Yet another close one. But I took issue with this one because it didn’t have to be so close. At one point, we had more than a one-run lead; it wasn’t much more, but in close games, every run counts. This particular contest happened to end well, but it was not exactly a high point for our pitching staff. We managed to just slide by, and now Detroit is facing elimination.
We got on the board early, which I was obviously very happy to see. We scored three runs in the second. Napoli hit the inning’s fifth pitch for a huge home run; the count was 3-1, and he got a four-seam and read it like a book, sending the ball all the way out to center field. It was huge, and it started what was obviously a very important rally. Gomes then reached on a fielding error, and Bogaerts doubled after Drew struck out; both ended up scoring, Gomes on a double by Ross and Bogaerts on a single by Ellsbury.
Then Napoli doubled in the third and scored on a wild pitch by Drew.
Meanwhile, Lester did a great job. He had his share of baserunners, and he came close to squandering our lead. He gave up a run thanks to a single-single combination in the fifth. And another run thanks to a walk-single combination in the sixth. Actually he gave up a walk and a single en route to recording the inning’s first out, the RBI single itself was given up by Tazawa. And he gave up another run thanks to two singles and a double play in the seventh, which brought our lead down to one. That was when Breslow came on. He pitched through the first out of the eighth, and then Uehara took over.
So Lester’s outing wasn’t one of those breezy starts. It was a grind. You could tell that it was a grind. Like I said, he had his share of baserunners, and he was really laboring through it. And he wasn’t exactly backed up by an airtight relief corps this time around. But we managed to hold on, so we reestablished our series lead after winning, 4-3.