Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shane Victorino Helps Red Sox Win First Extra Inning Game of 2013

On a nationally televised game on FOX Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, the American East-leading Boston Red Sox (6-4) won a low-scoring nail-biter against the Tampa Bay Rays (4-6), by a score of 2-1 in 10 innings.

Sox ace Jon Lester went seven strong innings, allowing only 1 earned run while striking out 5, walking 1 and surrendering just 5 hits on 100 pitches. New manager (and former Sox pitching coach) John Farrell then turned to the bullpen (the purported major strength of this year's team), which did not allow a single hit the rest of the game.

Boston's first run came in the fifth when catcher David Ross hit a solo shot off of Rays starter David Price with 2 outs to tie the score 1-1 – Rays first baseman Sean Rodriguez had kicked off the scoring for the game and the Rays in the 3rd inning with a double off of Lester that center fielder Desmond Jennings scored on. But after the 5th inning, the bats for both sides were silenced for much of the rest of the game, until the 9th when they each squandered opportunities to break the tie.

The game went into extras (it being the first such game for both teams this season) and finally, in the bottom of the 10th, the Sox offense came alive. With 1 out, Sox star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center off Rays reliever Brandon Gomes, and used his aggressiveness and speed on the bases to steal second. Rays catcher Jose Lobaton make a big error trying to throw him out, thus allowing Ellsbury to take third base. Then, Boston's new right fielder, the veteran Shane Victorino, drove in the game-winning infield single that easily allowed Ellsbury to score. The players were both then mobbed by their excited teammates and cheered on by the 33,000+ fanatics in attendance.

Speaking of fandom, the longest sellout streak in pro sports history came to an end on Wednesday night, with the Red Sox's consecutive games played in front of a full house at Fenway ending at 820. It bested the previous record of 814 set by the Portland Trailblazers from 1977-1995, according to the Huffington Post. Thus, you can find great Boston Red Sox tickets easier these days, with the seasonally cold (and sometimes rainy) April weather upon us. Through it all, the Sox plan to keep up its rather hot start to the season, with Clay Buchholz going against Alex Cobb on Sunday afternoon.

Photo credit: MLB (via

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Judas Priest to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Release of Epitaph Live Blu-ray/DVD

Judas Priest, one of England's most iconic and enduring heavy metal pioneers, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a May 28 release of Epitaph (via Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment), a live Blu-ray disc and DVD featuring 23 classic tracks recorded almost one year ago (May 26, 2012) on the final night of its final world tour ever (which was 50 weeks long). Recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, this truly special release features at least one song from each of JP's 14 studio albums it recorded with legendary singer Rob Halford, from 1974's Rocka Rolla through 2008's concept album, Nostradamus. It is their most truly comprehensive live set to date.

Though Judas Priest initially started out in late 1970 with a different singer (Al Atkins) and had a more blues rock-based direction, 1973 marked the year Halford, one of the most gifted male singers in rock history, joined the band (which had also begun by then to take on a more hard rock/metal direction). Thus, Judas Priest is in essence celebrating the 40th anniversary of the start of the Halford era.

The upcoming release features the expected classic metal tracks and fan favorites from their '70s output, including epic cuts like "Victim of Changes," from 1976's Sad Wings of Destiny, along with "Hell Bent for Leather" and (their popular Fleetwood Mac cover) "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)," both of which are from the 1979 HBFL album. There are even more cuts from their '80s catalog (their most commercially successful period), including four from British Steel (hits "Living After Midnight," "Breaking the Law," along with the influential early speed metal classic "Rapid Fire" and "Metal Gods"), as well as more rarely played songs like "Blood Red Skies" (from 1988's Ram It Down).

The lineup for this one-of-a-kind show consisted of Halford, longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton, longtime bassist and band co-founder Ian Hill, drummer Scott Travis, and guitarist Richie Faulkner, who took over for retired six-stringer and band co-founder K.K. Downing in 2011.

The full tracklist of Epitaph, complete with an album index for all selections, can be viewed here. Fans will also be pleased to know that Judas Priest plans to follow this release up with a new studio album it is currently working on.

Note: This article was first published at Blogcritics Magazine