On a night when fans at Fenway Park mercifully celebrated the Red Sox’s last home game of a disastrous 2012 season with Boston’s newly announced All Fenway team, the crowd hunkered down between Landsdowne and Van Ness Streets was primed for some of that old Red Sox magic. Unfortunately Jon Lester‘s wand malfunctioned halfway through the game and his teammates had no bag of tricks to stave off an almost expected 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
For a time it looked like Boston might indeed cast some wizardry over the Rays. Lester had a nine-pitch 1, 2, 3 inning and was handed a slim 1-0 lead when Daniel Nava singled in the bottom of the second to score Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Lester was throwing a sharp no-hit shutout through four innings. With one out in the fifth, the spell was broken.
A single by Jeff Keppinger was followed by a Carlos “it’s-either-a-K-or-a-moon-shot” Pena home run to center field that put the Rays up 2-1. Ben Francisco followed with another homer to make it 3-1. Just like that, Boston ‘s love potion number nine had turned into a strange brew.
Lester lasted one more inning, giving way to a carousel of Sox relievers that managed to hold Tampa Bay to one run while Boston picked up another in the sixth, a James Loney sac fly that scored Dustin Pedroia. That’s as close as the Sox would get.
With but six games left on the road before the season ends against the Orioles and the Yankees, Boston still has an opportunity to say something about the AL East title and the wild card winner. The time for conjuring wins is now.
Highlights: Dustin Pedroia’s 100th career stolen base. Jose Iglesias’ ridiculously great backhanded play deep in the hole and quick release throw from short left field that he threw it on an arc yet still beat Evan Longoria by nearly two running steps.
I put a spell on you
’cause you’re mine
You better stop the things you do
I ain’t lyin’
No I ain’t lyin’
You know I can’t stand it
You’re runnin’ around
You know better daddy
I can’t stand it cause you put me down
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine
- I Put A Spell On You, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Boston’s All Fenway Team:
Carlton Fisk, C; Jimmie Foxx, 1B; Dustin Pedroia, 2B; Wade Boggs, 3B; Nomar Garciaparra, SS; Ted Williams, LF; Fred Lynn, CF; Dwight Evans, RF; Pedro Martinez, RHP; Lefty Grove, LHP; Jonathan Papelbon, closer; David Ortiz, DH; Terry Francona, manager; Bernie Carbo, pinch-hitter; Dave Roberts, pinch-runner.
Jason Varitek, C; Mo Vaughn, 1B; Bobby Doerr, 2B; Mike Lowell, 3B; Johnny Pesky, SS; Carl Yastrzemski, LF; Dom DiMaggio, CF; Trot Nixon, RF; Roger Clemens, P; Luis Tiant, P; Tim Wakefield, P; Dennis Eckersley, P; Dick Radatz, P; Joe Cronin, manager.
Rich Gedman, C; George Scott, 1B; Jerry Remy, 2B; Frank Malzone, 3B; Rico Petrocelli, SS; Jim Rice, LF; Reggie Smith, CF; Tony Conigliaro, RF; Babe Ruth, P; Smoky Joe Wood, P; Curt Schilling, P; Bill Lee, P; Jim Lonborg, P; Dick Williams, manager.