Most players never have the experience of hitting one home run as big as the one Dan Johnson hit off Jonathon Papelbon in September 2008. Two years later, Johnson did outdid himself by hitting a walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat the Red Sox 3-2 and maintain a tie atop the AL East standings.
Terry Francona is a great manager and is going to get a lot of support for Manager of the Year, but bringing in Scott Atchison in the 10th inning of a must win game may not have been his best decision. Daniel Bard had pitched the 9th inning and had thrown only 10 pitches. I know he pitched the night before, but in hindsight he probably should have gone out there for another inning.
It was a pretty quite game for the most part. Boston scored on a sac fly in the fourth, the Rays matched them with a sac fly in the 7th. Victor Martinez hit a home run in the 8th and B.J. Upton matched him in the Rays half of the inning. Matt Garza and Clay Buchholz were each similarly good on the night, with Garza going 7IP and Buccholz 7.1. Each allowed one earned run, walked very few and struck out little. But no one is going to care about the pitching performances when they look back at this game. They're going to remember Dan Johnson. That beautiful, beautiful man. If the Rays ever have an Old Timers day, Dan Johnson will receive a standing ovation.
- Victor Martinez was already my least favorite player. Tonight he raised that bar to new heights. It wasn't his home run that gives me disdain for him. It was his Oscar worthy acting job in the 10th. Martinez fouled a ball off of the dirt in front of his right foot. The ball rolled down to Carlos Pena for what seemed to be an easy out. Except, Martinez didn't run to first. He was hopping around in the batter's box like he had been shot in the big toe. Replays clearly showed the ball didn't come close to hitting his foot. Shame on the umpires for believing him. There's zero chance the ball rolls cleanly to first base if hit smashed his toe.
- Carlos Pena scored on a sac fly that J.D. Drew caught in the Rays bullpen. I know that outs are a precious commodity, but with the way he caught it Drew had no chance to throw out Pena. He was probably better off dropping it.