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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Darnell McDonald, your 2010 Red Sox MVP

For a lifeless team that was burying itself before the season had even really started, Darnell McDonald was a breath of fresh air.

The journeyman outfielder was called up from Pawtucket earlier in the day when Jacoby Ellsbury went on the DL (retroactive to April 12).

Nobody except his family, friends and people that work for the Pawsox had ever heard of him but he came to Fenway last night for his first game with Boston and delivered not only a pinch hit two-run homer in the eighth to tie it but also a walkoff RBI single as the Sox (5-9) finally snapped its five game losing streak with a 7-6 win over the Rangers (5-8).

He is in the lineup tonight in center field but at 31-years old odds are last night will be his biggest MLB highlight. If so, oh well. Baseball is great at providing those memorable moments for scrubs (Morgan Burkhart, Creighton Gubanich, Rico Brogna, etc).

McDonald's heroics overshadowed what began as another very ugly night at Fenway. Texas tied a MLB record with nine stolen bases. The combination of Tim Wakefield on the mound and Victor Martinez, who has the defensive prowess of a little league catcher, led to the perfect storm on the bases.

The Rangers jumped out to a 6-2 lead thanks to timely hitting and the aforementioned stolen bases. Martinez (3 hits) finally came through with an RBI single in the first, breaking a teamwide 0-for-32 stretch with runners in scoring position.

Boston's other run was in the fourth on Jeremy Hermida's solo homer. Wakefield as always was a good soldier and he toiled away for six innings and 114 pitches to save the Sox' bullpen. All six runs were earned on seven hits with five walks and three strikeouts.

Another Pawtucket callup, Josh Reddick, fueled the comeback with a two-run double in the sixth which cut it to 6-4 Rangers.

Manny Delcarmen got five outs and Hideki Okajima wiggled out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth to preserve the two-run deficit.

After McDonald tied it in the eighth with his two-run shot, Jonathan Papelbon (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth before McDonald stepped up again.

Rangers star Nelson Cruz (3 steals, 2 hits, run, hit, walk) left in the bottom of the ninth with a hamstring injury.

Josh Beckett is on the bump tonight against Matt Harrison. Beckett has pitched well in his last two starts and the Sox need more of that to calm their MLB worst rotation down for a night.

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