored “E-6” and moved Ellsbury and Coco up a base. Having struggled in clutch situations this year, Big Papi came through in a big way as he smacked a double that scored the two speedsters and tied the game at 4. Manny Ramirez promptly brought Big Papi in with a double and just like that it was 5-4 Red Sox. K-Rod would get out of the inning with no further damage done as he retired J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell.

With “I Am Shipping Up to Boston” not being played, I am sure some Sox fans cringed when they saw Gagné come into try and close out the game. He started out with a 13 pitch at-bat to pinch-hitter Reggie Willits. Gagné would win that battle as he would get Willits to fly out to Ellsbury in left. He then issued a walk to another pinch-hitter, Casey Kotchman. Gagné was a little upset with home plate umpire Brian Runge with a couple of the balls and strikes during the Kotchman at-bat. After the walk, Erick Aybar came into pinch-run for Kotchman and he would go to third on a Chone Figgins single. Former Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera followed that with a RBI single to tie the game at 5 as the chorus of boos from the Fenway faithful started. The free swinging Vladimir Guerrero then crushed a double to deep center that cleared the bases and gave the Halos a 7-5 lead. Gagné would get out of the inning after that as Garrett Anderson lined out to Youk at first, who immediately threw to second to double up Vlad. Gagné would come off to another round of boos.

K-Rod would retire the side in order in the bottom half of the 9th but not without a little controversy. With one out and the count 0-2 on Youk, K-Rod threw a changeup that Youk fouled off, or so we thought. Upon checking with first base umpire Mark Wegner, it was ruled that Youk swung for strike 3. Youk was pissed and so was Terry Francona both argued that he fouled it off. Replays showed it was clearly foul. Wegner would toss Francona as I would have to think Francona said the magic words to get ejected. While this was going on, Youk was arguing with Runge at the plate and would be tossed as well. Hopefully Youk doesn’t get suspended for his tirade.

Francona and Youk tossed

Oh by the way, both starters (Ervin Santana and Josh Beckett) in the game pitched pretty well. Santana actually left the game with a 2-1 lead.

The 1st inning started out the same as the first game except the person making the error was different. After Beckett got the first out of the inning, Cabrera hit a ground ball to “E-6” who booted the ball for an error. Luckily Beckett was able to work out of it as he got Vlad and Gary Matthews, Jr. to ground out.

The Halos got to Beckett for a run in the 3rd inning. With two outs in the inning, Cabrera singled to center and came around to score Vlad double to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. Beckett got out of the inning as Anderson popped out to Hinske at first.

In the 6th inning, the Angels added another run to their total. Vlad started out the inning by reaching on another error by “E-6”. Anderson moved Vlad over to third with a single. Macier Izturis brought in Vlad with a single to give them a 2-0 lead. Beckett settled down though and retired Rob Quinlan and Ryan Budde on strikeouts.

Beckett went 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs ( 1 earned), 1 walk and he struck out 8.

Santana was outstanding. He had struggled all year on the road but tonight he was outstanding. He threw 4 1/3 hitless innings until Drew hit a single to break it up. Santana did run into some trouble in the 7th inning and was chased from the game.

Big Papi started out the inning with a single. Santana then got Manny to fly out to Anderson in left. Drew followed that with a double, his 999th hit of his career, to move Big Papi over to third. The double chased Santana from the game and he was relieved by Speier. Speier came in and got Lowell to ground out as Big Papi would score from third to make it 2-1 Angels.

Manny Delcarmen took over for Beckett in the 8th and pitched like crap. Vlad started out the inning with a triple just over the outstretched arms of Ellsbury in center. Anderson brought him in with a sacrifice fly and Matthews followed that with a solo home run, making it 4-1.

It was a long day of baseball. A lot of roster moves for the Red Sox, one of which was unexpected. It will be a fun night as they try to sort it all out tonight and tomorrow. Curt Schilling gets the ball tomorrow for the Sox and he will probably have Kevin Cash catching as Varitek caught 17 of 18 innings today. Gametime is 7:05 PM.

A special thanks to Steve for doing game 1 today and being patient with me as I was finding out information for him.

Notes and Musings:

Angels-Red Sox game 2 Boxscore

With the win in game 1, the Sox lead is 6 games over the Yankees in the AL East.

Here is a look at the postgame comments about Buchholz.

Vasoline ball in for strike 1Jim Belushi threw out the first pitch for the second year in a row on telethon day and was a guest on the pregame show. He pulled a tub of Vasoline to throw his doctored first pitch.Jacoby Ellsbury was called up before the game as anticipated and is slated to play center and leadoff. Doug Mirabelli was placed on the 15-day DL as he has a strained right calf. Kevin Cash had his contract purchased from Pawtucket. Brendan Donnelly was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to make room for Cash on the roster. And Buchholz was optioned back to Pawtucket.

Cash is on a 6:20 pm flight from Ottawa to Boston that arrives at 8 pm at Logan. I am sure he will have the police escort to the Fens. Actually Theo said no police escort in his press conference.

About the trade of Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo, GM Theo Epstein just said, “It certainly wasn’t a good trade in retrospect. From a sheer talent standpoint, that can be debated.’’

Theo said they are happy with the player they got from the Nationals but of course he couldn’t say who it was. He said once they can announce who it is, they will let us know. He also said they never gave up WMP’s talent, they just didn’t have the roster space to give him the at-bats he needed for his development.

Bobby Kielty is also on a flight to Boston. It’s not known when he will be activated by the Sox.

Julian Tavarez was officially announced as the starter for Sunday.

Manny’s RBI in the 8th gave him 1,596 RBIs and tied him with George Brett for the 29th all-time.

Both Josh Beckett and John Lackey had been vying for their 16th wins of the season.