Not a very long trip in the way back machine this time. This game is from this past season. The line-up was starting to be in complete shambles. Hope was still there. There was still hope that Pedroia would be of some help. There was hope that Youkilis would play the rest of the year. There was hope that Ellsbury would find his way onto the field at some point. Beyond that hope, we had what promised to be a pretty good baseball game. I doubt anyone thought the Rangers would be the AL Champs yet. But, they did have newly acquired ace Cliff Lee. Lee was pitching in this game against Boston’s own relatively new rotation stud, John Lackey. Would the game live up to thy hype? Let’s see.
A quick look at the score along the top of the page suggests that a pitchers duel did, in fact, take place. The Rangers were only able to score in one inning. The Sox scored single runs in three. The scoring was that sparse, even though the game went eleven innings. Not too shabby.
John Lackey pitched well, and was rewarded with a no-decision. When the story of Lackey’s first season is written, outings such as these are often overlooked. The team let him down as often as it saved him. In this game, he went seven innings, only giving up two runs. It’s not his fault that the Sox were held to only one run while he was in the game. (Nor was it exactly the team’s fault. Cliff Lee does that to a lot of teams)
The rest of the pitching was stellar following Lackey. The Sox went for it after he left, bringing in the big guns. Bard and Papelbon pitched wonderfully to keep the Sox in the game. Manny Delcarmen did the same (imagine that) to earn the victory. As a team, the Sox pitched eleven innings, giving up only the two runs. You need to win games when your pitchers do that. Thankfully, that’s exactly what the Sox did.
They did it in comeback fashion. The Rangers tried to ride Lee a little too long, and he gave up the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth. The way the Sox scratched it out, you can’t really blame Texas for not going to the pen. It’s not like Lee was getting lit up out there. It was really the same thing in the 11th. A scratch run was pushed across on a sac fly. It wasn’t dominating, but I’ll take it.
The player of the game? I’ll have to give it to Youkilis. He drove in both the game tying, and winning runs. He led the team in hits on a day when hits were scarce. Although, a case could be made for Scutaro, since he scored both runs Youk drove in. There’s something to be said for getting on base any way you can when one run makes all the difference. He led off both the ninth and eleventh innings, reached base, and scored. Both of those two did a great job.
The goat? Probably Bill Hall. He went hitless, and struck out twice. Although, Drew Cash, and Beltre also started and went hitless. Basically a rough day all around.
So, the Sox kept their playoff hopes alive. The won a game started by Cliff Lee. They treated their fans to a walk-off victory in extra innings.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.