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When Kevin Youkilis was placed on the disabled list before Tuesday’s game with a muscle tear in his right thumb, admit it: if you once thought the Red Sox had a chance of making the playoffs, you now thought they had no chance. They may still have no chance, but at least they have an ace in the hole waiting in the wings to play first base.
Mike Lowell, who was caught in limbo for a few days as the Red Sox nearly traded him to the Rangers (who in turn were ready to trade him to the Yankees — imagine that), was called up (reluctantly, I bet) to fill in as the Red Sox first baseman while Youk heals. Given a standing ovation before his first at bat in the second inning, Lowell kept the crowd standing by crushing the first pitch he saw over the monster for a two-run homer. (Watch the MLB.com video of the HR)
It was that kind of night at Fenway. First came the surprising Youkilis disabled list trip, then Lowell’s home run. What else would happen next? How about a bench-clearing incident that nearly became an all-out brawl. How did it get to that point? Josh Beckett was on the mound, which can be enough to cause a brawl at times due to his fiery nature.
In the first, he nearly drilled Shelley Duncan in the head on a curveball that slipped out of his hand. In the third, he hit Shin-Soo Choo in the knee (possibly an accident, possibly on purpose). The Indians clearly thought Becket drilled Choo on purpose, and attempted to get their redemption for the rest of the game. The key word is attempted.
Justin Germano threw behind and did not hit David Ortiz in the seventh inning. One inning later, Jensen Lewis threw behind Adrian Beltre. In return, Beltre took a few steps toward the mound and a shouting match ensued.
Then, the benches cleared, led by Josh Beckett. Beckett seemed furious first at Indians manager Manny Acta, but then turned his attention to Duncan, whom he nearly drilled earlier in the game. Beckett and Duncan nearly came to blows, but Sox players like John Lackey and Darnell McDonald got in the way to make sure nothing got out of hand.
Terry Francona, who was in the middle of the scrum trying to break it up, got in a shouting match with Indians third base coach Steve Smith, who was screaming at Sox pitching coach John Farrell. In the end, Smith, Lewis, and Beckett were all ejected, with Beckett and Lewis possibly facing suspension.
Oh! There was baseball to be played too. Not much though. Beckett was dominant, holding the Indians to just three hits and one run (a HR to Lou Marson) while striking out eight. He earned the win, and was ejected before he could finished the game in the ninth (but it appeared his night was over anyway). Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth to get his 25th save, marking the fifth straight season he’s reached that milestone.
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give Lowell the nod here. He finished 1-4 with the home run, and also made a nifty defensive play at first when he stopped a sharp grounder and dove to the bag at first to get the out.
I think it’s Marco’s first appearance as the top dud, but he had the worst night of the bunch. He finished 0-4 with strikeout and four men left on base from the leadoff spot.
W: Josh Beckett (3-1)
L: David Huff (2-10)
SV: Jonathan Papelbon (25)