On a night following the dramatic Loretta Walk-Off in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox began a three game series against Tampa Bay, hoping to thrive off the energy from the previous night.
The game started out very slow, appearing to be another 1-run match up, until the seventh inning strike. Tampa struck first, putting a 2-1 lead after the top half of the seventh. Boston was down 2-1, but fired back in the bottom of the inning with Loretta driving in Pena, a shot off the wall by Ortiz (who was played with the most unusual shift he's seen by far), and Ramirez rocketing a line shot to right field. The sox headed into the eighth back on top, 4-2.
But could the Sox hold onto their 2 run lead?
It was unusual to see Clement out for the eighth. His pitch count was low, but Timlin had been warming up the inning before. Clement wasn't in for long, as he surrendered a first batter walk and was pulled. Timlin came in and allowed one inherited runner to score along with another, before getting out of the inning with the game tied again.
Would it be another one run victory at Fenway?
Luckily, the Sox came away with much more than one run in the bottom of the eighth. Lowell got the inning started with a lead off double. A few batters later with 2 outs, Nixon on and Lowell on third, Youk got up, and with one strike, struck his next pitch off the wall, driving in some runs. The sox entered the ninth up, 7-4.
The ninth could not end quick enough though, as Boston had to end with drama.
The usually perfect Papelbon started the inning off with a strikeout before surrendering a hit to Crawford, and then two walks, juicing the bases. Pap was able to get a strikeout, followed by a lined shot to center field that was falling fast. The whole game rested on Stern's shoulders, who made a diving attempt and came up with the ball snow-coned.
Pap remained perfect in save attempts as well as keeping his ERA at 0.
Manny also breakout of his slump, driving in 3 RBI's over the night, which had been his season total before last night.
The sox take on Tampa Bay in game two with Schilling taking the hill, tonight at 7 PM on Nesn.