Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sox hold on for 6-5 victory

Tito tried. He tried to give away this hard-fought 9th inning win for Boston. The Sox had scratched and clawed their way back from a 5-3 deficit after 6 innings by scoring single runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings, and Tito tried like heck to give it away.
And how did he do that? He brought in Tired Arm Timlin, that's how.
After having blown 7 saves in his last 11 opportunities, including an absolute soul-crusher to the Royals on Friday, Tito put him out there in a "pressure" situation again. And wouldn't you know it Timlin nearly gave this one away too.
He gave up a leadoff double to Melvin Mora to start the 9th, and the entire Nation either shut their sets off, partially closed their eyes or reached for the antacid. Or all of the above. After rookie Nick Markakis (the more I see of this kid the more I like him-watch for him to blossom into a star next season) hit a medium fly ball to Kappy in center, Mora challenged his normally strong gun and raced to third after tagging. Wouldn't you know Kappy's throw was off line (almost thought Coco threw it- no, he would've 11-hopped it to 3rd) and Mora was 90 feet away with 1 out; 2 more Tums please honey!
Tito next made the no-brainer call to walk Miggy Tejada to set up the DP with Ramon Tortoise Hernandez at the plate. By now my fingernails were shredded, my antacids were gone and I had one finger on the clicker so as not to have to go through this agony again-the instant that run crossed the plate I was over to Flava of Love or some other pain-diverting show.
But whaddaya know, the next thing I see is Ramon Hernandez Hitting into a game-ending double play! It's true. Timlin got the save, and I swear even he looked surprised at it (I'm not kidding, I watched it on the DVR 3 times and it was a look of relief, surprise and get me a beer combined).
So the Sox get a little morale booster as they take their roadshow to the Bronx for the formerly-thought-as-big 4 game set with the Bombers, who have quietly overtaken the best record in baseball since the Boston, Massacre II. Schilling is scheduled to return on and pitch on Saturday, and Papi can still get to the 50 HR mark in front of all the Stankee fans. So we got that kinda stuff to root for. Other than that the series carries as much meaning as the one they just finished against the lowly Birds.
That's what happens when you're playing out the string.

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