Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wacky Fourth in the Bronx

The nightmare at the Trop a distant memory, the Sox won their second straight over the Bombers yesterday in New York in a game that featured one of the most incredible plays I've ever seen in 35 years of baseball-watching.

Let me set the stage: Top of the third inning, Yanks are up 3-1, Sox have two men on base with Kevin Youkilis at the plate. Youk smashes a Darrell Rasner offering to deep left, where Johnny Damon makes a leaping attempt to prevent a home run. The ball snow-cones in his glove, and as he crashes into the soft, padded wall like a hockey player getting checked, the ball pops out and Damon falls to the ground. Amazingly, the ball actually comes to a rest on top of the fence, which has a flat surface, before dropping to the playing field. As the dazed Damon (his natural state?) looks around wondering what happened, the fans behind the fence are pointing furiously at the ground. Meanwhile, Youk steams into third base with the strangest game-tying triple you'll ever see. Damon had to leave the game with what was later diagnosed as a sprained shoulder.

Mike Lowell - who along with J.D. Drew have covered nicely in Big Papi's absence - hit a no-doubt three-run homer later in the game to give the Sox a 6-3 cushion and then the rains came. After a one-hour plus delay, the teams got back to it and the Sox escaped with a 6-4 win, despite what appeared to be a blown call on a Coco Crisp diving catch. Jacoby Ellsbury had himself a fine game, as he's been more willing to throw the bunt down to get on base with his speed. Josh Beckett, meanwhile, grinded his way through six innings and was rewarded with his 8th win of the season.

So after Joe Girardi's tongue-lashing on Thursday, the Yanks come out and lose again. Now what? The Yankee hitters were much more patient with Beckett than they were the prior day with Lester, but their problem in this game was that their starting pitcher - Rasner - should be in Triple-A.

The Rays beat Kansas City, 11-2, yesterday to remain 3 games in front of the Sox. Today's game is a Fox national broadcast, with Justin Masterson going against Mike Mussina.

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