Extra Bases

Wrapping it up from Fenway Park

The Red Sox are in no position to argue about style points. That it took a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning to beat the worst team in baseball is just fine for them.

“It’s still not been real pretty. We’re making mistakes; we’re not making all the plays. But they’re not stopping playing,” Terry Francona said. “That’s a must. When things aren’t going your way, you’ve got to keep plugging. You can’t feel sorry for yourself.”

Consider the nuttiness of this game. Adrian Beltre came in with one walk in 59 plate appearances. So of course he walked twice for the first time in more than a year. That’s right, a year. Beltre walked 19 times all of last season.

With a runner on third and two outs, Baltimore relievers Will Ohman and Jim Johnson somehow threw 12 of the next 13 pitches out of the strike zone.

As for other matters:

* The poor Orioles have lost four straight and 13 of 14. They’re 1-14 in their last 15 games at Fenway Park. They’re 3-19 in 22 road games overall dating back to last season. Outside of their TV and radio crews, they arrived at Fenway today with only two media people following them, a writer from the Baltimore Sun and another from MLB.com.

* Was Jon Lester better today? He threw 5.2 scoreless. But he also walked four, hit one and threw 113 pitches.

* The Sox need help in the bullpen. Francona has to manage every game like the World Series these days out of necessity and went to Daniel Bard in the sixth inning to end a rally. He did, then allowed a homer in the seventh. I know there have been days off but Bard has pitched in nine of the 17 games.

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* Papelbon in 9.1 innings: eight walks, five strikeouts. He snaked out of trouble tonight but that ratio will cost a closer eventually.

* It’s usually a good sign for a power hitter when he goes opposite field. We’ll see if that’s true for David Ortiz, who did not stick around to talk about it.

* Dustin Pedroia limped out of the clubhouse and had his left foot in a pressure bandage. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was fine. Meanwhile, he has one hit in his last 24 at-bats. Hitting J.D. Drew second and Pedroia third has not worked out well.

* John Lackey against impressive young Baltimore lefty Brian Matusz tomorrow. Ortiz or Mike Lowell? Very interesting call for Francona.

Thanks for reading the blog today. Back at it tomorrow.

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