66-42: Sox rally again to down Orioles

I could really get used to this four-run seventh inning thing. The Red Sox rallied again in the seventh inning off of Baltimore’s bullpen to break a 3-3 deadlock and win it, 7-4.

Our lineup did it just in time to get the win for Tim Wakefield (13-9), whose string of 21 consecutive starts since the beginning of 2007 with a decision continues unbroken. Wakefield pitched well, suffering only one bad inning in the fifth, when the Orioles scored three runs. His knuckleball dancing all over the place today, he threw 94 pitches and went seven innings, recording five strikeouts while allowing just six hits and a walk.

Hideki Okajima pitched the eighth, and Red Sox Nation got its first taste of Eric Gagne in the ninth. Gagne allowed a run on a very high popup that drifted back fair and fell for a double by Aubrey Huff and an RBI single by Jay Payton, but he still pitched well, throwing 13 of 16 pitches for strikes and fanning two. I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Here’s how the game-winning rally went down: Mike Lowell singled with one out, then was forced at second by a Coco Crisp grounder. Crisp stole second (his second swipe on the day), and they issued an intentional walk to Eric Hinske, though I can’t really imagine why. For a second, I thought Sam Perlozzo was still in the Baltimore dugout. With J.D. Drew pinch running, RBI singles ensued from Doug Mirabelli and Alex Cora, putting the Sox up, 5-3. Then Dustin Pedroia put on the finishing touch with a fly ball that the diving Nick Markakis couldn’t handle, that resulted in a double and two more runs.

Mirabelli had a 3-3 day with a home run and 2 RBI, I guess that makes up for his embarrassing baserunning blunder in the sixth. With one out, the bases loaded and the game knotted at 3, David Ortiz lifted a high sacrifice fly ball to right field. Mirabelli left the bag and wasn’t ready to tag, so he had to go back, then turn around and head home. The play at the plate wasn’t even close. Inning over. Yuck. When are we going to learn how to run the bases on this team?

Pedroia went 2-3 in the leadoff role with two walks. I’m liking that very much, as I was advocating him in that role earlier on.

Eric Hinske, playing for J.D. Drew, who is dealing with a very sick infant at home, also had a home run for Boston to lead off the 4th inning.


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