Red Sox 6, Athletics 5
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Oakland A's 6-5, but the Athletics missed a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the tenth inning when Emil Brown was caught in a rundown between second and third. The next two hitters singled, but their hits were wasted as the A's couldn't tie the game due to the baserunning lapse by Brown.
When there is talk about the best season openers, this one will be one that will be mentioned. After Mark Ellis homered off of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning, Matsuzaka became completely discombobulated and walked five batters and hit a batter in his five innings on the mound while striking out six. Bobby Crosby drove in the second run of the inning when he grounded out to the pitcher and Daric Barton scored on the play. At the end of the first inning, the A's were leading 2-0.In the top of the sixth, the Red Sox took the lead scoring three runs for a 3-2 lead. Manny Ramirez hit a two run double scoring Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis and Brandon Moss hit a single to drive in Ramirez.
Jack Hannahan then hit a two run home run in the bottom of the sixth to score Bobby Crosby to give the Athletics a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the ninth, Brandon Moss hit the first major league home run of his career, tying the game at 4-4 off of Huston Street, who blew the save opportunity. Street ended the game with a 16.20 ERA. The Red Sox stretched their lead to 6-4 in the top of the tenth as Manny Ramirez hit his second two run double of the game scoring Julio Lugo and David Ortiz.
In the bottom of the tenth inning, the Athletics pulled with a run of the Red Sox, making the score 6-5 when Emil Brown doubled in Daric Barton. Brown pulled a base running blunder when he tried to advance to third on the throw and was caught in a rundown. The next two hitters, Bobby Crosby and Jack Hannahan, singled. However, because of the baserunning gaffe by Brown, no runs scored and Kurt Suzuki grounded out to first to end the game with the Red Sox winning by a 6-5 score. Jonathan Papelbon took the save even, although he gave up three hits and a walk in the tenth inning and ended the game with a 9.00 ERA. Hideki Okajima received the win after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
This game had almost anything a baseball fan would want. There were three home runs in the game, Joe Blanton pitched five shutout innings, Manny Ramirez hitting two run doubles twice, a blown save and loss by Huston Street, Brandon Moss filling in for J.D. Drew and hitting a home run and Jack Hannahan filling for Eric Chavez and hitting a home run.
Then there was the exciting tenth inning when the Red Sox took the lead then almost blew that lead in the bottom of the tenth, and would have if not for a baserunning lapse by Emil Brown robbing the Athletics of the chance of tying and possibly winning the game.
Daric Barton may not have had a hit in the game but scored twice after two of his three walks. Jack Cust struck out four times and left runners on base four times. David Ortiz left five runners stranded in the game.
The Athletics may not have won the game but they showed they will battle with the best when they came from behind against the World Champion Red Sox to take the lead in the 6th inning. Joe Blanton pitched one inning too many after hurling five shutout innings.
Manny Ramirez took an early lead in runs batted in with four and Brandon Moss and Jack Hannahan are in second with two each.
Spring Training Notebook
Wladimir Balentien was sent down by the Seattle Mariners despite compiling great numbers this spring. His main problem was that Mike Morse also trying for an outfield spot had even better numbers. Since Ichiro Suzuki, Brad Wilkerson, and Raul Ibanez have the three outfield spots locked up, there is no reason to keep a 23 year old like Balentien on the roster and sit on the bench, while Morse is 26 and has a .302 lifetime average in the majors. They may even decide to go with a platoon since Morse bats righthanded and Wilkerson bats lefthanded. Morse can also play shortstop, first base, and third base in addition to the outfield making him even more valuable.
Here's a comparison between Mike Morse and Wladimir Balentien:
At-Bats: Morse 52, Balentien 47
Runs Scored: Morse 10, Balentien 5
Hits: Morse 27, Balentien 15
Home Runs: Balentien 3 (which leads the Mariners), Morse 2
RBIs: Morse 15, Balentien 9
Total Bases: Morse 41, Balentien 29
OBP: Morse .576, Balentien .360
Slugging Percentage: Morse .788, Balentien .638
Batting Average: Morse .519, Balentien .319
Spring Batting Leaders:
- Speaking of Morse he is tied for the lead in hits with Hunter Pence with 27 each this spring.
- The leader in home runs continues to be Ivan Rodriguez with 7. In second is Andre Ethier with 6.
- Matt Kemp leads in runs batted in with 18, while Robinson Cano is second with 17.
- Hunter Pence leads in yet another category: total bases. He has 50 with Rafael Furcal next with 47.
- Corey Hart leads in strikeouts with 22, with another Brewer, Rickie Weeks, at second with 21.
- Eugenio Velez leads in stolen bases with 13 in 24 games.
- Mike Morse leads in OBP with a .576 mark.
- Grady Sizemore leads in slugging with a .857 percentage with Alex Rodriguez next at .853.
- Mike Morse leads in batting average by a wide margin with a .519 average. Next in line is Alex Rodriguez at .471.
- Hunter Pence leads in extra base hits with 13 to 12 by Albert Pujols.
Spring Pitching Leaders:
- Jered Weaver leads in wins with 5.
- J.D. Durbin leads in losses with 4.
- Matt Morris and Woody Williams are the top two pitchers who lead in hits allowed this spring with 39 and 32, respectively.
- J.D. Durbin, Barry Zito, and Woody Williams lead in earned runs allowed with 21 each.
- J.D. Durbin has allowed 8 home runs with Erik Bedard allowing 7 roundtrippers.
- Homer Bailey has allowed the most walks this spring with 16 in 19 innings. Next is Adam Loewen with 15 in 12 innings.
- John Maine has struck out 28 batters to lead in that category with Javier Vazquez next with 21.