We played a great game on Wednesday. It was a slugfest, no doubt about it. It felt really good to swing and win so easily, and it was a nice reminder of how potent we are when we’re on our game. Our slump has been awful, and slumps that bad can potentially end overnight, but more often than not, they take a little bit of time to get a groove going. They certainly take a lot of nailbiters. We were losing for most of last night’s contest. Most of the game felt like many of our recent ones. But we waited it out, and it paid off. Basically, it’s all an issue of confidence.
We went down in order in the first, second, and third. Victorino doubled and scored on a single by Papi in the fourth. Middlebrooks walked in the fifth, Pedroia singled in the sixth, and Napoli walked to lead off the seventh. Before the first inning was even over, I could tell that it was going to be a long night for Doubront. When the game was over and the final line was in, he’d walked six. Six. That’s a season high, but forget about that. No pitcher should ever walk that many batters in a single game. It’s like giving out free hits.
Anyway, Doubront allowed a single and two walks, loading the bases with two out. Fortunately, he managed to end the inning with a strikeout. But the rest of his outing was a real grind. He threw a bad fastball in the second that was hit for a solo shot in the second. He gave up a walk and a single in the third but again escaped the jam unscathed. He had a one-two-three fourth, his best inning of the night, but walked two in the fifth, again escaping. He walked the first batter he faced in the sixth on four pitches and was then replaced by Mortensen.
Mortensen induced a force out and issued two walks that loaded the bases. Between the walks, Salty passed a ball. And when Mortensen gave up a single, the runner who reached on the force out, scored. He was lucky that he gave up just the one run. Miller came on after that and gave up a single that scored another run. So two runs scored in the inning; Doubront was credited with the first, and Mortensen was credited with the second.
Breslow came on for the seventh and made it look easy. Both teams went down in order in the eighth.
And then there was one. Inning, that is. Pedroia and Papi walked back-to-back to lead off the ninth. Drew struck out, and we were thinking that maybe we really were the same team we were before Wednesday’s game when we were losing left and right. But then Nava walked to load the bases, and Middlebrooks did something awesome. He was down 0-2 but the pitcher just couldn’t close the deal. He took a one-hundred mile-per-hour fastball for a ball and then got a changeup. He stayed patient and read it like a book.
He didn’t hit a grand slam. He doubled to left, but it was enough. It cleared the bases. It was one swing. It wasn’t a home run. But it put us on top. And then Salty walked and Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.
Breslow gave up two singles in the bottom of the ninth, but he bounced back, knuckled down, and prevented further damage.
In the end, the night was ours. 4-3. We had been down to our final strike. Look who just won two in a row.
In other news, the Bruins started out on the right foot against the Rangers, picking up the first game, 3-2, in sudden death.