ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox finally hung on to win
a one-run game.
Wed, July 31
Rickey Henderson will -- we can only hope -- enjoy more good games this season.
But with the Red Sox stealing Cliff Floyd in a (ahem) questionable deal, Rickey's chances down the stretch will likely be limited. So it was particularly nice to see him play so well against the Angels tonight.
First inning: line-drive single.
Third inning: line-drive single (after which he stole second, but the umpire blew the call).
Sixth inning: walk (after which he eventually came around to score the first run of the game).
Seventh inning: 4-3 (but it took six pitches and a great play by Adam Kennedy).
Ninth inning: another walk (after which he distracted the hell out of Anaheim's rookie pitcher).
In winning 2-1, the Red Sox not only picked up a game on the Yankees in the East, but they also dealt a two-game blow to the Angels in the Wild Card chase.
And for the 24th year running, Rickey Henderson is right in the middle of things.
(Oh, and for those of you back East, it was an amazing game, capped by Shea Hillenbrand's game-saving play at third base.)
Tim Wakefield pitched five scoreless innings and the Red Sox
scored both of their runs on sacrifice flies as they beat Anaheim
2-1 Wednesday night to tie the Angels in the AL wild card race.
Boston had lost all four of its previous one-run games.
''It was nice to win one of these close ballgames,'' Wakefield
said. ''Lately we haven't been winning a whole lot of one-run
games. The bullpen did a great job.''
Ugueth Urbina pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29
attempts. After he stumbled on the mound and was called for a balk,
moving a runner to second base with two outs, he retired David
Eckstein on a sharp grounder.
Wakefield (5-3) allowed five hits over five innings, struck out
five and walked one for his 99th career victory. The knuckleballer
improved to 3-1 as a starter this season.
''I felt pretty good,'' he said. ''I was just trying to get
through each inning unscathed. I thought I could have gone one more
inning, but I was running on empty at that point.''
Boston moved within four games of the New York Yankees in the
East and improved its major league-leading road record to 35-19.
''This series was two good teams matching up with each other,
and we were very, very fortunate to come out of here with two
wins,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. ''That's an awful good
club over there.''
Anaheim dropped two games behind first-place Seattle in the
West, losing for the third time in its last five games.
''We played a good game. Guys just didn't have some things fall
in for us,'' Anaheim starter John Lackey said. ''It's just one
Red Sox reliever Alan Embree, who took the loss Monday night in
his first appearance after coming off the disabled list,
surrendered Anaheim's run when Troy Glaus homered with two outs in
Wakefield retired the first eight batters he faced. Jose Molina
finally broke through with a single in the third and Tim Salmon
singled in the fourth.
''He was throwing a lot of strikes,'' Anaheim manager Mike
Scioscia said of Wakefield. ''He kept us off-balance.''
Wakefield pitched out of a jam in the fifth, getting Darin
Erstad to fly out after Scott Spiezio doubled, Molina walked and
Eckstein was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
''He didn't make a very good effort to get out of the way,''
Wakefield said. ''Considering I throw my curveball only 62 miles an
hour, I wouldn't get out of the way of it that quick, either.''
Lackey (2-2) gave up one run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings,
struck out three and walked three.
''You don't get a great pitching performance like that all the
time and when you don't take advantage of it, it's a little
tough,'' Anaheim left fielder Garret Anderson said.
Garciaparra's sacrifice fly scored Rickey Henderson in the sixth
as Erstad made a diving catch in center.
Daubach also flied out to center in the eighth, scoring
Garciaparra, who reached on a throwing error by Glaus.
The Red Sox improved to 11-16 in one-run games; Anaheim is
20-12. ... Glaus' homer was only his second in 93 at-bats. ... The
Angels have committed five errors in their last two games, both
losses. ... Henderson tied Stan Musial and Eddie Murray for sixth
place in career games by playing in his 3,026th. The 43-year-old
singled twice, moving him within five of tying Frankie Frisch for
21st on the career singles list with 2,171. ... A single by Molina
in the third inning ended a streak of 25 consecutive Angels retired
by the Red Sox staff, including the last 17 Tuesday night. ...
Boston RF Trot Nixon singled in the eighth to extend his
career-best hitting streak to 16 games. ... Eckstein was twice hit
by pitches, extending his major league lead to 20.