Jon Garland faced the minimum through 4.1 IP even though he didn't have his best stuff. There wasn't a ton of life on his fastball, but he was getting the job done. Phil Nevin broke up the no-hitter with a 1-out double down the right field line.
Garland cruised through the first 6 innings allowing just two hits, but he ran out of gas in the 7th. I've noted before that Garland seems to allow a lot more fly balls in the later innings. Well Friday it was more than just flyballs. The Padres were laying out ropes all over the field in the 7th.
After getting Ryan Klesko to fly out to left, the second batter of the inning, Brian Giles, homered on a hanging curveball. Garland then allowed three straight hits. He only escaped further damage in the inning because of the stellar defense of Aaron Rowand.
- With one out and a runner on first, Ramon Hernandez singled on a groundball back up the middle. Rowand misplayed the ball, letting it get by him, and Phil Nevin tried to advance to third base. Rowand got back to the ball quickly and made a quick throw to third to nail Nevin. 2 down.
Garland then gave up a double to Robert Fick, advancing Ramon Hernandez to third. Khalil Greene lined a shot into center that looked like a certain base hit, but Rowand had other plans. Aaron made a spectacular diving back handed grab and roll to end the inning.
- The defense was also on display on consecutive plays in the ninth. First it was Juan Uribe's excellent range and arm on a grounder in the hole. Then it was Joe Crede making a diving grab on a ball that I thought had already gotten behind him. Coming into the night, the Sox were the second ranked team in all of baseball in defensive efficiency. (the percentage of balls in play converted into outs) This was on display at Petco on Friday. These kids can pick it.
- After Garland escaped the 7th, and with the Sox clinging to a 2-run lead, Ozzie went to his bench for a pinch hitter. With nobody out and Joe Crede on first, Ozzie turned to Timo Perez instead of Frank Thomas or Carl Everett. It was obvious that Ozzie wanted to hit-and-run in that situation, and I'd rather have Timo hit-and-run than Frank or Carl, but Ozzie's got to keep those two involved.
Given the choice of a Hall of famer, a two-time All-Star, and Timo Perez in a pinch hit situation, Timo is never the right answer. Yes, it worked out. Timo got his first pinch hit in twelve attempts this season. This is just further proof that Ozzie's got some kind of voodoo magic at work this season.
- Read this. You'll be glad you did.