|Top Nine: Masterson a difference maker||10.05.08 at 8:19 pm ET|
Torii Hunter led off the inning by lacing a ball down the left-field line, but the ball took a friendly carom off the left-field wall towards Jason Bay, who fielded the ball and gunned down Hunter at second. Hunter, who injured his knee while jumping up and down in protest of a call at first base in Game 2, appeared slightly impaired on the play, but Bay’s thrown beat him by a good 15 feet. Dustin Pedroia made the put-out, reaching out to tag Hunter on the head rather than allowing the Angels outfielder to sneak past a drop tag with a swim move.
Hunter has had a rough go of it in this series: the protest-induced injury, an error in centerfield, the miscommunication with Kendrick earlier this game that allowed Ellsbury’s three-run single to drop, running into the out to start the ninth…Not good times in Torii-land.
The first out recorded, Masterson got Reggie Willits and Mike Napoli to ground out to conclude the inning. Masterson’s emergence as a late-inning option, of course, has been huge for the Sox this year.
“We thought that, when he came back and pitched that (first relief) game in Seattle, the power that he showed and the swing and miss, just the mound presence and relaxation, we thought right then that we had a standout reliever and someone who could definitely pitch late in the game,” said pitching coach John Farrell. “He’s given us another late-inning option. You can always bring in the most fresh arm to the mound in key spots, rather than having to rely on one guy solely and having to worry about fatigue and what kind of stuff is a guy going to give you tonight. Anytime we can bring in Masterson, Okajima, Delcarmen, Papelbon late in the game, they’re going to come in with ample amount of rest and usually have their best stuff.”
Angels 4, Red Sox 4
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