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Despite homer, Papelbon stays positive

04.08.10 at 12:09 am ET
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Jonathan Papelbon was willing to chalk this one up to the wrong player, the wrong pitch, and the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The reason for the Red Sox’ closer have to turn the other cheek was due to Curtis Granderson’s solo homer in the 10th inning of what ultimately became a 3-1 win over the Yankees, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Believe or not, with the homer, Granderson became the only player who can now claim to have hit more than one homer off of Papelbon throughout the reliever’s career.

“It seems I’ve made a few mistakes to Granderson, and like I said he’s the type of hitter if he makes mistakes he’s going to make you pay. I didn’t know that, that he has hit the most home runs off of me. It is what it is,” Papelbon said. “I think the mistakes I’ve made with him have been out and over and poorly executed.”

[Click here to listen to Papelbon's take on his 10th inning struggle Wednesday night.]

This time it really hurt much more than the other Granderson homer, which came Aug. 11 and did nothing more than help the Tigers draw within two runs in the ninth inning of what turned into a 7-5 Red Sox’ win one batter later. The ball hit by the New York centerfielder — coming off a belt-high fastball with the count 0-1 — went into the right field stands, broke a 1-1 tie and proved to be decisive factor in handing the Yanks the series win.

[Granderson said after the game he doesn't think he has an upper hand yet on Red Sox.]

Still, Papelbon felt that the night wasn’t a complete downer considering how he was able to approach his second outing of the season. He sported both a fastball that touched 96 mph, as well as the well-scrutinized splitter he has rediscovered.

“I did that very well,” said Papelbon of mixing up his pitches. “I got some broken bats and was able to keep a good mix in there. A couple of first-pitch splits from Swisher and Granderson. I felt like my command was good tonight. It kind of got away from me a little bit, but for the most part I felt like my legs were underneath me and the ball was coming out good. For me if I can go out there and duplicate the way I felt tonight for the rest of the season I’ll be good. I’ll be extremely happy with that.”

While Papelbon did feel spry in making his first outing since Opening Night, the pitch to Granderson served as an example that there were some missteps in regard to the closer’s command. He finished his 1 2/3-inning appearance having allowed the one hit while walking a pair, throwing 28 pitches (16 strikes).

“I felt really good tonight but it was a classic situation where you make one mistake and you pay for it,” he said. “Obviously it was a poorly executed pitch by me left up out over the plate. With this lineup you’re going to pay for it and that’s the way it is. You make mistakes you pay for it.

“I felt really good tonight. I felt strong. I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand good. Like I said, I was really happy with the way I felt tonight.”

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