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Sun Day Matinee

Sunday, June 5, 2011 – Fenway Park, Section 42

Red Sox 6, A’s 3

After being swept by the White Sox, the Red Sox got back on track with wins in their first two games against the A’s, including a 14-inning marathon on Saturday.  Sunday was a mild, sunny day, and I went in early to get a spot at a meter on Comm. Ave.  I knew there’d be no batting practice because it’s rare on Sundays and days when they’re heading out on a road trip, but they certainly wouldn’t have it after playing 14 innings the day before.  So I didn’t bother with the Red Sox Nation line, and instead went in through Gate A when it opened two hours before the game.  Some of the pitchers were long-tossing in right field, but we’re not allowed beyond the end of the Red Sox dugout for the first 30 minutes after the gates open, so I couldn’t go down close and get decent pictures.  That’s too bad, because I wanted to see Tommy Hottovy, the lefty reliever who had made his major league debut on Friday night.  And of course by the time we had free reign to walk around, the pitchers were heading in.

A ball from the classic 1999 All-Star game, autographed by MVP Pedro Martinez, is on display.

A ball from the classic 1999 All-Star game, autographed by MVP Pedro Martinez, is on display.

I took the time to look at more of the memorabilia in the Fenway Park Archives display case in the concourse between home plate and first base.  Among the items is a baseball from the 1999 All-Star game autographed by Pedro Martinez, who struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced in the game and took its MVP honors.

My seat was in the upper bleachers, a couple of rows in front of the Dunkin Dugout.  It had been cool walking around in the shade of the concourse all morning, so I had a windbreaker on.  It was only 64° at the start of the game, but with the full sun in the bleachers I was able to take off the jacket and enjoy the game in short sleeves for the first time all year.

I had been to so many rainy games this year, that I almost forgot what Fenway looks like in the sun. Here's a reminder.

I had been to so many rainy games this year that I almost forgot what Fenway looks like in the sun. Here's a reminder.

John Lackey was making his first start since coming off the D.L.  With an extra-inning game the day before, they needed to keep as many pitchers active as possible, so rather than sending down a pitcher to make room for him on the roster, outfielder Josh Reddick was optioned to Pawtucket.  Lackey gave up a single in the first and then hit David DeJesus, after which he was allowed to take some warmup pitches, as if they were concerned that he had re-injured his elbow.  He was able to continue and was helped out of the inning by a nice line drive to third that Kevin Youkilis turned into a double play, when he threw to first base before DeJesus could return to the bag.

John Lackey pitched well in his return from the D.L.

John Lackey pitched well in his return from the D.L.

In the second, David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie led off with singles, and then Carl Crawford sent a blast into the Red Sox bullpen that gave the home team a 3-0 lead.  In Crawford’s next at-bat, he was plunked by Brett Anderson, and warnings were issued.  A slightly rusty Lackey ended up hitting two more batters after that, but neither was deemed intentional.

The A’s crept closer with a solo homer in the third and a single run in the fourth, but Adrian Gonzalez deposited an opposite-field 2-run shot into the Monster seats and Dustin Pedroia drove in Jacoby Ellsbury with the sixth Sox run of the day.  When Lackey topped 90 pitches in the sixth, the game was turned over to the depleted bullpen.  Matt Albers got out of the sixth and recorded the first two outs of the seventh before giving way to lefty Tommy Hottovy.

Tommy Hottovy warms in the 'pen.

Tommy Hottovy warms in the 'pen.

I had seen Hottovy several times over the years in both Double A (twice) and Triple A.  He had been called up on Friday when Rich Hill went on the D.L., and had thrown in both games since.  All the outs he had recorded in his major league career had come courtesy of left-handed-hitting David DeJesus – a groundout on Friday and a double play on Saturday.  Now he was facing Ryan Sweeney with two outs and a runner on first.  Sweeney walked, but that brought up DeJesus again, and Hottovy got him to ground out to second to end the inning.

As the crowd started to thin, I contemplated moving around to a closer seat, but that would have meant leaving the sun.  I hadn’t seen sun at a game in so long that I decided to stay where I was.  I even wound up with a little sunburn after the game, soon to fade into a farmer’s tan.  Dan Wheeler, who was one of two relievers who hadn’t pitched the day before, pitched a smooth eighth, and the score was 6-3 as we headed into the ninth.  Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t available after a strenuous outing yesterday, so Daniel Bard was called upon to close out the win that completed the sweep.

June 5, 2011 • Posted in: 2011 Games • Share on Facebook

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