Until today, J.D. Drew had never struck out four times in a game in his five seasons as a member of the Red Sox. To read the comments on this blog during the game, it wasn't clear whether Drew should be released, executed or both.
But guess what? Until today, Drew had never had a walk-off hit in his five seasons as a member of the Red Sox, either.
Gotta love baseball.
Drew came to the plate in the 14th inning with runners on first and second and two outs. With righthander Guillermo Moscoso on the mound, Oakland intentionally walked Jed Lowrie to get to Drew.
Lowrie came into the game hitting .236/.304/.318 against righthanders. But Bob Geren had every reason to think Drew was easy pickings given had struck out swinging his four previous times at the plate.
Moscoso threw a fastball that Drew took for a strike. When he threw another heater, Drew lined it into right center. Carl Crawford scored from second without Oakland bothering with a throw.
Drew, who has only 12 RBIs all season, felt the four previous at-bats actually helped him.
“Couple of good swings in every one of those at-bats. Trying to draw from that. Stay short, see the ball and hit it,” he said.
Said Terry Francona: "It was a good swing. I think he was ready to go home. I think we all were."
As for the rest of the game, it's inexcusable for the Sox to kick away a 7-3 lead in the ninth inning. Sure, umpire Tony Randazzo had a bit of a roving strike zone. But Jonathan Papelbon is supposed to be the kind of pitcher who overcomes that sort of thing.
Instead, Jason Varitek got ejected. Then Papelbon got ejected, too. That was a career first.
"It's simple, I lost my cool on those things that happened in that inning that I felt like Pap had made some pitches," Varitek said.
Papelbon had his back to the mound and was apparently shouting something when Randazzo came out from behind the plate to confront him. Randazzo is wrong there. Of course so is Papelbon for then charging the umpire like a wild man.
"Should I have handled it differently? Probably," Papelbon said.
Globe colleague Mike Vega, a pool reporter, went to the umpire's locker room to ask Randazzo for his side of things. Crew chief Brian Gorman refused comment, saying no report had been filed with the league.
He said any questions should be directed to the league.
That is gutless and that's a MLB policy that should be changed. Umpires should not be badgered with silly questions. But when something unusual happens, they should be made available to a pool reporter. If players, managers, coaches and team executives and even commissioner Bud Selig can answer questions and be accountable for their decisions, why can't umpires?
Papelbon has a 2.38 ERA in save situations and a 6.57 ERA in non-save situations. We're only talking 12.1 innings, but that disparity suggests a lack of focus when a stat (and a silly, inconsequential stat at that) is not on the line.
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia gained a lot of respect today, He guided Bobby Jenks and Alfredo Aceves through 5.2 innings of one-run ball, making a bunch of huge plays behind the plate along the way. His throw to end the ninth inning was huge.
• Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits and two steals in a game, the first time he has done that.
• Carl Crawford is in beast mode again. He was 4 for 7 with two doubles and three RBIs.
• Lots of readers were peeved that Francona ran for David Ortiz in the eighth inning and Adrian Gonzalez in the 10th
In the case of Ortiz, the Sox were up 7-3 and he was giving Ortiz a little rest never imagining the A's would rally.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, is one of the slowest runners in the game. He has almost no chance of scoring from first on a double, so running for him with with no outs makes sense. You have to manage to win the game right then, not for what could happen two innings later.
In Francona's case, virtually every person in New England is absolutely convinced he or she could manage the team. So he's always wrong when the move doesn't work out. But nothing he does is on a whim.
• Josh Beckett has six no-decisions in 12 starts this season and pitched well enough to win five of those games including today. “I don’t give a [expletive] about that,” he said. “I do not have an arbitration case in February. That stuff doesn’t matter to me.”
• The whole stinking mess in the 9th inning could have been avoided if Dustin Pedroia doesn't let the double-play grounder off the bat of Coco Crisp go through his legs.
"If I field that ball, we're out of here four hours ago,'' Pedroia said, exaggerating a bit. "I thought it was going to bounce up and it stayed down and I just missed it, man. It was one of those times that (sucks). You make errors. I wish when you make them it's not in that situation, but the guys picked me up. That's what we do. We're a team.''
• Aceves, who went four innings for the win, has won each of his last 12 decisions when pitching in relief. He is 17-2 in his career. The righthander is 3-1, 3.38 in 15 appearances this season. Talk about a valuable guy to have around.
• The Red Sox worked out three draft prospects on the field after the game. Two were position players and one a pitcher. Theo Epstein scouting director Amiel Sawdaye and about a dozen or so other team executives watched. The draft stats on Monday.
• Marco Scutaro was 1 for 4 and Darnell McDonald 2 for 4 with a home run in three RBIs in their rehab assignment with Pawtucket tonight. The PawSox are in Durham, N.C.
That seems like enough. Thanks to everybody for reading today. Come back for more tomorrow.