The Red Sox beat the Angels 10-9 in 10 innings after scoring 4 in the bottom of the ninth to tie it. The Red Sox are now 2.5 behind the Angels and 3 behind Seattle in the wild card. The Angels fell 3 behind the A's in the AL West.
The Red Sox won on a Johnny Damon's lead-off home run in the tenth off Scot Shields. The count was 2-2 but Damon had fouled off four pitches after getting behind 1-2. The home run landed in a section of Fenway that juts out towards the field right down the rightfield line. Had it been 10 feet farther into fair territory, it may have been caught.
The Red Sox ninth was equally improbable. The Angels leading 9-5 had set-up man Al Levine in the game and closer Troy Percival ready to go if necessary. Over the last two years the Angels had been 129-1 when leading after 8. Levine had finished off the last two-thirds of the eighth only relinquishing a single and throwing seven pitches to 3 batters. Two of his next four picthes were stroked to left for singles by Manny Ramirez and Cliff Floyd. Percival relieved Levine and gave up a single to Shea Hillenbrand, loading the bases. Percival got Tony Clark to foul off two pitches and then proceeded to walk him with 4 straight balls, scoring Ramirez. Percival then got Varitek to strike out on four pitches. Trot Nixon then lifted a fly ball to right plating Floyd. Hillenbrand also moved up to third. Rickey Henderson, who was running for Clark, stole second and then scored along with Hillenbrand on Rey Sanchez's single that ended the inning when he tried to stretch it to two. This was Percival's worst outing since April 21 to Oakland in which he gave up a 3-run home run to Greg Myers with none out in the ninth of a 6-5 loss (the one in the aforementioned 129-1).
Manny Ramirez was 5-for-5 with two home runs. Johnny Damon was 3-for-6 and Hillenbrand and Sanchez were both 3-for-5. But not all was well in Beantown and I'm talking out more than the wait for the Green Line after the game. Bobby Howry saw his ERA rise 50 points after allowing 4 runs in an inning. Starter John Burkett gave up 11 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) in five and two-thirds innings. Since the All-Star game which Burkett claimed he would not seek nomination to nor if selected would he serve in, he is 3-3 and has raised his ERA nearly a point. With Casey Fossum who gives up a buckets of hits and runs, mostly unearned, when he pitches (33 hits and 17 runs, 7 unearned, in 28.2 innings as a starter).With Marinez and Lowe being stellar all year and the recently re-inserted Wakefield doing alright, their rotation seems to still be evolving. Frank Castillo, Dustin Hermanson (apparently), and injured Fernando Arroyo are all now in the bullpen. For all of the talk the Sox are alive and well, they are still only 11-12 for the month and 4-3 in the current homestand. I guess we will see in which direction they are really pointed when the Yankees come to town tonight with Fossum facing David Wells.