We doubled in each of the first two innings but didn’t get anything going until the third, which Drew led off with a walk. Then Ellsbury doubled, Victorino flied out, and Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles that scored a total of two runs. One pitching change later, Napoli doubled and Gomes singled for two more runs. Middlebrooks then flied out, and Salty walked to load the bases.
So there were two out in the inning, and we’d scored four runs already. We’ve played some games recently where we’d have been lucky to score four runs in the entire game, let alone in one inning. We were already ahead of the game, so to speak, both literally and figuratively. And because we’ve been pretty quiet lately, having the bases loaded with two out in an inning during which we’d scored four runs was a pretty positive sign.
It was one of those moments where you think to yourself how epic and totally awesome it would be if Drew, who was batting next, were to hit a grand slam. And you sort of laugh it off as a joke even though you’re completely serious because it really could happen. And then you remind yourself that grand slams are rare for most batters and most teams, let alone a team that’s been playing like ours. Grand slams are best enjoyed when unexpected, but I think they’re always unexpected because, even when you’re thinking about them, you’re also trying to remind yourself not to get your hopes up too much because, really, what are the chances?
As it turns out, sometimes chances are good. Drew took a cutter for a strike and a curveball for a ball. He got another cutter, which made sense, but the pitch didn’t move properly, and it missed. Drew capitalized big time, and the ball left the park most certainly. On one swing of the bat, we instantly doubled our run total. We’d scored eight runs in the third inning alone.
And, in case you were wondering, yes, it was epic and totally awesome. Did I mention that we had four straight hits with runners in scoring position?
After that, it was like nothing happened. We went down in order in the fourth and fifth. Drew doubled in the sixth and made it to third on a wild pitch, but Victorino left him there with a groundout. We went down in order yet again in the seventh. With one out in the eighth, Middlebrooks joined the home run club. Nava had grounded out to lead off the inning, and the first pitch that Middlebrooks received also went over the fence in right center field. Nobody was on base, but the hitting was no less real and fantastic. Ellsbury led off the ninth with a walk, but we had already wreaked all the damage that we were going to wreak last night.
The Rays singled in each of the first two innings, but to no avail. I guess the third was the inning in which to hit for both teams, although by comparison the Rays hardly inflicted any damage at all. Lester gave up a single, an RBI triple, and an RBI groundout one out later. He gave up two consecutive singles in the fourth and had a one-two-three fifth. He gave up a double and hit a batter in the sixth. And he gave up a single to lead off the seventh.
Uehara came on for the eighth and gave up a single and a walk that amounted to nothing. De La Torre came in for the ninth and sent the Rays down in order.
All told, Lester gave up two runs on eight hits with no walks and five K’s over seven innings. Pedroia, Middlebrooks, and Drew each had two hits. We had only three walks, but we collected ten hits, half of which were for extra bases.