It's an old trope by now, but the results of this series will have some fans wishing that the Red Sox could have saved some of their fourteen-run onslaught Monday night for the next two games. Selfishly, though, I'm happy to have been in attendance for the blowout win, which also marked another return by DAVE ROBERTS to the city where he'll never have to buy a meal or a drink.
The stork-legged Andrew Miller, filling in for Clay Buchholz, put up goose eggs through five, but then a three-run homer by second baseman Orlando Hudson in the sixth erased his good work and tied up the game. The kid would leave with a no decision, but in the bottom of the seventh the Red Sox offense would seem to cock its head at the Padres, murmur, 'isn't that cute?' and then bury them with a spectacular 10-run inning that induced riotous joy at Fenway Park.
It was a beautiful thing to witness, but nothing was more beautiful than the sight of DAVE ROBERTS (and yes, his full name will always be in all caps for me) back at Fenway.
The team determined that his presence would not go unnoticed by anyone who'd been living under a rock and didn't realize he'd be coming back, and announced his presence to a strong ovation as the game began. Before taking his position behind the bag, Roberts also ran a circuitous route that took him right to the edge of the Red Sox dugout, and into the arms of Terry Francona.
Shortly after that, Tim Wakefield came out of the dugout to give him a handshake and a hug.
Then, the game could continue.
But the nostalgia wasn't done yet.
In the midst of the sixth, perhaps on schedule or perhaps as a way to get Sox fans rowdy again after Hudson's deflating homer, Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" began to play. Then, on the large screen above the bleachers, in sepia tones, came some familiar sights. Roberts on first base in a Red Sox uniform, flexing his fingers in his gloves, breathing slowly and deliberately, watching Mariano Rivera.
We knew what would come next, but it bore watching again -- it will always bear watching again. Bill Mueller's calm face at bat...then his hit bounding into center field,... Roberts running again, jumping and pirouetting midair after scoring the tying run...and finally, Papi's homer to win, and end, Game 4.
Finally, the images faded, to reveal a screen-filling shot of Roberts in the present, standing at his station in his Padres uniform.
The park was on its feet in seconds. The ovation lasted several minutes. My goosebumps lasted longer.
BONUS AWESOME: Prior to the game, I caught sight of two small figures in front of the home dugout playing catch. The telephoto lens confirmed one was D'Angelo Ortiz, and the other, by the looks of him and his No. 13 jersey, was a Carl Crawford offspring.