|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Even Daisuke Matsuzaka couldn’t rob the Sox of a win Monday night.
Already the 2011 savior of Sox Nation, offseason acquisition Adrian Gonzalez stole one for the team at Fenway Park with a walk-off double to left field that secured and 8-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox have now won four in a row and 7 of their last 10, coming off a sweep of the Yankees to win a game that they never led in until Gonzalez drove in the final two runs at the bottom of the 9th.
The Sox were down 6-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, but that’s just about when things started going their way. A Luke Scott error in left field allowed JD Drew to get to second, positioning him to score on a run batted in by Jed Lowrie. Lowrie consequently scored on a Varitek single to right field, sending Crawford to second. With Varitek and Crawford both on base, Gonzalez singled to left field; enough for Crawford to score and leaving two men still on base for a Youkilis double deep to left field sending Varitek and Gonzalez home and bringing the Sox within one run.
The 7th inning saw a run for each team; a homer by Reynolds and another RBI single for Varitek to bring the score to 7-6 in favor of the Orioles, where it would stay until the bottom of the 9th inning. But the top of the Sox order proved to be too much for O’s reliever Uehara. He gave up two unintentional walks to Ellsbury and Pedroia, leaving two men on base for Gonzalez who finished the night with 3 RBI on 3 hits, and 1 run.
Unfortunately, the Sox starting pitching was not as good as the final result, as Daisuke Matsuzaka left the Sox with a 5 run deficit, only to be saved by his teams’ increasingly effective offense and bullpen. Matsuzaka threw just 4 1/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs and seven walks, and throwing just 57 strikes in 106 pitches. Scott Atchison came to the mound in the 4th, having been called up from Pawtucket on the short notice that John Lackey would be placed on the DL with an elbow strain to give Dice-K the start. Atchison allowed 1 run in just 1.2 innings. It was Alfredo Aceves that got the save, pitching 3 innings and allowing just 1 run and throwing 22 strikes in 31- pitches.
Gonzo’s late game heroics may have sealed the win, but a few other Sox starters did their part to keep their team in the game. Captain and recently struggling hitter Jason Varitek had 1 run and 2 RBI on 2 hits, and Kevin Youkilis helped change the tide in favor of the Sox with his 2 run double in the 6th. Jacoby Ellsbury continues to bat well, getting 2 hits and another steal to bring his stolen base total for the season to 13 and his batting average to .302.
Terry Francona announced in his postgame press conference that Tim Wakefield will get the start tomorrow night in light of Lackey’s placement on the DL. Wakefield has a 5.25 ERA in two starts and 15 innings pitched in May.