Extra innings

I haven't had many opportunities to watch a lot of baseball this summer. You know, with Phoebe hoarding our TV to watch Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse, Little Einsteins and any other Disney movie she can get her hands on.

Then I missed the World Cup final yesterday afternoon because of another commitment.

So last night I put my claim on the TV and settled in for a little Sunday Night Baseball. Red Sox-Rays. It turned out I picked a good one.

The Red Sox won the game, 1-0. In 16 innings. On Dustin Pedroia's single to right field, batting in Josh Reddick from third base. The game lasted 5 hours and 44 minutes. It ended at about 1 a.m.

It may go down as the baseball game of the season. And I watched it from beginning to end.

Rays manager Joe Maddon was thrown out of the game. Then his bench coach and back up was thrown out in the 11th inning.

Boston nearly ended the game in the 10th when Adrian Gonzalez hit a ball to deep left field that fell just inches outside fair territory. Then the Red Sox loaded the bases in the top of the 11th inning with no outs, and they still couldn't get a run across.

Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine -- doing the ESPN broadcast -- were getting tired, too. One of my favorite lines came when they mentioned Tim Wakefield had left Tampa earlier for Baltimore. Said Hershiser: "He might need to fly back." 

By the 15th inning the Red Sox had left 15 men on base, to the Rays' four. Just three hits for each team. With all the men they put on base, it was hard to believe the Red Sox had yet to score a run; I think it was Valentine who quipped, "The Rays, meanwhile, get a runner every couple hours."

In the top of the 16th, at 12:42 a.m., Dustin Pedroia, who'd been great all night with three hits and a couple defensive gems at second base, drove in the winning run.

The Red Sox bullpen held on for the win. And I could finally go to bed, knowing I would pay for it in the morning.

(Update 7.19.2011) Bob Ryan with a good read this morning about the game: "I hung in till the end. There was no excuse to do otherwise."

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