We are recently masters of the difficult win. We come from behind, we come back at the last minute, we barely eke it out. But I’m proud of our slow-but-steady-and-successful showing of late; it’s the kind of confidence-building that we need to get ourselves back on track. So this is a good sign; eventually we’ll be back to winning freely and easily.
Nava singled in the first and scored on a single by Papi. We walked in each of the following three innings; in the fourth, the walk came after a single, but we didn’t capitalize on that opportunity.
Buchholz made a mistake in the third. I suppose that he made two mistakes. He gave up a double to lead off the inning and, one out later, he threw a bad curveball that missed. How often this year have you seen Buchholz fire off a bad curveball and miss his spot? It’s a rare sight indeed. I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw it. But it was hit for a two-run home run. He then issued two consecutive walks in the fourth but didn’t give up any runs; still, the sight of him issuing any walks, much less two in a row, was quite foreign.
As if that weren’t enough, he gave up two singles and a walk in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. He pitched himself out of it thanks to a strikeout and a flyout. But I can’t remember the last time he was in a bases-loaded situation.
Fortunately, it was smooth sailing after that, and Buchholz was back to his old self. Also fortunately, we were able to tie the game at two in the seventh; Gomes walked, and when Ellsbury singled, it was deflected, and Gomes scored.
Drew doubled and Gomes walked in the eighth, but we didn’t score; Miller came in and held down the fort. We went down in order in the ninth; Miller and Wilson combined to preserve the tie.
And then something wonderful happened. For the third time in as many games, we were patient and resilient, and we came from behind. And it was sweet. We didn’t play well at all the last time we faced the Twins, but revenge is a dish best served cold, even in the month of May. Pedroia singled, Papi walked, and Ciriaco came in to pinch-run for him. Both runners advanced on Middlebrooks’s sac fly, and Drew loaded the bases thanks to an intentional walk.
The stage was set for another grand slam, or even another bases-clearing double. But it seems like each come-from-behind win is more humble than the last. Gomes was at the plate; he took a slider in the dirt and fouled off a fastball. Then he got another slider, and he lofted it to center field. It was obviously going to be an out. But it was hit deep enough that Pedroia was able to come home. One run on a sac fly in the tenth inning decided the game.
Uehara had a one-two-three tenth, and the final score was 3-2. Buchholz’s final line featured seven innings, two runs on four hits, three walks, and nine K’s. We totaled ten hits and walked a whopping seven times. But Drew’s double was our only extra-base hit, and we went two for ten with runners in scoring position and left eleven on base. In contrast, Minnesota was held to only four hits. Throughout the game, we had one on base here, one or two on base there. We just failed to close the deal and score; had we made good on all of our opportunities, we would have won the game long before the ninth inning rolled around. Either way, though, we won; at least we’re getting on base again.