The Red Sox retooled their franchise in the offseason with an international cast, adding Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, and an unknown lefthander, Hideki Okajima. As they renewed their ancient rivalry with the Gothams, it was the lefty who saved the day.
So often we abuse the term 'team effort', but that told the story, with a cast of heroes, most unsuspected. Curt Schilling struggled, yielding 5 runs, including a pair of A-Rod blasts. And the Red Sox trailed 6-2 going into the home eighth, when they 'erupted' for a Wee Willie Keeler rally, hitting 'em where they ain't, capped off by a game-tying triple by the newly minted Coco Crisp. Crisp later scored on an Alex Cora imitation Luis Gonzalez flare over Derek Jeter to send the Sox into the ninth ahead.
The fateful ninth, no longer a source of angst or weltschmertz for Red Sox Nation, brought Okajima to face the heart of the Bomber lineup, Jeter, Abreu, and A-Rod. Okie induced a groundout from Jeter, Abreu walked after getting some close pitches, and A-Rod got sawed off on a soft liner to Cora. Finally, on a 1-2 pitch, a splitter down, Okajima got the game-ending strikeout and his first American League save.
Jason Varitek had a big night with a home run and three RBI, and the 'soft' part of the lineup (six to nine) drove in all seven runs.
Yes, it's only April. But wins amidst the showers count as much as those down the stretch, and the Sons of Joe Torre wasted a fine performance from Andy Pettitte and a pair of A-Rod homers. All is right with the Sox world tonight.