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Sunday Night Blues

Sunday, May 18, 2014 – Fenway Park, Section 36

Tigers 6, Red Sox 2

I spent Sunday afternoon at my friends’ house in Rhode Island, and then drove to Boston for the night game, joking as I did that I was taking the “Lou Merloni Memorial Highway” north from Pawtucket.  I wasn’t early enough for batting practice, but was in plenty of time for the game.  I had been looking forward to this series as a rematch of the very intense and dramatic ALCS last fall.  This was the only trip the Tigers would make to Fenway this year, but so far the first two games didn’t live up to the hype, as the Sox had droppped them both.

When bullpen cop Steve Horgan comes out between innings, he often raises his arms in the pose he made famous during Big Papi's ALCS grand slam.

When bullpen cop Steve Horgan comes out between innings, he often raises his arms in the pose he made famous during Big Papi's ALCS grand slam.

My seat was in the center field bleachers, only 3 rows back, so I got a good look at Jackie Bradley Jr.’s new ‘do.  He had undone the braids he’s had for years and unleashed an afro starting Saturday night.

JBJ walks out to his post in center field for the third inning after being stranded on base in the second.

JBJ walks out to his post in center field for the third inning after being stranded on base in the second.

Jake Peavy wasn’t sharp, but he worked his way out of trouble in the first and the second.  Luckily for us, Anibal Sanchez wasn’t as sharp as he had been last October, when he had held the Red Sox hitless in ALCS Game 1 until the ninth inning.  Tonight they picked up three singles in the second inning, and actually scored a run to get on the board first.

Jake Peavy went six innings, but couldn't keep the Tigers off the bases.

Jake Peavy went six innings, but couldn't keep the Tigers off the bases.

But it didn’t take long for Detroit to answer back.  A one-out double in the top of the third quickly led to a game-tying RBI, and then old friend Victor Martinez followed with a two run homer into the bullpen.  The Tigers extended their lead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.  The Red Sox narrowed the gap in the home half – thanks to a bases-loaded infield hit by Mike Napoli – but even that rally was short-lived, as Grady Sizemore hit a liner back to the pitcher, who doubled the runner off third for an inning-ending double play.  And once again, as soon as the Sox got a run, they gave it right back.  This time it was a pair of hits in the sixth that gave Detroit a 5-2 lead and ended the night for Peavy.

View from Section 36.

View from Section 36.

The Tigers scored again in the top of the seventh on a homer by Torii Hunter.  The inning finally ended when Victor Martinez hit a foul popup that headed toward the stands between third base and home.  A.J. Pierzynski and Brock Holt both converged.  From where I sat it looked like the ball had bounced into the first row of the stands, so I was surprised when it was called the final out of the inning.  I had decided to use the seventh inning stretch to move around to closer seats for the end of the game, but before I left my spot in the bleachers, I caught the replay on the scoreboard.  The foul popup had bounced out of Pierzynski’s glove – but it landed right in the bare hand of Holt for the out.

Brock Holt showed off his dirt dog skills with two good defensive plays.

Brock Holt showed off his dirt dog skills with two good defensive plays.

Holt was filling in for the injured Will Middlebrooks, but he had been showing off his defensive skills at third base, despite coming up primarily as a second baseman.  He added another good play in the ninth tonight, diving to stop a sharply-hit grounder, and he stole a base too, making his uniform a nice shade of Pedroia by the end of the night.

Burke Badenhop pitched in the top of the ninth.

Burke Badenhop pitched in the top of the ninth.

I found an empty seat in the Section 25 grandstand for the bottom of the seventh, then moved down to the loge boxes for the top of the eighth, and finally wound up in a field box seat from the bottom of the eighth on.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much for me to cheer about by then.  Detroit relievers Al Alburquerque, Ian Krol, and Joba Chamberlain pitched the last three innings without allowing a baserunner.  This series that had seemed so fun when the schedule came out ended up as a disappointing sweep.  Added to a loss in Minnesota to end their last road trip, the Sox had now lost four in a row, something they hadn’t managed to do all of last year.

May 18, 2014 • Posted in: 2014 Games • Share on Facebook

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