PHILADELPHIA — It could have turned out to be a very uneven day for the Red Sox.
First came the news that Kevin Youkilis wouldn’t be available due to an injured left ankle (which was X-rayed, coming back negative). That led to a lineup that featured Darnell McDonald hitting second and Jason Varitek manning the No. 5 hole. And then, just before the series finale with the Phillies, outfielder Mike Cameron was designated for assignment by the Sox.
But thanks to Jon Lester, all the potential distractions meant little. The lefty starter allowed just two hits over seven innings, striking out five, walking two and not giving up a single run. The end result was a 5-2 win for the Red Sox, who head to Houston 2-6 on their current road trip.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win …
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Jacoby Ellsbury showed his worth once again, notching a pair of hits, including an RBI single scoring Drew Sutton with the Red Sox’ second run. It was a welcome turn of events for Ellsbury, who came into the game just 2-for-21 on the road trip.
– Varitek accounted for the Red Sox’ third and fifth runs when he went deep to right field for his fourth and fifth home runs of the season. The two solo shots allowed the catcher to now hit safely in 16 of his last 20 starts. The game marked the first time since 2007 that Varitek had hit as high as the No. 5 spot in the order, being slotted just behind cleanup hitter Dustin Pedroia. It was also his 11th career multi-home run game.
– Sutton, who was subbing in for Kevin Youkilis due to the third baseman’s injured left ankle, came away with his fifth multi-hit game of the season. According to WEEI.com stat man Gary Marbry, he also became the 61st Red Sox player to have at least one RBI on his birthday, with Ted Williams leading the way with 13 birthday RBIs.
– The Red Sox were able to get Philly starter Cole Hamels out of the game after just four innings thanks to a line-drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez which bruised the pitcher’s right hand. (X-rays were negative.) Hamels, who now has the second-lowest ERA in the majors since last July 1, had only surrendered two hits without allowing a run before his departure.
“I hope this kid is OK, but Gonzy’s hit was’¦ He was going right through us,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “That was probably our best way to get him out of there because he wasn’t going to leave anytime soon. Obviously, when you get to the bullpen before you want to, it gave us a chance.”
– Pedroia remained strong as a cleanup hitter, this time hitting his fourth career opposite field home run in the eighth inning. The blast over the right field was the only hit of the day for the second baseman, who is now 14-for-24 three homers in the No. 4 spot.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Bobby Jenks‘ struggled in his second appearance of the series, allowing a two-run homer to Ryan Howard in the ninth. The reliever recorded just one out, allowing two hits and a walk before giving way to Jonathan Papelbon.
– J.D. Drew couldn’t show the Philadelphia fans what was what, lining out to end the Sox’ half of the seventh inning after being booed robustly by the sellout crowd. Drew, who chose not sign with the Phillies after being drafted by Philly in 1997, came into the game hitting .338 in Citizens Bank Park (25-for-74, 5 HRs). Things only got worse for Drew in the next half inning as he failed to come up with a foul fly ball off the bat of Chase Utley, watching it bounce off his glove while siding near the stands.