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Independence Daze

Sunday, July 4, 2010 – Fenway Park, Section 1 and 15

Orioles 6, Red Sox 1

After dropping the last game of their series against the Rays, the Red Sox had the day off Thursday.  But that didn’t stop their bad luck, as it was revealed that Jason Varitek had a broken foot after a ball was fouled off it on Wednesday, and Manny Delcarmen had a forearm strain.  Both players went on the D.L. on Thursday – and they didn’t even play that day.  With their top two catching prospects also on the disabled list in Pawtucket, the Sox had re-acquired Kevin Cash, and he and Gustavo Molina now formed the big league club’s backstop tandem.  As the weekend started, the Red Sox won the first 2 games against the Orioles, and as Sunday’s matinee rolled around, they somehow found themselves only a half game out of first place.  A win today, coupled with a Yankees loss, would put them alone on top  in the division for the first time since Opening Day.

Since it was the Fourth of July, I knew there’d be road closures in the Back Bay area, so instead of my usual Sunday routine of parking on the street for free, I took the T, and that took forever to just get into the parking lot and pay, with everyone else doing the same thing.  It was a typical Boston Fourth, 90° and muggy, and of course if that’s the announced gametime temp, it’s going to be a lot worse in the bleachers where my seat was.  I decided to start in Section 2, and I moved over to Section 1 in the 2nd inning when some people showed up for the seat I had borrowed.  It was tolerable in the shade of the grandstand, so even though a pole blocked my view of third base, I stuck it out in the right field grandstand and never went out to my bleacher seat.

John Lackey did a decent job, but his teammates didn't provide him any run support.

John Lackey did a decent job, but his teammates didn't provide him any run support.

John Lackey started well, with 1-2-3 innings in both the first and second, including 4 strikeouts.  He gave up a couple of hits in the third, and then started to struggle in the fourth.  That’s when 3 hits, a walk, and a wild pitch put the Orioles on top 2-0.  As for the Red Sox offense, they played like a bunch of guys running around in 90-degree heat – pretty lethargically.  Bill Hall’s single and Adrian Beltre’s double were their only hits through the first seven innings.

I had been trying to capture a photo of one of Adrian Beltre's trademark knee-swings for several games. I finally got the shot today, as he flied out to right in the ninth.

I had been trying to capture a photo of one of Adrian Beltre's trademark knee-swings for the past several games. I finally got the shot today, as he flied out to right in the ninth.

With the Sox still trailing by only 2 runs in the seventh inning, I figured it was late enough to make my move to the good seats.  I went around to Section 15, behind first base, and found an empty seat to sit in.  I probably could have moved down closer, but that would have meant going out in the sun.  (From the close seat, I thought I’d be able to get some good photos, but it seemed like every time I got the camera focused on a guy, he’d stop and mop his brow.  Not surprisingly, I caught Kevin Youkilis doing it the most, but he wasn’t the only one.  Everyone was feeling Youk’s pain!)

The day was hot, but the view from Section 15 was nice.

The day was hot, but the view from Section 15 was nice.

In the eighth, things got more uncomfortable.  Lackey came out to start the inning, but he allowed hits to the first two batters, and then an error and a sac fly plated two more Oriole runs and brought Dustin Richardson in from the ‘pen.  In the ninth, Baltimore tacked on two more against Scott Atchison.

The "Sultan of Sweat" was the only one who could muster some offense on this hot afternoon.  Here, he's congratulated by J.D. Drew after his 9th inning homer.

Kevin Youkilis is congratulated by J.D. Drew after his ninth-inning homer.

The Red Sox finally got on the board in the ninth, when Youk smashed a home run.  It was somehow fitting that the “Sultan of Sweat” (as they call him at The Joy of Sox) was the only Boston batter who could get going in the heat.

If the day was about 10 degrees cooler, and if I wasn’t so depressed by the outcome of the game, it would have been fun to head in to the Esplanade afterward to hang out and watch the fireworks at night.  But as it was, all I had any interest in doing was going home and cooling off.

July 4, 2010 • Posted in: 2010 Games • Share on Facebook

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