On a day bound to be overshadowed by the news that David Ortiz, along with former teammate Manny Ramirez, was on "The List" from 2003, Big Papi was the star on the field as the Red Sox beat the A's 8-5 to earn a series split at Fenway Park.
Red Sox 8, Athletics 5
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.
July 30, 2009
Headliner: Shortly after Jon Lester's dominant outing quickly turned sour, the game — and the series — looked very much in doubt for the Red Sox. Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Craig Breslow entered the game to face David Ortiz with two on and two outs. Ortiz turned on a 2-1 fastball on the inside edge, blasting it over the Boston bullpen and giving the Red Sox a 6-5 lead.
Ortiz, who appeared to be relaxed throughout the day, looked unaffected in his first plate appearance, doubling off the Green Monster on the first pitch he saw. He also walked in the sixth inning, and was given a curtain call by the Fenway faithful after hitting the game-winning home run.
Dirt Dog: As usual, nothing Jason Varitek did on Thursday afternoon was flashy. Though he and Sox pitchers allowed three stolen bases on the day, the captain's bat did some damage.
Varitek singled to short right field to drive in the first run of the game. When the Sox began a rally in the bottom of the sixth, Varitek plated Mike Lowell on another RBI single, cutting the lead to just one run.
He wasn't done yet, as Varitek doubled in the bottom of the eighth to give the Sox some cushion, driving in J.D. Drew.
Better Luck Next Time: Craig Breslow entered the game with just one job: retire David Ortiz.
The lefty specialist, who played 13 games for the Red Sox in 2006, failed.
After falling behind 2-1 to Ortiz, Breslow's fastball caught a bit too much of the plate, and Ortiz made him pay. As a result, the A's lost the lead and never got it back.
Key Moment: Handed a one-run lead in the eighth inning, Daniel Bard entered the game and slammed the door on the A's, retiring Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney and Landon Powell in order.
Jonathan Papelbon took over in the ninth with a three-run lead, allowing just one hit as he earned his 26th save of the season.
On Deck: The Red Sox will be happy to travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles, against whom the Sox are 8-2 this season. Friday night, John Smoltz will take the hill still looking to find his best stuff. For the O's, Jeremy Guthrie will get the start — that is, unless he's involved in some sort of trade.
With the non-waiver trading deadline coming just three hours before the first pitch of Friday night's game, both rosters could look a little different at game time.