The Arizona Diamondbacks needed every bit of 7 runs on 15 hits to withstand another round of drama from the Red Sox at Fenway Park Friday night, holding on for a 7-6 win. One night after Boston scored 6 runs in a 9th inning rally to beat Seattle, Boston had the table set with more drama in the bottom of the 9th against Arizona, with two on and two out, but this time the chips didn’t fall Boston’s way as Dustin Pedroia grounded out to Diamondback’s closer Brad Ziegler to preserve the win for Arizona.
Boston’s three-game win streak was snapped, and the Red Sox dropped to 7-3 on the season in Inter-League play, but they picked the right night to lose as San Francisco dropped Tampa Bay 4-1, allowing Boston to maintain its one game lead in the A.L. East.
Arizona and Boston wasted little time in getting to the fireworks Friday night at the Fens. Paul Goldschmidt tagged Boston starter Jon Lester for a two run homer in the top of the first with A.J. Pollock aboard to stake the Diamondbacks to a quick 2-0 lead. Red Sox DH David Ortiz returned the favor in the bottom of Boston’s first inning by driving in Jacoby Ellsbury, who opened the game with a triple, in slugging his 21st home run of the year to even the slate at 2-2.
In a see-saw affair, the Red Sox grabbed a 4-2 advantage in the second inning when Stephen Drew and Brock Holts hit back-to-back SAC fly RBI’s to plate Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamachia, aboard with a single and double respectively. Arizona got a run back in the third when Martin Prado doubled in Paul Goldschmidt to make it Boston 4, Arizona 3.
The Diamondbacks drove Red Sox lefty Jon Lester from the ball game in the top of the fifth, pounding out five hits and scoring three runs in the inning to take a 6-4 lead and send Lester to an early shower.
The tide swung Boston’s way in the bottom of the 6th when Mike Napoli singled to start the inning and Stephen Drew clubbed his 8th home run of the year to tie the game at 6-6, backed by and inning and two thirds of shutout relief by Boston’s Craig Thorton.
The lead didn’t last long as former Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross greeted Boston reliever Pedro Beato with a long drive over The Monster to give Arizona a 7-6 advantage. Ross proved to be a real pain in the ass for Boston in his return to Fenway, going four-for-five on the night with three RBI. His offensive outburst came on the day he blasted Red Sox management on a local radio station, claiming the Red Sox lied to him during contract negotiations in the off season when they refused to sign him to a three-year deal, then offered multiple-year contracts to Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli.
The Red Sox set the stage for another dramatic finish in the bottom of the ninth when Stephen Drew tagged Arizona closer Ziegler for a lead off single. Brock Holt took a third called strike while attempting to advance Drew to second with a bunt for the first out. Jacoby Ellsbury then punched a crisp single through the right side of the infield to put two runners aboard for Boston in the final frame. Victorino fell behind in the count to Ziegler and poked a shallow fly to left for the second out of the inning and Pedroia, who struggled at the plate the entire game, hit a one hopped back to Ziegler to close out Boston’s threat and make Arizona the winner.
The Red Sox now stand 66-45 on the season. In surrendering the 7th inning homer to Ross, Beato took the loss for Boston letting Lester escape with a non-decision in his shortest outing of the year.
Lester finished the night with a ghoulish pitching line, going just 4-and-a-third innings, giving up 6 runs on 11 hits while striking out six and tossing in excess of 100 pitches.
Newly acquired Jake Peavy gets his first start in a Boston uniform Saturday in game two of the series with Arizona. Peavy compiled an 8-4 record and an ERA of 4.28 while with the Chicago White Sox this year. He will face Arizona’s talented lefty Patrick Corbin who comes in at 12-2 with a nifty 2.24 ERA.
Following Sunday’s series concluding game with the Diamondback, Boston departs on 10 game road trip that will include series at Houston, Kansas City and A.L. East rival Toronto.
- Ross HR caps 4-hit game, D’backs top Red Sox 7-6 (timesleader.com)
- Red Sox-Diamondbacks Live: Sox Welcome D-Backs to Town After Back-to-Back Walk-Off Wins Over Mariners (nesn.com)