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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Lavarnway’

At least this series wasn’t a total loss.  In fact, we ended up winning it.  It’s always nice to end a series and a weekend on a high note, especially going into an off day.  This is the third of four off days we have in this month alone, but it’s a nice schedule before heading into the playoffs.  We’ll need to save up a lot now that our season has been extended.

Doubront pitched fantastically, giving up only two runs on four hits in seven innings.  It was great.  He gave up a run in the second thanks to a walk and two singles, and he gave up a solo shot to lead off the fifth and that was it.  Other than that, he looked like he was in complete control of the situation.

Morales, however, did not.  He almost got himself into trouble.  Scratch that; he got himself into trouble and then managed to get himself out of it.  The same can not be said of Uehara, who came on for the ninth and didn’t get himself into trouble in the first place.

We actually were down by one going into the bottom of the second, which Carp led off with a flyout.  Then Nava singled, Middlebrooks flied out, Drew singled, Nava scored on a single by Lavarnway, and then everybody came home on a blast by Bradley on his second pitch of the game, one of two knuckleballs of the at-bat.  He took the first one for a ball and launched the second one beyond the right field fence.

That was it until the sixth, which Papi led off by doing almost the exact same thing.  He went yard on his first pitch, also a knuckleball, which he also deposited beyond the right field fence.

So the final score was 5-2.  Both teams collected six hits each, but you really have to be careful when throwing knuckleballs.  I believe that this game has officially illustrated the following fact: just because you’re a knuckleball pitcher doesn’t mean you’re Tim Wakefield.

By the way, I’m glad Yaz finally has a statue.  It’s about time.

In other news, the Pats absolutely crushed the Bucs, winning 23-3.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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This was an epic week.  It was an epic, epic week.

Last Saturday, we bested the Other Sox in a big way.  Peavy pitched seven innings and gave up only two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out four; Breslow pitched the eighth, and Britton pitched the ninth.  Those two runs were the result of a single-force out combination in the third and a single-single combination in the fourth.  But we scored more.  In the first, Ellsbury singled and scored on a single by Napoli.  Napoli and Gomes hit back-to-back doubles in the third.  And two singles, a double, two groundouts, and another single yielded another three runs in the fourth.  Gomes singled and scored on a single by Bogaerts in the fifth.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases in the sixth, and a wild pitch brought in the game’s last run for a final score of 7-2.

We managed to walk away with a win last Sunday as well.  Doubront gave up four runs on seven hits in less than four innings of work, and the rest of the game was pitched by Workman, who got the win, as well as Morales, Tazawa, Breslow, and Uehara, who got the save.  Workman and Breslow each allowed one run of their own, but fortunately, yet again we scored more.  Carp singled, Salty walked, and both scored on a single by Ellsbury in the second; Victorino and Pedroia both walked, and Ellsbury and Victorino scored on a double by Papi.  Drew hit a solo shot in the third.  And Ellsbury walked and scored on a single by Pedroia in the fourth with a little help from a throwing error.

We began our series with Detroit on Monday with a loss, which was unfortunate because Lackey pitched really well, giving up only three runs in over seven innings of work.  We lost because we got shut out.  Again.  It was just one of those days where good pitching happened to coincide with bad, or in this case nonexistent, hitting.

Tuesday’s game went a lot better; good pitching coincided with good pitching, and a lack of hitting coincided with a lack of hitting, but we did that much better to pull it off.  Specifically, we did one run better, winning by a final score of 2-1.  The game was literally won in the fifth inning, when Gomes singled, Drew doubled, and both scored on a single by Middlebrooks.  Lester gave up only one run in seven innings, and the relief corps, featuring appearances by four pitchers, held it together.

But I have to say that the highlight of this past week was unquestionably our epic victory over the Tigers on Wednesday, during which we scored a whopping twenty runs.  That’s right.  We won by a score of 20-4.  Let me repeat that.  We won by a score of 20-4.  Wow.  With that run total alone, we could have won every game for at least a week.  Dempster started that one and gave up those four runs in his six innings; Workman, Morales, and De La Rosa each pitched an inning after that.  But that offensive performance was supremely epic.  Epic, epic, epic.  The only member of the starting lineup not to have gotten at least one hit was Pedroia, and even he managed to bat in a run.  We put twenty-five base runners on the field that day, and only five did not step on home plate.  The only inning in which we didn’t score was the first.  In the second, Nava singled and Drew homered.  In the third, Ellsbury homered.  Papi led off the fourth with a homer.  Victorino singled and scored on Pedroia’s sac fly in the fifth.  And then came the sixth, which was one of the biggest and most massive innings I have ever seen.  We scored eight runs in the sixth inning alone; that’s more than we’ve scored in some games and even over the course of several games combined.  It was absolutely amazing.  First, Nava walked, Napoli doubled, and Drew walked intentionally to load the bases with nobody out.  Then Carp came in to pinch-hit and ended up walking, which scored a run.  Then Detroit made a pitching change, and Middlebrooks proceeded to welcome the new pitcher to the game by going hard on the second pitch of the at-bat for a grand slam.  Yeah.  A grand slam.  Like I said, it was epic.  Then Ellsbury struck out, Victorino got hit, Pedroia struck out, Papi doubled in another run, and Nava’s homer accounted for another two.  Like I said, it was epic.  We followed our eight-run sixth with a five-run seventh.  Drew doubled, and then Middlebrooks was awarded the home run that he deserved after a review.  Then Middlebrooks doubled and scored on a single by Quintin Berry, who came in to pinch-run for Victorino in the previous inning.  And then Papi homered for another two runs.  And then Napoli led off the eighth with a homer.  Those eight home runs in a single game, a feat previously achieved in 1977, tied a club record.  It was the first time any team had done it since 2010.  (Interestingly, we played the Blue Jays in that ’77 game, and it was the Blue Jays who did it in 2010.) It was also a banner day for Papi, who collected his two thousandth hit in the process and who deserved every second of the standing ovation that he received.  He also passed Billy Williams for forty-seventh on the all-time homer list.

We carried that offensive momentum with us right into our next win.  We started our series with the Evil Empire on Thursday, and the final score was 9-8.  Peavy gave up four runs in six innings, Thornton gave up another two, and Tazawa blew his save by giving up another two.  Then Breslow was awarded the win, and Uehara was awarded the save.  We needed ten innings to get it done, but the fact that we got it done was the greatest part.  Lavarnway and Middlebrooks led off the third with a pair of singles, and Lavarnway scored on a double by Ellsbury while Middlebrooks scored on a groundout by Victorino.  Middlebrooks homered in the fourth.  Victorino led off the fifth with a homer; then, Pedroia, Papi, and Nava loaded the bases with nobody out with two singles and a walk.  Pedroia scored on a single by Napoli, and Papi scored on a force out by Lavarnway.  Nava doubled and scored on a single by Lavarnway in the seventh.  The bottom of the seventh was an enormous mess, during which the blown save occurred; fortunately, with two out in the ninth, Napoli singled and scored on a single by Drew.  With one out in the tenth, Ellsbury singled, stole second, and scored the winning run on a single by Victorino.

The same good things can be said about Friday’s game, which, thanks in large part to the Yankees’ bullpen, we won, 9-8.  Doubront himself actually gave up six runs on six walks and three hits, one of which was a home run.  But our bullpen held it together.  Meanwhile, Napoli led off the second with a single and scored on a single by David Ross.  Napoli led off the fourth with a double and scored on a groundout by Drew.  Middlebrooks led off the fifth with a solo shot.  And then we scored another five runs in the seventh inning alone, during which the Yanks went through three pitching changes.  Ross singled, Middlebrooks flied out, Victorino singled, and Carp walked to load the bases.  Pedroia singled in Ross, which kept the bases loaded, and after Papi struck out, Napoli worked the count full after receiving seven pitches but went yard in a huge way on the eighth pitch, delivering an enormously massive grand slam.  I can’t even describe the awesomeness of it all.  And we weren’t even done.  With one out in the eighth, Middlebrooks singled and then Victorino homered them both in.  Carp singled, Pedroia grounded out, and Papi and Napoli each walked.  Nava walked in one run, and Drew singled in another.

Yesterday, we enjoyed yet another high scoring performance, winning 13-9.  Lackey lasted less than six innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits, and then Britton, one of four relievers that we had to sent out, allowed two runs of his own.  But, in keeping with the week’s theme, we scored more.  Papi led off the second with a double, and Napoli followed with a home run.  Bogaerts led off the third with a double, Victorino got hit, and then it was Gomes who homered.  We had four straight scoring plays in the fourth, after Middlebrooks and Bradley led it off with two singles: Lavarnway doubled, Bogaerts grounded out, Victorino doubled, and Gomes singled.  And then Pedroia doubled and Papi hit a sac fly.  Each of those scoring plays accounted for one run.  Bradley walked in the fifth, and one out later, Bogaerts hit a two-run shot.  And then Napoli homered in the ninth.

We played very well yesterday also, but it wasn’t good enough.  This one was evenly matched, but the wrong team came out on top.  Lester turned in a quality start, giving up only three runs over the course of eight innings.  But they just scored one more run than we did.  Papi and Carp led off the second with back-to-back doubles that accounted for our first run, and Papi doubled and scored on Salty’s groundout in the sixth.  And then Middlebrooks delivered in a big way, smacking a game-tying solo shot to lead off the ninth.  But Workman’s not-so-excellent work in the bottom of the inning did us in.  He looked great at first, but between the first two outs of the frame, he allowed a single, which became important when he issued a wild pitch that brought the runner in.  And so we lost, 4-3.

And, as if our awesome performances were not awesome enough, we find ourselves in first place in the AL East, eight and a half games above Tampa Bay.  (The Yankees, might I add, are eleven games out of first, which is good for fourth in our division, and at this moment, they are not even in the running for the Wild Card.) We also have the best winning percentage in the entire Major Leagues.  And that’s a great place to be.

In other news, the Patriots played the first regular-season game of the year yesterday! We beat the Bills, 23-21, in a real nailbiter that went right down to the wire.  We went 3-1 in preseason, beating the Eagles, 31-22, and then the Buccaneers, 25-21, and after losing to the Lions, 40-9, which was especially scathing, we beat the Giants, 28-20.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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So we lost the series after all.  This was a tough one to lose, and not just because losing this game meant losing a four-game series.  It was a tough one to lose because of that but also because we really battled to hold on.  Lackey pulled it together, Britton kept it together, and the hitters did a nice job of putting us back in it.  I really thought we’d be able to turn it around, but for the last third of the game, we were pretty much silent.

Lackey pitched seven innings and gave up four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out five.  His first run scored in the first, when he gave up two walks and a single.  He gave up two more in the second thanks to a double and two singles.  And he gave up a solo shot with one out in the third.  But he went one-two-three in the fourth, fifth, and seventh, and he faced five batters in the sixth.  So he did settle down.  It was just too late.  But I give him a lot of credit for reigning it in, gaining control, and grinding it out.  You could tell that this one didn’t come easily.  And I just wish we would have won, first of all because winning is a fun and important thing to do, and secondly because we should have been able to do so.  Britton came on for the eighth and kept the score as it was.

After all, we were the ones who scored first.  Victorino doubled and later scored on a throwing error.  The Royals scored all of their runs before we scored again.  In the sixth, Nava singled, Drew doubled, and both scored on a single by Lavarnway.

And we failed to get another rally going after that.  Ultimately, we lost, 4-3.

AP Photo

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Last night was ridiculous.  We scored as many runs as we collected hits: fifteen.  Six of those were for extra bases.  Three of those were home runs, and two of those belonged to Ellsbury, who also had two walks and three RBIs to his credit.  We also walked nine times.  Only one member of the starting nine, Carp, failed to reach base, and even he managed to at least bat in a run.  Only two of our seven batters who had hits had only one hit: Drew and Lavarnway.  Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gomes each had two hits, Victorino had three, and Papi went a perfect four for four at the plate.  Yeah.  Huge.

Wright got the nod to start this one.  And he didn’t waste any time dropping the ball.  He issued a walk that turned into a triple after a steal and a passed ball.  Then he hit a batter, and then there was another passed ball.  And then there was yet another passed ball that actually scored a run this time.  Then he got a strikeout, and there was another RBI passed ball.  Then he gave up a single, issued another walk, gave a wild pitch to load the bases, and induced a groundout that also scored another run.  And then, finally, the inning was over.

Workman came on for the second, but his beginning didn’t really go much better.  The second began with a strikeout, and then he gave up a single and a two-run home run.  Two outs into the third, he gave up a solo shot.  He also gave up a run in the fourth thanks to a triple-single combination.  He also got into trouble in the sixth.  After securing the inning’s first out, he gave up four consecutive singles and a groundout that, taken together, resulted in two runs.

Workman was replaced by Britton just in time to end the inning with a strikeout.  He had a one-two-three seventh, and he gave up a solo shot in the eighth.  De La Rosa had a one-two-three ninth.

We went down in order in the first and second and got on the board in the third.  Drew singled, Lavarnway struck out, Holt grounded into a force out, and Ellsbury went hard on a fastball.  One more baserunner and it would have been a grand slam.  But it was quite the homer.  All the way to right center field.  Lots of power.

But we got ourselves a lead after scoring five runs in the fifth! Ellsbury walked and scored on a double by Victorino, plus a fielding error.  Then Pedroia doubled in Victorino.  Papi singled, Napoli struck out, Pedroia scored on a groundout by Carp, Papi moved to third on a wild pitch, Drew walked, and Lavarnway doubled in both Papi and Drew.  Five runs.  Done.

The sixth inning was a repeat performance.  We yet again went through the full nine, and we yet again scored five runs! In two innings alone, we scored more runs than we usually score in whole games! The sixth even started with a walk by Ellsbury, just like the fifth.  Then Victorino singled, Pedroia singled in Ellsbury, Papi singled in Victorino with a little help from a throwing error, Napoli was out on a fielder’s choice, and then Gomes hit the second pitch of his at-bat out to left field for a three-run shot.

Ellsbury, who was all over the map offensively last night, led off the seventh with a solo shot to right.  Victorino walked, Pedroia popped out, and then Papi and Napoli worked back-to-back walks.  And Victorino scored on a single by Gomes.

So the pitching was actually pretty messy, when everything was said and done.  Fortunately, our hitters had an enormously huge night.  The final score, if you can believe it, was 15-10.  So it’s bad that the Astros had a slugfest, but it’s good that we had an even bigger one on the same night.  I’m glad we won this one.  It was pretty awesome to watch us score runs in every conceivable way.

Getty Images

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That was a great game.  We didn’t keep it to nine, but we did trade run for run with the Mariners.  I would have loved to watch us win decisively, but I give us a lot of credit for keeping ourselves in it.  There’s something really satisfying about keeping your head down and grinding through it.  Because, at the end of the day, you know that you made this one happen.

Ellsbury led off the game with a solo shot.  Papi walked to lead off the fourth, and Carp got hit.  Holt, Iglesias, and Ellsbury hit back-to-back-to-back singles in the fourth, scoring three.  Pedroia singled, Papi walked, and Gomes singled to load the bases with nobody out in the fifth, and a sac fly and two singles scored three.

Dempster gave up a solo shot to lead off the second.  Two flyouts, a single, a wild pitch, a fielding error, a double, and a single later, two more runs scored.  He gave up another run on a walk-single combination in the third.  He gave up four singles over the course of the fourth, resulting in two runs.  The latter was a runner inherited by Steven Wright, who came on for relief.  But he ended up pitching the rest of the game phenomenally well.

The game started with a bang but ended pretty casually.  Lavarnway led off the tenth with a walk, and we made the Mariners pay.  Bradley came on to pinch-run, moved to second on a sac fly by Holt, and later scored on a single by Nava.  And Uehara pitched a one-two-three ninth.

And that’s a wrap.  We won, 8-7, in ten but we used only two pitches.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

AP Photo

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Baseball is so unpredictable.  That can be either good or bad.  It can be good when you’re on the positive receiving end of the unpredictability.  It’s not so great, though, when you start the game off thinking you’re still in it, only to spend the entire second half of it being dominated by the competition.

Lester started out on the right foot and fired three shutout innings out of the gate.  But he ran into a little trouble in the fourth.  He gave up two singles to lead it off, and one out later, he gave up a double and then two consecutive walks, the first of which loaded the bases and the second of which resulted in another run.  It was pretty humiliating.

But arguably not as humiliating as squandering a perfectly good tie.  Those two runs put us in a two-run hole because we hadn’t scored yet.  We did, however, have an answer in the top of the fifth.  Iglesias got hit, Holt singled to put runners at the corners, and then Nava singled in Iglesias and Holt scored on a wild pitch.  But Lester returned the lead to Seattle by giving up a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the frame.

Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to what happened in the sixth.  Lester gave up two consecutive singles to lead it off and was replaced by Wilson.  But Wilson gave up a double and Nava made a fielding error that allowed both inherited runners to score.  Two outs later, Wilson gave up a single that allowed his own runner to score.

It only got worse from there.  Wilson issued a walk to lead off the seventh; he helped things along with a wild pitch followed by a double.  De La Torre relieved him and got the inning’s second out but then issued three consecutive scoring plays: a double, a single, and another double.  Three runs scored on De La Torre’s watch.

The Mariners found themselves up by eight runs at that point.  Clearly, if we were going to get ourselves back in this game, we didn’t have a lot of time to do it.

The Mariners made a pitching change in the eighth, and Pedroia singled, Lavarnway flied out, and Napoli and Salty bookended Carp’s groundout with RBI doubles.  But it was way too little, way too late.  In the eighth, thanks to a hit batsman and two walks, Seattle had the bases loaded, and a groundout was all it took to the drive the point home.

Lester had another mediocre start.  He gave up five runs, and the relievers each gave up three.  We lost, 11-4.

Getty Images

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There are few better ways to celebrate the Fourth of July than kicking back, relaxing, and taking in a textbook specimen of the national pastime.  I especially appreciated the victory, because losing would have really put a damper on the festive spirit.  I love baseball on the Fourth of July.  It would have been even better to have seen the national pastime played in America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, but the schedule is the schedule.  It was a great game anyway.

Webster got the nod to start and did a great job.  He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings with four walks and as many strikeouts.  He walked Pedro Ciriaco of all people to lead off the third, and he eventually scored on a sac fly.  He gave up his other run in the fifth thanks to a double-single combination.  And he ended his start on a fantastic one-two-three note.

Just as great as Webster’s start was the collective performance of our relievers, who pitched four shutout innings to hold the Padres at two runs.  Bailey got the seventh and miraculously sent down the three hitters he faced.  Wilson pitched the eighth and got the first out of the ninth before Breslow took over.

In the meantime, we didn’t waste time putting ourselves on top.  Ellsbury singled to lead off the first, and then Victorino and Pedroia hit back-to-back doubles, the latter of which scored two.  With one out in the second, Snyder hit a solo shot to right center field.  Napoli led off the fourth with a single and scored on a double by Iglesias.  Pedroia led off the fifth with a single but got caught stealing second; Napoli doubled and scored on a single by Gomes.  Lavarnway, Iglesias, and Ellsbury led off the sixth with back-to-back-to-back singles.  Two outs later, Iglesias and Ellsbury scored on a single by Papi.  And last but not least, Ellsbury led off the eighth with a solo shot to right.

The final score was 8-2.  And that’s the sweep!

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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