Sitting in the upper reaches of Fenway Park, our mood is gloomy as the Boston Red Sox are literal hitless wonders for the second day in a row. (Inglorious fact: they are the first team ever to be no-hit for five innings in consecutive postseason games.)
No; forget hitless – the Sox again aren’t even making contact, and their strikeout totals are mounting rapidly as Detroit Tiger ace Max Scherzer (he of 21 wins on the season) works his magic. Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, is constantly pitching from behind and is lifted in the sixth on the wrong end of a 5-0 score.
And then: a sign of life, in the form of a Shane Victorino base hit – the club’s first – and a Dustin Pedroia double, which scores Victorino, who had been off with the pitch. But hey, odds are the teams will soon head to Detroit with the Tigers leading in the series, two games to none, and their other ace Justin Verlander queued up and ready to go in Game 3.
Scherzer sets the Sox down in order in the seventh, ringing up his 12th and 13th strikeouts, and we think: we could be at the last game at Fenway in 2013.
Eighth inning now. A one-out double by Will Middlebrooks. A new pitcher as Tiger manager Jim Leyland pushes his usual buttons. A walk to Jacoby Ellsbury. Another pitching change, another out, and a Pedroia single to load the bases.
We remember the Mother’s Day Miracle of 2007. Hey, that’s the year the Red Sox last won the World Series. Is this a sign?
Another pitching change, and a first-pitch home run by David Ortiz.
Tie game. Miracle man!
The floor of the State Street Pavilion shakes noticeably, and one fan thinks: “Figures! Watch the stands collapse under me right at this moment.” Pinch hitter Mike Napoli strikes out to end the inning, to no one’s great surprise.
Ninth inning. Closer Koji Uehara does his best Mariano Rivera impression and sets Detroit down in order without even a hint of a chance – also to no one’s great surprise. Wonder how many innings he can go?
New pitcher, again. Hey, it’s starter Rick Porcello. Man, the arms just keep coming, don’t they? Interesting choice given that this game could go many innings yet.
Jonny Gomes beats out a grounder (a head-first slide? really?) to former Sox fielding savant Jose Iglesias – who unaccountably flings the ball into the Red Sox dugout. Another sign? Gomes is given second.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia lifts a foul pop beyond first base. Prince Fielder makes the catch, and Gomes tags and takes third. Smart! But wait … Fielder missed the catch, so Gomes has to go back to second, and teeth gnash throughout our section.
Then: quick as you please, Porcello bounces a wild pitch and Gomes gets third anyway. The stands shake again as Detroit draws in both outfield and infield. The pitch … the crack of the bat … the ball scoots through the vacated shortstop position. Bedlam! Gomes dances home, and the entire Sox roster chases Salty to second base.
Game, Sox. Joy in Mudville. All is forgiven. Until Tuesday, when we fear Verlander will shut us down.
Here we go again.