Closing Time: Red Sox fight back with a rout of Orioles
|09.19.11 at 11:06 pm ET|
The Red Sox garnered a much-needed dose of optimism in Game 2 of their doubleheader against the Orioles Monday night, beating up on the O’s, 18-9, behind an attack that included 20 hits. The Sox also finished the contest going 11-for-19 with runners in scoring position, marking the most hits they’ve had this season in such situations.
The win kept the Sox two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the wild card race, with the Rays getting an off day before starting their series in New York Tuesday. It also marked just the third time in 14 games this month that the Red Sox have won despite their opponent scoring five or more runs.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Sox’ 88th win of the season (and just fifth victory in 18 tries this month):
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– In his first at-bat since getting a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder, Jed Lowrie gave the Red Sox the lead for good with a three-run homer in the first inning off of Baltimore starter Brian Matusz. The homer completed a comeback for the Sox after they had fallen behind 3-0 in the visitors half of the first. Lowrie finished with a pair of hits and four RBI.
– The top four hitters in the Red Sox batting order — Jacoby Ellsbury, Marco Scutaro, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia — all had three hits apiece. Ellsbury and Scutaro also had three runs, while Pedroia finished with four RBI.
– Ellsbury not only went 3-for-5, but came away with an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning. The outfielder’s 28th homer of the season — coming on a ball that hit off the side of the Red Sox bullpen in center field and ricocheted out toward left — was the first inside-the-parker for a Red Sox player since May 28, 2007 (Kevin Youkilis).
– In the same inning as Ellsbury’s inside-the-park home run, Conor Jackson launched a grand slam over the left field (the second of his career). Up until the seventh inning at-bat, Jackson had joined Jason Varitek as the only two members of the Sox’ starting lineup not to have claimed a hit. Jackson also made a tremendous catch in the third inning, diving onto the dirt along left field to rob Nick Markakis of a sure hit.
– Matt Albers struck out the only two batters he faced, marking on the second time this season the reliever has failed to allow a baserunner in back-to-back appearances.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– John Lackey’s performance was the obvious lowlight of the evening, with the starter giving up eight runs on 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings. The righty’s ERA ballooned to 6.49. It was 10th time in his career he has allowed eight or more runs in an outing, and the fourth occasion this season. The appearance was the first time he has surrendered that many runs and his team has won.
– The Red Sox committed three more errors, giving them 21 for month, the most in the majors for September.
– Jason Varitek had a rough game, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts while suffering through four Baltimore stolen bases. It was the eighth time in the catcher’s career he has struck out four times in a game, with the last occasion coming April 21, 2010.
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