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The Strike Zone

Watch: Gomes puts Red Sox ahead in Game 4 with three-run homer

Jonny Gomes wasn't supposed to be in the Red Sox lineup for Game 4 on Sunday night, but a bout of lower back tightness forced Shane Victorino to the bench and Daniel Nava to rightfield, thus creating an opening in left for Gomes. He proceeded to come up with the biggest hit of the night so far, breaking open a tight 1-1 game with a three-run homer off St. Louis' Seth Maness in the top of the sixth inning, which you can see in the GIF above.

If the Cardinals lose this game, manger Mike Matheny will be second-guessed endlessly for how he handled his pitching staff. First, he let starter Lance Lynn hit for himself with two outs and two on in the fourth inning, only to watch Lynn labor through a 29-pitch fifth inning in which he allowed the tying run to score. Lynn recovered to retire the first two batters in the sixth inning, but after Dustin Pedroia's single, Matheny kept him in the game to face David Ortiz rather than call upon lefty reliever Randy Choate, who was warming up in the bullpen.

Lynn pitched around Ortiz for a four-pitch unintentional intentional walk, and only then was replaced by groundballing righty Seth Maness to face Gomes, who had battled Lynn to a 10-pitch walk in his previous turn but who was just 5-for-34 without a homer during the postseason prior. Maness left a 90 mph sinker waaaay too far up in the strike zone, (see image below) and a predictable play ended predictably.

Screen shot 2013-10-27 at 10.38.41 PM

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