Last night wasn’t Wake’s finest hour. Collectively, though, it was a pretty fine hour for the team as a whole. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the one and only possessor of first place in the AL East division. We beat the Yankees again, so the worst we can do now is win the series. The best we can do, of course, is sweep. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Last night had plenty to recap.
As I said, Wake wasn’t feeling it. He gave up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three. He threw ninety-one pitches, fifty-six for strikes. He made his exit in the sixth, leaving behind one out and two on. Aceves came on and loaded the bases. Then he allowed an inherited runner to score. At that point we had a three-run lead that was looking pretty shaky. It took him six pitches, but Aceves finally got Derek Jeter to ground into a double play to end the inning. Crisis averted. He later gave up a run of his own in the bottom of the ninth. Wake picked up the win, and Aceves picked up a three-and-two-thirds-inning save. The final score was 11-6. We are seven and one against the Yanks this year, we’ve won all of our last six contests against them, and we’ve won five of those six on enemy soil. Not bad for a team that started out in last place. And those two, Wake and Aceves, are model team players, given the way they’ve pitched in when Lackey and Dice-K were on the DL. So the whole game was just a great one to watch.
The game started out innocently enough. Ellsbury singled and scored when Gonzalez grounded out. Youk walked after that. And that’s right around the time when you start thinking about how totally awesome it would be if Papi hit a home run. So that’s what he did. He launched a two-run shot into right center field. Papi had been fed a steady diet of pitches away to that point. But then he got a great one right down the middle. Why pitchers think they can throw fastballs down the middle right by us is beyond me. He didn’t flip his bat this time, but trust me, he was thinking it, and he was thinking it loudly.
The game only got better from there.
Scutaro singled to open the second inning, stole second base, moved to third on a throwing error, and scored on a sac fly by Drew. After AJ Burnett loaded the bases with an intentional walk in the fourth, Tek hit into the force out as planned, but a run still scored. Ellsbury doubled in another after that, and Pedroia singled in another. His hit just barely cleared Jeter’s glove.
Wake gave up a homer to A-Rod in the fourth, and they added three more runs in the fifth. We got one of them back in the sixth; three walks were issued in the bottom of the sixth alone, and one of them scored a run. Seriously, there are few things more humiliating than a pitcher walking in a run.
The Yankees added another run in the sixth. And then nobody scored anymore until the ninth. Going into the inning, the Yankees were down by only three, and that just didn’t seem like enough to hold them. I think Crawford and Drew heard it too because they both hit home runs in that frame. Crawford went first with a solo blast on a changeup down and in. Scutaro doubled after that, so it was even better when who but JD Drew smashed a towering plast into the bullpen. It was a good thing, too; Aceves would allow his run in the bottom of the inning, which would trim our lead. But only by one.
We still won by five. We’re still on the verge of increasing our first-place lead to two games. And we scored eleven runs against the Yankees. Life is most excellent.
In other news, the Stanley Cup finals is now even at two apiece. The Bruins shutout the Canucks last night, four-zip. Tim Thomas made thirty-eight saves en route.