Wakefield still stuck on No. 199

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Wakefield still stuck on No. 199

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- The pursuit isnt over. Tim Wakefield is still looking forhis 200th career win after Wednesday night.

The Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians in walk-offfashion at Fenway Park, but Wakefield left the game still stuck on 199victories.

After six innings of three-hit ball and a 3-2 lead enteringthe top of the seventh, things looked up for the veteran knuckleballer. ButWakefield led that seventh inning off by allowing a Lonnie Chisenhall double,putting the tying run in scoring position.

Wakefield retired the next two batters at the bottom ofClevelands order, but then allowed a game-tying ground-rule double to Indianslead-off hitter Ezequiel Carrera.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona surprised Wakefield bystrolling out to the mound to take him out of the game. Francona surprisedWakefield so much, that Wakefield had to see it with his own eyes, and turnedto the bullpen to make sure someone was definitely coming in to relieve him,after throwing just 99 pitches and needing only one more out to get out of theinning and hoping his offense could produce some runs to get him that 200thwin.

When asked after the game how disappointed he was to not getwin No. 200 on Wednesday night, Wakefield simply said, I made one bad pitch toCabrera, and that was it.

Wakefield later said, I was hoping I would stay in for onemore hitter, but I dont make the decisions here.

Lefty Randy Williams came in and walked left-hander JasonKipnis, but then struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to get out of the inning.

Still, at that point, even if the Red Sox offense exploded,Wakefield wouldnt have factored into the decision.

He pitched terrific, said Francona. Its hard. I knowwhats riding on the game and for him personally, but you kind of have to dowhat you think is right to win the game. Everybodys pulling for him to get thewin, including myself, and he really pitched well.

He hadnt given up a lot of hits and he was getting outs. Ifwe go to Ezequiel Carrera, theyre probably going to hit Matt LaPorta, so Ithought Wake deserved a chance to pitch. Once they tied it, all of a suddentheyve got a lefty Jason Kipnis theyre not going to hit for, so we go tothe bullpen.

Wakefield finished the game having allowed three runs onfive hits, two walks, and a home run, while striking out six in 6.2 innings.

While he was surprised to not get another shot at the finalout in the seventh, Wakefield did acknowledge that he was happy with the teamgetting the win, even if it meant he had to wait until his next start foranother crack at win No. 200.

Ya, I was satisfied, said Wakefield. I had good stuffagain tonight, and I was able to limit them to just one big inning when theyscored the two runs. Other than that, I kept us in the game into the seventhinning. We won. Thats the biggest thing. We won.

It is what it is, added Wakefield on not getting his 200thwin on Wednesday. I think the most important thing is to go out there and getquality innings for us to get into the postseason.

Obviously, we want him to get that 200th win, said Red Soxcatcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Thats a big milestone in a career. We had agood chance tonight. We were up by one, They got a good hit and scored a run .. . The wins the important thing, and Im sure if you ask him hell tell youthe same thing. Its an important milestone and were looking forward to himgetting it.@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;

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Ortiz provides magical moment for young fan

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Ortiz provides magical moment for young fan

David Ortiz has hit 507 career homers during the regular season. Some of them have won games. Some have come in extra innings, sending the Red Sox to immediate victory.

But it's doubtful that Ortiz has hit a homer that's meant more to an individual fan than the one he hit Friday night against the New York Yankees.

Former teammate Kevin Millar told Ortiz about a young boy named Maverick who has been battling a life-threatening illness. The two sent Maverick a video before Friday's night game that closed with Ortiz pointing to the camera and saying: "I'm going to hit a home run for you!''

Then, in the eighth inning, with the Red Sox and Yankees tied 2-2, Ortiz did just that, driving a first-pitch curveball from New York reliever Dellin Betances into the Monster Seats in left field.

"I would say this is just God putting his hands on things like that,'' Ortiz said, "because we all know that it is not that easy to come through like that. I've been able to get things done like that on a few different occasions. I guess I've been lucky.

"I would say God is the one who takes over this stuff.''

Said manager John Farrell: "It's a storybook situation. You can say that the legend of David Ortiz is far-reaching. I don't know if players fully understand their impact and how far-reaching their impact can be. But to have it play out like that is really a cool thing.''

Ortiz recalled a similar situation from a few years ago, when he visited a young girl dealing with brain damage at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.

"When she got a little better,'' Ortiz recalled, "she came to Fenway and we celebrated her birthday here in the family room. We lit up some candles with the cake, sang Happy Birthday to her and that day I told her I was going to hit a home run for her. And I ended up doing it.''

Once the game began, Ortiz was focused on his at-bats. The fact that he was facing Betances in the eighth inning, against whom he was 0-for-7 lifetime with four strikeouts, didn't make it any easier.

"Everyone knows how good Betances has been through his career,'' Ortiz said. "When things like that happen, it makes you believe that there's something special out there that we should believe in.''

Ortiz said he wasn't focused on hitting the homer during the game.

"Listen, the promise is not a guarantee,'' he said. "This is baseball. This is not, 'I'm going to shoot a free throw' when no one's playing defense on you. Or 'I'm Steph Curry and I'm going to shoot a three-pointer.' You know that's going to happen regardless. This is baseball. What you're trying to do was make Maverick feel better, have that connection with him. And you throw that out there to make sure he has a friend that he can count on right here.

"But while the game is going on, I'm not thinking about it, to be honest with you. But I can get away with it because I'm a power hitter and if I put a good swing on it, it can happen. But everybody on planet earth understands that it's not that easy. But that when it happens, everyone understands. Me personally, I'm a huge believer in God and I think he had a lot to do with this.''

In fact, it wasn't until Ortiz rounded the bases, crossed home plate and was trotting back to the dugout that he saw Millar and Millar's own kids sitting right next to the dugout that he recounted his pre-game video to Maverick.

"That's when I started thinking about it,'' said Ortiz.

Maverick sent a video back to Ortiz -- via Millar -- after the game-winning homer.

"After the game,'' Ortiz recounted, "Millar came to me and he was crying when he showed me the video that Maverick sent. It was very touching. I started thinking about it right after. When I got home, I was like, 'I can't believe this really happened.' Millar told me that his parents haven't seen (Maverick) him that happy in a long time. He has been very sick. But I always say there's something special out there. I'm a huge believer in God.

"I'm crazy about kids. When you see a sick kid and see what he's going trough I can't imagine. I don't think I'm prepared to see my child struggle like that. It's good. It's a good thing when you can put a smile on a child."

Saturday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

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Saturday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Christian Vazquez is behind the plate catching Rick Porcello (4-0, 3.51 ERA), who looks to remain unbeaten, as the Red Sox continue their three-game weekend series with the Yankees on Saturday night (7:10) at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox won the series opener 4-2 on Friday night with a rally from a 2-0 deficit capped by David Ortiz' two-run homer in the eighth inning.

The full lineups:

YANKEES
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Chase Headley 3B
--
Michael Pineda RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
--
Rick Porcello RHP

Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

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Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

David Ortiz's exploits with the Red Sox over the years can easily be described as "Ruthian."

That description became more fitting and Big Papi's legend grew Friday night when Ortiz made like the Babe by promising and delivering a home run to young fan named Maverick. 

Ortiz connected with a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and give the Red Sox a 4-2 victory over the rival Yankees. 

Here's the video Ortiz and former Red Sox teammate Kevin Millar, now with the MLB Network, made for Maverick before the game.

And here's Maverick's response, via Millar: