|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
After using Kevin Youkilis’s tussle with Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello as inspiration on Tuesday night, the Red Sox took a different approach on Wednesday. Jerry Remy, the now cancer-free color commentator, visited the NESN broadcast booth in the 2nd inning, received a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful, and motivated the home team to an 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
No anger spilled over from the previous night’s game as Josh Beckett secured his MLB-leading 14th win of the season, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out six batters in seven innings. While two of those hits were home runs, the offense provided plenty of support, with Jason Bay (3-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB) and Mike Lowell (3-4, HR, 2 RBI) leading the way.
With the Remdawg providing humorous support to Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley, Lowell, starting in place of the suspended Youkilis, opened the scoring in the second inning with his third home run in two games. Bay followed with a two-run shot in the next inning after a Dustin Pedroia double.
Carlos Guillen cut the lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning with his third homer of the season, but the Red Sox piled on five runs in the bottom half, chasing Detroit pitcher Zach Miner (4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Freddy Dolsi and the Detroit defense provided little relief and support to Miner, who was spot-starting in place of the scratched Armando Galagarra (sore throat), as they walked in a run and allowed two unearned runs on a passed ball and a throwing error.
Marcus Thames hit a home run off of Beckett in the seventh inning, but no comeback was to be had for the AL Central-leading Tigers. Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez each supplied an inning of no-hit relief, combining for four strikeouts.
With the win, the Red Sox remain 5.5 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in 11 innings, and hold their 1.5 and 4.5 game leads over the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card race, respectively.
It’s hard to pick out just one, especially since nearly everyone played well (including SS Nick Green, who was errorless). Beckett threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 24 batters he faced and Bay and Lowell certainly shined.
Ellsbury was the only player in the starting line-up not to reach base.
“When you get a response like that from the crowd, it makes you want to cry.”- Jerry Remy – who expects to return to the NESN booth soon – commenting on the standing ovation he received from the 38,124 fans in attendance.
WP: Josh Beckett (14-4)
LP: Zach Miner (5-3)