Monday, July 18, 2011

Up All Night Sports Chowdah Update: Sweet 16- Sox Score Late, But Not Often; Ain't that a Kick in the Head? Japan Rallies Late

RED SOX: It took awhile, but the Red Sox managed to push a run across home plate in Tampa Bay on Sunday night's Monday mornings game at Tampa Bay to win their first series coming out of the all-star break.

The last time Josh Beckett started at Tropicana field, all eyes in Boston were elsewhere watching the Bruins in Vancouver for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. They missed a gem, too, with Beckett allowing one hit in a complete game shutout of the Rays.

Of course, Beckett had some run support last time around. On Sunday night, he allowed one hit over eight shutout innings and striking out six. Tampa's Jeff Neimann had similar sucess against Boston batters, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out 10 batters, so it was no surprise that the game would head to extra innings.

Frustratingly, the Red Sox left the bases loaded in the top of the 9th and 11th innings while Tampa was able to get a couple of speedy leadoff runners on in extra innings, only to leave them stranded as well.

Heading into the top of the 16th inning, it looked as though it would amount to nothing more than another blow opportunity as Josh Reddick led off the inning with a walk and got as far as third after Varitek got him over to second on a sac bunt and then to 3rd after Marco Scutaro reached on what was ruled a single. However, Ellsbury flew out to shallow left- to shallow to bring home Reddick.

With 2 away, Dustin Pedroia finally managed to beak the scoreless deadlock with an RBI single to right field before Adrian Gonzalez gave the ball a ride to deep right for the 3rd and final out. Papelbon came on for a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth sixteenth to nail down the 1-0 win. Alfredo Aceves went 3 innings and struck out two (although he hit back to back batters in the bottom of the 15th) for the win.

Monday night's game is set to get underway at Camden Yards and will have Tim Wakefield (5-3; 4.74 ERA) starting against Baltimore's Brad Bergesen (1-6; 5.65 ERA) at 7:05 PM ET.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS:David Ortiz will begin a 3-game suspension on Monday night after last week's whiff-tastic brawl with Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gregg at Fenway Park. Both Ortiz and Gregg were initially suspended for four games, but each of them had one game shaved off after their appeals and will begin their respective suspensions on Monday in time for the 3-game series between Baltimore and Boston.

Carl Crawford is expected to return from the DL for Monday night's game against the O's as well.

WORLD CUP: Japan rallied late twice against Team USA- including a goal in the 117th minute by Homare Sawa in Sunday's World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany to force the match to be settled by penalty kicks.

Japan goaltender Ayumi Kaihori made in impressive quasi-bicycle kick-save on the first penalty shot she faced and a two handed save on the next, Team USA missed on Cali Lloyd's attempt- altho Abby Wambach was able to bury her attempt. However, Saki Kumagi was able to beat hope-solo for the tournament-deciding shot and the win to the Japanese.

Tournaments like these aren't always about what country 'deserves' the championship, but in light of recent events in Japan, I'd say Japan certainly could use a transcendent, unifying moment like this to boost their morale after the 1-2 punch dealt by mother nature and Marie Curie in March

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