That was a close one. Both the game and the series, I mean, in the sense that we narrowly and barely avoided the sweep. I really did not want to be swept. I mean, who does? But especially after that loss on Saturday night, I really, really didn’t want to lose today and be swept. So it’s a good thing that we weren’t. And it was pretty nice to win by the same final score that they won by on Saturday, as a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.
Morales got the nod today and pitched really well. His six innings were solid, and he gave up one run on only three hits while walking three and striking out four. He picked up the win after throwing 106 pitches, sixty-three of which were strikes.
He shut out the Twins for the first four frames. In the fifth, Morales gave up a walk, and the runner advanced to second on a stolen base, third on a groundout, and home on a sac fly. Morales ended his fantastic night on an appropriate note with a one-two-three sixth.
Melancon rolled up the seventh and most of the eighth; Breslow got the last out.
Meanwhile, we scored first in the third. Aviles singled, Ellsbury doubled, and Aviles scored on a groundout by Crawford. Then Pedroia singled, and Gonzalez singled Ellsbury in. Unfortunately, two runs was the extent of that rally. Fortunately, while we did go down in order in the fourth, it was not our last rally of the night. We scored another two runs in the fifth; Crawford singled, and then with two outs Gonzalez let one rip to the Monster for a two-run shot, doubling our run total with one swing of the bat. I’m telling you, we’ve really been putting the Monster through its paces, but that’s exactly what you want to see. It was the fourth pitch of the at-bat; all four pitches were two-seam fastballs at almost exactly the same speed. He took the first for a ball and the next two for strikes, but clearly he got all of the fourth.
We didn’t score in the sixth. Crawford led off the seventh with a single and scored on a single by Ross. And we scored our sixth and final run in the eighth; Kalish doubled and scored on a sac fly by Ellsbury.
And now for the top of the ninth. The ninth inning was again a problem. At the time the score was 6-1. But Padilla came on and promptly relinquished a solo shot; that made it 6-2. He then issued a five-pitch walk followed by another home run, which made the score what it was in the end. And then Aceves, ironically enough, sent down all three batters he faced. So, ironically, perhaps if he’d been the one to come out first, the inning would have proceeded without incident. So if we hadn’t scored enough runs throughout the rest of the game, we actually would have been in the exact same position we were in on Saturday night. And that’s not good at all. So we can celebrate and be happy that we staved off the sweep and all, but let us not overlook the fact that we could just as easily have lost. That’s never a good thing to be able to say about a win.
The final score, as I said, was 6-4. We posted fourteen hits to their six. Only three of ours were for extra bases, but it was enough. It’s always good to have a mix of extra-base hits and small ball. We had five multi-hit games; Middlebrooks and Ross went two for four, Aviles and Gonzalez went two for three, and Crawford celebrated his birthday with a three-for-five performance as well as a spectacular jumping catch in the second. And look for Morales to stay in the rotation. He’s earned his spot and was certainly one of the highlights of the win yesterday.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you don’t get swept.