By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could look at the positives. Or, you could look at thenegatives.
Prior to his seventh at-bat of the night in the bottom ofthe 14th, youd be hard-pressed to find anyone pointing out that J.D. Drewdrove in a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Thats because he struck out four times before hisgame-winning heroics in his seventh at-bat.
But his walkoff, RBI single in the 14th inning that willmake everyone in the Red Sox clubhouse forget about those four strikeouts.
That was a good swing, said Red Sox manager Terry Franconaafter Bostons 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. I think he wasready to go home. We all were.
The Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth, as JonathanPapelon in a non-save situation allowed four runs (three earned) on threehits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.
After the Athletics took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 11th,the Red Sox kept the game alive, thanks to a pair of two-out doubles fromJarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury.
It got all the way to the 14th, when Carl Crawford doubledto left field with two outs. The Athletics then decided to intentionally walkJed Lowrie to get to the struggling Drew.
And he didnt disappoint, lining an 0-and-1 fastball toright-center to drive in Crawford easily from second base forhis fifth-career walkoff hit, and his first since April 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Just a fastball down the middle, said Drew after the game.Got the barrel to it, hit it short right-center field, which was a perfectspot for it.
When I hit it, I knew there was no doubt, so its a greatdeal, especially after an afternoon like that.
Drew admitted after the game that hes been searching alittle bit with regards to his production at the plate. That searching seemedto continue after four strikeouts through his first six at-bats on Saturday.
But he stayed short with his swing in his final appearanceat the plate, and it paid off. Now, Drew hopes its something to build on.
You dont want to strike out four times in a game, saidDrew. But Ive had my scuffles, and tried to just battle through them. Eventhough I stuck out four times in those at-bats, I felt like I had some reallyquality swings in those at-bats. In those situations right there, with men onfirst and second, you have an opportunity to try to shorten up just a littlebit, but continue being aggressive in the zone. And it worked out.
Well, the musics playing after a Red Sox home win, so theres something to be saidfor persistence, said Francona. I dont know if its exactly like we drew itup, but were playing at home, and as weve said a lot on the road, when youget in games like that, theyre easy to lose when youre on the road.
I know the ninth inning wasnt the way we drew it up, but Inever felt like we were going to lose. Maybe thats because we have goodplayers . . . But I think we all felt like we were going to win. Its a goodfeeling.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.