Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Southside – still breathing…

It took 10 innings, but the Sox won their first home extra-inning game this year. This was a heck of a ballgame and the atmosphere was definitely of playoff-caliber. The Sox were down 2-0 and tied it 2-2. Then down 3-2 and tied it 3-3. Then down 5-3 and took the lead 6-5, going into the 9th. Once again, their bullpen let them down. Bobby Jenks walked the leadoff batter and he came around to score, tying the game 6-6. In fairness to Jenks, he should have been out of the inning, but Aaron Rowand misplayed a flyball and it eventually figured in the run. The Sox had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, but couldn’t push across the winning run.

So, on to the 10th inning. The Sox have winning record in extra-inning games, but only overall. At home, they had yet to win one. That says something about a team – having a last at bat and being unable to capitalize on it. But in the 10th, Joe Crede hit a monster home run, his second of the game, giving the Sox a desperately needed victory. If they had lost this one, a loss in tomorrow’s game could have delivered a knock-out blow to their pennant hopes. As it is, they now have a chance to right the ship with a victory tomorrow. I hope John Garland pitches better tomorrow than Buerhle did today or Garcia did yesterday. And it sure would be nice to see a 1-2-3 inning our two out of the bullpen.

My only complaint about the Sox victory tonight was their inability, in multiple opportunities, to push home a run with “small-ball”. It took a home run to win the game. They left 11 men on, but then so did Cleveland.

And, I saw a truly magnificent defensive play. In the 8th inning, just after the Sox had taken the lead, Cleveland had men on first and third. It looked like it was coming apart again, just like last night. Coco Crisp hit a rocket into the hole. Juan Uribe went hard to his right, speared the ball, turned, and, while still heading the other way, rifled an accurate throw to first base, just beating out the very-speedy Crisp. It was a great play and, at the time, a game-saver.

The Sox and the Indians have played 7 one-run games this year and the Sox have won all of them. That’s great, of course, but hard on the heart. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game…

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