Nixon Gets Revenge in Six Run Ninth Inning

Nixon Hit Grand Slam in 9th Inning

Trot Nixon had six RBI, including a grand slam off of Phillies reliever Turk Wendell in the 9th inning to overcome a two run deficit and defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 13-9, in the last interleague game of the season. Nixon wanted revenge after losing a heartbreaking game to the Phillies in the second game of the series, a game that the Red Sox lost 6-5, and a game that was played more than two months prior.

The Red Sox pulled to within one game of the Seattle Mariners for the AL Wild Card lead, and to within 4 ½ games of the Yankees for the AL East lead.

Nixon's six RBI and the comeback in the final inning masked another poor performance from Jeff Suppan, who gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings. The Phillies jumped on Suppan, formerly of Pittsburgh, early, scoring two runs in the first inning on a single by Pat Burrell, and adding two more in the second on a home run by leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins.

With the score 4-0 going to the top of the 3rd, the Sox came back. Johnny Damon led off with a walk off of Philadelphia starter Brett Myers, who did not pitch well either, giving up five runs in four innings, and also walking seven batters. Damon would steal second, move to third on a single by Todd Walker, and score on a groundout by Nomar Garciaparra. A single by David Ortiz moved walker to third, and Kevin Millar would then single to drive home Walker. Nixon's double drove home Ortiz for his first RBI of the game, and an RBI groundout by Bill Mueller drove home the tying run to make the score 4-4 before Myers could get out of the inning.

Nixon would strike again in the 4th with a hard single to left field that would drive home Damon, but David Ortiz was thrown out at home by Burrell, holding the score at 5-4.

The lead would not last long, as a single by Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu drove home Rollins and Marlon Byrd, and the Phillies would leapfrog back into the lead at 6-5. Things would stay quiet until the 8th, when the Sox would hop back into the lead. Pinch hitter David McCarty would lead off with a walk issued by Rheal Cormier, and an infield single by Nomar Garciaparra would put runners on first and second. The hot hitting Ortiz, who always seems to be on base, then doubled over Byrd's head in center, chasing home pinch runner Damian Jackson as well as Garciaparra.

However, that lead, too, would not last long as the Phillies would get to the Boston bullpen. Pinch hitter Ricky Ledee would lead off the inning by homering to right center field off Mike Timlin. Byrd would walk, move to second on a sacrifice, and Timlin would intentionally walk Abreu and hit Mike Lieberthal with a pitch. Alan Embree, who has struggled lately, would come in to try to retire Jim Thome, and Thome touched him up with a single to right center field, scoring Byrd and Abreu for a 9-7 lead, which would set the stage for the 9th inning explosion by the Red Sox.

Jose Mesa (5-7), the closer for the Phillies who has fallen on hard times this year, would come in to try to close out the Red Sox. He got off to a poor start, walking Doug Mirabelli. Damian Jackson would single with one out, and a wild pitch by Mesa would move runners to second and third. Garciaparra was put on first base, and a dribbler by recently re-acquired Lou Merloni up the third base line would drive Mirabelli home. Mesa was pulled from the game in favor of Turk Wendell, who fared no better. He walked Millar to force in the tying run, and then Nixon's huge hit put the game out of reach. Byung-Hyun Kim (6-4) would hold the Phillies at bay in the ninth.

The Sox' huge win to start the road trip could give them momentum, and we will see about it Tuesday, when Boston travels to Chicago to face the hot White Sox. John Burkett (9-7, 4.97) will face Bartolo Colon (12-11, 4.18).

Be sure to visit our friends at EBAB.net to get your "The Curse...Reversed" T-shirts. No self-respecting Red Sox fan should go without one.




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