ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After a game that lasted 5 hours and 44 minutes and ended just shy of 2 a.m., you should not be surprised to learn that the Red Sox clubhouse had some interesting comments being thrown around.
Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single in the 16th inning to beat the Rays, 1-0, in a tremendous game. For one night at least, his new nickname is “Muddy Chicken.”
“We don’t even know his name any more. He’s now the Muddy Chicken,” an unusually jovial Josh Beckett said. “The Muddy Chicken was definitely the player of the game. He got it done when we absolutely needed it.”
Said Pedroia: “That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? … But I don’t make up my own nicknames.”
The origin of the nickname could not be determined. But be assured the Globe will assign its best investigators to find out.
Then we have Alfredo Aceves, who went three innings for the win. He went right off the field to the clubhouse kitchen in his uniform for some chicken and shrimp.
“I was actually starving,” he said. “I was dying of hunger.”
Jason Varitek, who at 39 caught all 16 innings and 210 pitches, laughed and said he wasn’t sure he would be able to sit down on the team plane to Baltimore tonight.
“We may have to carry him out there,” Terry Francona said.
These games can be brutal when you lose. The Sox lost 5-3 in 13 innings against the Angels on May (the game with all the rain delays) and then dropped two more games after that. But when you win, it eases the pain.
It was the 12th victory in the last 14 games for the Sox, who will be a tired bunch when they face the Orioles tonight.
Red Sox pitching allowed three hits over 16 innings with one walk and 13 strikeouts. Beckett was immense, retiring 22 in a row after an infield single in the first inning that deflected off his foot.
The bullpen went 8 innings, giving up two hits. The Red Sox had a team ERA of 3.98 before the game. It’s 3.90 now.
The Rays are now seven games out of first and have four games against the Yankees coming up. If they fade, this could be the game that did them in.
That Muddy Chicken was just too tough.