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Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – Fenway Park, Section 7

Red Sox 4, Orioles 2

Two days after my last game I was headed back to Fenway.  (Unfortunately for me the one I missed was another brilliant outing by Chris Sale.)  A co-worker’s nephew had an extra ticket, and he let me use it.  It was another cool night, not as cold as my previous game, but with a steady breeze all night.

The view from Section 7.  It was another cool night, but at least this time there was no rain.

The view from Section 7. It was another cool night, but at least this time there was no rain.

When asked at work, I gave my opinion that all the bean ball business between the Red Sox and Orioles from earlier in the series had run its course.  Even though Sale had thrown behind Manny Machado last night in the latest installment of the drama that had begun when Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia on his way into second base a week earlier, it felt like the whole thing had stretched on long enough and was all played out.

Drew Pomeranz gives a thumbs-up after warming before the game. I wish I could have said the same about his start.

Drew Pomeranz gives a thumbs-up after warming before the game. I wish I could have said the same about his start.

Drew Pomeranz didn’t exactly start the game off on a good note.  The first batter doubled, and the second reached on an error after Marco Hernandez bobbled a grounder to third.  Hernandez was immediately pulled from the game for Josh Rutledge, who had come off the D.L. a week earlier.  Hernandez had made two errors in Monday’s game, too, and at first I wondered if John Farrell couldn’t take it anymore.  It turned out, though, that Marco had suffered a shoulder subluxation, and was added the the D.L. himself the next day.

We've been seeing a little too much of the E5 lately.

We've been seeing a little too much of the E5 lately.

The problem with watching Pomeranz is that he pitches very slowly, and he’s lined up in the rotation to follow Chris Sale, who works so quickly, making the contrast that much more noticeable.  The inning continued with a passed ball and a full-count walk to load the bases.  Pomeranz wound up throwing an astounding 34 pitches in the first inning, and I was having flashbacks to the Daisuke Matsuzaka era.  But like Dice-K, he managed to Houdini his way out of it.  The error and passed ball weren’t his fault, and he struck out Jonathan Schoop to end the inning without any runs.

Quote o’ the day: The guy in front of me turned around at the end of the very long first inning, saw that I was keeping score, and said, “If the whole game goes like this, you’re going to run out of ink.”

I had plenty of time to take lots of pictures of Drew Pomeranz in the first inning.

I had plenty of time to take lots of pictures of Drew Pomeranz in the first inning.

I will say that Pomeranz recovered nicely.  Not only did he escape the first inning without giving up any runs, but he had 1-2-3 innings in both the second and third, throwing only 10 pitches in each frame, so that by the end of the third his pitch count was a respectable 54.  But by then, we had all forgotten about his first inning, given what happened in the second…

Josh Rutledge drove in the Red Sox' first run, and then added a sac fly later.

Josh Rutledge drove in the Red Sox' first run, and then added a sac fly later.

Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gausman hit Xander Bogaerts with a pitch leading off the second inning.  It was a 77-mph curveball, which would indicate that there was no intent, but the umpires were on high alert after the bad blood that had been building since the last series between these two teams.  Home plate ump Sam Holbrook ejected Gausman immediately.  (Strangely, manager Buck Showalter was not tossed, and warnings were only issued after the play.)  The new pitcher, Richard Bleier, had all the time he needed to warm up, and Showalter spent the time stomping around the infield and complaining.  When the inning resumed, Mitch Moreland walked, and Josh Rutledge singled to drive Bogaerts in with the first run of the game.

The gameplay may not have been beautiful, but the view from my seat in Section 7 was surprisingly nice.

The gameplay may not have been beautiful, but the view from my seat in Section 7 was surprisingly nice.

The Red Sox scored three more runs in the fourth, thanks to a double by Chris Young and an error by Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy that allowed Bogaerts to reach ahead of him.  I thought Hardy had another error later in the inning when, with runners on second and third, he fielded a grounder and threw home with the throw sailing way over everyone’s reach.  (It turned out that was just scored as a fielder’s choice – he could have thrown to first and retired the runner, but chose to go home.  If they think the run would have scored anyway, they couldn’t charge an error if no one else advanced as a result of the throw being off.)  That all gets noted on my scorecard – maybe I was in danger of running out of ink!

Mitch Moreland singled in the fourth.

Mitch Moreland singled in the fourth.

In the top of the fifth, Pomeranz struck out Adam Jones.  When Jones said something the ump didn’t like, he tossed him too.  Thank you, Sam Holbrook!  The Orioles did finally push across two runs in the sixth, knocking Pomeranz from the game in the process.  Heath Hembree got out of the sixth, and Matt Barnes and Robby Scott took care of the seventh and eighth. (Meanwhile, after Bleier finished four innings of relief, the Orioles had to bring in Ubaldo Jimenez, who was supposed to be tomorrow’s starter, for the final three innings.)

Xander Boagaerts had a busy night.  He was plunked, reached on an error twice, and stole a base.

Xander Boagaerts had a busy night. He was plunked, reached on an error twice, and stole a base.

In the bottom of the seventh, I moved over to some vacated seats in Section 12.  I could have gone further toward the infield, but I actually wanted to sit where I’d have a good view of the outfielders doing Win, Dance, Repeat if the score held up.  This was my fifth game of the year, but I hadn’t seen a win since Opening Day, exactly a month ago.  All that was left was for Craig Kimbrel to close it out, and he had no problem doing just that, with three quick strikeouts preserving the much-needed win.

Kimbrel stares in in his trademark pose.

Kimbrel stares in at the plate in his trademark pose.

Here’s my video of the outfield dance, featuring Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Chris Young:

Last year for the post-win handshakes, Big Papi always stood, shirt untucked, right in front of Farrell and the coaches in front of the dugout.  This year Hanley Ramirez has taken over that spot. I guess he got promoted!

Last year for the post-win handshakes, Big Papi always stood, shirt untucked, right in front of Farrell and the coaches in front of the dugout. This year Hanley Ramirez has taken over that spot. I guess he got promoted!

May 3, 2017 • Posted in: 2017 Games • Share on Facebook

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