Sox return to Fenway for first time since bombings, reward Boston with win
Less than twenty-four hours after the arrest of the remaining marathon bombing suspect the Red Sox were back in action with a very emotional game against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox fought their way to a 4-2 win — their seventh in a row — to improve to 12-4 on the season.
Designated hitter David Ortiz made his return to the Sox on Saturday, adding a boost to their offense and the morale in Boston. After all, Ortiz has been a fixture in Boston sports ever since the Red Sox signed him in 2003, and his return from a pesky ankle injury was long-awaited. Ortiz went 2-for-4 with two singles in the game.
Daniel Nava’s three-run home run in the eighth inning put the Sox ahead, 4-2. It was an absolute moonshot into the bullpen and ended up being the game-winning hit for Boston.
Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks both looked over-matched at the plate, going a combined 1-for-6 in the game with three strikeouts. Both came to the plate at crucial points in the game but could not come through for the Sox.
Daniel Nava was a hero for the Sox Saturday, but that doesn’t mean we missed his mistake on the bases in the seventh inning. Nava was on second with one out when he took a very large lead and was picked off by the Kansas City catcher, Salvador Perez. You can’t fault Nava too much though; Perez led the league in pickoffs with five in 2012.
Starting Pitching Rewind:
Clay Buchholz turned in a strong outing, but it is telling as to how good his year has been that his eight inning two-run effort brought his ERA up to 0.90. Despite not receiving the decision in the game, Buchholz enjoyed a very strong showing on Saturday keeping the Royals offense quiet through most of the day.
There were a few great moments during the game, both in play and off the field. The Sox held a touching pregame ceremony to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the shootout in Watertown. While a photo montage played on the video board in center field, police officers, friends of those injured over the past week, and governor Deval Patrick all lined up on the field. To top it off, the Sox took a cue from the Bruins and had the fans sing the National Anthem to open the game.
While some Sox fans have been known to detest the playing of “Sweet Caroline,” just this once, everyone in Fenway was singing along. Neil Diamond flew to Boston on his own volition and led the crowd in singing the longtime Fenway favorite.
Before the Sox took the field, David Ortiz grabbed a microphone to speak to fans. His brief speech started out perfectly fine until Ortiz dropped the f-bomb before 30,000-plus fans and thousands more watching on NESN.
“This is our [bleeping] city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom,” Ortiz said.
His heart was in the right place, and the FCC said they would let it slide, but perhaps in the future Big Papi will be put on tape delay.