How best to explain this disease that is Red Sox fandom? Let me take a comment left yesterday by grunherz a couple steps further.

Monday, the Sox were your girlfriend, dolled up and hanging all over your best friend (or Frank Zappa, depending on how your mood swings). You stomped your feet, pounded your fists, and swore to all that was holy that you’d never give that tart another chance to blow your heart to smithereens. After all, there’s plenty other fish in the sea — like those Pittsburgh Pirates!

Yesterday, she was back on your doorstep, wearing that dress she looks so christalmighty fine in, holding a dozen roses she swears she picked herself because she knows they’re your favorite and if you just let her back in this one time all will be good and there’ll be no more tears. No more tears, she says again, just to add emphasis.

So you do it. You open the door. You let her back in. And you know that tomorrow she’ll be inviting the UPS guy over for vodka and brownies, but that’s alright. You live in the now. And now, she’s looking mighty sweet.

Not that the Sox looked sweet yesterday. That was a textbook case of “winning ugly,” as the boys squandered an 8-1 lead, but held on to beat Seattle, 9-7. Along the way, there were as many kisses on the neck — including back-to-back homers from Ortiz and Manny — as there were kicks to the nuts. After the Sox blasted to a seven run lead in the fourth, D Lowe and the bullpen slowly let the Mariners back in the game, with Joe Nelson (AKA Mr. 16.88 ERA) handing two runs back in the eighth just to keep things interesting. Thankfully, Keith Foulke v.1 showed up — as opposed to Keith Foulke v.2 who pitched Monday night — and struck out the last three batters to secure the win.

As ugly as it got, the Sox managed to go 3-3 on this road trip. But all I can think about is how much nicer it would have been to have closed the deal on Monday night, and be one game closer to the Yankees. And now what could be the single most important homestand of the season; the Orioles in for three and the dreaded Yanks for the weekend. The Os have had the Sox’ number all season; time to reverse that trend. This is as good an opportunity as ever to gain some ground on NY, and, as tough as it will be, a sweep is absolutely, positively necessary.

Is the AL East dream pie in the sky? At this point, very likely. But, man, when they wear that dress anything’s possible.