In the end, whatever the little, medium-sized or ginormous plays and decisions the Red Sox make each night do not matter, as long as they add up to a win. But after last night, it’s becoming clear the Red Sox are hell-bent on finding a new, different and entirely entertaining way for each and every win. As their 3-2 victory in 10 innings proved, the Sox are in no danger of falling into any sort of a rut. In fact, their watch-what-we-can-do ways of winning just may prove infectious. The night after Will Middlebrooks sparked a rally with a bases-clearing double in St. Petersburg, Fla., Middlebrooks came up to the plate in the 10th inning last night in a 2-2 game with baserunners on first and second and no outs. Naturally, he was asked to bunt. Middlebrooks, the freest and biggest swinger in the lineup, the one guy who always is swinging for the gaps, the fences and gaps over the fences was asked to play small ball. And in this key situation, what does Middlebrooks, who must put down a perfunctory two or three bunts at the start of each batting practice before swinging for the fences, do? He lays down a perfect sacrifice bunt. The runners advance, the Twins intentionally walk the next batter to put a man on first and increase their shot at a inning-ending double play. Then Jonny Gomes, who seldom faces right-handers, especially those with tough offspeed stuff like pitcher Josh Roenicke, comes up and lifts a game-winning sacrifice fly to center field that knocks in the go-ahead run. A bunt, an intentional walk, a sacrifice fly — and, oh yeah, some pretty impressive pitching from Clay Buchholz and the bullpen as well — and the Red Sox get to blast J-Kwon in the clubhouse after the game. “You play the game as it unfolds in front of you,” said manager John Farrell, who also pinch-ran for David Ortiz (walk) in the 10th. “The game situation is going to give you the information for the decisions to be made and the way to execute. Once again, we created many, many opportunities tonight, and it was tough to push across more than two runs until the 10th inning. But we continued to battle and put up quality at-bats throughout the night.” Gomes is earning his keep as the symbol for the do-whatever-it-takes Red Sox. He is mainly platooning against left-handers, but with Shane Victorino hurting, he was back in the lineup last night against right-handed starter Vance Worley. He made two outs in his first two at-bats, dropping his average to .183. No matter — with the Red Sox trailing in the seventh by a run, rather than grin in delight at seeing a left-hander reliever, Brian Duensing, on the mound, Gomes held his fire and drew a walk. He wound up scoring the game-tying run.
Boston Herald | May 18