Yes it is, Hawk. Yes it is.
This story could not be written until the end. The 9th inning was way too exciting (read: demoralizing), delaying my departure from work and depressing any hope that a solid win would normally bring. I'll be honest; the past few weeks of baseball have left me partially drained and all but hopeless. There's plenty to be said of looking on the Tdogg side of life, but at the moment I'm having a hard to bringing that hope to the surface. With that bias, there were extremely minimal expectations to be had coming into this game and this series. I started writing in the 4th, and I was writing in the direction of a loss.
To start, both Floyd and Guthrie seemed to be on their game, if not spectacularly so. Floyd was digging in his breaking balls to left-handed hitters, and making it look easy. A couple forgivable mistakes (lifeless fastball ending up in the seats, hit batsman coming around to score) gave the O's the lead in the 4th, but the Sox scored one via a Q (yep, exclamation point purposely omitted) double play ball in the bottom of the inning to nominally lift our spirits. But Floyd, for the most part, made his return to the BHB we know and love (typed during the game as "know nad love").
It was the bottom of the 5th that was all too familiar. As Jim stated in the game thread, there was a sense of dread as the Sox loaded the bases (Alexei double, Teahen walk, Bacon hit-by-pitch) with no outs. A fly ball off the bat of Pierre brought one run in, but a pop up and what looked like Beckham army-crawling back to first on a pick-off brought the inning to a close. Not a fan-murdering result, but really not far off, either. Giving up outs, whether on the basepaths or in the field, while expected in April and May, and forgiven in June and July, are really coming into focus these days. Every game, in most horrifying cliche fashion, is a must-win. A mediocre offense is not something that can be written off at this point, and I certainly cannot blame fans for tuning out after innings like that.
That said, Bacon more than made up for his out in the 7th, hitting a three-run homer to extend the lead to four, despite my negative notes already taken. AJ led off with a single and Teahen inspired hope by driving a double to the right field corner. AJ's freight train impression didn't factor into the runs column, as Beckham handled the 2-2 pitch right to a hugely enthusiastic fan in the bleachers. Ozzieball be damned, we were threatening to win.
Sale came on to replace Floyd in the 8th, and continues to impress, despite giving up ground rule double. It's like having a brand new Santos! And Santos is like having a brand new Linebrink. Santos gave up three runs while not recording an out, and Putz came on to do absolutely nothing except exacerbate the inflammation in his knee. Finally, the most irrationally hated reliever of the year came on to nail down the win. A large and emphatic "fuck off" directed at, say, half of our fine site.
A Sox win coupled with a Twinkie loss is a good way to get rolling. The only way, really. Let's keep it up. Maybe we can come off the ledge this time next week.
Ridiculous guy yelling "goooooooal!": 4
Stephanie Lillibridge: 6.5