Cameron a strange goat on a strange night


Cameron a strange goat on a strange night

By MaureenMullen

BOSTON -- For Mike Cameron, Wednesday (and Thursdays) 13-inning, 5-3 loss to the Angels was one of the more bizarre games in his 17-year career.

For example, when a rain delay of 2 hours, 35 minutes began in the fifth inning, the Red Sox had no hits. When the game finally ended at 2:45 a.m., after 13 innings, they had 11.

It was that kind of strange night. And Cameron was involved in its strangest play.

The Sox trailed, 3-1, going into the bottom of the ninth, with Angels closer Jordan Walden on the mound. Jed Lowrie opened the inning with a walk. Cameron, who went 1-for-6 in the marathon game, singled to left, with Lowrie taking second.

With Carl Crawford batting, Walden unleashed a wild pitch, and Lowrie and Cameron both attempted to advance. Catcher Hank Conger, attempting to nab Lowrie, threw wildly past third baseman Alberto Callaspo. The errant throw, which seemed destined for left field, caromed off umpire John Hirschbeck.

Lowrie scored on the play, making it 3-2, and Cameron thinking the ball was heading to the outfield attempted to advance to third.

But shortstop Erick Aybar quickly retrieved it and threw to Callaspo to cut down Cameron.

Crawford then doubled into left-center, which would have scored Cameron with the tying run had he stayed put. Then, after Jason Varitek struck out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right, scoring Crawford. It tied the game . . . but it could have won it.

Dustin Pedroia grounded into a force out, ending the Sox threat.

Instinctively, thats what you try to do is run, Cameron said. And the shortstop made a good play. It hit off the umpire, kind of kicked back to Aybar. Yeah, I just instinctively saw the ball get away and ran. Thought it was going down the third-base line, and hit off the umpire . . .

"Tough one. Tough one to lose tonight.

Cameron made the right play, though, said manager Terry Francona.

Well, the ball hits the umpire, he said. I thought Aybar made a pretty good play. Hes running full speed, barehands it. When that ball goes by third, Cams going, and thats unfortunate, because if it doesnt hit the umpire, it probably rolls into the corner. But its unfortunate. But its hard to blame Cam for running right there.

With a game time of five hours, plus the long delay, the game did not get over until 2:45 a.m. The fatigue from the long night showed on Cameron, who stood at his locker inside the clubhouse after the game.

It was a battle all night tonight, he said. Crazy, crazy game.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss


Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?