We have now officially picked up our first win in extras! It’s nice to be the one celebrating after the nailbiter is over. We split the series and can feel good about our performance, because for some reason we haven’t had much luck against Seattle’s pitching.
For us, Doubront lasted only four and one-third innings. He gave up one run on three hits while walking five and striking out four. It was a miracle the game wasn’t won by the time he was pulled. He had absolutely no command, and how Seattle managed to not take advantage of that is completely beyond me. Whatever groove he was in at the start of the season appears to have taken a vacation; he needs to find it again and get back in the game.
He lasted about half as long as Seattle’s starter, so he shares credit for the win with the rest of the bullpen. Indeed, he didn’t even pick up the win; Padilla did. Albers finished the fifth and pitched the sixth, Atchison pitched the seventh and eighth, Padilla pitched the ninth, and Aceves picked up a save for his work in the tenth.
We went down in order in the first but had a fantastic opportunity to score in the second; Ross and Gonzalez hit two straight singles to lead it off. After two quick outs, Shoppach walked to load the bases, but Punto lined out to end it. Until the eighth, we had at most one base runner per inning. In the eighth, we finally got on the board for the first time thanks to Pedroia’s power. With one out, he went yard on his second pitch, which was actually pretty similar to his first pitch. Both were eighty-eight mile-per-our two-seam fastballs. The difference was that he took the first one for a ball and he took the second out of the park, sending it beyond the fence in left. It was his first home run since May, so it was about time.
That home run tied the game at one. In the third, Doubront had given up two straight singles followed by a sac fly for the first run of the game. And the game remained tied at one until the tenth, when Brandon League replaced Tom Wilhelmsen. League got Punto to ground out, but then gave up a double to Kalish and a single to Pedroia, which moved Kalish to third and set the table for what happened next. Then League was replaced by Lucas Luetge, who gave up a sac fly to Papi, which scored what would shortly become the winning run. The final score was 2-1.
So it was Pedroia who had the clutch hitting, and it’s been far too long since we’ve been able to say that. Hopefully this is him getting something going here. We could really use that. We’re alone in third, one game ahead of the Rays and half a game behind Baltimore.
Additionally, the All-Star votes are in, and Papi is making the trip again for the eighth time in his ten seasons with us! His vote total was the fifth highest in the Majors! This year, he’ll be skipping the Home Run Derby; he said that it made him tired last year, especially at the end of the season, and he doesn’t want that to happen again this year. I have to say, that’s a team player right there. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who’ll represent us. We’ve got only one All-Star for the first time since 2001, and let me tell you, it feels really strange. Especially since we all know that Salty should have been voted in, hands down. Clearly it’s not important that he leads American League catchers in most of the important categories. I mean, there’s nothing to be done about it, but I’m just saying that it’s completely and totally wrong.