Now this is the kind of game that gets us all hot and sweaty for the Yankees to get into town. So much to absorb in the first official edge-of-your-seat fest of 2007, that I’ll just try to tackle them one at a time:
1) Manny’s first homer ties it up: Folks, there’s a reason no one — well, at least no one with any common sense — rides the Ass of Ramirez when he’s barely hitting his weight. It’s because you know he’s eventually going to make hay, and squabbling over the dry spells is like dismissing U2’s catalog because it contains Pop. When all seemed lost, he came through and turned everything on its head, and the look on Halladay’s face as Manny rounded the bases… well, that really said it all, didn’t it:
2) Timlin re-discovers the rage face. And all is good again: In the bottom of the eighth, after we’d just gone from flatlining to tapdancing, the Jays had first and third with one out. Timlin gets a double play ball from Aaron Hill, and walks off the mound with fist pumping, heart pounding, throat howling. It was like the warrior reborn, so fierce I’ll guarantee that if Pedroia was within a four foot radius of Timlin, he wet his pants.
3) Cora comes alive: You gotta love baseball karma. In the aforementioned double play, Lyle Overbay runs so far out of the basepath to deck Cora that he could have handed Coco Crisp a glass of Kool-Aid. Next inning, Cora returns the favor, letting his bat do the talking, tripling in a run, and — at least in the privacy of his own mind — nailing Overbay’s sister on the first date.
4) Papel-Bot; over and out: The best thing about the Bot is that when he enters a game, it’s like the f–kin’ thing’s suddenly on auto-pilot: Batter steps in. Papel-Bot goes to work. Ass meets bench. Ten years ago, former Red Sox Matt Stairs would have clunked a two-run homer. But in the Bot Era, he’s just another K to hang on the wall.
5) Coco lays it down: If Coco doesn’t bunt for a base hit in the top of the eighth, Manny’s home run leaves us a buck short at last call. Today, he was a key cog in the machine. Something to build on for this weekend.