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The much-maligned John Lackey flirted with a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Thursday night against the light-hitting Mariners, but settled for allowing just two hits and one unearned run (on a second-inning passed ball) over eight innings. The Sox entered the ninth with a 6-1 lead, and the bullpen promptly imploded on cue. It sounds like this game was a microcosm for the whole season: strong starting pitching, sloppy defense, untimely bullpen struggles, and a lot of hitting.
The enigmatic Manny Delcarmen entered the game, and the M’s got right back in it. Chone Figgins singled, and Franklin Gutierrez homered to make it 6-3. Delcarmen allowed another single and then Milton Bradley reached on a Marco Scutaro throwing error. After failing to record an out, Delcarmen was relieved for Jonathan Papelbon, who didn’t do much better. Paps struck out Justin Smoak, but allowed a double to Casey Kotchman, making the score 6-4.
Former Sox catcher Josh Bard then walked on a full count, putting men on the corners. Jack Wilson then hit into a possible game-ending double play had Bill Hall not botched the throw to first base for the error. The result? Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans both scored to tie the game. Paps intentionally walked Ichiro and struck out Figgins to record the final out of the ninth, and the Sox were headed to extra innings in shocking fashion.
The rest of the bullpen held it together, including Hideki Okajima escaping a bases loaded jam in the 12th inning. In the 13th, the Red Sox scored twice on a double by Eric Patterson. In the bottom half, Ramon Ramirez shut down the M’s, and the Sox escaped with a weird 8-6 win.
What a damn shame! Lackey has had two of his best outings of the season in the second half so far, but still has no wins to show for it. He continued his reputation as a horse, tossing 117 pitches over eight innings. If he can keep it together, the Sox should be in good shape.
Where do I begin? Manny, you tell us for yourself:
“What got me mad most was Lackey almost got a no-hitter and at least deserved the win,” Delcarmen told the AP.
My feeling exactly.
W: Hideki Okajima (3-2)
L: Gregg Olson (0-2)
SV: Ramon Ramirez (2)