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Saturday, August 6, 2011 – Fenway Park, Section 33

Red Sox 10, Yankees 4

After two exciting walkoff wins, the Red Sox dropped their final game against the Indians and the first game of the Yankees series.  Saturday’s matchup of John Lackey against C.C. Sabathia may have looked daunting on paper, but I was encouraged by the fact that the Red Sox had already beaten Sabathia three times this season.  I had gotten this ticket when the Red Sox had their lottery at the beginning of the year.  (While I lost out on the original drawing for Yankees and Cubs tickets, I did eventually get an invite to a “last chance” ticket sale a week later.  By then there were no Cubs tickets available, so I grabbed a single seat to this game against the Yankees, since I didn’t have a ticket for this series yet.)  It was actually a nice change to go to an afternoon game against the Yankees.  Usually I end up with the Sunday night games, which have the potential to go later than the subway runs.  But with a 4:00 game on Saturday, a four-hour game – even one with rain delays or extra innings – would still have me home at a reasonable hour.

My seat was perfect - in a row by itself in the corner, with space for my bag and even a ledge where I could keep my beverage from getting spilled.

My seat was perfect - in a row by itself in the corner, with space for my bag and even a ledge where I could keep my beverage from getting spilled.

Considering the fact that the “last chance” sale had only a small number of seats scattered around, I was impressed when I saw where I had ended up.  It was a single seat in the back row of section 33, the last section over up against the Green Monster.  While I was sitting there before the game, three different people walked past and commented that it was a cool seat, plus, as one guy said, “At least you know you’re not going to be sitting next to any jerks.”

I was even more impressed when Lackey shut down the Yankees over the first three innings, allowing only a walk in the second and a harmless single in the third.  In the bottom of the third, Carl Crawford got the fun started for the Red Sox when he led off with a double.  After Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked a walk, Marco Scutaro laid down a bunt to advance the runners.  Crawford was able to score easily when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sac fly to right.

I don't care if it's out of focus, I love this picture of Crawford sliding in safely with the Red Sox' first run.

I don't care if it's out of focus, I love this picture of Crawford sliding in safely with the Red Sox' first run.

Salty was also able to tag up on the fly ball and advance to third, and when Dustin Pedroia banged a double off the Monster he scored the second run.  The play at second base was closer than I would have liked, because Pedey’s hand came off the bag at the same time as the ball arrived, but he managed to avoid the tag and get his other hand in safely.  It’s not often I attempt action shots at games, because normally I’m back in the bleachers, but today I was able to capture Pedroia’s slide into second.

Pedroia slides safely into second and avoids Robinson Cano's tag.

Pedroia slides safely into second and avoids Robinson Cano's tag.

One of my pet peeves in baseball is when the Red Sox take a lead and then the pitcher gives it right back the next inning.  Sure enough, before we could feel too good about the 2-0 lead, the Yankees started the next inning by loading the bases with no outs.  A well-timed double play let one run in the proverbial back door – an exchange no one on the Red Sox could have minded – but Eric Chavez singled in the tying run before Lackey finally got out of the inning.  I wasn’t necessarily worried, because I figured they’d be able to get more off Sabathia, but it still did annoy me that the game had been tied up so quickly.

Looking straight down the face of the Green Monster, I watched the scorekeeper come out every inning and update the manual scoreboard. Above, he returns to his post, carrying an "8".

Looking straight across the face of the Green Monster, I watched the scorekeeper come out every inning and update the manual scoreboard. Above, he returns to his post, carrying an "8".

Luckily for me, Sabathia did to the Yankees what Lackey had just done to me, and let the Red Sox right back in it.  Kevin Youkilis led the next inning off with a double, and one out later Mike Aviles singled.  Crawford followed with his second hit of the day to give the Sox the lead, and Scutaro drove in another with a single of his own.  That brought it back to the top of the order, and Ellsbury put an exclamation point on the inning with a huge three-run homer into the bullpen.

Here's a panoramic view from my seat in Section 33.

I enjoyed the view from my seat in Section 33.

With the five-spot on the board, the game got much more enjoyable.  The Yankees did get one more run off Lackey in the fifth, but he ended up completing six innings and left with a 7-3 lead.  A solo homer off Daniel Bard in the eighth made it 7-4.  But in the bottom of the eighth the Red Sox were back at it again.  They loaded the bases with no outs, thanks to two walks and Crawford’s fourth hit of the day.  Then it was time for some more heroics by Jacoby Ellsbury – this time a two-run single that earned him his fifth and sixth RBI of the day.  After the tenth run came in on Pedroia’s sacrifice fly, Dan Wheeler nailed down the win, ending it with a fly ball to – who else – Ellsbury.

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