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Thursday, July 4, 2013 – Fenway Park, Section 43

Red Sox 8, Padres 2

After taking three of four from the Blue Jays, the Red Sox’ homestand wrapped up with a series against the Padres.  The Sox won the first two, and they went for the sweep in an Independence Day matinee.  Even though parking at meters would be free on a holiday, I knew traffic in Boston would be worse than usual with street closures in Back Bay for the fireworks display on the Esplanade, so I took the T into town.  Strangely enough for a game that I was going to, there was no rain in the forecast, but the temperature was supposed to be in the mid-90s, and with our seats in the direct sun of the bleachers for the whole game – not to mention that the seats themselves would be baking in the sun beforehand, and that they’re so close together that there’s no room for a breeze – it would feel like well over 100° out there.

Happy 4th of July from Fenway Park!

Happy 4th of July from Fenway Park!

I met up with two friends – one who was coming to the game with me and another who was eating lunch with us before heading to work – at The Baseball Tavern across the street from Fenway.  Normally I would get to Fenway early, especially with the potential for traffic snarls, but with the heat we decided to eat indoors, stay there as long as possible, and then just walk over to the park right before the game.  I drank two glasses of water in the restaurant and then bought a water bottle in the second inning and refilled it at the water fountain in the fifth.  Luckily I like the heat – I much prefer today’s sticky, steamy weather to the cold nights of April – but it did make me not want to move around too much or take many pictures.

I watched Allen Webster throw a side session in the bullpen before last Sunday's game.

I watched Allen Webster throw a side session in the bullpen before last Sunday's game.

Allen Webster was making his fifth Major League start.  So far he had had two solid quality starts and two disastrous outings that made me think the young righty was not ready yet.  But with Clay Buchholz still out and Alfredo Aceves falling out of favor with the organization, he was getting another chance.  Today ended up another one of Webster’s good days: a 6-inning, 2-run effort.  His problem has been control, and he did walk 5 batters to go along with 5 hits, but he was able to keep the damage to a minimum.  The Padres scored a run on a sac fly in the third and another on a couple of hits in the fifth.

We cheered when this little cloud brought us some relief in the fifth inning, but unfortunately it didn't stay overhead very long.

We cheered when this little cloud brought us some relief in the fifth inning, but unfortunately it didn't stay overhead very long.

For their part, the Red Sox offense got off to a strong start.  After the first two batters in the first inning reached on hits, Dustin Pedroia drove both in with a double.  In the second, Brandon Snyder, filling in for the injured Stephen Drew, hit a homer into the Red Sox bullpen for a 3-0 lead.  They continued to tack on runs.  Jose Iglesias had an RBI double in the fourth, and Jonny Gomes drove in Mike Napoli with another run in the fifth.  (We thought Iggy’s hit looked like a triple to drive in two when it bounced around the right field corner just barely fair, but since it hit the foul pole after bouncing on the ground it was ruled a ground rule double instead.  That was a bummer because the runner who had been on first had already crossed the plate, but he had to return to third and Iglesias had to go back to second.)  Big Papi’s bases-loaded, two-out single after a long 9-pitch at-bat produced two more runs for the Sox in the sixth.

I knew I was getting loopy from sitting in the sun all day when I imagined that beleaguered ex-closer Andrew Bailey pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning.  Even stranger was that the box score confirmed it.  Seriously, though, it was good to see him getting back on track after a series of home runs and blown saves.  Alex Wilson put two runners on in the eighth but got out of it without any damage.

Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, Alex Wilson, and Andrew Bailey walk out to the bullpen before the game wearing their "special" holiday hats.  The latter three would all end up pitching a scoreless inning in the game.

Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, Alex Wilson, and Andrew Bailey walk out to the bullpen before the game wearing their special holiday hats. The latter three would combine to pitch three scoreless innings in the game.

Not a lot of people left early – at least not those sitting in the shade – so we didn’t bother walking around to look for cooler seats, and ended up sticking it out in the bleachers the whole time.  Jacoby Ellsbury added to the Red Sox’ display of firepower with a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, just his second homer of the year.  Craig Breslow jogged in from the bullpen before the start of the ninth, but Wilson was already throwing warmup tosses, and Breslow had to go back to the ‘pen.  I thought it was funny that they would be playing the percentages with an 8-2 lead and having the righty Wilson face the right-handed-hittting number nine hitter (and old friend) Pedro Ciriaco, although when the lefty Breslow finally came in, two of the three batters he faced were righties too.  (Maybe that had been the plan all along and bullpen coach Dana LeVangie was loopy from the sun and sent him in too early.)

The final out of the game was a looping fly to left that Jonny Gomes caught at the warning track before banging into The Wall.  He had ended last night’s game with a walk-off homer, and his flair while making the final play of this game led me to remark, “The game’s not over until Jonny Gomes says it’s over.”  Once the win was in the books, we could finally head for shade.  I think this may be the first time in my life that I’ve ever found it refreshing to stand in the Kenmore T station and wait for a train!

July 4, 2013 • Posted in: 2013 Games • Share on Facebook

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