Red Sox manager Terry Francona had Victor Martinez on the bench until bottom of the seventh inning last night against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway. Called in to pinch hit in a 4-4 tie-game situation; Martinez hit a drive to left center for a double with the bases loaded to provide Boston with the lift they needed to notch the win. Seemed like a good decision after all.
“I think he enjoys that situation, for sure,” said Francona. “He’d rather have been starting, but it’s nice that on nights he hasn’t started, he’s sitting there ready to hit.” The bats were on all night for the Red Sox, as Pedroia, Youkilis, Ortiz, Bay and Varitek all showcased multi-hit games.
Paul Byrd threw for five innings to start for Boston and gave up two runs on six hits, leaving the win for Billy Wagner to snag in the seventh. In his first career AL win Wagner struck out two in his one inning of work. Papelbon came to help finish the bottom of the eighth and took control again in the ninth. “They were turning it up a little bit, so we had to go out there and battle,” said Wagner. We had some big hits when we needed them to give us a lead, and the bullpen held on and did what they were supposed to do.”
The Sox will now look to start their three-game weekend match up with the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that was just swept by the AL East leading New York Yankees. John Lester (12-7) will get the nod to start on the hill tomorrow against Tampa Bay’s James Shields (9-10).
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