Posts Tagged ‘Jose Iglesias’

There have been a lot of close games lately.  But every once in a while, or actually hopefully more than every once in a while, the offense cuts loose.  This was a slugfest.  Indicated, of course, by the fact that we hit three long balls that accounted in total for more than half of our runs.  Refreshingly, there was nothing close about this game.

Wow.  Brandon Workman is awesome.  He just pitched six innings of one-run ball like it was a walk in the park.  (Pun intended.) In between the first inning’s first two outs, he gave up a double that turned into a run thanks to a single.  Other than that, he was lights-out for the remainder of his start.  He faced four in the second and third, three in the fourth and fifth, and six in the sixth.  After striking out the inning’s first batter, he gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out.  But he rallied after that, securing two swinging strikeouts to end the frame.

Breslow had a one-two-three seventh, and Thornton had a one-two-three eighth.  They took pages from Workman’s book.  Beato, who came on for the ninth, did not.  Or rather he did, but from the first inning only.  After putting up two outs, he gave up a single, a walk, and another single, which scored a run.  So the Mariners scored one in the first, one in the ninth, and none in between.

The same can most definitely not be said of our lineup.  We did not waste time.  Ellsbury struck out to open the first, but then Victorino doubled, Pedroia reached on a fielding error, and both Victorino and Pedroia both scored, on a passed ball and a single, respectively.  One out later, Salty singled and Gomes walked to load the bases, but Drew grounded out to end the threat.

Our second inning was even bigger in every way.  We scored three runs that inning, all via the long ball.  Iglesias singled to start it off but was out at second.  Then Ellsbury unleashed on a slider, his third of the at-bat, and sent it flying beyond the right field fence for a solo shot.  Victorino singled after that, and it was Pedroia’s turn.  This was a real battle.  He took a two-seam for a ball, fouled off a two-seam and a changeup, took a four-seam for a ball, fouled off a slider, took a two-seam for a ball, and fouled off two more sliders.  So, by the time the ninth pitch rolled around, obviously the count was full.  He got another two-seam and put on a laser show.  The ball rocketed toward the Monster.  Pedroia’s been in a slump lately, but hitting that two-run shot, he looked pretty comfortable.  He just unleashed all his power on that ball, and he looked like his old self again at the plate.

With two out in the fourth, Victorino doubled and scored on a single by, obviously, Pedroia, who ended up out at second.  And Salty joined the home run club in the eighth; Napoli had singled with one out, and Salty powered a fastball to right center field.

In every inning during which we did not score, we went down in order.  But thanks to the innings in which we did score, we won, 8-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Stephen Drew, ladies and gentlemen! Stephen Drew is the man of the hour.  He had an enormously huge night.  Wow.  This will be a remembered performance.

Drew led off the third with a single, moved to second on a groundout by Iglesias and third on a single by Ellsbury, and scored on a groundout by Victorino.  Two outs into the fourth, Carp and Salty hit back-to-back singles, and then it was Drew all over again.  He took a sinker for a ball and then got a cutter he liked and unloaded, smashing a three-run home run.

Carp singled in the sixth but was replaced by Salty on the basepaths thanks to a force out.  Yet again, Drew took his first pitch for a ball.  And yet again, he unleashed on his second one.  This time, it was a slider followed by a fastball, but the fact remains that he had himself another home run! It had to be reviewed but stood.  Victorino got in on the action by leading off the seventh with a solo shot.  Also in the seventh, Papi got ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Tim Timmons.  He went from a 3-0 count to a strikeout and didn’t like the call on that first strike.  He took out his frustration on a phone in the dugout with his bat.  And then he went back onto the field and had to be restrained.  And Pedroia had been standing near the phone, so then he got annoyed.  Needless to say, there was drama.

Dempster was having a phenomenal start.  He shut out the Orioles through four but cracked in the fifth, if you could call it that.  He gave up three consecutive singles that resulted in one run in the fifth, and he gave up two singles in the sixth, the first of which yielded a run on a groundout after Breslow came on.

Breslow pitched the seventh.  Tazawa came on for the eighth and gave up a run thanks to a single and a walk.  Uehara pitched the ninth.

The final score was 7-3! It wasn’t a shutout, but it was awesome nonetheless.

AP Photo

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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.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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There is no scenario in which it is excusable for us to score seven runs and then somehow end up in a tie.  Seven runs is a lot of runs, and I just feel like any pitcher should be more than happy with that kind of support.  I mean, there are pitchers who win games with a final score of one-zip, or 2-1, or 3-2, or something like that.  Seven runs provides more than enough of a comfort zone, if you ask me.

But to be honest, that’s kind of an afterthought when you beat the Evil Empire in eleven innings at home and pick up the series in the process.

Dempster gave up a single, and then Dempster’s own throwing error put runners at the corners in the first.  Then a throwing error by Salty resulted in a runner on third and a run scored.  A walk and a strikeout later, Dempster gave up an RBI single.  Dempster opened the second with a walk that turned into a triple on two groundouts.  Then he hit a batter and gave up another RBI single.

Our big inning was the third.  Ellsbury led it off with a double, moved to third on a sac bunt by Victorino, and scored on a single by Pedroia.  Papi singled, and Napoli took a sinker for a ball, fouled off a slider and a changeup, and got a fastball he really liked.  So he rocketed it toward the Monster for three instant runs.

But, fortunately, we weren’t done.  Drew got hit, and Iglesias and Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with nobody out; Drew and Iglesias both scored on a single by Victorino.  Gomes led off the fifth with a solo shot toward the Monster.

So at that point we were leading by four.  Unfortunately that did not last.  Before securing the first out of the sixth, Dempster gave up a single and issued a walk and then gave up an RBI single.  Breslow came on after that and gave up two more singles that resulted in another run.  In the process of securing the first out of the eighth, he issued a walk and gave up a single.  Tazawa came on after that, and thanks to a single and a throwing error by Iglesias, and another single after that, he gave up two more runs.

And that right there tied the game at seven.

Thornton pitched the eighth, Uehara pitched the ninth, Britton pitched the tenth, and Beato pitched the eleventh.

The Yanks made a pitching change in the bottom of the frame, and that was where the game was decided.  Pedroia and Papi provided two quick outs, but then it was Napoli all over again.  The count was full, and on his seventh pitch, he got a bad cutter.  And he uncorked a massive swing on it and rocketed it all the way out to center field for a home run.

So we ended up winning, 8-7.  Cue mob.  End game.

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Congratulations to the American League! We have officially secured home field advantage! Now it’s up to us to make sure that we’re the ones taking advantage of it.  Ultimately it was a pitcher’s duel, and the AL pitchers were absolutely masterful.  They held the fort the whole way through.    Pedroia and Papi both went 0 for 2, unfortunately.  The final score was three-zip, and it felt pretty good to put the National League in its place.

As far as last night is concerned, we did not waste time.  Ellsbury smashed the Yanks’ second pitch of the game for a solo shot to right.  Napoli led off the second with a walk, and Gomes followed that with a two-run shot toward the Monster.

Meanwhile, Doubront went one-two-three until the fourth, when the Yanks first got on the board.  He issued a walk that was followed by two steals and then a run thanks to a throwing error by Salty.  Doubront gave up another run in the fifth thanks to a double-double combination.  Doubront was relieved by Tazawa one out into the seventh after what I would call a fantastic start.

Those were the only two runs the Yanks scored.  We, meanwhile, added some insurance in the seventh.  Gomes led it off with a double and then scored on a single by Iglesias.

Breslow pitched the eighth, Uehara pitched the ninth, and we won, 4-2! Beating the Yanks is a great way to start the second half.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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Make no mistake, folks.  We did not just play the Oakland A’s.  We played the Green Sox.  I know I’ve said this before, but every once in a while I just wonder at how true it is.  Every so often, we notice that there’s a particular team that absorbs several guys who used to play for us.  There was a time in the recent past when the Dodgers could be thought of as the Blue Sox.  The A’s now fit that bill.

This was kind of a quiet one.  No big heroics.  No extra-inning comebacks.  Just grinding through.  We seem to be doing a lot of that lately.

We scored first and put the A’s in an early two-run hole.  Napoli singled and moved to second on a throwing error.  Nava got hit.  Salty’s flyout put both runners in scoring position.  Iglesias flied out.  And both runners scored on Holt’s single; the associated throwing error was a nice touch.

Unfortunately, there weren’t that many scoring chances after that, and the ones we did have weren’t maximized.  Which is unfortunate because Lackey, who sailed pretty smoothly through four, allowed the A’s to score in the fifth and tie it in the sixth.  First he gave up a run thanks to a single-double combination.  Then he gave up a leadoff solo shot to, of all people, Jed Lowrie.

The rest of the time, as usual of late Lackey was fantastic.  He was weaving right through the batting order with no major trouble at all.  Those two runs were the only ones he relinquished, 

He left the game honored with the win.  We put it away in the eighth inning.  Iglesias singled, two outs later Victorino got hit, and both scored on a single by Pedroia.  Bailey pitched the eighth, Uehara pitched the ninth, and the final score was 4-2.

AP Photo

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That was a great game.  We didn’t keep it to nine, but we did trade run for run with the Mariners.  I would have loved to watch us win decisively, but I give us a lot of credit for keeping ourselves in it.  There’s something really satisfying about keeping your head down and grinding through it.  Because, at the end of the day, you know that you made this one happen.

Ellsbury led off the game with a solo shot.  Papi walked to lead off the fourth, and Carp got hit.  Holt, Iglesias, and Ellsbury hit back-to-back-to-back singles in the fourth, scoring three.  Pedroia singled, Papi walked, and Gomes singled to load the bases with nobody out in the fifth, and a sac fly and two singles scored three.

Dempster gave up a solo shot to lead off the second.  Two flyouts, a single, a wild pitch, a fielding error, a double, and a single later, two more runs scored.  He gave up another run on a walk-single combination in the third.  He gave up four singles over the course of the fourth, resulting in two runs.  The latter was a runner inherited by Steven Wright, who came on for relief.  But he ended up pitching the rest of the game phenomenally well.

The game started with a bang but ended pretty casually.  Lavarnway led off the tenth with a walk, and we made the Mariners pay.  Bradley came on to pinch-run, moved to second on a sac fly by Holt, and later scored on a single by Nava.  And Uehara pitched a one-two-three ninth.

And that’s a wrap.  We won, 8-7, in ten but we used only two pitches.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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