Now that’s how you break a losing streak. A taut pitcher’s duel, some ass-droppingly good glovework, at least three or four guys you could point to as the hero of the game, and a walk-off pile-up at home plate. This was the best game of the young season, a game the Sox absolutely refused to lose, and one that will hopefully spur a torid homestand.
Lester clearly strapped on the big pants. On paper, I didn’t give him much of chance against Halladay. And as King Roy shut down batter after batter, and knowing we hadn’t plated a single run since the middle of Saturday’s game against the Rays, I figured a Sox win was about as likely as Debbie Clemens showing up at a Mindy McCready concert. But Lester battled, giving up one measly hit over eight innings and looking absolutely unflappable. The play of the night, however, came in the ninth with the Bot on the hill, when Vernon Wells followed up Scott Rolen’s double with a Nasty Slap of a Ball (also the name of Earth Wind & Fire’s underrated 1985 comeback album) that Dustin Pedroia went all Doctor Octopus on, throwing Wells out and then smiling as nonchalantly as a guy who just found a few extra fries at the bottom of his McDonald’s sack. Brilliant stuff.
In the bottom of the ninth, our first two batters were out quick. So I knew we had the Jays right where we wanted them. A walk to Papi, a single from Manny and that crisp bullet off the bat of Youkilis that died just in front of Wells in centerfield. Watching the replay, we should thank God and sonny Jesus that Wells bobbled the ball, as I have no doubt that if there was a play at the plate, Ortiz would not only have been out, he’d be in traction right now at Mass General, waiting patiently for an ass transplant. But seeing him haul his ample frame like a guy who absolutely, positively had to bring this run home for his boys was simply awesome, as Billy Ocean once said.
All in all, it was a night that ended the way every night should: With He Whose Beard Frightens Children jumping triumphantly across first base like a guy hopped up on acid jazz and Robitussin. Mission accomplished, lads. Now let’s take another!