28-12: Twice as nice; Sox sweep the doubleheader

This Red Sox team is just in cruise control. Playing very efficient baseball, yesterday they swept the doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers, 2-1 and 4-2.

I don’t think most fans expected Julian Tavarez (2-4) to outpitch Curt Schilling, but Tavarez went seven strong innings, holding the Tigers to just one run on four hits and four walks. He did a great job, and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon finished it off without incident. Mike Maroth was a late scratch for the Tigers, with youngster Zach Miner (0-1) getting the ball in game 1 of the day.

Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis both had two hits and an RBI apiece in this one, sealing it for the Sox.

After a one-out single, Coco Crisp managed to avoid the tag at second base, keeping the inning alive so that one run could score. Crisp is definitely improving his play. Even though his statistics don’t bear it out, every game he seems to be reaching on an error or a bunt or something. His speed and intensity are making things happen, even if his bat is atill lagging.

Game 2 was more of the same boring (in a good way) baseball. Curt Schilling (4-1) ended up with another no decision in this one, but pitched six decent innings and let the bullpen bring it home from there. Interestingly, skipper Terry Francona decided to let Okajima take the save instead of the closer, Jonathan Papelbon. The Sox are being very cautious with that shoulder, let’s hope there are no issues with it which haven’t been publicized yet.

Okajima pitched a perfect inning to notch his second big league save, and ran his scoreless innings streak to an amazing 19 2/3. Gary Sheffield commented after the game that Okajima is one of the most impressive left-handed pitchers he’s ever seen.

Starting in place of injured J.D. Drew, Eric Hinske made a great grab in right field in the fifth inning. With the wind pushing a fly ball away from him, Hinske dove, fully extended, face first into the warning track. Amazingly, he managed to hold on to the ball to end the inning and the scoring threat. Then Hinske came up to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and hit his first home run of the year, a long two-run shot that put the game away for good.

Kevin Youkilis ran his hit streak to a personal best 11 games, and he is just unstoppable these days.


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