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Just Another Rainy Night

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 – Fenway Park, Section 34

Red Sox 3, Indians 2

After a brief three-game road trip to Chicago, where the Red Sox took two from the White Sox, they returned home to play the Indians.  It was raining as I drove in to Boston from work, and by the time I got to the Lechmere T station it was pouring and the parking lot was basically one giant puddle.  (With ongoing construction at the Science Park station, there’s no train service from Lechmere – we have to take a shuttle bus just down the street to North Station to get on the trains.  The shuttle is a regular city bus, and there’s a hatch on the roof that I suppose could be used for escape if the bus tipped over.  The hatch was closed, but it was leaking, and every time the bus went around a corner, it dripped on me.  I know I seem to get a lot of rain at my games, but seriously, I even got rained on inside a bus.)

The tarp was on the field when I got to Fenway. What a surprise!

The tarp was on the field when I got to Fenway. What a surprise!

Even though the rain had stopped by the time I got to Kenmore Square, when I entered the park the tarp was still on the field.  That meant I had time to head over to the outfield grandstand and visit with some friends who were vacationing from Seattle and taking their kids to their first game at Fenway.  The start of the game was announced as 7:30, and when Josh Beckett headed out to warm up in the bullpen, I left to walk around to my seat, which was out near the camera well in the center field bleachers.  On my way I stopped to pick up a slice of pizza, but as soon as I turned around from the concession stand it was raining again, and everyone who had been out in the bleachers was coming back in.  I met up with the friends I was sitting with that night, and we decided to wait out this delay on the walkway behind Section 1 which leads to the stairs to the right field roof.  It’s covered and it wasn’t crowded, so that was a good spot.

It may have been raining, but we still got to see a nice sunset.

It may have been raining, but we still got to see a colorful sunset.

We thought it was going to be a brief delay, but we ended up hanging out there for over an hour.  We were even treated to a “rainy sunset,” if such a thing is possible, with a cool pink glow behind the Green Monster, before the rain finally let up for good.

The game finally started at 8:45, after a delay of an hour and 35 minutes.  But from that point on, there wasn’t any more rain, and it was actually a nice night.  And once we were done with the obligatory rain delay, we were treated to a good game.  Josh Beckett, who had already had to warm up twice, gave up a home run in the first.  The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but managed only one run (Big Papi scored on a passed ball as Jason Varitek struck out).

Beckett gave up another solo homer in the fourth, putting the Sox down 2-1.  The Red Sox might not have had a lot to show for it, but they had been grinding out some long at-bats, and by the end of the fifth, Cleveland’s starter David Huff had already topped 100 pitches.  Rafael Perez came in from the bullpen to start the sixth, and Kevin Youkilis greeted him with a towering shot over the Green Monster to tie the game.

This was my first chance to see new infielder Mike Aviles, who was acquired in a trade for Yamaico Navarro the day before the deadline.

This was my first chance to see new infielder Mike Aviles, who was acquired in a trade for Yamaico Navarro the day before the deadline.

I was surprised when Beckett didn’t come back out for the seventh, especially since he had only thrown 85 pitches and had given up just two runs through the first six.  My only guess was that having to warm up twice, thanks to the unexpected second part of the rain delay, had taken its toll.  Fortunately, Franklin Morales did a good job out of the ‘pen, pitching two scoreless innings, and Jonathan Papelbon took care of a 1-2-3 ninth.

It was closing in on midnight when the game headed into the bottom of the ninth with the bottom of the order due up.  Mike Aviles hit a fly to center for the first out.  Jason Varitek came to the plate and I yelled, “Hey Tek, it’s past your bedtime! Send us home happy!”  He did his part with a single, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia came in to pinch run for him.  (Salty may not have been much faster, but I suppose he was fresher.)  Josh Reddick followed with a bloop that somehow landed in between the Indians’ center fielder, right fielder, and second baseman as they all converged, and Salty moved up to second.

That meant it was back to the top of the order, and Jacoby Ellsbury stepped in.  He took ball one, and then lined a hit up the middle and into center field.  Salty raced around third and slid in safely just under the tag.  Red Sox win!

Jacoby Ellsbury is tackled - I mean "congratulated" - by his teammates after his walkoff hit.

Jacoby Ellsbury is tackled - I mean "congratulated" - by his teammates after his walkoff hit.

Ellsbury’s teammates rushed out to meet him, and somehow he ended up getting tackled in all the excitement.  We stuck around to hear his postgame interview, which was shown on the video board.  It was after midnight as we departed (the Citgo sign had already been turned off) and it was 1:30 before I got home.  (But did I go straight to bed, knowing that I had to work the next day?  Nope, “Sox in 2″ was on, and I stayed up till the end to see the game-winning hit again.)

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