Red Sox Record for the Week of July 6: 5-2
The week began with the much-anticipated return of former Red Sox great and current Oakland infielder Nomar Garciaparra to Boston, his first in an opposing uniform since being traded midseason to the Cubs in 2004.
Boston sports talk radio debated the level of cheers vs. boos he would receive in the days and hours leading up to his return last Monday night, July 6. But much as they did for Derek Lowe’s return to Boston June 20, the sold-out Fenway crowd gave Nomar loud cheers and a standing-O before he took his first pitch of the night, leaving no doubt how appreciated he was for his eight-plus years in Boston. Nomar then went on to knock in the first run of the game, which turned out to be the game winner in the Athletics’ 6-0 win that night at the hands of rookie lefty Brett Anderson, who outperformed veteran John Smoltz with an impressive two-hit shutout.
The Sox took the next two games from the A’s and then three of four games from KC over the weekend. The highlight of the week for me was the 1-0 win Friday night July 10 vs. the Royals at Fenway. The match-up was Jon Lester vs. Brian Bannister. Lester’s previous outing against KC was his no-hitter in May 2008, and after Friday’s eight innings of scoreless pitching, he has given up zero runs in three career starts against them. The Boston southpaw had everything going this night, from a spot-on fastball to his changeup and breaking ball.
Other notable highlights of this game include Nick Green’s gutsy successful bunt with two strikes on him in the bottom of the eighth inning, executed after Terry Francona took the bunt sign off. That set up the eventual clutch game-winning double by Dustin Pedroia off Bannister, who pitched one of the best games of his young career. Jonathan Papelbon, who got a rocky save two nights prior, threw nothing but devastating heat (95-97 mph) en route to a 1-2-3 save, his 23rd of the season. It was one of Pap’s best outings of ’09.