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Live Blog: Red Sox at Texas, 7/21

Kevin Youkilis

UPDATE: Sox Lose 4-2, Now in 2nd Place

Boston (55-38) at Texas (50-42)

The Red Sox fell to second place in the AL East after another poor offensive effort in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers. The Yankees, meanwhile, won their fifth game in a row (the Sox have lost four straight) to take a one-game lead in the division.

Josh Beckett tossed the complete game in the loss, going eight innings with four runs on seven hits and a walk. Despite the strong effort (7 Ks), Beckett fell to 11-4 on the season. Read on for the full Live Blog of the game…

Tommy Hunter, Canada's Country Gentleman

Tommy Hunter, Canada's Country Gentleman

Josh Beckett, 11-3, 3.35 at Tommy “Catfish” Hunter, 1-1, 2.35

Lineups:

Red Sox

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Jason Bay, LF
  6. J.D. Drew, RF
  7. Mike Lowell, 3B
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Jed Lowrie, SS

SP: Josh Beckett, RHP

Rangers

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. Josh Hamilton, CF
  4. Andruw Jones, DH
  5. Hank Blalock, 1B
  6. Marlon Byrd, RF
  7. David Murphy, LF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

SP: Tommy Hunter, RHP

Okay, here’s the deal. In a span of 55 hours between Saturday afternoon and Monday night, the Red Sox went from 3 games ahead of the Yankees to tied for first. The Sox have scored 6 runs in the last 3 games, all losses, as their lead has evaporated.

Tonight they face a rookie starter, Canada’s Country Gentleman, Tommy Hunter– but rookie starters have destroyed them lately, as the Sox have scored a combined three runs in 36 innings off Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, Tommy Hanson from Atlanta, Baltimore’s Brad Bergesen, Oakland’s Brett Anderson, and Toronto’s Marc “Eyechart” Rzepczynski.

Also, John Smoltz started looking really old last night in about the 6th inning, while today Tim Wakefield was sent to the disabled list. So the offense has been struggling, the pitching may be crumbling, and the competition can’t lose.

Josh Beckett has to be a stopper tonight, and the offense has to start scoring some runs. With the Yankees sending the immortal Sergio Mitre out there tonight, they might not actually come up with another walk off win, and Boston could be back in sole possession of first by the end of the night.

Or else there will be panic across New England.

TOP 1st

Ellsbury steps in against Billy Jones or Timmy Wilson or whatever this kid’s name is. He quickly flies out to Hamilton. Pedroia follows by flying to Byrd for the second out.

Big Hunter supposedly throws four different pitches, with a fastball topping out in the low-to-mid 90′s. I think I might’ve topped out in the mid-90′s myself, but it’s hard to remember that far back.

Youkilis will try to break up the perfect game. But he can’t, as he is called out on strikes on a checked swing. 0-0 midway thru the first.

Bottom first

Ian Kinsler will start things for the Rangers. And he drills a shot down the left field line, and slides into second with a stand-up double (a little Jerry Coleman reference there to lighten the mood.)

Old Michael Young follows with a sinking liner to right, but JD Drew comes running in to make the grab for the first out.

Josh Hamilton comes up, but Beckett blows him away with a high fastball. All right, Hamilton!

Next is Andruw Jones, back from the dead after hitting .158 last year. Beckett falls behind 3-0, gets a called strike, then another, but then walks him.

As Hank Blalock stands in, the runners take off running while Beckett files his nails, reads the paper, makes a few calls, mows his lawn, checks his watch, and then finally throws a pitch. The runners move up without a throw.

Beckett continues his struggles by falling behind 3-1. And Blalock drills a hit to right, scoring two runs as Drew bobbles the ball for an instant in the outfield. Both runs would’ve scored anyway, after Beckett’s failure to pay any attention to the runners allowed them to figuratively waltz into scoring position.

Great start, guys.

Marlon Byrd is next. He grounds one to Lowrie at short, who grabs it and throws on the run to nip Byrd at first. Nice play, as Byrd can really fly. (No he can’t, and that pun was as horrible as the Red Sox effort in the first inning.) 2-0 bad guys.

TOP 2nd

Ortiz leads off the second by lining/blooping one down the right field line for a hit! But for some reason he lumbers past first and tries to get to second, and of course is thrown out by about 12 feet. That would be the third out on the bases the Sox have run into in the last 5 innings. Ortiz, you are slow. Lowell, you are slower. Stop running into outs forgod’ssakeyoumoronsIambeggingyouplease.

Jason Bay is next. Will he embarrass himself too? Not yet he doesn’t, as he draws a walk. So that’s two on and none out– oh wait, no, that’s right, one on and one out.

Drew comes up, currently on 1-27 and 0-14 streaks. Make that 1-28/0-15, as he skies out routinely to Hamilton.

Lowell is next. Hunter throws over to first a couple times, just in case Bay feels like trying to steal here and get thrown out again. And who knows, maybe he’ll fall over and get picked off instead.

Lowell falls behind 1-2, looking feeble, then hits a high foul down the right field line. Kinsler comes running over and makes a nice basket catch to end the inning. 0-2 Texas after one and a half.

BOTTOM 2nd

Murph leads off the second for Texas by fouling out to Lowell, then the man with the longest name in baseball history, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, fans.

Originally, Omar Vizquel was scheduled to bat 9th and play SS tonight, but instead Elvis Andrus is in the building. Elvis bounces one over the mound, but Pedroia is there and makes the play to end the inning. 0-2 after 2.

TOP 3rd

Varitek will be the first to challenge Catfish Hunter this inning. He pops out to shallow right. A man named Jed is next. He’s upped his average on the season to .080, and he continues his hot streak, as he lines one into the right field corner for a double.

Lowrie moves to third as Ellsbury grounds out to Hank Blalock, but Pedroia flies out to Hamilton to end the inning. 2-0 Texas in the third.

BOTTOM 3rd

The Red Sox are 1-4 so far against Texas this year, and have scored 6 runs in their last 30 innings. They’ve scored 3 runs in their last 39 innings against rookie starting pitchers. The Yankees are already beating Baltimore 5-2.

Kinsler grounds out to Pedroia, and so does Young. Hamilton fans, and Beckett’s got another 1-2-3 inning. Too bad he’s already losing 2-0, since the Red Sox will never score again.

TOP 4th

Youkilis cleverly pops out to right on the first pitch. Ortiz grounds one between first and second, into the outfield, but Kinsler is playing shallow right field in the shift, and throws him out easily. Maybe we should’ve let Beckett hit for himself tonight.

Bay is next, and he hits a high foul down the right field line. Kinsler comes running over again, rams into the fence, and reaches into the crowd to make a sweet grab to end the inning. Wow, this is not fun at all. Still 2-0.

BOTTOM 4th

Beckett starts Andruw Jones off with a couple of curveballs, one high and the next for a called strike, before missing with a 93-mph fastball. Jones flies out to Bay on the next pitch.

Hank “Mookie” Blalock is next. (Shouldn’t he have a Y in his last name?) He cues a grounder to Pedroia, for an easy out. Byrd is next, and Beckett dismisses him with a nasty curve to end the inning. Beckett’s really settled down, it’s a shame he’s going to lose this game 2-0.

TOP 5th

Drew starts the 5th by hitting one well to deep right center, but Byrd races over and makes the grab on the warning track. Tommy Hunter continues his two-hit shutout.

Byrd next goes running the opposite way to make the catch on Lowell’s pop down the right field line. And Varitek chases a high slider, whiffing to quickly end the inning. 2-0 Texas in the 5th.

BOTTOM 5th

David Murphy will start the 5th for the Rangers. He flies out to Ellsbury for the first out. Jarrod “Antidisestablishmentarianism” Saltalamacchia follows with a groundout to Pedroia, and Beckett continues his sudden-yet-too-late dominance by getting Elvis to ground out too. Still 2-0 Rangers after 5.

TOP 6th

All right, my griping and complaining hasn’t helped a bit. The negativity in this town stinks and it sucks. So instead I’ll try blind-eyed, pollyanna-ish pure optimism! We can do it! YES WE CAN!

Lowrie, now hitting .115, will lead off. He’s added 25 points to his batting average already tonight! This time he flies out routinely to Hamilton, but he’s well on his way to getting his batting average over .200.

Ellsbury is next. He’s been slumping lately, but he’s sure to break out of it right now.

Okay, he also flies out, but the end of that slump has got to be on its way.

Reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia is next, and he will definitely get on base here and bring the tying run to the plate against the burly, red-faced Tommy Boy. Pedroia battles, fouling off a lot of pitches, tiring out Hunter, who’s got to be about ready to fall apart here and give up six or seven two-out runs.

And on the tenth pitch, Pedroia cracks a base hit to right field! This moment will likely be remembered as the turning point of this game, and possibly even this season!

Youkilis is next, and he’s due for a big hit. I bet he’s been setting Hunter up with his crappy at-bats the first two times, just so he can crush one here. He continues to craftily set up Hunter, falling behind 1-2.

And Youkilis belts a shot into the gap in right center! Pedroia chugs around from first to score a run on the RBI double! The comeback is on! It’s Morning In America! I Have A Dream! We’ll be greeted as liberators! Keep Hope Alive! 54-40 or Fight!

obama_hope

Rejuvenated slugger David Ortiz is next, and Hunter’s on the ropes now. Ortiz also craftily sets up Hunter by falling behind 0-2, then heroically battles back to even the count. Unfortunately, Hunter lucks out by getting him to pop out and end the inning, but the comeback is on, the Red Sox will not be denied now. 1-2 Texas– FOR NOW.

Bottom 6th

Baggy-pantsed Ian Kinsler leads off, wearing his big blue socks like a jerk. And Beckett blows him away with a high fastball, continuing to overmatch the Rangers hitters, ever since the unfortunate first inning.

Michael Young follows with a sharp single to center, the lone Ranger hit in four innings, which luckily allows Beckett to not jinx himself by retiring too many hitters in a row.

Hamilton grounds one to Pedroia, and Young halts in the baseline, trying to avoid the double play. Pedroia throws to first to get Hamilton, then Youkilis fires to second, catching Young in a rundown. The Sox handle the rundown expertly, tagging out Young to end the inning, as they obviously planned all along. 2-1 Texas after 6, with the stunning dramatic comeback still to come.

TOP 7th

It’s great how the Red Sox are making this game so dramatic by falling behind before coming back to win. And Tommy Hunter’s clearly had enough, basically waving a white flag of surrender as he’s replaced by Jason Jennings.

Bay leads off with a walk. It’s pretty much over now for the Rangers, as the inevitable Red Sox comeback is well under way.

JD DUE is next, and the clearly rattled Jennings falls behind 2-1. Drew then fouls one straight back, just missing a 500-foot, game-winning home run by mere inches. Jennings misses again, and the count is full. Bay runs on the next pitch, and Drew again just misses a home run by inches, instead grounding one right to Kinsler. But the double play is averted by Bay running with the pitch, and the Rangers can only get the out at first! The TYING RUN IS IN SCORING POSITION!

2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell is the next hitter. Will Bay steal both second and home on the next pitch, or will he wait for Lowell to drive him in? He decides to steal both bases! Jennings lucks out when Lowell fouls off the pitch, keeping the game tied. FOR NOW.

Lowell draws a walk! THE GO-AHEAD RUN IS ON BASE! Varitek is up next, Jennings is in deep, deep trouble. Varitek falls behind 0-2, building the drama, before fanning on a curve at his shoetops. Hmm, well, that does build the drama!

Jed Lowrie steps up, ready to break the game open with a big hit here. Instead, he also adds to the drama, popping out weakly to shortstop to end the threat. ALL IS WELL. ALL IS WELL!

BOTTOM 7th

Andruw Jones lines a double to left to start the inning. Will the Rangers score more runs, thereby making the Red Sox inevitable game-winning comeback even more exciting? Blalock does his part, cracking a liner to right field. Drew comes in, surrounds the ball, watches it closely, then waits patiently for help as the ball falls in front of him for a hit.

Beckett battles back to fan Marlon Byrd with a sweeping curve! Looks like another turning point!

Runners on the corners and one out for David Murphy. He lofts a routine fly to shallow left, and Bay makes the catch! Jones tags at third and scores, but now there are two outs and the inning is almost over! It’s only a two run deficit!

J-Salt is next, with 2 outs and a man on first. And now the Yankees are only winning by 2 runs, as the Orioles cut the lead to 6-4. Things are looking up!

Beckett fans Salty on a darting curve to end the inning. Obviously stoked about the big comeback coming up, he screams as he comes off the mound, his gum flying out of his mouth. You tell ‘em, Josh! 3-1 Texas– SO FAR. With LOADS of time left. It’s only the end of the 7th inning.

TOP 8th

Side-arming righty Darren “Day-o” O’Day is in to pitch for Texas. Ha, good luck with only a two-run lead! Ellsbury is due up, so look out Texas! Ellsbury gets ahead in the count 2-0, then bloops one to shallow right center, but Hamilton comes running in to make the catch. A mere temporary setback.

Pedroia is next, and he’s feeling the positivity. He flies out to center field this time, but that’s okay, we still have an out to go this inning. That’s all we need.

Youkils flies out, building more drama. 3-1 Texas in the 8th.

BOTTOM 8th

Beckett remains in the game, as he wants to pick up the win after Boston’s upcoming 9th-inning comeback. Elvis Andrus  knocks a single to left. No worries here.

Ian Kinsler is next. Andrus steals second, and then Kinsler rips one to center, but Ellbury makes the catch. Andrus tags up and goes to third, but that hardly seems relevant, does it? One out for Young. The infield moves in, to cut off the run at the plate. Beckett gets ahead 1-2, his fastball topping out now at 93, a couple mph slower than earlier.

Jung anaylzes the situation, then grounds one to Lowrie, whose throw to the plate beats the runner by 10 feet! Andrus stops and gets into a rundown, and Young reaches second before Andrus is tagged out.

Two outs and a runner on second for Josh Hamilton. He lines a base hit to center to drive in Young, who races home from second. But that doesn’t really matter much, does it? Jones follows by chopping out to Lowrie to end the inning. When you think about it, it really was a successful inning for the Red Sox, as they only allowed one run and only trail 4-1 going into the 9th. If they had given up two runs, then they’d be down by 4. Since they’re only down three, that’s really good, if you think about it.

Top 9th

CJ Wilson comes in to pitch for Texas. He’s due to blow a save any time now. Speaking of due, Ortiz is up first. He grounds out to Andrus, building more drama.

Bay is up, with one out and no one on base. If he can hit a three-run homer here, we’ll be TIED UP! Instead, he STARTS THE RALLY with a walk!

Drew is next. With the first baseman playing off the bag, Bay takes off for second. The throw from Saltalamalalamacchilialia is just a bit late, or Bay would’ve run into another out on the bases. But he’s SAFE!

Drew works the count full, then takes a called strike, for the second out. So close to a walk!

Lowell is next, and he bloops a single to right, scoring Bay! Sox only down 4-2 now, with Varitek at the plate REPRESENTING THE TYING RUN!!

I think I’ll pause the DVR now to build the drama further before Varitek’s inevitable game-tying home run.

I can imagine the glee throughout New England, as Varitek has probably already hit a home run while my DVR is paused. That must be great! I can’t wait.What a comeback this will be!

Of course the Yankees have already won, but that only adds to the greatness and importance of this inevitable comeback.

Okay, I’m going to hit play now and watch the big comeback! This is going to be great!

Wait, Varitek grounds out to Young? The game’s over? The Red Sox lose? They’re out of first place?

Oh well...

Wow.

Fail.

Optimism sucks.

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