It could have been ball four. Doug Mirabelli thought so as he turned and took a few steps towards first base. But ump Jim Joyce called him back, telling him he had called a strike. And good things started to happen for the Red Sox as the whole atmosphere of the game changed, and changed for the better. Belli lined a shot into the Monster seats that topped off a 4 run inning. The Red Sox were back in it and ready to complete a great comeback. Manny's sac fly, bringing in Willie Harris, scored the Sox' 5th run, and stellar bullpen work after Tim Wakefield and his ailing back were lifted after 4 held the fort and won the game. Little Manny Delcarmen, pitched 2 innings, allowing 1 run. All zeros from there. Craig Hansen, again for 1 inning, a good one too. Mike Timlin, who pitched the 8th and picked up the victory, and Jonathon Papelbon, who earned his 27th save with a 12 pitch 9th. Coco chipped in with 3 hits, as the world turned rightside up again. For a while though, things were iffy, at best.
Timmy Wakefield was gutty but ineffective. His back was hurting him throughout his 4 innings, and Tito was wise to take him out after 4. Extensive tests will determine when or if he can pitch next. Backs are tricky to deal with, so no one has a clue when that will be. I'm hoping for Saturday. Best case scenario.
Jon Lester tonight, throwing a little speedier than the 70 plus MPH fastballs the Royals saw last night. They better be ready for something different. Every game right now is a game for first place. And I like it at the top, looking down.