There’s nothing like digging deep to remind you that you can indeed get the job done. And as with every situation this season that’s worthy of celebration and happiness, there is always a grim reminder of the fact that it shouldn’t be celebratory because it should be ordinary; this is the kind of win that we should be able to pull off in our sleep. And as with every grim reminder of the fact that it shouldn’t be celebratory because it should be ordinary, there is always another grim reminder of the fact that the reason why it’s celebratory is because it’s so rare these days.
Buchholz was the first to dig deep. He allowed two runs on a double in the first and one run on a solo shot to lead off the second, and that was it. He was lights-out for the rest of the game, which he almost pitched to completion. Aceves ended up coming out for the ninth, during which he retired the side and got the save. But Buchholz was in absolute top form when he was on the mound. He owned the Orioles when he was out there. He had their number all the way through and didn’t let them gain an inch after that second inning. He just kept his head down and did it, and in so doing he set an example that should be followed immediately.
My favorite inning was by far the sixth. He retired the side. With strikeouts. On a total of nine pitches. That means that every single pitch he threw that inning was a strike. Curveball, curveball, cutter, four-seam, cutter, four-seam, four-seam, cutter, splitter. One, two, three. No chance, no chance, no chance. It was ridiculously awesome. There was absolutely nothing the Orioles could do against him. As the game went on, he kept getting better, and they just couldn’t figure him out.
So he ended up walking three and striking out a grand total of seven and throwing 107 pitches, seventy-two of which were strikes. He allowed a total of eight hits, four of which were for extra bases, three of which were doubles, the fourth being the solo shot.
But Buchholz would never have gotten the win if the hitters hadn’t also dug deep. We did everything the Orioles hitters weren’t doing: wearing out the starter, being patient at the plate, getting deep into counts, and making him throw a lot of pitches. We scored our first run in the second, when Punto walked and scored on a single by Podsednik, who’s back in Boston. At the time that simply reduced our deficit to one; it didn’t tie the game or put us ahead. In fact, after Buchholz allowed the solo shot, our deficit was back up to two runs. So we needed more.
And that’s exactly what we got in the fifth inning. Ellsbury provided an out to start it off, but then Crawford singled, Pedroia doubled, Crawford scored on a wild pitch, and Pedroia scored on a sac fly by Gonzalez. We put the finishing touches that would become the game’s final score in the sixth. Podsednik doubled, Ellsbury walked and was out at second on a force out by Crawford, Podsednik scored on a single by Pedroia, Crawford scored on a single by Gonzalez, and Pedroia scored on a single by Ross.
So the game ended with us on top, 6-3. Gonzalez and Podsednik both went two for four, Crawford and Pedroia went two for five, and Ross went three for five. Most importantly, it was a team effort. We won because the team dug deep. If only the team always digging deep were enough.