NEW YORK — So, is what you expected in a must-win?
• John Lackey pitched pretty well for six innings.
• Franklin Morales threw a season-high 44 pitches.
• The Yankees had two hits after the second inning.
• Jonathan Papelbon threw a perfect 2.1 innings.
• J.D. Drew came out of nowhere with a RBI single
• Jed Lowrie came out of nowhere with two extra-base hits.
“That was a fun game to be a part of. Obviously the outcome makes it that way,” manager Terry Francona said after the 7-4, 14-inning victory. “Nobody gave in.”
The hero was Jacoby Ellsbury, whose three-run rocket off Scott Proctor was the difference All he did today was hit three home runs and drive in five runs. Ellsbury is hitting .322 with 117 runs, 208 hits (81 for extra-bases), 103 RBIs and 38 steals.
“Biggest hit of the season,” Dustin Pedroia said of the home run.
“Fortunately he threw me something over the plate and I was able to drive it,” said Ellsbury. “In that situation, I’m looking for something I can drive.”
The postgame scene was something to see. Theo Epstein stood at the entrance to the clubhouse high-fiving players. Terry Francona was drinking what looked like the most satisfying beer of his life. The rookies were dressing in drag for the annual hazing.
Lackey had an angry postgame press conference, accusing an unnamed reporter — later learned to be a gossip columnist not affiliated with the baseball media — of sending him a text message about a personal issue before the game. He basically refused to answer questions after a quick tirade that seemed way out of place given the circumstances.
Jason Varitek was limping around, saying he wasn’t sure whether he could catch Josh Beckett on Monday after getting hit with a pitch in is right knee. Jarrod Saltamacchia looked exhausted after catching 17 innings.
Scott Atchison (groin) is hurt. Conor Jackson (knee) missed the second game. Josh Reddick has been locked in a box somewhere.
But the Sox won and they’re a game up with three to play. In the end, that is what matters.
“Now we have to go ball in Baltimore,” Papelbon said. “That’s what we have to do.”
Catch you from there tomorrow. Where this season ends, nobody knows.