BOSTON -- Take it from Dustin Pedroia: You can't judge a man by the wild dances he might do on the mound, or by his invention of an alter ego, or by the lost-in-space stare that he might give you from time to time.
You certainly can't judge Jonathan Papelbon that way.
"He works, he's smart, he puts in the time -- tonight he was 96 (mph) or whatever he was," Pedroia said after Papelbon made a triumphant return to Fenway Park in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform Tuesday night, pitching a scoreless ninth to save a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox.
"He knows how to pitch," Pedroia said. "He watches the game. Everyone thinks he's insane, but he's a pretty intelligent pitcher. There's a reason why he's so good."
Pedroia faced his former teammate for the first time Tuesday night and grounded out to third, the second out of an inning that Papelbon began by striking out Jonny Gomes and ended by retiring David Ortiz on a ground ball to overshifted shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
"It was different," Pedroia said. "Pap's always going to be family for me. We've been through a lot together. He did great things for us here. I hope he does bad the next couple of games, then saves every game for the rest of his life."
Unlike Monday night's crowd, which gave a short but sweet ovation for Papelbon while a video tribute played on the scoreboard and Papelbon saluted in response from the dugout, Tuesday night's gathering of 33,463 was in no mood to offer salutations. The boos began when the bullpen door opened in the bottom of the ninth, continued as Papelbon made his way to the mound and peaked when PA announcer Henry Mahegan uttered his name.
Flustered? Not Pap, whose entrance was not accompanied by the tune to which he will be forever associated here -- the Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping Up to Boston" -- but by "Can't Hold Us," a hit from Seattle rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. T.J. Connelly and the other folks who make the musical selections at Fenway didn't consult Papelbon about what he would hear; it was strictly their call.
As for the boos?
"That's how they love you, man," Papelbon said. "That's just how it is. I don't know what to tell you, man. I felt like the first time I got booed at Yankee Stadium -- I was like, 'Yeah, I made it.'
"Just the atmosphere in the city, and like I said, I always enjoyed playing here. It really felt like old times. It really did."
After scoring a first-inning run on Jacoby Ellsbury's leadoff single, stolen base and Pedroia's RBI base hit, the Red Sox had been suffocated the rest of the way by Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, who retired 23 of the last 25 batters he faced, allowing only singles to Daniel Nava in the fifth and Jose Iglesias in the eighth. He didn't walk a batter and struck out eight.
When Phillies manager Charlie Manuel lifted Lee after just 95 pitches for Papelbon, it could have been interpreted as doing the Red Sox a favor.
Not by Pedroia.
"I mean, they're both great pitchers," he said. "Pap's got a point-9 ERA, whatever it is (0.92). Both guys are on. My at-bat against Pap, he located all three pitches, so those guys know what they're doing."
Papelbon carved up the slump-ridden Gomes (.168), blowing a 95 mph fastball by him after he'd fouled off a similar offering the pitch before. He pumped in two more fastballs for called strikes against Pedroia, then induced him to hit a ground ball that momentarily staggered third baseman Michael Young before he recovered.
"I would say it was more fun than strange," Papelbon said of facing Pedroia. "It was like playing against your brother in the backyard for me. Those guys are some of my best friends in the world. At the same time, it was fun."
The final batter was Ortiz, who engaged in a seven-pitch battle in which Papelbon threw Ortiz six fastballs, one of which he drove into the right-field stands but foul. Papelbon blamed that one on Cinco Ocho, the alter ego he created while with the Sox.
"I kind of had to self-talk Cinco, his ego was getting in there a little bit," Papelbon said. "I probably went inside to Ortiz one too many times maybe, but it's ego getting in the way. That's what I had to deal with."
Papelbon said he knew Ortiz had hit it foul, though.
"I almost gave him one of these," Papelbon said, wagging his index finger like a scolding schoolteacher.
Instead, when Ortiz rolled out, Papelbon gave it his usual fist pump after his 10th save of the season, one that extended his scoreless streak to 18T innings. Papelbon at his powerful best, Sox manager John Farrell said afterward.
"I'm 32 now," Paplebon said. "When I was 22, I obviously felt I could do it every day and it came a lot easier. Now I have to prepare a little more, but I've always been the kind of pitcher to prepare myself & to be the best."