Finally, we snap our losing streak. We almost didn’t. It’s fitting that, if we’re going to win, we barely eke it out. Honestly I’m embarrassed to say that I almost forgot what winning felt like. I have to say, it feels awesome. It’s a shame we don’t just do it more often.
For his part, Lester had a decent start. Technically it was a quality start; in reality it could have been much better. He gave up three runs on nine hits over six innings while walking two and striking out four. So the fact that he only gave up three runs is good; the fact that he gave up nine hits and only pitched six innings is obviously not great. A pitcher who allows nine hits should feel really lucky that he managed to limit the damage to three runs and reach the six-inning mark.
Of course it didn’t help that most of his runs were scored via the long ball, and when I say most I mean two of three. His fifth pitch of the game was hit for a single in the first; the runner then stole second on a strikeout, moved to third on a groundout, and then scored on another single. Lester then got through the second but gave up two consecutive solo shots to open the third. Three pitches, two solo shots; the first one was hit on the first pitch of the at-bat and the second on the second. The sixth was his only one-two-three inning.
Breslow and Tazawa combined to pitch the seventh, Padilla pitched the eighth, and Bailey pitched the ninth. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.
In the end, Lester picked up the win; Breslow, Tazawa, and Padilla each got holds; and Bailey got the save. Lester may have allowed three runs, but when Breslow took the ball in the seventh, Lester had already pitched the bottom of the sixth with a one-run lead.
We really procrastinated. It was almost like we had to force ourselves to just win already. Between the singles and doubles we sprinkled across the game’s first five and last three innings (except the third and the eighth, when we went down in order), we had our fair share of opportunities to get on the board and to pad our lead, but this year, since when has that stopped us before? So we didn’t score until the sixth. Which was when we scored all of our runs. So we didn’t score before, and we didn’t score after; we just crammed all four of them in there at once like we wanted to get it over with. But it was a really fantastic inning. It made you think of all those games we’ve been known to play in the past and hopefully in the future where multiple innings during multiple games are like that.
Pedroia and Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles, and then Ross strode to the plate and went yard on the first pitch he saw, a seventy-nine mile-per-hour curveball that he sent all the way out to left field. It was awesome. He read the ball from the minute it left the pitcher’s hand and had its number all the way through, and he just powered it out of the park. And with one swing of the bat, we tied the game at three. Loney and Salty provided back-to-back flyouts, and then Lavarnway, wanting to get in on the action, powered our way to victory with a solo shot on his second pitch. Both pitches he saw in that at-bat were eighty-nine mile-per-hour fastballs. The first was a two-seam that he took for a ball; the second was a four-seam that also ended up in left field.
And that’s the story of how we stopped our losing streak at seven and our road losing streak at eight using pure power. Yeah. It feels good. It feels really good.