|Connelly’s Top Ten: Who Cares About the Super Bowl||Surging Celtics To Clash With Cavaliers||Orlando Magic Snaps Boston’s 5-Game Winning Streak||Connelly’s Top Ten: Dog Day of Sports!|
The Red Sox were looking for the sweep on Sunday in Baltimore, but the brooms were on hold…for 11 innings, as the Red Sox and Orioles played a tight one at Camden Yards. The Sox and O’s each scored twice in the second inning, with Victor Martinez clubbing a two-run shot in the top half, and the O’s scoring their two runs as only they can: on a little single to shallow center for Cesar Izturis, and a failed double play ball (ruled a fielder’s choice) off the bat of Julio Lugo.
Rookie Brian Matusz looked sharp for the rest of his outing, going 5.2 innings with just those two runs allowed on four hits and four walks. He struck out seven in all, and leads all rookies in that category. Sox hurler John Lackey matched the rook pitch for pitch, going seven strong innings with just the two runs allowed on seven hits and three walks. Both pitchers left with the game tied, and did not factor into the decision.
Leave it to the bullpens to screw everything up (though both bullpens were better in this game, especially Baltimore’s). Manny Delcarmen allowed a go-ahead double in the eighth inning to Scott Moore. Who? Oh, you know…the guy with a career .233 average and four home runs to his credit.
Anyway, with a 3-2 deficit, Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to score Mike Cameron off of Will Ohman. In the bottom half, Cameron also had a game-saving defensive play, running backwards towards the wall in right-center before hauling in the over-the-shoulder catch. So that’s what this run-prevention thing is all about?
Fast forward to the 11th inning after a scoreless 10th, and Nick Markakis laced a single to left-center off Hideki Okajima, scoring Izturis to give the O’s a walk-off 4-3 win in front of their “home” crowd.
Without Victor’s offense, the Sox were dead in the water until Pedroia hit the ninth-inning sac fly. In all, Martinez finished 2-3 with the two-run shot, a single, and a walk. It was a fine day for the Sox catcher, who also helped Lackey through some tough jams early on.
Lackey fought hard through the game, and earned every bit of the praise he got for his seven-inning, two-run performance. Perhaps I should blame the Sox bats more for Lackey not earning the win, but the Red Sox may have squeaked out the victory had Delcarmen done his job and pitched a scoreless eighth.
W: David Hernandez (2-5)
L: Hideki Okajima (2-2)