Bosox batters sparkle in sweep of Padres

Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury

Boston batters lit up San Diego pitchers like 4th of July firecrackers Thursday, collecting 18 hits on the way to an 8-2 victory that completed a three-game sweep of San Diego. Red Sox rookie right-hander Allen Webster went six innings to collect his first career Major League victory as no less than eight Red Sox starters notched at least two hits each on the day.

The win moved Boston to 53-34 on the year, a full 19 games above the .500 mark, and combined with the White Sox 3-2 win over Baltimore on the holiday schedule, increased the Red Sox A.L. East lead to 4.5 games, the biggest division lead of the year for Boston. The victory also improved Boston’s 2013 record against National League teams to 7-2.

The Red Sox got out of the gate quickly when Jacoby Ellsbury singled off San Diego starter Eric Stults’ second pitch of the game and moved the third on Shane Victorino’s follow-up wall-ball double. Dustin Pedroia stroked another double down the left field line to propel Boston to an early 2-0 advantage. Ellsbury’s lead-off single stretched his current hitting streak to 14 games.

Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

Recent call-up Brandon Snyder, getting another start at third, tagged Stults for a home run into the Bosox bullpen in the second inning to extend Boston’s lead to 3-0.

Webster got himself into big trouble in the third, but escaped with minimal damage. He issued a walk to Pedro Ciriaco, hit Logan Forsythe, then gave up a single to Will Venable to load the bases with Padres in the third. He enticed Carlos Quentin into a shallow fly out to left for one out, was tagged for a sacrifice RBI fly by Chase Headley, then walked Jesus Guzman to reload the bases. He escaped the jam by getting Mark Kotsay to ground out to end the inning with Boston leading 3-1.

The Red Sox picked up their fourth run in the bottom of the fourth when Jose Iglesias doubled in Mike Napoli. It marked the 34th game out of 40 that Iglesias has appeared in this season that he hit safely, making the score Boston 4, San Diego 1.

Brandon Snyder

Brandon Snyder

San Diego scratched back for a run in the top of the fifth to make it 4-2. Will Venable tagged Webster for a double and scored on a RBI single off the bat of Jesus Guzman. Boston countered in its half of the fifth when Mike Napoli drilled a ground rule double to center field and scored on an RBI single by Wednesday night’s hero, Jonny Gomes to make it 5-2 Boston. The Red Sox added two more runs in the sixth inning, loading the bases against Padres reliever Tyson Ross before David Ortiz stroked a single to right to knock in his 58th and 59th runs of the year to increase Boston’s lead to 7-2. Iglesias got on board during the inning by dumping a nifty bunt down the third base line to register his 18th infield hit of the season, second only to Pedroia with 19. Ellsbury continued Boston’s 4th of July outburst in the bottom of the eighth, launching his second home run of the season and first round-tripper since April 7th to make it 8-2 Boston. Ortiz added a double in the frame to increase the Red Sox hit total to 18 on the day.

Baby-faced Webster, all of 23, finished his first Major League win with a pitching line of IP 6 R 2 ER 2 H 5 BB 4 K 4 PC 97 to go 1-2 on the season.

Former closer Andrew Bailey tossed a perfect 7th inning of relief for Boston, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Alex Wilson worked around a double and a base on balls to hold San Diego scoreless in the eight and Craig Breslow came on in the ninth to finish it for Boston.

Stults took the loss for the Padres to fall to 6-7 on the season.

With the San Diego series concluded, the Red Sox now embark on a 10-game West Coast trip that will take them into the All-Star break. Boston currently owns a 22-18 road mark on the season. First stop is a three game set against the Angels, followed by four with Seattle and concluding with a series against Oakland from July 12-14. The All Star break runs July 15-18. Boston then returns to Fenway to host A.L. East rivals New York and Tampa Bay in back-to-back home series.

Friday night’s series opener against the Angels will feature a couple of lefties on the mound. Boston’s Felix Doubront will be looking for his fifth win of the season against three losses in facing off against the Angels’ southpaw C.J. Wilson at 8-5 on the year.

Shortstop Stephen Drew is still on the mend following a hamstring issue from last week and could be ready for play sometime this weekend according to manager John Farrell. His return will again cause a logjam of infielders on Boston’s 25-man roster, which now includes Jonathan Diaz and Brandon Snyder. Further complicating roster issues, is the rejuvenated play of former starter Will Middlebrooks. The demoted third baseman has apparently found a healthy back, rib cage and swing at Pawtucket and drove in a total of eight RBI in one game for the PawSox this week. His improved play may force some type of trade prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, or at the very minimum, quell rumors about the Red Sox dealing for Michael Young of the Phillies.

Categories: A-AMERICAN LEAGUE, American League Happenings

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