Attention Kevin Youkilis:

What can I say? I’m sorry.

Ever since it was reported that you’d be taking over first base duties, I’ve led a one-man campaign to smear your good name. The bat would go dead, I promised. The defense — even though a fancy hat rack might prove an effective upgrade over Kevin Millar’s glovework — would be deplorable. It was time, I thought, to climb upon JT Snow’s shoulders and let him carry us into the promised land.

But, like so many other things, I was wrong. Your suck factor has been ridiculously low, you’ve made a respectable showing atop the batting order, and you’ve been flashing some serious leather on this homestand. Most recently, you’ve wormed your way into my heart by single-handedly resuscitating a game that, for all intents and purposes, was lying cold on the floor. Hauling your prodigious ass down the first base line, you injected more adrenaline into this city than the twenty-two thousand marathoners ambling up Heartbreak Hill could ever hope to. Within the blink of an eye, you turned it all around. Before we even knew what was going on, there was hope. There was opportunity. There was… Loretta.

Seriously, not since the 2004 ALCS have we pocketed a game that seemed more out-of-reach. We were toast. Toast, I say. Mere inches away from having our nuts stepped on by the likes of Carl Everett, Roberto Petagine and Everyday Eddie Guardado. Then Youk legs one out, and we’ve got the tying run on first. And when Loretta stepped to the plate, I’ll guarantee there wasn’t a single mind that wasn’t focused on the guy standing behind him in the on-deck circle. Listening to EEI, I kept trying to push positive mojo through the speakers. “Just stick yer goddam face in front of one, dude… take one for the team!” Anything to get on base and let loose the terror that is Ortiz.

Turns out, Loretta worked out just fine, belting a walkoff homerun and officially ringing in “bats–t time” in the stands. And if ever there was a moment for Joe and Jerry to say, “screw the FCC” and cut loose with a “Holy f–king s–t! We won”, that was it.

Ten hits from the top five in the lineup. Two home runs by Papi (come clean, Red Sox front office… this guy’s an android, right? I mean… he’s gotta be). A respectable fill-in start by Lenny DiNardo. Manny showing signs of emerging from the quagmire. Julian Tavarez and dugout phones co-existing peacefully. Thirty-six thousand people drunk with love, hugging strangers, and screaming for a dude named Loretta. It was The Game of this short season. And it was a good day.

And thanks to Dover and Josh Blue for performing emergency play-by-play in yesterday’s comments for a couple fans who couldn’t access any online gamecasts. Come get us, Bud Selig.