Friday, May 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Phillies 6, Red Sox 4
By Gordon Edes
PHILADELPHIA -- This is the only way it could end, right?
Jonathan Papelbon, who shipped out of Boston, facing his former teammates for the last three outs?
"I've been looking forward to this series since the day I signed here," Papelbon said before Friday's game.
"Facing old teammates, bragging rights," he said. "It's like you play with your brother in the backyard for so many years, you want those bragging rights. I don't want to have to hear it from [Dustin] Pedroia, somebody like that, text messages. I want to be giving it to him. It'll be fun."
Papelbon had hoped for a piece of David Ortiz, but he grounded out as a pinch hitter to end the eighth.
Instead, the scheduled hitters were Kelly Shoppach, Daniel Nava and Marlon Byrd, none of whom Papelbon had played with in his final season in Boston.
There would be no Dropkick Murphys. The entrance music was Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
But the rest of the shtick remained the same. The hat pulled down over his eyes, the long lean forward, the penetrating stare.
Shoppach reached on what was scored an infield hit to open the inning, then Papelbon retired Nava on a tapper to first.
And then the night took an added dramatic turn, when Byrd was called out on an eyelash-close play at first, bringing Bobby Valentine scurrying out of the dugout to differ. Valentine got his money's worth out of the argument, hopping into the air to re-enact how Phillies first baseman Ty Wigginton had come up on the throw, before umpire Gary Darling, who towered over the Sox manager, finally had enough and tossed Valentine.
It was Valentine's first ejection as Sox manager and 38th of his career, and came with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel watching from an upstairs box, having been suspended a game for an argument that had gotten out of hand.
Papelbon struck out Nick Punto to end it for his 12th save and a 6-4 Phillies win.
The flip side of the finish was the start. Daniel Bard, who even Papelbon thought would be his successor as Sox closer, had a troubling start, spotting the Phillies four runs in the first after he walked the bases loaded. Bard walked five and hit a batter in five innings, has walked at least four in each of his past three starts, and has walked 24 in just 42 2/3 innings, an unacceptable number.
The Sox wasted a home run by Cody Ross (his eighth of the season), one by Adrian Gonzalez (his first in 110 at-bats) and another by Mike Aviles (his sixth of the year).