Sunday, June 2, 2013
Game 12: Gimme Shelter - Brantford Red Sox @ Toronto, June 2
Two rain delays and an offensive barrage by the Brantford Red Sox made for a downer at Christie Pits this afternoon.
The Red Sox have the Maple Leafs' number so far this season, racking up their third win in as many tries. In three games, Brantford have outscored Toronto 27-4.
For the second game in a row, an injury to Leafs starter Matt Lawson was a turning point. When a man stands eight feet tall as Lawson does, he will naturally present a bigger target for a screaming comebacker, and he has taken one off the body twice in eight days now. Last week in Brantford, it was the foot or ankle. Today, in the top of the 4th inning, he instinctively barehanded a comebacker, and ended up with a swollen finger. Out came Lawson earlier than planned, in came new face Rick Brooks to make his season debut for the home side.
But the Red Sox had the taste of blood in their mouths, and it became a feeding frenzy. After 5 1/3 innings and a short rain delay had sent everyone briefly scrambling for cover, Lawson and Brooks were both done, and the Red Sox led 10-1. The diminished group of fans who remained in the park saw nothing but doom in the grey clouds overhead. The score remained the same through another, longer rain delay in the 6th, the Leafs went down to defeat, and I went home to some dry towels and wine.
I don't know him personally, but I'm tired of seeing Brandon Huffman. He has been the Brantford starting pitcher each time the Red Sox have played the Leafs, and he has owned Toronto each time. Go away man, this domination shit is tiring.
The Leafs need to find some spark too. During this 4-game losing streak, they have not been driving in runs as well as they did to start the season. Getting runners on base has not been a problem - getting them home is the challenge that the Leafs have to sort out moving forward. Hopefully in time for their next game, which is against... Brantford again!
Maple Leafs centerfielder Glenn Jackson put on a show in the first couple of innings. He led off the 1st with a single, then stole second and third base, but was stranded there. In the top of the 2nd, Jackson recorded two putouts in center, including a great awkward, diving, snaring, did-he-just-kill-himself catch of a flyball by Red Sox DH Steve Lewis.
Starting pitchers Brett Lawson and Brandon Huffman traded goose eggs until the top of the 3rd. With two outs, Brantford second baseman Tyler Burnell singled, then stole second. He was driven home on a single by third basemen Hyung Cho and the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead.
Brantford first baseman Todd Betts led off the top of the 4th with a home run. Rightfielder Terrell Alliman followed with a single and centerfielder Joe Colameco doubled. Alliman scored on a wild pitch, and two more runs would come in to make it 5-0 Red Sox.
In the bottom of the 4th, leftfielder Raul Borjas drew a walk, moved around the bases and eventually scored on a wild pitch. 5-1 for the visitors after 4 innings.
Rick Brooks relieved Lawson to start the 5th inning. Lewis singled and stole second base, then came home on a double by Colameco. 6-1 Red Sox after 5 innings.
The game was blown open for good in the 6th. Burnell singled and Cho walked. Shortstop Lee Delfino then singled to score Burnell and move Cho to second. Todd Betts then hit a 3-run homer - his second of the day - to notch 4 RBIs on the day and make it a 10-1 rout for the Red Sox.
Justin Cicatello replaced Brooks to finish the 6th and pitch a scoreless 7th. Scott Kelly and Adam Garner each pitched a scoreless inning to finish off the game for the home side. Apart from the one run they were able to score early in the game, the Leafs' bats were silenced by Huffman over 5 innings and Nathan Forer for the final 4 innings of the game.
The Maple Leafs are now 4-6 and 5 games behind the Red Sox juggernaut. For their next game, they travel back to Brantford to take on the league leaders on Wednesday, June 5.