ARLINGTON, Texas — When David Ortiz — against a lefty, no less — homered in the eighth inning today, the blueprint was there. Bring in Daniel Bard and play a game of attrition with the Texas bullpen.
“David hits the home run and it kind of changes the whole feeling in the dugout,” Terry Francona said.
Then a few minutes later, Tim Wakefield was warming up. Just like that, Texas had a 9-5 victory.
It was only the second time in 123 career appearances that Bard allowed four runs, the last time coming on June 14, 2009 in Philadelphia. On only three occasions in 73 appearances last season did he give up two runs.
“We battled all day to stay in that game. It sucks to be the one who gives it away,” Bard said.
The key pitch was to pinch hitter David Murphy with two and one out. Bard put the ball low and outside and Murphy somehow got his bat on it. The ball struck the foul line in left field and two runs scored. Texas was up 7-5 and on its way.
Bard looked stunned afterward. But he said he did not expect a sleepless night.
“Take out the walk and I think I threw the ball well,” he said. “I know it’s a cliché, but I’m happy with the pitches I made. They’re a really tough offense. They put together some good at-bats. I’m not overly upset with how I threw the ball.”
As for other matters:
• Jon Lester stinks in April. That’s just how it is. He has 4.95 ERA in 18 career starts in March or April. He is 58-19 with a 3.37 ERA otherwise.
• Adrian Gonzalez is a ridiculous hitter. After getting 31 at-bats in spring training he was 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
• Here is why you can’t even look at spring training stats. Kevin Youkilis was 10 for 57 with two extra-base hits in 21 games this spring. He had a .175/.238/.211 line. Here was his day today:
A line drive crushed to left that Josh Hamilton tracked down
• Carl Crawford was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and left five runners on base. Chalk that up to C.J. Wilson. Crawford is 2 for 15 against him in his career.
• The good news? The Sox haven’t lost on Opening Day sine 2007. You know how that season ended.