If someone had told you at the start of this season that, come September, the Red Sox would lose a game when a pitcher who began the year as a Double-A starter threw a wild-pitch in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, and the collective reaction from Red Sox Nation would basically amount to, "meh," you would probably have thought it meant that Boston was 10 games out of any playoff race and basically playing out the string.
Au contraire. When it happened Sunday -- when Brandon Workman's fastball sailed off Jarrod Saltalamacchia's glove, and Ichiro Suzuki raced home with the winning run -- the collective apathy of Sox fans was merely an acknowledgment that winning three of four against the Yankees was plenty good enough. Particularly when the club has a 7.5-game lead in the American League East with now less than three weeks to play.
It wasted an eight-inning start from Jon Lester, and the weekend's second comeback against Mariano Rivera, but still the Sox left the Bronx having succeeded in what -- with the Yankees now 10 games out in the division, and trailing four teams for the second wild card berth -- should be their final visit this season.
Here's a look beyond the box score at how the series wrapped up (and what happened while you were watching the Patriots...):
|Daniel Nava, RF||0-for-5: Batting leadoff for the ninth time this season, he saw his streak of consecutive starts reaching base end at 41 games -- three short of both Kevin Youkilis' team record and Miguel Cabrera's AL-best for this season.|
|Jonny Gomes, LF||2-for-5, 2 K: He had a couple of singles, including one in the seventh inning that put runners on the corners with two outs for Dustin Pedroia (who left them there).|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||0-for-4: He entered with a .333 lifetime average against Hiroki Kuroda, but could do nothing with the righty on Sunday, the first day in the series that he didn't have a hit.|
|David Ortiz, DH||2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 K: He stayed hot with the two doubles, improving his OPS to 1.078 in the 10 games since he snapped out of his 0-for-23 slump. He's now up to 33 doubles and 61 extra-base hits (eighth in the AL) for the season.|
|Mike Carp, 1B||2-for-4, RBI, 2B: His second-inning double plated Ortiz with the icebreaker, then he singled off Rivera in the eighth before giving way to Quintin Berry as the tying run. He's now hitting .360 in his last 12 games, with an impressive .926 OPS for the season.|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||0-for-4, RBI, K: He registered an RBI on a ground out to second, but taking a few days to rest a sore back didn't help him escape a slump that's now reached 0-for-18.|
|Stephen Drew, SS||0-for-4, 2 K: On a weekend that'll be remembered for its offensive explosiveness, Drew wound up reaching in just two of his 14 trips, six of which ended via strikeout.|
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B||2-for-3, R, RBI, BB, K, HR: His ninth-inning shot off Rivera gave him five straight multi-hit games, and he's homered in four of those contests. It's got to be tempting for John Farrell to move Middlebrooks up in the order, particularly with the injury to Jacoby Ellsbury having thinned things nearer the top, but right now he's lengthening the lineup by hitting at the bottom.|
|Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF||1-for-2, BB, K: He's reached in four of eight plate appearances during this audition -- for a postseason roster spot, and, perhaps, for 2014.|
|Jon Lester, SP||8 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, BB, 6 K: The Yankees bunched three soft hits together ahead of Robinson Cano's two-run double in the sixth, and the first inning was his only 1-2-3 inning of the day, but by limiting his walks he was able to work his way out of trouble throughout the afternoon and finish eight innings in 115 pitches.|
|Brandon Workman, SP||0.2 IP, H, K: The winning run was manufactured with a single, a steal, a fly to right, and a wild pitch. Though he took the loss, that's certainly no reason to shy away from Workman in big situations moving forward.|
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