Mammoth home runs. A stellar pitching performance. A bizarre triple play. More brush back tension. And a show of solidarity for human decency. Last night's 5-2 win for the Red Sox over the Orioles may have been just a baseball game, but it played out like a dramatic stage play under the lights of Fenway Park.
First, there was the much welcomed moment when Baltimore's Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the first inning and was given a standing ovation by the Fenway crowd. One night earlier Jones had racial epithets hurled at him, along with a bag of peanuts, as he stood in center field, a disgusting show of racism in a city and for a franchise that's fought hard to rectify its past transgressions regarding its treatment of African Americans. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy had issued a formal apology from the team to Jones, but the ovation by the crowd last night let Jones know that the terrible actions of a few could not overcome the better angels of the many, and the moment was extended when Red Sox starter Chris Sale walked off the mound and let the cheering for Jones stretch out.
So it would seem that it would be all feel-good stuff at the Fens, but Sale had another message later for the Orioles' Manny Machado, who you my recall injured Dustin Pedroia during a game in Baltimore when he got his spikes up sliding into second. The Red Sox badly handled the pay-back game, eventually landing a four game suspension for reliever Matt Barnes for throwing at Machado's head two games later. Mookie Betts got hit in the leg by Baltimore's Dylan Bundy but Sale decided it wasn't quite over yet and threw a fastball behind Machado's legs last night. The umpire issued warnings to both teams to cut it out, and Sale then went on to have another incredible game, striking out 11 and finally getting some run support for his 8-inning effort.
Hanley Ramirez is in the home run zone right now and he blasted two last night, both clearing the Monster in left, way out of the ball park. Mookie Betts had a two-run double in the 8th to give Sale some padding as it was only 3-2 Red Sox at the time. Machado, by the way, got some measure of revenge on Sale by belting a home run of his own in the 7th, but he was still steaming mad after the game and laced into Sale in a profane tirade to the media. And there are still two games left in this Fenway series. If all this drama wasn't enough, there was a crazy triple play pulled off by Baltimore in the bottom of the 8th. With Mitch Moreland on second and Pedroia on first Jackie Bradley blooped a fly into shallow left. J.J. Hardy misplayed the ball and it dropped, but the runners didn't know what to do since they thought the ball would be caught. Hardy threw to second and Moreland was off the bag and got tagged out, then Jonathan Schoop stepped on second for the force out there and threw on to first where Pedroia was standing befuddled. Weird a triple play as you'll ever see.
The NY Yankees got back on track against the Toronto Blue Jays, winning 11-5 behind the power of Aaron Judge, who's got a whole Paul Bunyan living legend thing going on right now in the Bronx. The 6'7" 280 pound rookie smashed two home runs last night, and smashed a flat screen TV to pieces during batting practice with another long ball to the visitor's area in center, and now has 12 homers on the year to lead the majors in that category. Brett Gardner also went yard twice for the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka picked up the win to run his record to 4-1.
In Atlanta, Jay Bruce drove in six runs for the NY Mets, including a grand slam, but it wasn't enough as the Mets dropped a 9-7 decision to the Braves. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got the win and Matt Harvey took the loss for the Mets. Ender Inciarte drove in three runs for the Braves and Freddy Freeman added a two-run homer.
There was bad blood in game two of the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards second round playoff game at the Garden, with lots of hard fouls and players getting in each other's faces, but all of that was overshadowed by yet another amazing performance by Isaiah Thomas, who finished the night with 53 points, 20 of them in the fourth quarter and nine in overtime as he just took over the game in Boston's 129-119 win. The Celtics trailed by 7 in the fourth when Thomas started driving the lane, faking out defenders and scoring at will. He dedicated the game to his sister Chyna, who would have turned 23 yesterday, but lost her life in a car accident just before the playoffs began. The Celts now lead the series two games to none as it shifts back to Washington for Game 3.
In Oakland last night, Steph Curry scored 22 points and the Golden State Warriors easily took game one from the Utah Jazz 106-94.
NHL playoffs, the NY Rangers have climbed back into their second round series against the Ottawa Senators with a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden last night. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundvist stopped 26 shots. And the Nashville Predators now have a 3 games to 1 lead over the St. Louis Blues after a 2-1 win last night.
The Norwich University softball team got its first home field Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoff win since 2014, beating Emmanuel 7-2 yesterday. Stockbridge native Rachel Johnson struck out 12 in the circle for the Cadets.
The Norwich baseball team not as successful, losing in heartbreaking fashion 7-6 to Johnson and Wales, when the Wildcats rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning and won the game on a walk-off walk by Ivan Reyes to put an end to the Cadets season.