Wow. Just, wow. All of Red Sox Nation just went on a power overdose. That was epic. It was just epic.
Miller actually didn’t do a bad job. Besides, considering the circumstances surrounding our rotation lately, even if he did do a bad job we are in no position to complain.
Five innings, three runs on six hits, four walks, no strikeouts. He made a throwing error. He allowed ten baserunners. He threw ninety-seven pitches, so he was extremely inefficient. It could have been better. Then again, it could have been worse. I think the bullpen is just going to have to commit to working overtime on a regular basis from now on.
They did so admirably. Aceves, Atchison, and Jenks combined to pitch four scoreless innings.
In the beginning, it seemed like, surprisingly enough, Baltimore would give us a run for our money. By the time the bottom of the third inning rolled around, they were actually leading us by two. With one swing of the bat, all that changed. Scutaro walked on four pitches. Ellsbury walked on seven pitches. And on a 3-1 count, Pedroia put a fastball over the Monster. Not off it. Not to it. Not in it. Over it and into the parking lot in Lansdowne Street. High inside fastball. That ball stood no chance.
In the fourth, Reddick reached on a missed catch, advanced on a single by Salty, and came around to score on a sac fly by Drew. In the fifth, Gonzalez hit a solo shot to the bleaches in center. The swing was enormous. The blast was equally enormous. The ball landed right at the 379-foot mark. It was his first career dinger opposite Baltimore; I’m sure it will be the first of many. The key to this one was patience. The pitch was a changeup, and he had its number all the way. He waited and stayed back and uncorked the perfect swing at exactly the right time.
In the sixth, Scutaro singled and Ellsbury hit a home run into the seats in right. It was huge. It kept rising and rising and rising. At times it looked like it had enough to make it into the upper deck before it dropped down. It was a slider, so another phenomenal display of hitting acumen. He crushed it completely. So between that and his spectacular running catch in the fifth, I’ll forgive him for getting caught trying to go from first to third in the first inning.
But then came the seventh. If you thought you’d seen power up to this point, you were about to think again. We put up a three-spot in the seventh. But not just any three-spot. Papi, Reddick, and Salty went back-to-back-to-back. Three consecutive home runs for the first time since August 13, 2010 against the Rangers in Arlington. A rocket of a straight shot to center field, a towering lob over the bullpen in right field, and a wallop to the Monster seats in left field. Fastball, fastball, fastball. Full count, full count, 0-2. Huge, huge, and huge. Three home runs on ten pitches alone. I felt like I was watching replays. That’s always the effect that going back-to-back has. The best part is remembering that it’s not a replay. It’s a completely separate play and an additional run and a progression of the opposing pitcher from bad to worse. It was epically epic.
And that’s how, despite the fact that entering the game we were thirteen and twenty-five after the opponent scores first, we used the long ball to bury the Orioles, 10-4. Let me put this in perspective. The team collected thirteen hits. Of those, eight were for extra bases. Of those, six were home runs. So almost half of our total hits were home runs. We’ve won seven of our last eight games. And, oh, by the way, we are now in sole possession of first place for the first time since June 24. This game was legendary.
Last but of course certainly not least, I’d like to extend condolences to the family and friends of Dick Williams. He was a legendary manager, figured prominently several postseasons including our Impossible Dream, and is one of only two managers to win ninety games in a single season with four different teams and to deliver three teams to the World Series. He managed for twenty-one seasons. He was a real character. And he will be missed. Dick Williams, we salute you.