Trot Nixon’s return to Boston (35-15) was met with a standing ovation, a Curt Schilling 10 strikeout performance, and a Kevin Youkilis inside the park homerun in a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians (31-18).
Quite an eventful night.
Schilling (5-2) who struggled with his control in his last outing against the New York Yankees was overshadowed by Nixon’s return and it worked towards his favor.
On this night, Schilling seemed to have it all working: control and velocity. Schilling went seven innings, on six hits, one earned run, zero walks, and 10 strikeouts sealed the win but there was some drama after the starter left.
Leaving the game to the bullpen brass with a 4-1 lead, J.C. Romero was the first reliever in to pitch and was ineffective.
Romero walked his first two batters in Grady Sizemore and Casey Blake.
Javier Lopez was summoned in to clean up the mess that Romero made. Lopez striked-out Travis Hafner looking, Victor Martinez singled to center moving both runners on base respectively to third and second.
Nixon flied out to center scoring Sizemore making the score 4-2.
Brendan Donnelly finished the inning by getting Jhonny Peralta to ground out into a fielder’s choice.
The Sox put back a run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double by Julio Lugo that scored Dustin Pedroia making the score 5-2.
Jonathan Papelbon closed the ninth inning out, but had some trouble.
David Dellucci walked to leadoff the inning and later reached third on a Ryan Garko double.
With no outs and runners on second and third, Papelbon gave up another double to Josh Barfield putting the score at 5-3.
Although Papelbon stopped the scare buckling down against the rest of the Indians lineup.
Sizemore popped out to third, and Blake and Hafner struck out to end the game giving the Sox their fourth consecutive win.
Not to be lost in all the drama was Youkilis’ inside the park homerun.
In the bottom of the seventh Youkilis launched a Roberto Hernadez offering deep to center that kicked off the wall by Sizemore.
Nixon picked up the ball as Youkilis was reaching third base, but the relay was not even close as Youkilis chugged around third to home standing up hitting the inside the park homerun.
The last person to do this was ironically enough Nixon. Nixon hit an inside the park homerun against the New York Yankees in July of 2005.
Josh Beckett (7-0, 2.66 ERA) makes his return to the Sox rotation tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. against Cleveland Indians pitcher Jeremy Sowers (1-4, 6.29 ERA).