40-26: Sox take two from M’s at home

The Red Sox continue to play well at home, despite injuries to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, the team’s top two hitters. PItching and defense are getting it done, with special recognition to the bullpen, which has been really, really good the past two weeks.

Game 1: Boston 0, Seattle 8

Bartolo Colon (3-1) faltered for the first time in four starts, giving up six runs (three earned) over five innings on 8 hits and a walk. I think the stuff was to blame tonight, he just didn’t have it. Seattle struck early, and continued to get to Colon, scoring in all but one of his innings. Kudos to Javier Lopez for finishing this one out with three scoreless frames. Sure, Seattle let up some with an 8-run lead, but that’s a lot of innings to work for someone who’s a semi-LOOGY reliever.

The Manny-less and Papi-less Sox had 7 hits and 3 walks in this one, but just couldn’t put anything together versus Felix Hernandez (4-5) and the Mariners’ bullpen. They had baserunners in each of the first six innings, but couldn’t bring ’em home without their RBI guys.

Game 2: Boston 11, Seattle 3

Wow, Manny Ramirez is back and all’s right with the world again; he homered in the 1st inning to make it 2-0 very quickly. Miguel Batista (3-7) didn’t look so tough this time around, and the Sox could have scored even more, as they had 13 hits and 7 walks tonight. Six of those free passes belonged to Batista. The Sox also blew up reliever Mark Lowe in the 8th for 5 runs; he only managed to get one out while surrendering four hits and a walk. Yeah, they were a little slow getting him out of there.

Tim Wakefield (4-4) should get credit for a great start, going seven and striking out six Mariners. He walked just two in this effort; he seems to be building a pretty good working relationship with Kevin Cash, who likes to mix Wake’s pitches more than Doug MIrabelli used to. Craig Hansen continues to show improvement, needing only 13 pitches to set down Seattle in the 8th.

J.D. Drew continues to really come through in the absence of Big Papi, going 3-5 from the #3 hole witha triple and a homer tonight. Mike Lowell, who came into the game off the bench, came through with a big double in the 8th. Can’t say enough about Sean Casey, who is playing part-time but always seems to have a hit when he plays. Not much power anymore, but a solid glove more than makes up for that.

Jacoby Ellsbury was able to pinch-run tonight, so let’s hope that wrist heals up quick. Coco Crisp just isn’t leadoff hitter material, I’m afraid, even if he did steal two bases tonight.

Game 3: Boston 2, Seattle 1

Justin Masterson (3-0) just continues to amaze me. He’s pitching with the confidence and consistency of a grizzled veteran. Another six innings tonight, just one run on three hits and three walks. He got 8 ground ball outs, including double play in the 1st.

We may be seeing the future back of the bullpen here: Craig Hansen in the 7th, Hideki Okajima in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th. Boom, boom, boom. It’s nice to see Okajima return to his usual effectiveness, as he needed just 9 pitches to finish his inning. Not to be outdone, Papelbon nailed the save in just 5 pitches, and is now at 18 saves, slightly ahead of his usual pace.

J.D. Drew was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 3rd, tying the game and forcing in the Sox’ first run, and he also provided the winning blow, a solo home run to center field in the 6th off of reliever Sean Green (1-2). I thought it was interesting that Francona would bat him 3rd against Erik Bedard, but I guess he does have the hot hand right now, and it makes sense to get him more at-bats.


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