With the front half of their starting rotation faltering and fragile, the Boston Red Sox got back-to-back quality starts from Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront to claim both ends of an elongated day/night double header at Fenway Park Tuesday. The twin killing pushed Boston to 44-29 on the year, the best record in the American League.
The victories Tuesday were especially significant for the A.L. East leading Red Sox. Staff ace Jon Lester has not won in his last six starts and undefeated Clay Buchholz, already skipped over his last two starts, went on the 15-day DL Tuesday in between the day/night double header.
Daniel Nava staked the Red Sox to a 1-0 lead in the nightcap with his 10th home run of the season and at one point, Boston starter Felix Doubront retired 17 straight Rays. Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 9th, Doubront, who was effective and efficient with 98 pitches after eight innings, was lifted for closer Andrew Bailey. Bailey promptly gave up a 9th inning lead off home run to Kelly Johnson that allowed the Rays to tie the score at 1-1.
Boston’s Mr. Play Any Position, Anywhere, Anytime Nava, nursed a walk to start Boston’s home half of the final frame, and Jonny Gomes followed with a towering home run over the Monster to place a period at the end of Boston’s 3-1 nightcap win.
Boston’s Jose Iglesias, starting at third in the second game of the double header, laced a fifth inning single to extend his hitting streak to 18 straight games, the longest in the major leagues this year.
In the first game of the scheduled double header, Boston built a 4-1 lead and had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth when rain suspended play. The Red Sox scored in the first when Jacoby Ellsbury doubled and came home on a sacrifice by Dustin Pedroia off Tampa starter Chris Archer, lifted in the fifth with the bases loaded after 105 pitches.
Tampa answered in the bottom of the second when Luke Scott doubled in Evan Longoria, who got aboard as one of three walks by Aceves in the inning. Boston dodged further damage in the frame with a double play to end a big threat.
Ellsbury tagged Archer for a single to start the third, and moved to third on Shane Victorino’s follow up single. Ortiz then roped a single to score both Boston runners for his 50th and 51st RBI of the year to make it 3-1 Red Sox. Ortiz notched his third RBI of the game in the fifth by driving in Victorino, and with Papi at second, Nava at first courtesy of a walk and Pedroia at third likewise on base thanks to Archer’s fifth walk of the game, rain forced a halt in the action with two outs. Archer was lifted and replaced by Josh Lueke, who got Jarrod Saltalamachia to score the third out on a foul tip.
Junichi Tazawa relieved Aceves following the length rain delay and got Tampa 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Boston increased its lead to 5-1 when, with two outs, Ellsbury buried a triple into the right field corner followed by a similar stroke by Shane Victorino which resulted in an RBI triple for him which increased Boston’s lead.
Lefty Andrew Miller took the hill for Boston in the seventh and wrapped a pair of strike outs around a Jose Molina single and a ground out by Yunel Escobar to throw up another scoreless inning of relief for Boston. Koji Uehara came on for Boston in the eighth and gave up a lead off double to Matt Joyce before recovering to get out of the inning scoreless to preserve the Boston lead at 5-1.
Craig Breslow closed out the Rays with a scoreless ninth inning, making a winner of Aceves who improved to 4-1 and a loser of Archer who dropped to 1-2.
Ellsbury went 3 for 5 and Papi drove in three runs to highlight Boston’s offensive efforts. Highly touted Tampa rookie Wil Myers, last year’ Minor League Player of the Year, made his Major League debut at Fenway in the first game, playing right field. His debut was preceded by Rays’ tv announcers proclaiming him as the second coming of Evan Longoria. He went 0-4 at the plate in the opener.
The win in the first game improved the Red Sox to 43-29 on the season, 8-2 in head-to-head competition with the Rays in the A.L. East, and kept Tampa winless through the first half of the double header at Fenway this year at 0-4.
Boston made a number of roster moves half way through the day Tuesday. The Red Sox place undefeated starter Clay Buchholz on the disabled list with continued discomfort in his collar bone and likewise placed back up catcher David Ross on the seven day DL for concussions, marking the second time Ross has been DL’ed for concussions. In corresponding moves, Boston called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Pawtucket and called up and additional pitcher.
- Red Sox-Rays Live: Alfredo Aceves Works Around Two-Out Double, Game Still Tied 1-1 in Third Inning (nesn.com)
- Birds carve into Boston’s A.L. division lead with 6-3 win Sunday (baseballtrashtalkin.org)