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X Gon’ Give It To Ya

Thursday, May 29, 2014 – Fenway Park, Section 32

Red Sox 4, Braves 3

After my last game a week ago, the Red Sox lost three more games to run their losing streak to ten, with the tenth being the ugliest of all.  But then they moved on to Atlanta, where they won both games.  They returned to Fenway for two more against the Braves and again won the opener.  Suddenly they looked like the team we thought they’d be and were fun to watch again.

I met Alex Wilson before the game.

I met Alex Wilson before the game.

I left work a little early on Thursday to head in to the game, because this was another day where we could get our picture taken with a player in the souvenir store before the game.  The player they choose is never a starter, and is usually the most junior member of the team, so it was no surprise to me to see Alex Wilson, the reliever who had been called up when Clay Buchholz went on the D.L. and was sure to return to Triple A in a few days when they called up someone to take that spot in the rotation.  He was wearing the American flag shorts that everyone on the team had last year.  (Too bad they don’t show in the picture, as it was especially comical in front of the flag backdrop.)  When I got to the front of the line, I said, “Oh, I forgot to wear my matching shorts!”  He laughed but looked at me like he was a little unsure of whether I was joking or not.  This time they did have vouchers to give us with a promo code for a free print, but when I tried to order one later it didn’t work.  I refuse to pay $20 for something that’s supposed to be free, so I resorted to photoshopping the word “proof” out of a screen shot.  I’d rather have a digital copy than a print anyway.

The Red Sox had finally found their new leadoff hitter, the red-hot Borck Holt.

The Red Sox had finally found their new leadoff hitter, the red-hot Brock Holt.

After Jacoby Ellsbury had left as a free agent over the winter, the Red Sox had tried several players in the leadoff spot, but none were able to reach base consistently.  Lately Brock Holt had been hitting so well that he had been moved to the top of the order.  While he struck out in his first at-bat tonight, he reached the next four times up with three hits and a walk.  With Mike Napoli on the D.L., Ryan Lavarnway had been called up and was playing first base in the majors for the first time after working on it in the minors this year.  But I didn’t even get a chance to take any decent pictures of him at his new position, as he was lifted for Daniel Nava before his second at-bat.  Later in the game they posted on the video board that Lavarnway had left with wrist soreness.  (The next day it was revealed he had broken his hamate bone and would require surgery.)

Later in the game, I moved around to an empty seat in Section 24.

Later in the game, I moved around to an empty seat in Section 24.

Jake Peavy pitched well, but as with most of his starts this year, he didn’t get much run support.  He gave up a solo homer to Jason Heyward in the third, and another run in the fourth after a balk moved the runner into scoring position.  (I could tell from my seat that he was upset after being called for the balk – Dustin Pedroia had to walk him back toward the mound as he stood staring at the umpire – but I didn’t know until I got home that since he’s legally blind without corrective lenses, he was having a really hard time seeing David Ross’s signals, and the balk had been called by the second base ump when he leaned in to squint toward the plate.)  It was costly, as the runner came in to score, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.

Xander Bogaerts is out by half a step after Braves first baseman Freddy Freeman stretched to reach an errant throw.

Xander Bogaerts was out by half a step after Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman stretched to reach an errant throw in the fifth.

The Sox got within a run in the fifth when Brock Holt (who else?) doubled in Ross.  But when the Braves scored an insurance run to make it 3-1 in the eighth, it felt unsurmountable.  But not to worry – Holt was leading off the bottom of the eighth (and it also helped that Atlanta went to the ‘pen and took starter Mike Minor out of the game).  Holt opened with a single into left, and reached second when Justin Upton bobbled it.  Xander Bogaerts quickly singled him home.  Pedroia reached on an infield single, and then A.J. Pierzynski knocked in the tying run with another single, which was misplayed by another Upton brother, B.J., in center.  The Red Sox went on to load the bases and then squander their chances in typical fashion, but the game was now tied.

The rally had gotten Peavy off the hook, and he was done after eight innings.  Koji Uehara pitched the ninth.  With the score close and the game relatively fast-paced, not many people had left early, so I didn’t go looking for a closer seat until the middle of the ninth.  I made my move then, and found an empty row in a loge box section in front of Section 24 for the rest of the game.  The Braves brought their closer, Craig Kimbrel, who hadn’t worked in the past three days because the Red Sox had won all three, in to a tie game.  He was clearly rusty, because he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to open the inning, and then walked Brock Holt.  Bogaerts, who already had two hits, hit a sharp grounder to third.  The third baseman tried to double Holt up at second, but his throw was low and was dropped by the second baseman.  That allowed enough time for Bradley to race around and score the winning run.  It goes down as an infield single for Bogaerts, with the run scoring on an error, but I’ll take an exciting walkoff any way I can!

Xander Bogaerts is congratulated by his teammates (he's in there somewhere) after sparking the game-winning play.

Xander Bogaerts is congratulated by his teammates (he's in there somewhere!) after sparking the game-winning play.

May 29, 2014 • Posted in: 2014 Games • Share on Facebook

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