We talk a lot about Manny being Manny, but today's victory expressed vintage Red Sox from the grapes of baseball.
The Red Sox sent Matt Clement to the mound against the remaining A's ace from the big three, Barry Zito. Fortunately, for the Sox, Zito wasn't particularly on his game (like all working stiffs, I didn't actually see the game)...and Clement was, allowing only one run in seven innings.
Keith Foulke came on in the ninth for a 'garbage time' save with a 4-1 lead, that was promptly squandered, keyed by a two-run shot by Sox nemesis Eric Byrnes, as the A's assumed a 5-4 lead.
Octavio Dotel, no slouch despite last night's effort came on for the A's to try to save it (at least until Houston Street is named the New closer)...Dotel came into the season with 709 strikeouts in 585 major league innings, including 122 in 85 innings last season.
David Ortiz greeted O.D. with a walk, and Millar got under some heat with a fly to left. Jason Varitek then authored his third hit of the day, reaching the once cheap seats about two rows deep about 20 feet down from the pole. Victoire!
Foulke got the win, but once again appeared very rusty.
Notebook. Johnny Damon continued his torrid hitting extending his MLB leading streak to 17 games. The Sox reached their high water mark, eight games over .500 and kept pace with the O's who defeated the Twinkies and Johan Santana 7-4. Varitek raised his average to .343 and Damon checks in at .383.
Farm Land. Portland remained the Top Dogs in the Eastern League with a 6-5 win over New Hampshire. Kason Gabbard had a 5 2/3 inning, 2 run start, and the relief crew struggled to win it. Hanley Ramirez had two hits and two runs scored raising his average to .304 and Dustin Pedroia had a hit and two walks. Jeremy West had three hits and a homer to raise his average to .336 and Brandon Moss (.214) who has struggled had a hit and two runs scored.
The PawSox won 3-2 as Abe Alvarez pitched six innings of two run ball, not figuring in the decision. Alvarez kept the ball in the park, which is going to be a challenge for a Moyeresque portsider. Chip Ambres had a hit and a walk and remains at .369. The PawSox climbed to 15-17 and remain 3 games back in the IL North.
For once, it seems that the Sox have some viable prospects in the upper minors, with Ramirez, Pedroia, West, and pitchers Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester at Portland, and Kelly Shoppach and Ambres at Pawtucket with Abe Alvarez (the next Bruce Chen?) a lefty suspect.