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Saturday, August 1, 2009
As predicted by yours truly, the Red Sox made the biggest move of the trade deadline as they acquired Victor Martinez from the Indians for Justin Masterson and two minor league pitchers (not named Michael Bowden).
In a lower profile move, they also swapped Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman of the Braves. Roy Halladay stayed in Toronto and neither the Yankees nor Rays made a significant move.
Getting Martinez is a huge pickup for Boston. He's a switch-hitting catcher/first baseman/DH in the prime of his career and they have him at least through next season. Having Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Martinez and Kotchman makes Terry Francona's life a little harder in terms of juggling the lineup but with a veteran club, it shouldn't create too many issues.
The fact that Theo Epstein got Martinez without giving up Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Bowden, etc. is the most surprising part of the whole deal. Masterson was a versatile, nice kid that should have a good career but this move was a no-brainer.
As for Kotchman, he's a slight upgrade defensively over LaRoche and a little better hitter. He's not going to play much but he'll be useful as a late-inning replacement and pinch hitter.
It was hard to top that excitement but the Sox had one of their more thrilling games of the season last night as they held off Baltimore 6-5 at Camden Yards.
John Smoltz (2-4) picked up the win but he was more lucky than good. He lasted six innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and no walks. He entered the sixth with a 4-3 lead but promptly gave it back as Aubrey Huff (2 hits) took him deep for a two-run shot.
Kevin Youkilis (3 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) bailed out Smoltz and the Red Sox (60-42) with a two-run bomb of his own in the seventh.
Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless seventh, Hideki Okajima walked two but didn't give up a run in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon got a 1-2-3 ninth (with two strikeouts) for his 27th save.
Nick Green gave Boston a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the second. David Ortiz (2 hits) made it 3-0 Red Sox with a two-run shot in the third.
Brian Roberts got the Orioles (44-58) back in it with an RBI single in the third and rookie Nolan Reimold tied it up later in the inning with a two-run homer.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a huge night as he went 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs and a stolen base. He also robbed Luke Scott of a homer in the sixth with a leaping grab.