What a game. That was a nailbiter for sure. Down to the wire, it really could have gone either way. I’m serious. Either team could have easily won, and either team could have easily lost. It was one of those games where you could tell that it was going to be decided by something small or by something big. And until it was decided all you could do was keep the faith and believe that somehow we would come out on top.
It started with poor pitching on both sides. Morales was the culprit for us in a big way. He was fine in the first. And he was fine in the second. But he completely and totally imploded in the third and didn’t even make it out of the inning. He gave up a single, a fielder’s choice, another single followed by a steal, an RBI single, a strikeout, a walk to load the bases, an RBI walk since that’s really what it was, and an unearned run thanks to an error by Ciriaco. He gave up almost every kind of run imaginable in that first inning, including the more humiliating varieties.
Then Mortensen got up there and allowed a whole heap of inherited runners to score, plus several of his own. He gave up an RBI walk of his own followed by three consecutive RBI singles.
So just so we’re completely aware of the dire situation, I will point out that that’s eight runs. We gave up eight runs in a single inning. We usually don’t even score eight runs in a single game. Or, for that matter, in multiple games put together. And our pitching staff just dropped eight runs like it was their job. Honestly our pitching’s been so sub-par this season that sometimes it looks like it actually is.
At that point Mortensen was relieved by Tazawa, who ended the inning and pitched the fourth without incident. Melancon pitched the fifth and sixth. Bailey gave up two consecutive singles and an RBI single two outs later, after which he was relieved by Padilla, who finished the inning and pitched through the eighth.
Fortunately, our hitters were actually prepared to answer. And it was glorious to watch the whole thing unfold. Because, sure, they scored eight runs in a single inning, and sure, that inning was early on in the contest, but we were clearly unfazed by it. That plus the fact that the pitcher we were facing was, as I said, not that much better than Morales. These things blended together to create a fantastic dish of cold, hard revenge every single time they’d score a run. We’d just come roaring back.
We actually scored first; Pedroia doubled and scored on a single by Gonzalez in the first. And we scored five runs in the second. Gomez doubled and scored on a single by Podsednik, Ciriaco singled, Ellsbury singled in Podsednik, and then Pedroia strode to the plate and delivered an absolute wallop of a swing that seemed to uncork months and months of frustration. He let loose, and the ball sailed out toward the Monster. And it was fantastic because it brought in three runs in one swing of the bat; that’s a matter of seconds. It was a game-changer.
Then the Angels’ monster inning happened, and neither team scored again until the fifth, when Pedroia singled and scored on a single by Ross. Not wanting to feel left out of the power action, Aviles went yard toward the Monster as well. One at-bat later, Ciriaco doubled and scored on a double by Ellsbury. This gave us a one-run lead at the time, which we promptly lost due to Bailey’s run. That tied things up at nine, and that’s exactly where it stayed until the eighth. We hit four straight singles in the eighth, the latter two of which plated runs.
Except that the Angels answered us, too. Aceves came out for the ninth and gave up a solo shot and two RBI singles to give the Angels a one-run lead, and Ross’s mistake in the field wasn’t helpful. And suddenly the situation was reversed. Momentum was no longer on our side. It’s been so hard to come by, and naturally when you need it most it tends to disappear. That’s the story of our entire season, I guess. It was all that any one of us could take, and yet we couldn’t look away because we believe as long as there’s even the tiniest shred of hope that we could obtain the W, we knew we were still in it. We were in it to the very, very last, all right.
Except that that solo shot wasn’t a home run at all. It didn’t even go over the Monster, and anyone watching could have seen it, but for some reason nobody realized or challenged it. And if it had been challenged and reviewed and possibly reversed, who knows what the outcome of the game would have been then?
But then Ross led off the ninth with a solo shot out toward the Monster. This was unbelievable. We finally seemed to have an answer for everything, and the suspense was almost intolerable. We showed that we have resilience. We showed that we have grit and that we can come back at the drop of a hat. Now we just needed to show that we could seal the deal and walk away with the win; we needed to score a run or two that the Angels didn’t have an answer for, because we were neck-and-neck and needed to put ourselves on top.
But the team that had the last word wasn’t us. Aceves allowed a solo shot to lead off the tenth followed by a single and was then replaced by Breslow, who gave up an RBI double for the winning run.
The final score was 14-13. Now, I’ve seen disappointing losses this year. I mean, every loss is disappointing, but there have been some real backbreakers. And this one is up there. To come back every single time except the last, to respond to everything they did at the plate run by run, to have had our chance to win throughout the whole game and then come up short by just one run in extra innings is definitely up there. It was exhausting, it was painful, and above all it was infuriatingly disappointing. So you can blame the pitchers because thirteen runs should have been much, much more than enough to win with, or you can blame the hitters for not having been able to score that fourteenth or even fifteenth run at the end of it all. Whoever you blame, the outcome won’t change. We should have been the ones to have had that last word.