Lester’s start was heartening, given his recent slump. But Shane Victorino, ladies and gentlemen! I have to say that Shane Victorino is the man of the hour. He delivered a historical type of play yesterday. It was a thrill to watch, and it was a thrill to recall. And it’s helpful to recall since I almost have to remind myself that it actually happened in order to really believe that it’s true.
Now that’s what I call Lester. Sort of. He gave up only two runs with no walks and eight K’s over six and one-third innings. He also gave up seven hits. But it’s certainly a good sign. He gave up a solo shot to lead off the second and a solo shot to lead off the sixth. Basically, he made only two mistakes when nobody was on base. For an ace pitcher going through a slump, that’s really good. As a matter of fact, that’s really great. So the Rays got seven hits off of him. It’s not like they were able to do anything with any of those opportunities.
A lineout and a double into the seventh, Thornton took over. One groundout later, Tazawa took over, ending the inning and pitching the eighth as well. Uehara pitched a solid ninth.
We scored more than two runs this time, giving Lester the run support he needed to pick up the win. Papi singled to lead off the second but was thrown out at third when Napoli singled, which allowed Napoli to move into scoring position at second. He scored on a single by Carp.
And then a true gem of a play occurred in the third. Things like this only happen maybe a handful of times in years. You’re lucky if you see one happen in an entire season and even luckier if you see one in an entire season, two seasons in a row. Victorino doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a sac fly by Nava. And then Pedroia got hit. So there were runners at the corners with one out in the third.
Papi stepped up to bat. He ended up grounding out, and then Napoli grounded out to end the inning, but we managed to score a run before that. While Papi was batting, Victorino was ready to go on the move. He timed it perfectly. It was an absolutely brilliant piece of baserunning straight out of Ellsbury’s book. We’d seen Ellsbury pull this off before, and now we’ve seen it again.
Shane Victorino, with his baserunning intelligence and excellent timing and phenomenal speed, stole home.
I saw it with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it. I mean, you have to have everything aligned almost perfectly to successfully execute something like that. But it happened for Victorino. And it was sweet.
With one out in the fifth, Nava doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly by Pedroia. With one out in the eighth, Napoli doubled, Gomes singled to put runners at the corners, Salty struck out, and Napoli scored on a single by Drew, who stole second base. Thanks to a single by Iglesias and a deflection and a throwing error, Gomes and Drew both scored. And that’s how we won, 6-2.