We won! Things have been so bad lately that I almost can’t believe it! I mean, it wasn’t exactly a resounding defeat as far as the final score is concerned, but the standings and the record books don’t care about the lead you win with. They just care that you won, and we won, so there you go. It was a mediocre win, but as a win by itself it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Besides, with the way we’ve been playing recently, we technically have no right to complain.
Lester did good work except for one bad inning, which we’ve seen before. He gave up five runs on six hits while walking four and striking out four over seven innings. He threw 112 pitches. Fortunately, seventy-one of those were strikes, and he was working with a keen cut fastball with some effective offspeeds mixed in.
The bad inning as the fourth, when four of his five runs were allowed, including a two-run home run with two out. In addition to that, there was a two-run double. He threw thirty pitches that inning. After that, he only gave up one run on a double play in the fifth, and that was it. His pitch count was heavily weighted toward the first two thirds of his appearance; he threw tenty pitches in the first, twelve in the second, and fourteen in the third in addition to the thirty in the fourth. He then threw nineteen in the fifth but only nine in the sixth and eight in the seventh.
What was most refreshing about this game was that the bullpen actually limited the Twins’ scoring to those five runs. You read right. The bullpen did not allow a single run all night long. Four innings, no runs. Two hits and one walk and no strikeouts, but no runs. Not coincidentally, Bard actually secured the last two outs of the eighth inning, in for Morales, and picked up the win. Obviously that means he’s skipped his start. Supposedly he’ll still remain a starter, but seeing him take the ball in the eighth sure was a site for sore eyes. Thanks to him, the two-base error by Sweeney, which snapped a streak of fielding perfection 221 games long, did not result in damge. And then Aceves, wouldn’t you know it, recorded a save in the ninth.
So now let’s talk about the other half of the win. We got on the board first in the first when Gonzalez hit a sac fly. Then Youk led off the second with a single and Salty homered on a slider barely into the right field deck. His pitch was low; it was so low that, had he not swung, it should have been called a ball by a mile. But he’s a great low-ball hitter.
We didn’t score again until the seventh, when Ross tied the game; after Youk opened the inning with a groundout, Salty singled and then Ross let one of his own rip on the first pitch of the at-bat, a sinker, into the second left field deck. You knew that ball was out. Ross himself knew it was out, and he flipped his bat and just started trotting around the bases. It was awesome.
And lastly, it was Ross who put the finishing touches on our final score by breaking his own tie with a solo shot in the ninth on the second pitch of the at-bat, a four-seam, into the first right field deck. He hit multiple homers in a single game for the eighth time in his career. More importantly, he gave the team an incredibly essential jolt back to life. There’s nothing like a win to get the juices flowing; maybe this will be the one that finally puts us on the right track.
In other news, the Bruins gave the Caps a taste of their own medicine to force a final game; we won, 4-3!