Now that was a weird-ass game. Before I’d even had a chance to kill my first Pabst, the Sox were down by five and Matsuzaka looked toasted.

But then the Sox fought back, tying it up with five of their own, and pulling ahead on a Manny home run. But it was Manny’s second home run of the night that put us over the top –literally and figuratively — and the guy stood so long to admire it, I thought they’d be sending Pookie the clubhouse boy out to home plate with his slippers and recliner. Say what you will about Manny; when he breaks out of a slump, he doesn’t f–k around, he goes balls-outside-the-pants crazy. And his performance tonight could be the sign that we’re in for one awesome May.

But really, it was over when Ortiz greeted Yuniesky Betancourt, who was tagging him out to complete a double play in the sixth, with a massive bear hug. The power of the man-hug — as documented throughout the 2004 season — is vast and unquestionable. And by unleashing this power, Ortiz pretty much sealed the Mariners’ fate.

We walk away from this game knowing the following things:

1) Daisuke Matsuzaka probably ain’t gonna be no Pedro Martinez, as I once dreamed. At least not in his debut year. But what’s intriguing is that as quickly as he loses control, he regains it. After giving up that five spot in the first inning, he went on to retire 12 of the next 13 he faced. It’s like a piece of precision machinery that just needs some fine-tuning.

2) When they said we’d be trading some defense for offense with Julio Lugo, they weren’t f–king around. On back-to-back plays in the first, Lugo looked like a guy with 80 pound weights strapped to his onions, costing us a couple runs right out of the gate. “He’s an assh-le!” I cried. But then he comes back next inning and strokes a ground rule double and knocks in a few runs of his own. “He’s a trooper!” I cried. And that’s probably just the way it’s gonna go this summer.

3) Suddenly, watching Coco in centerfield is a terribly enjoyable thing. The guy’s given us a month of TWIB clips over this homestand. Can’t you just imagine a two-page magazine ad of Coco completely horizontal, three feet off the ground, ball about to meet glove, with a “Powered by Red Bull” logo in the corner? Someone in marketing just isn’t paying attention.

4) The real winner of the night was Brendan Donnelly. Comes in, walks a guy, sits down, has a steak sandwich (we presume), gets the win. Ain’t that America!

Tonight, we go to Minnesota. Because somebody has to. See you then.