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Just Out of Reach

Thursday, May 9, 2013 – Fenway Park, Section 13

Twins 5, Red Sox 3

I was back at Fenway for the second straight day, and like the day before I had taken the day off from work. With two games in a row, it seemed like a good time for a mini-vacation, and that would allow me to get to the ballpark early enough to see batting practice.  But once again there was rain in the forecast, and once again it poured the worst in mid-afternoon, canceling B.P. for both teams.

The grandstand was dry and had a nice view and empty seats, making it perfect for a bleacher refugee.

The grandstand was dry and had a nice view and empty seats, making it perfect for a bleacher refugee.

My seat was in one of the back rows in the center field bleachers, part of a four-game package I had gotten because it included Opening Day.  Even though it wasn’t raining when the game started, there was the threat of showers all night, and I know how long it can take to get down from there if the skies open up and we go into a delay.  So I found a row in the grandstand of Section 13 that was still empty and started there.  I did move down a few seats when some people showed up late, but the row never filled in and I was able to stay there, under cover, for the whole game.

Dustin Pedroia reached base 3 times and drove in a run.

Dustin Pedroia reached base 3 times and drove in a run.

John Lackey got off to a great start in the first, striking out the side on 11 pitches.  He continued with a 1-2-3 second, and in the third, despite giving up his first hit, he made a nice play to snare a line drive comebacker for one of the outs.  The Red Sox got on the board when Dustin Pedroia singled home Shane Victorino in the third, and they increased the lead to 2-0 when Stephen Drew drove in Daniel Nava in the fourth.

My seat in the infield was close enough that I wanted to try to get some action shots, so I was focusing my camera on first base, hoping to catch a close play on a groundout.  Instead, when Oswaldo Arcia lofted a ball to the deepest part of center field, I wound up getting one of my favorite pictures of the year as Jacoby Ellsbury leaped and tried for the catch:

Jacoby Ellsbury leaps after what would end up a triple, but just like the rest of the game it proved to be just out of reach.

Jacoby Ellsbury leaps after what would end up a triple, but like the rest of the game it proved to be just out of reach.

After Arcia’s triple, the next batter doubled him home, giving the Twins their first run.  In the sixth, the Sox still led, 2-1.  Minnesota had runners at first and second with one out, when Lackey fielded a grounder back to the mound.  He turned to throw to second to try for an inning-ending double play, but the throw was wild amd sailed into center field.  One run came in, tying the game.  (I always thought it was lame that the run is unearned when it’s the pitcher who makes the error – it’s still his fault!)  Now with runners at second and third but still only one out, the next batter hit a fly into shallow right.  Victorino covered a lot of ground to make the catch, and then made a strong, accurate throw to the plate.  It was a close play; David Ross applied the tag and the ump signaled… safe?  I don’t think so!  That should have been the final out of the inning, with the game still tied.  Sitting where I was, I could see the NESN feed on the monitor, and the slo-mo replay showed that the runner was tagged before his foot hit the plate.  John Farrell came out to argue, but it didn’t help.  And to make matters worse, Lackey proceeded to give up a two-run homer into the bullpen.  (Those runs were also unearned, due to the fact that there was an error earlier, but they wouldn’t have scored if home plate umpire Lance Barksdale hadn’t botched the call.  Can I charge those last three runs to him instead of Lackey?)  The inning ended with the Twins on top 5-2.

Daniel Nava had a good day at the plate (2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI), but it wasn't enough.

Daniel Nava had a good day at the plate (2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI), but it wasn't enough.

The Red Sox did get a little closer.  Mike Napoli doubled to open the sixth, and Nava drove him in.  That would have been enough to compensate for Lackey’s error, but not for the runs that scored as a result of the umpire’s.  Lackey ended up going seven, finishing with a strikeout of Joe Mauer.  Koji Uehara followed him to the mound and pitched a really quick eighth, striking out all three batters he faced.  (I would have liked to get some pictures of his overly-enthusiastic high-fives of his teammates on their way back to the dugout, but he sprinted in, and the camera didn’t have time to focus.)

Koji Uehara finished every pitch - and the whole inning - with a flourish.

Koji Uehara finished every pitch - and the whole inning - with a flourish.

The Red Sox also had all their outs in the eighth come on strikeouts, though they did manage a few baserunners in between on a walk and an error, but they couldn’t get anything across. As people started to leave early, I thought about moving down to the good seats, but the rain had started up in the eighth, and I stayed put further back under the grandstand.  There was still a chance for the Sox to tie the game when Ellsbury walked to lead off the ninth, but Twins closer Glen Perkins struck out two more and got Big Papi to ground out to end it.

May 9, 2013 • Posted in: 2013 Games • Share on Facebook

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