Rough first inning for Jason Verlander today — five runs in the first to the Red Sox : Crisp doubled, Cora singled him to third, Varitek drove him home with a groundout, then Papi and Pena walked to load the bases for Eric Hinske, who hit a grand slam. The Sox batted around in the first (three hits, three walks) and lead, 5-0.
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More chat fodder: The Sox and Tigers got into it with a bench-clearing to-do sparked by two unintentional HBPs and a third uninentional near-HBP, all by Josh Beckett. Todd Jones responded by throwing behind J.D. Drew, and Jim Leyland had to be restrained from going after DeMarlo Hale. Leyland and Jones were tossed. Tidbits from the Globe and Herald blogs:
- Brandon Inge, after acknowledging that Beckett’s curveball that beaned Magglio Ordonez and forced his removal from the game was unintentional, criticized him for throwing the same pitch to him and nearly beaning him, too. "Once Beckett beaned someone with that curve, Inge said, he shouldn’t have thrown it again." That makes no sense whatsoever. Beckett clearly needed to work on his curveball’s command. Is he supposed to paint a strike zone on the back of a barn and throw at it? This baseball, not ballet, Brandon (Alliteration! Awesome).
- Inge also said the incident was "water over the bridge." So was there a flood in Clearwater?
- The Sox seemed to have a good sense of humor about it, at least. Beckett playfully noted that he was the only constant between the dust-up with the Tigers and last spring’s incident with Ryan Howard and the Phillies (he was not at the Tavarez sucker-punch game, though), and Drew even dropped a Dodgeball reference, earning my everlasting devotion (yes, I am that easy): "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a baseball."
- And both papers’ blogs report on Sheffield’s extensive comments about the Sox being his first choice this winter if the Yanks had not picked up his option. As we all know, this was precisely why the Yanks did pick up his option and trade him out of the division.