July 27, 2002
Two pretty remarkable things happened on this scorecard, and both of them on the lower half.
First, check out the number nine spot. I see #26 was playing. Clearly the only #26 that I can think of is Wade Boggs. So, he must have been playing in that game. Oh. Wait. Lou Merloni wore that number. Never would have guessed. Anyway, there was still a pretty remarkable thing that happened in that nine slot. See? Right there. Merloni hit a home run! What a rare honor to be in the park when that happened.
You need to keep travelling down the card to see another remarkable event. All the way down to the Pitchers Box. See all the names listed there? See how there’s only one? See how the only one name listed was John Burkett? Yes. John Burkett threw a complete game four-hit shutout. On the same day that Lou Merloni hit a home run. The odds of that ever happening at the same time must be staggering!
What about the rest of the game? Burkett didn’t require much run support in this game, and he didn’t get a ton of it. Four runs, though, was plenty. A couple more oddities? Tro Nixon was on base for two passed balls, and Shea Hillenbrand grounded into two double plays. OK. Maybe the last one wasn’t all that odd. Definitely a weird day!
The player of the game on the day? Was tempted to give it to Merloni for the sheer shock value. But, Manny Ramirez had two hits, and scored two runs. Hard to argue with that on this day.
The goat? Was going to give it to Nomar until I saw Johnny Damon on top of the order. 0-4 with two strikeouts would be plenty. But, the one time he did reach base he got caught stealing. Really not what you’re looking for from your leadoff hitter.
But, as we know, it didn’t matter. John Burkett made sure that those issues would not haunt the Sox. He shut the door on the Orioles, and Boston was able to cruise to an easy victory.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.