With Pen, In Hand
Beckett was not sharp, but with the bullpen, namely Javier Lopez and Craig Hansen, putting potential disaster to rest in the 7th inning, the Red Sox, behind Big Papi's 31st home run and the great defense of Trot Nixon, won for the second time in as many tries against the world champs.
When Beckett was pulled in the 7th inning, with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Sox clinging to a slim 6-5 lead, things could have gone downhill fast. Quiet confidence could have turned to gloomy resignation. But noooo! Javie struck out the ever dangerous Jim Thome on 5 pitches. Craig Hansen induced a shallow pop up by Paul Konerko. Nobody advanced, still 6-5. And then there were 2 outs, and fingers were crossed and lucky charms held dear. Jermaine Dye lined softly to shortstop Alex Cora, the inning was over, the lead perserved, and we were that much closer to Paps time. Jonathon Papelbon came in to get the last out of the eighth and the final 3 in the 9th for his 26th save. There was bedlam in Farmington, and beer flowed and pizzas baked golden, crusty and gooey. And all was right with the world, if only for a few moments. That's how you spell summer.
In addition to David Ortiz' 31st home run, Manny had 3 hits, while Mark Loretta, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp and Alex Cora each had 2. They banged out 16 hits and scored 9 runs. It was a good thing, for Mr. Beckett was anything but dominating. But all's well that ends well. And it ended just fine, thank you. We go for the sweep this afternoon, with Schill against undefeated (until today) Yankee cast-off Jose Contreras. Be there.