Red Sox manager Terry Francona called upon closer Jonathan Papelbon to get a five-out save tonight.
He got a blown save instead.
Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds singled off Daniel Bard. Francona brought in Papelbon with one out, and the right-hander responded by getting a called third strike on Chris Davis.
Plate umpire Mark Wegner’s strike zone has been a joke all night, but the Orioles fail to see the humor in it.
Nolan Reimold singled to left field, but Wieters held at third base. He would have been out by a mile if he kept going.
Andino stepped to the plate and delivered his third hit of the night. He also raised his average to .269 and his RBI total to 32.
I’ll say it again: He’s earned a spot on next year’s roster. Super-utility player is fine with me.
Papelbon was throwing nothing but fastballs, and Andino ripped a 97 mph heater to the opposite field.
Papelbon also was taking so long to deliver the ball from the stretch, dairy products kept expiring in the Fenway Park media lounge.
I’m guessing that Jim Johnson will pitch the ninth if it’s a save situation. And he still won’t be declared the official closer.
Update: Johnson did, indeed, pitch the ninth and recorded his sixth save in his last seven appearances.
Wieters was called for catcher’s interference, allowing leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury to reach first base, but Dustin Pedroia grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Adrian Gonzalez, who had three hits and three RBIs tonight, bounced to Reynolds, who made a diving stop and threw to Johnson covering the bag.
Johnson threw nine of his 11 pitches for strikes. Exactly what you want from your closer.
By the way, Papelbon was 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 31 saves in 32 chances against the Orioles before tonight.