That was an excellent use of the off day function. Rest, recuperate, and regroup. And, more importantly, make it count. It’s always a shame when you have an off day and then take the field with nothing to show for it because you had to roll out the full pitching staff or you had to play extra innings or you didn’t hit or pitch that well and just lost. But yesterday’s game was an excellent example of a post-off day performance. We rest so we play better. And look what happened. We rested. And then we played better.
You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a downside in last night’s performance. Let’s start with pitching. Dempster turned in an admirable performance: two runs on six hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and six innings. He gave up a solo shot with one out in the second and an RBI single in the fourth. His other innings were solid. He had his fair share of one-two-three frames mixed in, and he kept the jams to a minimum. All in all, I’d say it was a quality start, and not just because his final line says so.
Wilson came on for the seventh and gave up two unearned runs; that wasn’t so great. He gave up a single, and then Victorino made a fielding error that caused a run to score and a runner to get on base. Two strikeouts later, Breslow gave up a single that allowed that runner to score. But he did fine in the eighth, and Beato turned in a decent effort in the ninth.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff. Not that the pitching wasn’t fun. It was fun. But in order to be on par with the mammoth hitting performance that we turned in last night, our starter would have had to throw at least a no-hitter. The Rockies managed to get eleven hits off of us, and you might think that that’s a lot. Actually, it is, and I guess that’s kind of a downside that you could find in this game. But even that total was no match for us. We racked up a season-high twenty hits in total. And of the eight innings during which we sent batters to the plate, we only failed to score in two. Similarly, only two members of our lineup failed to turn in a multi-hit performance, but no one failed to turn in at least one hit. In fact, only Salty reached base only once due to the fact that he singled but didn’t walk. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Nava, and Iglesias all went three for five. Victorino and Drew went two for five. Napoli went two for four. And Papi went only one for two but walked three times.
First there was the first. Ellsbury doubled on the Rockies’ second pitch of the game, moved to third on a sac bunt by Victorino, and scored on a single by Pedroia. Then Papi and Napoli worked back-to-back walks, and Pedroia scored on a single by Nava.
Two outs into the second, Victorino, Pedroia, and Papi hit back-to-back-to-back doubles, with Napoli following that with a single. Three runs scored.
With one out in the fourth, Iglesias, Ellsbury, Victorino, and Pedroia hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles, at one point with a little help from a fielding error, and brought in two runs in the process.
Nava led off the fourth with a single but was out on a strikeout-plus-caught-stealing double play. Drew’s reviewed triple stood, though, and he scored on a double by Iglesias.
We took quite a break in the fifth and sixth; spanning those two innings, a walk by Papi accounted for our only baserunner. But we were back at it in the seventh, which Iglesias and Ellsbury led off with back-to-back singles; both scored, Iglesias on a sac fly by Pedroia and Ellsbury on a single by Napoli.
And last but not least, Salty and Drew led off the eighth with back-to-back singles, and Salty scored on a groundout by Victorino.
So, there you have it. Nine innings, twenty hits, and an 11-4 victory. Against the Rockies. Why does this feel so familiar?
In other news, that’s the end of that. I can’t believe it. I saw the whole thing with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it. There was a time when we were in the lead. There was a time when it seemed so certain that the Stanley Cup was going to return to Boston, where it belongs. And then suddenly, two goals in seventeen seconds in the third period, and we walk away the proud owners of crushing devastation instead. It hurts. It really, really, really hurts. It just seemed like we had this in the bag. I guess we were wrong. At least we made it this far, and at least we put up a great fight, and at least we didn’t make it easy, and at least we were better than everyone else besides, but it hurts. I’m glad we made it to the final, but the higher you climb, the harder you fall, and it’s pretty tough to sustain yourself during the offseason with a conference championship alone.
Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis
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