65-42: Sox rally in the 7th to down O’s


To the delight of all Celtics fans, Kevin Garnett threw out the first pitch last night, and the Red Sox rallied for four runs in the 7th inning to come from behind and edge the Orioles, 5-4.

Julian Tavarez made a spot start for Boston in place of Kason Gabbard, who was traded to Texas at the deadline on Tuesday (incidentally, Gabbard will make his first start for the Rangers tonight). He went five innings on 82 pitches. He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk, not terrible considering the short notice and the short rest (Tavarez had pitched an inning of relief three days before).

Unlike his typical starts this year, the Orioles runs came early on a solo home run by Nick Markakis in the first and a pair of RBI doubles by Chris Gomez and Brian Roberts in the second. But he kept it at three runs for the bullpen, which did an outstanding job. Kyle Snyder was a little shaky, but he and Javier Lopez got the job done for two more innings.

Hideki Okajima gave up a solo shot to Miguel Tejada, but otherwise pitched well, and Jonathan Papelbon shut it down for save number 24. That got Okajima’s ERA over 1.00 for the first time since June 19. Newly acquired Eric Gagne started warming in the ninth, but wasn’t needed in this one. How’s that for intimidation factor?

The Sox got a run in the third on a Dustin Pedroia sac fly, but the rest of the runs scored in the seventh inning rally. Julio Lugo kicked things off with a walk against Paul Shuey, then Pedroia singled up the middle on an 0-2 offering. David Ortiz then doubled to left center to score Lugo, and the Orioles chose to walk the red-hot Manny Ramirez to load the bases. They brought in Chad Bradford, a former Red Sox, to face Kevin Youkilis.

Big mistake. Youkilis drove home two runs with a double past Corey Patterson in center, and after Mike Lowell grounded out, Jason Varitek singled to plate one more insurance run. That run won the game, as it turned out.

The lineup left 20 men on the bases, but did enough to pull this out, thank God. Lugo’s rebound from an awful first half has been a welcome boon. He’s hitting .316/.358/.434 since the All-Star break, but has tailed off a bit since retaking his role as leadoff man on July 21. Since then, he’s 9-45 (.200) with a .294 OBP. Move him back down to #9, Tito!

I think Snyder deserves some recognition for the season he’s having as a middle reliever for the Sox. He’s never had an ERA under 5.00 in a season, yet here he is on August 2 with a 2.68 ERA in 34 appearances. Since limiting his outings to two innings this season, the Sox have seen a different Snyder. He’s definitely adjusted from throwing to pitching more, and even though he’s more liberal than I would like with the number of pitches per batter faced (4.19 this year), it’s hard to argue with the results. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, but opponents are hitting just .218 against him this year. Told ya he didn’t suck.

There were a lot of friendly smiles and glances exchanged between Big Papi and KG, who was watching the game in a box behind the plate. They shared a big hug after the opening pitch, and Ortiz pointed up to KG’s box as he crossed the plate with the go-ahead run in the 7th. Remember, Ortiz played in Minnesota for several seasons before coming here. I should mention that our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost loved ones yesterday in the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

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