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Finally – That Was a Big Sigh of Relief You Heard @ Fenway Park on Monday Night

FINALLY!  The losing streak is over, as the Red Sox defeated the Tigers 6-5 at Fenway Park on Monday night.  WHHEEEWWWWWWW!

For a short while there, it looked like Manny Delcarmen was going to be the latest scapegoat for a Red Sox loss.  Delcarmen had replaced starter Brad Penny in the top of the 7th inning with the Red Sox leading 5-3.  After a leadoff double, Delcarmen retired the next 2 batters, but then gave up back-to-back RBI hits to Placido Polanco and Marcus Thames that tied the game at 5.  Ouch – would the Red Sox fail to hold another late-inning lead and see their losing streak hit 7 games?

The answer soon came one half inning later as a pair of J.D. Drew and Casey Kotchman singles created a 1st and 3rd one out opportunity for the Red Sox in the bottom half of the inning.  Nick Green delivered a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Drew with the go-ahead run.  Ramon Ramirez, who had gotten Delcarmen out of his 7th inning jam by getting Carlos Guillen to pop out, got 2 outs in the 8th inning, and then Manager Terry Francona called upon closer Jonathan Papelbon to do the rest – a 4-out save spanning the 8rth and 9th innings to give the Red Sox the much-needed win.  It was Papelbon’s 28th save of the 2009 MLB schedule.

Brad Penny pitched a solid game just when the Red Sox needed it most.  Penny went 6 innings, giving up just 3 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk.  He only needed an efficient 93 pitches to get through the 6th inning – one of his lowest pitch counts of the season.

And the Red Sox bats finally came to life against Edwin Jackson.  Dustin Pedroia crushed a 2-run home run to left field to give the Red Sox an ealry 2-0 1st inning lead.  In the 2nd inning, Nick Green hit a solo shot and David Ortiz drove home Jacoby Ellsbury with an RBI single.  Just like that, the Red Sox led 4-0.  After the Tigers cut the lead to 4-3 with runs in the 4th and 5th innings, Jason Bay gave the Red Sox a little cushion with a solo home run in the bottom of the 5th inning.  All in all, the Red Sox tallied 12 hits and 2 walks, a major improvement from what the Red Sox offense generated in New York.

While this doesn’t mean that the Red Sox are going to run off a 10-game winning streak and take over the AL East race, it is a step in the right direction.  The Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees who lost to the Blue Jays as well as a game on the Rays who lost to the Angels. The Red Sox were back in the wild card lead with the Rangers idle on Monday night.

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