Sox overcome Phillies in 13
Boston gets to call-up Kendrick
PHILADELPHIA - It came down to "our bullpen is better than your bullpen." In fact, the Red Sox are going to win that battle most of the time during the 2009 season.
For despite squandering a 2-1 lead in the ninth on Ryan Howard's solo homer off Ramon Ramirez and spoiling Jon Lester's spectacular 11-strikeout performance on a night when Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable because of his workload over the last couple of days, the Sox still had a kid, Daniel Bard, on the mound who can throw 100 miles per hour, and that was enough to beat the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, 5-2, in 13 innings last night at Citizens Bank Park.
"It was a total team effort, a good win. We used a lot of players in this game and they all came through for us," said Dustin Pedroia, who went 0 for 7 but still wore a smile.
While the Red Sox were able to trot out Hideki Okajima, Ramirez, Justin Masterson, and winner Takashi Saito, they had Bard available at the end. Not so lucky for the Phillies, who already were missing closer Brad Lidge, and who were forced to use righthander Kyle Kendrick, who had been summoned from Triple A Lehigh Valley yesterday morning to replace Scott Eyre (disabled list).
The result for the Phillies was devastating, as Kendrick allowed three runs after the Sox loaded the bases in the 13th with one out on singles by Jason Bay and pinch hitter Julio Lugo, and a walk to Jason Varitek. That set the stage for Jacoby Ellsbury, who singled between first and second through a drawn-in infield to score Bay with the go-ahead run. The Sox piled on with a sacrifice fly by Nick Green and an RBI single by Mike Lowell.
"I was just trying to get a pitch to handle," said Ellsbury. "I just tried to hit something hard with the bases loaded and the infield in, and I was able to do it and we were able to tack on some more runs."
Lugo was one of three Sox pinch hitters during the course of the game, and they went 3 for 3, greatly improving the Sox' pinch-hit batting average for the season, which coming in was .095 (4 for 42) with a walk and a sacrifice fly, according to stat man Chuck Waseleski.
"Good for him," said Sox manager Terry Francona of Lugo. "He's been given a lot of tough news. We had a good talk the other day and when he came home the guys were all over him in the dugout."
With a three-run lead, Bard, who hasn't allowed a run in his last seven appearances, was a little too amped up, but struck out the side for his first major league save. After walking Chase Utley, Bard fanned Jayson Werth and Howard, hit Raul Ibanez with a 99-m.p.h. fastball, then got Shane Victorino to chase a low slider for the final out.
By game's end, Sox pitchers had struck out 20 batters - 11 by Lester, two by Okajima, one by Ramirez, and three each by Masterson and Bard. The last time that happened was Sept. 15, 1999, when Pedro Martinez (14), Rheal Cormier (1), Rod Beck (2), and John Wasdin (3) struck out 20 in a 6-4 win over the Indians.
"I had pitched the ninth inning during the Yankee game the other night, so that gave me a taste of what was to come if I entered a situation like this," said Bard. "The key was just to throw strikes and calm down. I didn't want to put anyone on, but I just nedded to bear down and not overthrow and make my pitches."
Lester had a stretch in the fourth through sixth innings when he struck out six straight. He got 10 of his last 12 outs via strikeout, before departing after seven innings.
His only hiccup came in the second inning when the sizzling Ibanez singled to right and advanced to third on Victorino's double to the left-field corner. Ibanez then scored on Pedro Feliz's ground out to third.
The Sox didn't get much offense either, a night after sweeping the Yankees to run their season record to 8-0 against the Bronx Bombers. The Phillies, who had come off a 7-3 road trip and are entrenched in first in the NL East, had to be impressed with Lester, who didn't give some of Philly's most potent threats - Utley, Howard, and Ibanez, each of whom he struck out twice - much to work with.
The Sox tied the game at 1 in the fourth off righthander Joe Blanton, who hurled seven strong innings of his own, allowing two runs. Kevin Youkilis went with a pitch low and away and drove it into the right-field bleachers for his 11th homer and 38th RBI. Blanton put Bay (walk) and Ellsbury (single) on after the homer, but escaped without further damage.
In the fifth, the most-despised Red Sox to Phillies fans, J.D. Drew, a former first-round pick who spurned Philadelphia's offer and held out, only to sign with an Independent League team before signing with the Cardinals the following season, stroked a homer to the left-center-field bleachers to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
Lester retired 14 straight batters before walking Werth in the sixth, and became the only lefthander in Sox history to record double-digit strikeouts in three consecutive games.
Nick Cafardo can be reached at email@example.com.