Cliff Lee allowed a run in the first inning. As he took the mound in the ninth tonight, precisely one batter had reached base in the previous seven innings. The lefty had thrown six pitches in the seventh inning and five in the eighth.
Had the Sox lost that game, nobody could have complained. Lee had been that good.
"That’s about as well-pitched a game as you're ever going to see," Terry Francona said. "He throws strike after strike after strike, it has movement and it's never in the middle of the plate."
But Marco Scutaro singled. Then indispensable Darnell McDonald got a bunt down. Then Kevin Youkilis had a double to left field. Lee was finished and two innings later, the Red Sox produced a 3-2 walk-off victory that had the crowd joyously streaming out of Fenway Park.
Now there's a big win. Instead of three straight losses, the Sox now have Jon Lester on the hill tomorrow with a chance to split the series.
"It doesn’t always happen, but these type of wins have the ability to jump start a team," Daniel Bard said. "After two losses, coming back with a win like that is pretty important."
The Red Sox are an easy team to like. McDonald played in his 69th game tonight, one more than he played in the majors in his previous 12 years of pro ball. All he did was double off Lee, score a run and get down two bunts.
(This doesn't seem possible. But according to the Red Sox, McDonald is the first Sox player to have two games with multiple sacrifices since Jody Reed had two in 1989. Shows you how little they bunt.)
Dusty Brown caught the last three innings. Bill Hall made two terrific plays at second base. Mike Cameron, tough as nails, had a double and nearly won the game in the 10th with a deep fly ball. This team finds a way.
"We’ve got a lot of things going against us right now. We keep grinding. We keep battling," John Lackey said. "We’ve got a lot of pros in that room that are going to be here for the long haul."
Josh Beckett had a so-so start for Pawtucket (4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. 81 pitches/51 strikes). ... Jeremy Hermida was 1 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and a walk for Portland. He'll be in Boston on Sunday to get checked out and join Pawtucket on Monday. ... Thanks to everybody for reading and commenting on the blog today.