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Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Workman’

Man, that’s crushing.  That’s awful.  This game was so close.  We were neck-and-neck through it.  In the end, we just didn’t come up with enough runs.  I thought we could rally in the bottom of the ninth, tie it up at three, and then maybe win it in extras if we couldn’t get it done in nine.  But it didn’t happen.

We scored first when Pedroia hit a solo shot on the fifth pitch in the bottom of the first.  We made it two-zip in the fourth; Carp led it off with a flyout, but then Salty reached on a fielding error, Drew walked, they both executed a double steal, and between a sac fly by Bogaerts and a fielding error, Salty scored.

Dempster let the Orioles pull within one in the fifth thanks to a walk-groundout combination.  Then he let the Orioles tie it up when he gave up a solo shot to lead off the sixth.  In the end, he gave up two runs on three hits over the course of six innings.  Workman pitched the seventh and gave up two hits in the eighth, Breslow pitched the eighth through three outs, and Uehara pitched the ninth and promptly blew his save.  He gave up a triple, and then the runner scored on a sac fly.  And we lost, 3-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee
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We started our series against the Yankees on Friday, and we’ve won it.  That is, the least way we can describe it is having won it.  Because really, we swept it.  It was just one of the most beautiful things to see.  Sweeping the Yankees? Yes, please.

Friday’s game was a game of bookends, so to speak.  We won, 8-4, because we scored four runs in the first and four runs in the eighth and no runs in between.  In the first, Pedroia singled, Victorino flied out, Papi doubled, Pedroia scored on a groundout by Carp, Papi scored on a single by Nava, Salty walked, and Nava and Salty both scored on a double by Drew.  But the eighth, I have to say, was my favorite.  Victorino singled, Papi got hit, and Gomes walked to load the bases.  Nava struck out.  And then it was Salty’s turn.  He took a changeup for a strike.  And then he got a fastball that looked really good.  For him.  Not for the pitcher.  The pitcher didn’t stand a chance.  Salty uncorked a massive swing on that ball and sent it beyond the right field fence for a grand slam.  It was epic.  And it came against the Yankees.  That’s about as good as it gets.

Meanwhile, Lackey gave up four runs on seven hits in six and one-third innings.  He gave up no walks and struck out three.  Lackey gave up a solo shot to lead off the third.  Then he gave up one run on a double-sac fly combination in the sixth.  He had the bases loaded with two out in the seventh thanks to two singles and a walk, and he gave up a two-run double that obviously could have been much worse.  Workman got the last out of the seventh, Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.

Saturday’s win was more modest, but it was a win nonetheless.  5-1 is a pretty satisfying score.  And Lester was, without a doubt, the star of the show.  He pitched a full eight innings of one-run ball and gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out five.  He threw 116 pitches, eighty of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in his first three innings and gave up his only run in the fourth because he gave up a triple to lead it off, and it turned into a run on a groundout.  So even in the inning during which the one blemish of his performance occurred, he still managed to derive an out from it.  He ended up facing five in the fourth due to a walk, and he faced four in the fifth and sixth.  He went one-two-three in the seventh and issued another walk in the eighth.  Yeah.  Master.  Morales pitched the ninth.

So it was really, really nice that we gave him run support.  Napoli led off the second with a single and scored on a groundout by Middlebrooks.  Pedroia led off the third with a single and scored on a double by Papi, who scored on a single by Gomes.  Ross led off the fourth with a single and scored on a single by Victorino.  And Napoli led off the fifth with a walk and scored on a sac fly by Nava.  Clearly the leadoff was very good for us.

And last but not least, we won yesterday by a score of 9-2.  In a way, it was a fitting way to contribute to the roast of Mariano Rivera, which, if I may say so, was hilarious and seemed to be taken in the correct stride by all.  The Yanks probably thought they had Buchholz when they were the first to score.  It was only one run in the first, but scoring in the first inning can do a lot to boost your confidence.  But it was one of those earned unearned runs; Buchholz issued a walk and then himself made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and then the runner scored on a groundout.  So it was Buchholz who made his own fielding error, so it’s kind of funny to call that unearned.  All told, he gave up just the one run on two hits in six innings, walking four and striking out three.  Thornton pitched the seventh, Breslow pitched the eighth, and Webster pitched the ninth, during which he gave up a run thanks to a walk-single combination that, in the grand scheme of things, really didn’t matter at all.

Fortunately, we too scored in the first inning.  But we scored more.  Pedroia grounded out, and then Nava doubled and scored on a single by Papi, who moved to second on a wild pitch.  And then Napoli lit up the place with a two-run shot all the way to deep, deep center field.  And we added insurance in one of the coolest ways possible in the fourth.  Napoli walked to lead off but was out in a force by Salty.  Salty moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by Drew, and then Bogaerts walked.  So we had runners at the corners.  And then it was Bradley’s turn to bat.  And suddenly, cool as ice, Salty just slides on into home.  Yes.  That’s right.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole home.  It was epically awesome.  It was so polished and clean, like he does it all the time.  I’m telling you, he timed it perfectly, and there was nothing the Yanks could do about it.  It was absolutely perfect.  He nailed it right on.  Wow.  It was awesome.  And we weren’t even done.  In the fifth, after Pedroia walked, Nava doubled, and Papi walked intentionally, Carp got hit by a pitch, and with nowhere to go, Pedroia just had to score.  In the sixth, Bogaerts doubled and Pedroia walked, and each scored on a single, the first by Nava and the second by Papi.  In the seventh, Bogaerts singled, Bradley got hit, and both scored on a single by Pedroia.

In other news, the Pats are really starting the regular season off right, having secured another win, albeit a close one, against the Jets, 13-10.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Oh, the humiliation.  Oh, the complete and utter embarrassment and humiliation.  Most importantly, we won.  But I’d also like to think that the Rays learned a very valuable lesson, namely that they really shouldn’t get to thinking they can win that easily.

Dempster gave up one run, but he only lasted for five innings.  Still, those were five solid innings.  He put us in the position to win a close game.

Both teams scored all their runs in the third, and being that we batted in the top of the inning, we scored first.  After Bradley grounded out to lead it off, Pedroia singled, Victorino doubled, and Papi intentionally walked to load the bases.  Between Napoli’s double and Nava’s groundout, all three scored.

In the bottom of the inning, Dempster gave up two consecutive doubles.  And after the fifth, it was Morales’s turn.  Workman came on for the seventh, and it almost came undone.  Two outs in, he issued a walk followed by a double.  And then it did come undone in the eighth, when Workman gave up a game-tying solo shot.  Uehara came out to close the ninth.

But it was all over soon enough.  Pedroia led off the tenth with a walk.  Victorino hit a sac bunt, Papi walked intentionally, and Napoli walked.  So the bases were loaded thanks to three walks.

And after that it was like a dream.  Carp came in to pinch-hit for Gomes.  And his very first pitch was an eighty-one mile-per-hour slider.  And on that first pitch, he clobbered a massive grand slam all the way out to center field.  Tazawa handled the bottom of the frame.  And that’s how we won, 7-3.  Yeah.  Like a dream.

Reuters Photo

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This was an epic week.  It was an epic, epic week.

Last Saturday, we bested the Other Sox in a big way.  Peavy pitched seven innings and gave up only two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out four; Breslow pitched the eighth, and Britton pitched the ninth.  Those two runs were the result of a single-force out combination in the third and a single-single combination in the fourth.  But we scored more.  In the first, Ellsbury singled and scored on a single by Napoli.  Napoli and Gomes hit back-to-back doubles in the third.  And two singles, a double, two groundouts, and another single yielded another three runs in the fourth.  Gomes singled and scored on a single by Bogaerts in the fifth.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases in the sixth, and a wild pitch brought in the game’s last run for a final score of 7-2.

We managed to walk away with a win last Sunday as well.  Doubront gave up four runs on seven hits in less than four innings of work, and the rest of the game was pitched by Workman, who got the win, as well as Morales, Tazawa, Breslow, and Uehara, who got the save.  Workman and Breslow each allowed one run of their own, but fortunately, yet again we scored more.  Carp singled, Salty walked, and both scored on a single by Ellsbury in the second; Victorino and Pedroia both walked, and Ellsbury and Victorino scored on a double by Papi.  Drew hit a solo shot in the third.  And Ellsbury walked and scored on a single by Pedroia in the fourth with a little help from a throwing error.

We began our series with Detroit on Monday with a loss, which was unfortunate because Lackey pitched really well, giving up only three runs in over seven innings of work.  We lost because we got shut out.  Again.  It was just one of those days where good pitching happened to coincide with bad, or in this case nonexistent, hitting.

Tuesday’s game went a lot better; good pitching coincided with good pitching, and a lack of hitting coincided with a lack of hitting, but we did that much better to pull it off.  Specifically, we did one run better, winning by a final score of 2-1.  The game was literally won in the fifth inning, when Gomes singled, Drew doubled, and both scored on a single by Middlebrooks.  Lester gave up only one run in seven innings, and the relief corps, featuring appearances by four pitchers, held it together.

But I have to say that the highlight of this past week was unquestionably our epic victory over the Tigers on Wednesday, during which we scored a whopping twenty runs.  That’s right.  We won by a score of 20-4.  Let me repeat that.  We won by a score of 20-4.  Wow.  With that run total alone, we could have won every game for at least a week.  Dempster started that one and gave up those four runs in his six innings; Workman, Morales, and De La Rosa each pitched an inning after that.  But that offensive performance was supremely epic.  Epic, epic, epic.  The only member of the starting lineup not to have gotten at least one hit was Pedroia, and even he managed to bat in a run.  We put twenty-five base runners on the field that day, and only five did not step on home plate.  The only inning in which we didn’t score was the first.  In the second, Nava singled and Drew homered.  In the third, Ellsbury homered.  Papi led off the fourth with a homer.  Victorino singled and scored on Pedroia’s sac fly in the fifth.  And then came the sixth, which was one of the biggest and most massive innings I have ever seen.  We scored eight runs in the sixth inning alone; that’s more than we’ve scored in some games and even over the course of several games combined.  It was absolutely amazing.  First, Nava walked, Napoli doubled, and Drew walked intentionally to load the bases with nobody out.  Then Carp came in to pinch-hit and ended up walking, which scored a run.  Then Detroit made a pitching change, and Middlebrooks proceeded to welcome the new pitcher to the game by going hard on the second pitch of the at-bat for a grand slam.  Yeah.  A grand slam.  Like I said, it was epic.  Then Ellsbury struck out, Victorino got hit, Pedroia struck out, Papi doubled in another run, and Nava’s homer accounted for another two.  Like I said, it was epic.  We followed our eight-run sixth with a five-run seventh.  Drew doubled, and then Middlebrooks was awarded the home run that he deserved after a review.  Then Middlebrooks doubled and scored on a single by Quintin Berry, who came in to pinch-run for Victorino in the previous inning.  And then Papi homered for another two runs.  And then Napoli led off the eighth with a homer.  Those eight home runs in a single game, a feat previously achieved in 1977, tied a club record.  It was the first time any team had done it since 2010.  (Interestingly, we played the Blue Jays in that ’77 game, and it was the Blue Jays who did it in 2010.) It was also a banner day for Papi, who collected his two thousandth hit in the process and who deserved every second of the standing ovation that he received.  He also passed Billy Williams for forty-seventh on the all-time homer list.

We carried that offensive momentum with us right into our next win.  We started our series with the Evil Empire on Thursday, and the final score was 9-8.  Peavy gave up four runs in six innings, Thornton gave up another two, and Tazawa blew his save by giving up another two.  Then Breslow was awarded the win, and Uehara was awarded the save.  We needed ten innings to get it done, but the fact that we got it done was the greatest part.  Lavarnway and Middlebrooks led off the third with a pair of singles, and Lavarnway scored on a double by Ellsbury while Middlebrooks scored on a groundout by Victorino.  Middlebrooks homered in the fourth.  Victorino led off the fifth with a homer; then, Pedroia, Papi, and Nava loaded the bases with nobody out with two singles and a walk.  Pedroia scored on a single by Napoli, and Papi scored on a force out by Lavarnway.  Nava doubled and scored on a single by Lavarnway in the seventh.  The bottom of the seventh was an enormous mess, during which the blown save occurred; fortunately, with two out in the ninth, Napoli singled and scored on a single by Drew.  With one out in the tenth, Ellsbury singled, stole second, and scored the winning run on a single by Victorino.

The same good things can be said about Friday’s game, which, thanks in large part to the Yankees’ bullpen, we won, 9-8.  Doubront himself actually gave up six runs on six walks and three hits, one of which was a home run.  But our bullpen held it together.  Meanwhile, Napoli led off the second with a single and scored on a single by David Ross.  Napoli led off the fourth with a double and scored on a groundout by Drew.  Middlebrooks led off the fifth with a solo shot.  And then we scored another five runs in the seventh inning alone, during which the Yanks went through three pitching changes.  Ross singled, Middlebrooks flied out, Victorino singled, and Carp walked to load the bases.  Pedroia singled in Ross, which kept the bases loaded, and after Papi struck out, Napoli worked the count full after receiving seven pitches but went yard in a huge way on the eighth pitch, delivering an enormously massive grand slam.  I can’t even describe the awesomeness of it all.  And we weren’t even done.  With one out in the eighth, Middlebrooks singled and then Victorino homered them both in.  Carp singled, Pedroia grounded out, and Papi and Napoli each walked.  Nava walked in one run, and Drew singled in another.

Yesterday, we enjoyed yet another high scoring performance, winning 13-9.  Lackey lasted less than six innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits, and then Britton, one of four relievers that we had to sent out, allowed two runs of his own.  But, in keeping with the week’s theme, we scored more.  Papi led off the second with a double, and Napoli followed with a home run.  Bogaerts led off the third with a double, Victorino got hit, and then it was Gomes who homered.  We had four straight scoring plays in the fourth, after Middlebrooks and Bradley led it off with two singles: Lavarnway doubled, Bogaerts grounded out, Victorino doubled, and Gomes singled.  And then Pedroia doubled and Papi hit a sac fly.  Each of those scoring plays accounted for one run.  Bradley walked in the fifth, and one out later, Bogaerts hit a two-run shot.  And then Napoli homered in the ninth.

We played very well yesterday also, but it wasn’t good enough.  This one was evenly matched, but the wrong team came out on top.  Lester turned in a quality start, giving up only three runs over the course of eight innings.  But they just scored one more run than we did.  Papi and Carp led off the second with back-to-back doubles that accounted for our first run, and Papi doubled and scored on Salty’s groundout in the sixth.  And then Middlebrooks delivered in a big way, smacking a game-tying solo shot to lead off the ninth.  But Workman’s not-so-excellent work in the bottom of the inning did us in.  He looked great at first, but between the first two outs of the frame, he allowed a single, which became important when he issued a wild pitch that brought the runner in.  And so we lost, 4-3.

And, as if our awesome performances were not awesome enough, we find ourselves in first place in the AL East, eight and a half games above Tampa Bay.  (The Yankees, might I add, are eleven games out of first, which is good for fourth in our division, and at this moment, they are not even in the running for the Wild Card.) We also have the best winning percentage in the entire Major Leagues.  And that’s a great place to be.

In other news, the Patriots played the first regular-season game of the year yesterday! We beat the Bills, 23-21, in a real nailbiter that went right down to the wire.  We went 3-1 in preseason, beating the Eagles, 31-22, and then the Buccaneers, 25-21, and after losing to the Lions, 40-9, which was especially scathing, we beat the Giants, 28-20.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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There was no perfectly placed, perfectly timed pinch-hit single last night.  Last night, it was just the usual.  There were no special moments and no heroics.  And ultimately we lost because we didn’t play the ordinary game as well as Baltimore played it.  As evenly matched as we were, we were outscored.  And that’s how games are won, or rather, in this case, lost.

Neither team scored in the first, but we were the first to get on the board when Nava led off the second with a double and scored two outs later on a single by Drew.  Lester, however, gave our one-run lead to Baltimore by allowing two runs in the third.  He gave up a double that at least set the runner back at first on a fielder’s choice after the next at-bat.  Then he issued a walk followed by a bases-clearing double.  He made it worse when he gave up a walk followed by an RBI double in the fifth.

Victorino single-handedly brought Baltimore’s lead back down to one by smacking a solo shot toward the Monster to lead off the sixth.  That was huge.  In a low-scoring game, that run counted for a lot.

Lester’s start stopped at six innings; Thornton came on for the seventh, put two on base, and managed not to allow any runs.  Workman pitched the eighth, and he and Breslow shared the ninth.  As for the offense, that second run proved to be our last, and we lost, 3-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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Let’s talk about A-Rod for a moment, shall we? And, you know, the fact that, somehow, the rules have allowed him to still play while he appeals a suspension for drugs, among other things.  It’s just ridiculous.  He’s appealing the suspension, and as a result he can still play.  Even though he was suspended.  Ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.  He first came to bat when he led off the second, and Dempster was not about to fool around.  He threw four four-seam fastballs.  The first one was low, and the second and third were both inside.  So A-Rod had a 3-0 count when Dempster hit him in the back.  A-Rod took first, slowly I might add, and home plate umpire Brian O’Nora warned both teams.  When Joe Girardi realized that Dempster wasn’t getting ejected, he himself was after he threw his hat on the ground and made his displeasure known.  But the truth of the matter is that ballplayers the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing.  And fans the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing.  And it’s entirely possible that umpires the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing either.  All Dempster really did was let him know it.

Unfortunately for us, it kind of backfired.  Dempster then gave up a double, an RBI single, and a successful sac fly.  In the third, he gave up two consecutive singles, a lineout, and a groundout that scored one run.  But it was really the sixth inning that did us in for sure.  The Evil Empire scored four runs that inning, and without that inning, we would have won, all else being equal.  The inning began when who but A-Rod hit a solo shot.  After a groundout, Dempster gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.  Britton came on and didn’t give up a grand slam.  But he did give up the next-worse thing: a bases-clearing triple.

Until the sixth inning, we were in the lead by three.  Ellsbury walked to lead off the first, Victorino singled, Pedroia flied out, and Papi walked to load the bases.  Then Ellsbury scored on a sac fly by Gomes and Victorino scored on a single by Salty.  We went down in order in the second, but Victorino doubled and scored on a groundout by Papi.  Salty doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on a sac fly by Drew, and Middlebrooks unloaded on the second pitch of his at-bat and sent it all the way beyond the right field fence.  It was huge.  And it was fast; that ball just rocketed out of the park.

Victorino grounded out to lead off the fifth, but then Pedroia singled, Papi doubled, Gomes popped out, and Salty walked intentionally.  And then we scored a run in what is probably one of the more embarrassing methods for an opposing pitcher.  Nava walked with the bases loaded.  It was awesome.

With one on and two out in the seventh, Workman was replaced by Morales, who gave up an RBI single.  Morales and Tazawa both pitched the eighth, and De La Rosa hit a batter to lead off the ninth, which later turned into a run on a single.

So we went from leading by three to losing by three; the final score was 9-6.

AP Photo

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On Tuesday we got it done in extras; last night we weren’t so fortunate.  This one lasted one less inning, and we scored one less run.  Coincidence? I think not.

In the end, Lester pitched six and one-third innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out three.  He issued a walk in the first and another one in the second.  Then with two out in the third, a total debacle of a play resulted in Lester’s first run, which should have been classified as doubly unearned, if such a classification existed.  He gave up a single that turned into a run when he and Victorino each made a separate throwing error.  The ball hit Lester in the leg, and he tried to corral it and get it to Victorino.  The ball rolled along the right field line, and Victorino got it and fired.  Badly.  It was absolutely awful.  Thanks to these displays of truly abysmal fielding, what should have been just a single became instead what was essentially in practice an inside-the-park  home run.

Then in the fourth Lester gave up another run after a double-double combination.  He gave up another double in the fifth, and another run scored thanks to another double-double combination in the sixth.  He led off the seventh with a fielding error that put a runner on first before striking out his second batter and getting lifted in favor of Workman.  So, yes, Lester put at least one runner on base during every one of his innings.

Workman pitched the rest of the game.  And he was lights-out for most of it.  He seems to come more and more into his own with every additional inning he pitches.  And he did an excellent job yesterday.  If only he could have held on just a little bit longer.

Meanwhile, we went down in order three times: in the fourth, seventh, and eighth.  Other than those two innings, we put men on base and had a few different scoring opportunities from which to choose.  If we’d taken advantage of at least one more of those, perhaps the game would have ended differently.

We finally got on the board when Papi hit a solo shot in the sixth.  Pedroia had struck out, and the count was full.  He’d taken a two-seam for a ball, a slider for a strike, a two-seam for a ball, a slider for a strike, and a curveball for a ball.  Then he got another slider, but this one wasn’t so great, and Papi read it like a book.

Next, it was Napoli’s turn.  With one out in the ninth, Gomes walked, and with two out, Napoli hit a two-run homer on his second pitch.  Both of them were sinkers; he took the first one for a ball and uncorked enough power on the second one to send it beyond the right field fence.  Then Middlebrooks got hit and Ellsbury singled to load the bases with two out.  Talk about prime scoring opportunities.  But the Jays made a pitching change, and unfortunately this one did not work in our favor.

In the bottom of the tenth, he gave up a double, induced a groundout, and issued an intentional walk.  His baserunner stole second and then scored on a single, and that was the end of that right there.  The final score was 4-3.

Reuters Photo

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