Houston Pulls Off Stunning Sweep Facing Clemens, Martinez, & Young In Boston

Lance-Berkman-001235589July 28: Houston 8, Boston 3

Lance Berkman went bananas and crushed three home runs, two against Roger Clemens and one against Koji Uehara. Berkman’s dingers drove in six runs. Clemens allowed five earned runs in a second straight start, and his ERA swelled to just over 3.00.

Mike Scott tipped on the tightrope for five shutout innings while stranding 11 Bostonians in just those first five frames. Boston finally got some baserunners all the way around the diamond in the sixth and knocked out a wild Scott, but Larry Anderson and Billy Wagner slammed the door from there.

                  R  H BB
HOU 004 020 101 - 8 10  4
BOS 000 003 000 - 3 10  8

HR: L. Berkman-3 (20)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott    5.2  3  3  0  8  3  
R. Clemens  6.0  6  5  2  3  7 

HOU 46-54, BOS 59-41

July 29: Houston 5, Boston 4

No way Houston could follow up an upset of Clemens with an upset of Pedro Martinez, right? Wrong. Like Scott the day before, J.R. Richard was wild but limited the damage.

Jeff Bagwell and Jim Wynn both knocked solo dongs against Clemens, but the Red Sox carried a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh. When the first three Astros to bat in the seventh loaded the bases, Clemens got the hook in favor of Jonathan Papelbon. All three inherited runners came home on a Jeff Bagwell single and Moises Alou sac fly, and Houston edged into a one-run lead. Houston relievers Octavio Dotel, Hal Woodeschick, and Larry Anderson combined for three shutout innings to close out a shocker of a series win for the Astros.

Tris Speaker slapped four hits and swiped two bags for Boston but the team didn’t get much else out of their lineup except for a lot of walks and stranded runners.

It was the third straight sub-par start by Pedro, and his ERA also grew to just over 3.00.

                  R H BB
HOU 100 010 300 - 5 7  6
BOS 210 100 000 - 4 9 10

HR: J. Bagwell (21), J. Wynn (6)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J.R. Richard  6.0  4  3  0  8  2  
P. Martinez   6.0  5  5  2  4  9 

HOU 47-54, BOS 59-42

July 30: Houston 5, Boston 4

The Astros jumped Cy Young in the first inning for a quick 4-0 lead. Craig Biggio, Berkman, Cesar Cedeno, and Art Howe all had hits in the inning. Young settled into a groove for the next seven innings, during which he never really got in trouble.

That allowed the Boston offense some time to mount a comeback, and Moises Alou gave them a helping hand with a bad error in the fourth inning. Carlton Fisk drove in two with a bomb, one of three hits for Pudge. The Sox added a third run later in the frame to get within a run, and then tied it up in the bottom of the eighth on hits by Manny Ramirez and Fisk.

The way Young was cruising, it seemed more than likely that Boston would pull out the win. But the last three Houston batters, Howe, Dickie Thon, and John Edwards, all singled in the top of the ninth to push across the go-ahead run, and Billy Wagner threw a perfect bottom of the ninth to cap off perhaps the most surprising sweep of the season.

Houston took four of six from Boston on the year. The Red Sox have had an inexplicably hard time against the Expansion Division, going just 11-10 so far when the rest of the Original teams are 97-50 in inter-division play. The Sox have now dropped eight straight after never dropping more than three in a row before this skid. Their once mammoth lead in the Original Division is down to just two games.

                  R  H BB
HOU 400 000 001 - 5  8  4
BOS 000 300 010 - 4 10  1

HR: C. Fisk (13)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Cuellar  7.0  3  1  1  1  3  
C. Young    9.0  5  5  0  4  2 

HOU 48-54, BOS 59-43

Invigorated Chicago Whites Out Boston

July 25: Chicago 7, Boston 6

The Red Sox took advantage of a walk, three singles, and a Robin Ventura error to grab an early 4-0 lead. Cy Young cruised through five shutout innings before Chicago figured him out in a big way in the sixth and seventh innings. Minnie Minoso went ya-ya and Eddie Collins tripled amid a flurry of hits in those two frames.

Boston got the tying run to third base with one out in the ninth inning, but Eddie Cicotte finished off a complete game win with two groundouts.

                  R  H BB
BOS 040 000 101 - 6 10  3
CHI 000 003 40x - 7 11  2

HR: M. Minoso (5)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Young    6.1  7  7  1  1  1  
E. Cicotte  9.0  6  4  0  3  4 

BOS 59-38, CHI 52-45

July 26: Chicago 7, Boston 5

Lefty Grove and Ed Walsh, a couple of elite pitchers, matched up well only in the sense that they both had off days. It was 5-5 when the bullpens took over. Chicago hitters got to Boston’s Derek Lowe with two walks and a Frank Thomas single.

Thomas and Magglio Ordonez crushed back-to-back homers against Grove in the fifth.

                  R  H BB
BOS 031 000 100 - 5 10  6
CHI 201 020 20x - 7 11  5
HR: F. Thomas (15), M. Ordonez (5)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Grove   6.0  5  5  2  3  1  
E. Walsh   7.0  5  5  0  6  2 

BOS 59-39, CHI 53-45

venturaJuly 27: Chicago 5, Boston 4

Boston was clinging to a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning as they did all they could to salvage a game against the relentless White Sox. Jonathan Papelbon was tasked with shutting down both the eighth and ninth innings, but Joe Jackson poked a game-tying homer in the eighth. It was just the third homer Papelbon had allowed all year, but Robin Ventura handed him his fourth jack allowed in the bottom of the ninth to walk off an astounding sweep for the White Sox.

Chicago has been a juggernaut for almost a month now, winning 22 of 27. Just three weeks ago at the All-Star break, they were mired in seventh place with a 40-41 record but have sprinted up the standings to third place and just five games out of first.

Skipper Jimmy Dykes did make a couple of moves that roughly coincide with Chicago’s turnaround, most notably sending an underperforming Paul Konerko to the bench, making Harold Baines a regular, and putting Thornton Lee in the rotation in place of Red Faber. But Dykes was quick to deflect any credit back to his players:

“The coaches and me aren’t doing anything different. We knew our guys had it in them and we just had to be patient. The pitching has been there all along, and now that guys like Minnie (Minoso), Shoeless (Joe Jackson), and Big Frank (Thomas) are all looking comfortable at the plate, everything is clicking. Then you add in clutch hits like Robbie (Ventura) gave us today, and we can win some ballgames.”

Despite rapping 31 hits in the series, the Red Sox have now lost five straight for the first time all season.

                  R  H BB
BOS 000 012 010 - 4 11  0
CHI 010 002 011 - 5  8  1
HR: C. Fisk-BOS (12), N. Garciaparra (11),
J. Jackson (7), R. Ventura (5)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
S.J. Wood  7.0  3  3  0  1  2  
T. Lee     6.0  3  3  2  0  1

BOS 59-40, CHI 54-45

New York Takes A Sometimes Ugly Series In Boston

July 22: Boston 3, New York 2

Tris Speaker and Carl Yastrzemski combined for seven of Boston’s 10 hits. The Yankees made the Sox nervous in the eighth and ninth. New York loaded the bases around two outs in the eighth, at which point Jonathan Papelbon relieved starter Smoky Joe Wood and got Derek Jeter to ground out. Then in the ninth, Charlie Keller and Bill Dickey both doubled and Babe Ruth singled to get the Yankees within a run and put runners on second and third with two outs. Papelbon got out of the jam again, this time with a fly out by Robinson Cano.

                  R  H BB
NY  000 000 101 - 2  8  6
BOS 100 001 10x - 3 10  2

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Caldwell  7.0  3  3  0  2  3  
S.J. Wood    7.2  1  1  0  6  2 

NY 50-44, BOS 59-35

gehrig

July 23: New York 8, Boston 6

There were three big swings of the score in this battle of Clemens v. Clemens. First the Yankees beat up on the far-superior-on-paper Boston Clemens for four runs in the first two innings.

New York Clemens looked sharp for three innings until suddenly looking like a little leaguer in the fourth. Six straight Red Sox reached, including a Ted Williams triple and Jimmie Foxx bomb. Clemens got yanked in favor of Herb Pennock. The BoSox had taken a 5-4 lead, and they tacked on another run in the fifth to make it 6-4.

A Lou Gehrig homer in the seventh cut Boston’s lead back to one, and Derek Lowe took the hill in the eighth trying to protect the narrow lead, but allowed four straight baserunners and was pulled without recording an out after he hit Jeter with the bases loaded to tie the game. Papelbon came in again to try to get out of Lowe’s mess, but two more of Lowe’s runners came around to score to claim the final lead change of the game for New York.

Don Mattingly made his Rhubarb debut. I didn’t even have a Mattingly card made prior to this series, but Joe DiMaggio was due for a rest in this game, which typically has meant Bernie Williams would slide in as the DH. But Williams is pretty average against righties, and, I thought to myself, surely the Yankees have a better option somewhere on their eligible roster. After poking around a little bit, it looked like Mattingly was the best option, so I whipped up a card for him. (Dave Righetti was dropped from the 25-man to make room.) Mattingly is a defensive improvement over Gehrig at first, so for the first time all season, someone besides Larrupin’ Lou manned the initial sack for New York and Gehrig took the DH spot. Mattingly was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double, and Gehrig didn’t seem to mind not playing defense as he went 2-for-4 with a walk and a dong.

                  R  H BB
NY  130 000 130 - 8 11  6
BOS 000 510 000 - 6 13  4

HR: L. Gehrig (25), R. Cano (10), J. Foxx (12)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Clemens  3.1  5  5  1  3  2  
R. Clemens  7.0  5  5  2  3  7 

51-44, BOS 59-36

July 24: New York 11, Boston 7

This one was just kind of a nightmare. The great Pedro Martinez was terrible in the top of the first, and Gehrig and Ruth went yard back-to-back. The first six Yankees reached safely before Martinez found a modicum of command and got out of the inning. Pedro then reeled off four shutout innings as his teammates piled up runs against Bob Shawkey (and his errant fielders) to take a 7-4 lead.

The top of the the fifth started normally enough for Pedro as he got two quick ground outs. Then A-Rod drew a walk and Derek Jeter singled, but no problem because the next batter, Mickey Mantle, rolled a grounder to first baseman Jimmie Foxx…but Foxx was flummoxed and couldn’t get a grip on the ball. A-Rod scored to make it a 7-5 Boston lead. Still quite workable for Pedro and Boston. But that Foxx error seemed to cause a rip in the space-time continuum, and suddenly Pedro was useless. Charlie Keller singled, Gehrig singled, Ruth walked, Bill Dickey singled, and the Yanks were up 9-7 and Pedro was out of the game. Before the inning was over, seven unearned runs had been charged to Pedro.

DiMaggio was available to return to the Yankee lineup in this one, but as much as he has struggled this season (.301 wOBA), and as good as Mattingly and the whole lineup looked the day before, DiMaggio stayed on the bench and Mattingly got another start at first and smacked a couple singles. Manager Joe McCarthy wouldn’t commit to anything, but don’t be surprised if Mattingly keeps taking away playing time from DiMaggio against righty starters.

Boston leads the season series against New York 7-4.

                   R  H BB
NY  400 007 000 - 11 14  5
BOS 223 000 000 -  7 10  4

HR: L. Gehrig (26), B. Ruth (22)

starters      IP   R ER HR BB SO
B. Shawkey   3.0   7  3  0  2  0  
P. Martinez  5.2  11  4  2  4  3 

NY 52-44, BOS 59-37

Minnesota Contacts Series Win in Boston

vernonwms

July 19: Minnesota 6, Boston 5

It was Jim Shaw’s turn in the Twins rotation, but manager Bucky Harris elected to substitute Dutch Leonard in place of the struggling Shaw. Leonard drew a tough game considering Pedro was on the mound for Boston, but Minnesota managed to pull out a win. Minnesota’s offense is usually all about making contact and dropping in singles, and in the fifth inning they placed three singles and drew three rare walks to score four runs on Pedro.

The score was tied at five with the starters out of the game by the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon gave up the winning run in the ninth on the strength of more Minnesota singles, this time from Rod Carew and Mickey Vernon.

                  R  H BB
BOS 001 103 000 - 5 10  5
MN  000 041 001 - 6 11  3

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
P. Martinez  7.0  5  5  0  3  6  
D. Leonard   7.1  5  2  0  5  0 

BOS 57-34, MN 49-42

July 20: Minnesota 5, Boston 3

Boston knocked two hits more than the Twins, including three doubles and a homer compared to zero extra base hits for Minnesota. But Camilo Pascual scattered Boston’s hits, whereas Cy Young couldn’t stop the singles train in the eighth as the Twins came from behind to take the lead on six doinkers.

                  R  H BB
BOS 000 300 000 - 3 13  2
MN  002 000 03x - 5 11  1

HR: F. Lynn (3)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
C. Young    7.2  5  5  0  1  1  
C. Pascual  8.0  3  3  1  2  2 

BOS 57-35, MN 50-42

July 21: Boston 5, Minnesota 1

Minnesota was aiming for a sweep with the electric Johan Santana on the mound, but Santana looked human in this one and the Minnesota singles express dried up against a sharp Lefty Grove. Tris Speaker and Jimmie Foxx knocked three singles apiece, and Dwight Evans collected two doubles and a ding-dong.

Santana’s and Pedro Martinez’s ERAs both took a small hit in this series, but they remain one and two in the league in that category. With Grove’s excellent start, the Red Sox now rather obnoxiously have four hurlers in the league’s top 10 ERAs.

                  R  H BB
BOS 001 120 010 - 5 12  5
MN  010 000 000 - 1  4  3

HR: D. Evans (3), M. Vernon (7)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Grove    8.0  1  1  1  0  1  
J. Santana  6.1  4  4  0  3  4 

BOS 58-35, MN 50-43

Boston Waltzes Through Detroit

July 15: Boston 8, Detroit 4

First place Boston visited last place Detroit, and things started off promisingly for the Tigers. Their first two batters of the game were quickly retired, but then Miguel Cabrera took a walk, Hank Greenberg singled, and Al Kaline grounded to Nomar Garciaparra, who couldn’t find the handle on the ball. The error allowed Cabrera to score, and Detroit kept making Boston pay. The next three batters all singled, and four unearned runs crossed the plate for Detroit.

But Lefty Grove and Koji Uehara shut out the Tigers the rest of the way, and the Boston offense got to work against a wild Tommy Bridges. Boston drew eight walks in the game, Garciaparra atoned for his error with three singles, and Bobby Doerr nailed a solo dong.

It was Grove’s second consecutive start without allowing an earned run.

                  R  H BB
BOS 003 212 000 - 8 12  8
DET 400 000 000 - 4  9  3

HR: B. Doerr (8)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Grove    7.0  4  0  0  3  0  
T. Bridges  5.2  8  6  1  7  1 

BOS 55-33, DET 41-47

woodJuly 16: Boston 6, Detroit 0

Smoky Joe Wood also made it two straight starts without allowing an earned run, while Bill Donovan…did not. Fred Lynn alone drew three walks off Donovan, and Ted Williams smacked three hits against him.

                  R  H BB
BOS 230 000 100 - 6 12  6
DET 000 000 000 - 0  4  2

HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
S.J. Wood   7.0  0  0  0  1  2  
B. Donovan  7.0  6  5  0  5  2 

BOS 56-33, DET 41-48

July 17: Boston 4, Detroit 1

Justin Verlander managed to contain the big Boston offense a little better in the finale, but the Detroit bats were nearly silent again against a complete game by Roger Clemens. The Tigers did swat 10 hits in the game (three by George Kell), but could only turn one of them into a run. While the Tigers haven’t been able to get the bats of Miguel Cabrera, Charles Gehringer, or Sam Crawford going all season, Boston gets contributions all up and down their bench, like a homer in this one from John Valentin while he gave Wade Boggs a day off at third.

                  R  H BB
BOS 010 020 001 - 4  9  5
DET 001 000 000 - 1 10  2

HR: J. Valentin (2)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Clemens    9.0  1  1  0  2  6  
J. Verlander  8.0  3  2  1  5  3 

BOS 57-33, DET 41-49

Baltimore Gains Ground On Boston in Meeting of Top Clubs

ripken2July 12: Baltimore 6, Boston 4

On-base machines Wade Boggs and Tris Speaker each got three hits atop the Boston lineup, but only combined to score two runs. Meanwhile, the Baltimore bats found success where few teams have all season: vs. Boston’s Roger Clemens. The top of the fourth started with hits by Frank Robinson, Ken Williams, and Bobby Grich, and later in the inning Cal Ripken drove a three-run dinger against Clemens. Singles by Williams, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters in the sixth racked up two more runs against the Rocket.

                  R  H BB
BAL 000 402 000 - 6 12  2
BOS 001 010 020 - 4 12  1

HR: C. Ripken (6), F. Lynn (2),
N. Garciaparra (10)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Niggeling  7.0  2  2  0  1  0  
R. Clemens    6.0  6  6  1  2  1 

BAL 49-36, BOS 53-32

July 13: Boston 4, Baltimore 2

Boston evened the series next day behind another fantastic outing by Pedro.

                  R H BB
BAL 000 001 100 - 2 5  3
BOS 011 101 00x - 4 7  7

HR: B. Grich (13), D. Evans (2)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
E. Bedard    7.0  4  3  1  6  4  
P. Martinez  7.0  2  2  1  2  6 

BAL 49-37, BOS 54-32

July 14: Baltimore 8, Boston 3

The big Baltimore offense, now in a virtual tie with the Yankees for most runs per game, got to Cy Young in game three to take the series. Ken Singleton swatted five singles from the lead-off spot, and Adam Jones collected three singles and a double as part of the Orioles’ 17 hit barrage.

Wade Boggs reached base 10 times in the series to rocket up to second most runs created in the league.

                  R  H BB
BAL 030 002 300 - 8 17  2
BOS 000 010 110 - 3  7  8

HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Powell  9.0  3  3  0  8  1  
C. Young   6.1  8  7  0  2  2 

BAL 50-37, BOS 54-33

Boston Gets Back To Dominating, Rolls Over Cleveland

July 8: Boston 7, Cleveland 1

The Red Sox got back in the beat-down business after losing their last four games before the break (and scoring no runs in three of those games). The impossibly hot Carlton Fisk drilled his 11th circuit clout and Nomar Garciaparra collected a single, double, and triple.

Cy Young had his finest line of the season. Cleveland starter Vean Gregg got no help from his fielders, who committed four errors in the game.

                  R  H BB
CLE 010 000 000 - 1  6  1
BOS 402 001 00x - 7 10  4

HR: C. Fisk (11)

starters   IP  R ER HR BB SO
V. Gregg  5.0  7  3  1  2  2  
C. Young  9.0  1  1  0  1  4 

CLE 41-41, BOS 51-31

July 9: Boston 13, Cleveland 3

Yikes. Addie Joss has not been dominant for Cleveland this year, but he’s been one of the most reliably steady starters in the league. Over his previous 10 starts, Joss averaged 8.2 innings pitched and 2.4 runs allowed.

That streak got blowed up real good in the bottom of the first inning as he faced each Boston batter one time, gave up seven earned runs, and only got one out before being lifted. Nomar Garciaparra doubled, and seven other batters reached on either a single or HBP. Cleveland’s long reliever Sam McDowell was almost as bad in the second inning while the Red Sox piled on five more runs, three of which on a Manny Ramirez dinger. Boston’s Manny was 3-for-4 with a walk in the game.

Lefty Grove cruised through seven scoreless innings and probably would have been left in to go for his first shutout had the score been at all close.

                   R  H BB
CLE 000 000 003 -  3  6  4
BOS 750 001 00x - 13 14  6

HR: J. Thome (19), M. Ramirez-BOS (6)

starters   IP  R ER HR BB SO
A. Joss   0.1  7  7  0  1  0  
L. Grove  7.0  0  0  0  1  3 

CLE 41-42, BOS 52-31

foxx feller

July 10: Boston 6, Cleveland 2

The Naps took a lead for the first time in the series in the fourth inning, but Boston came right back to tie it up in the sixth. Cleveland’s Bob Feller walked the first three batters in the sixth, and was fortunate to escape the jam having given up only one run and with the score tied.

Feller was still going in the seventh when Jim Thome made an error to let Tris Speaker reach and Carl Yastrzemski followed with a double to push Speaker to third. In came Cleveland pitcher Cody Allen, who walked the bases loaded and then served up a grand slam to Jimmie Foxx.

The three Boston starters in the series hurled 23 innings and gave up one earned run– and their best two starters (Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens) didn’t throw a single pitch.

                  R  H BB
CLE 000 200 000 - 2 10  3
BOS 000 011 40x - 6  9  7

HR: J. Foxx (11)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Feller  6.1  4  3  0  6  4  
S.J. Wood  7.0  2  0  0  2  3 

CLE 41-43, BOS 53-31