Closing Time: Darnell McDonald, Daniel Bard lift Red Sox to fifth straight win
|04.27.12 at 10:58 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Just one win away from .500. It’s a start.
The Red Sox claimed their first five-game win streak since last July, beating the White Sox, 10-3, Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox have outscored their opponents 44-19 during the recent run. It is also the first time they have won as many as five in a row on the road since last June.
Earning his first win as a starter was Daniel Bard, who allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over seven innings. The righty finished his outing throwing 96 pitches (63 strikes), striking out six and walking one.
Darnell McDonald paced the offense with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double and a solo home run, giving him a career-high four RBI.
Here is what went right (and wrong):
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– David Ortiz tied Jim Rice and Frank Howard for 59th on the all-time home run list, taking John Danks over the right field wall for his first homer of the season against a left-hander (having eight last season). The second-inning blast bolstered Ortiz’ claim as being the best early-game hitter in the majors this season, having come into the game 16-for-22 (.727) in the first three innings.
– McDonald notched just his second hit of the season against a left-handed pitcher (2-for-17) this season, ripping a three-run double into the left field corner to give the Red Sox a 7-3 lead in the sixth. McDonald used to dominate against first pitches, hitting .433 in 2010 (13-for-30), but dropped down to .133 (2-for-15) last season. Before his big hit Friday night, he was 0-for-4 on first pitches.
– With one out in the sixth, Dayan Viciedo’s grounder up the middle was snagged by a diving Dustin Pedroia, who sprung up and threw out the White Sox hitter for one of the best Red Sox’ defensive plays of the season.
– Bard was able to manage a high pitch count early in the game by cruising through the fifth and sixth inning with a combined 16 pitches. The starter started the seventh frame at 84 pitches.
– After striking out the first three times, all against lefty starter John Danks, Kelly Shoppach managed a two-run single in the seventh against righty reliever Nate Jones. The catcher is now 6-for-16 against right-handed pitching, and just 2-for-12 vs. lefties. Shoppach did strike out in his final at-bat for a fourth punch-out.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Bard watched as Paul Konerko hit a 92 mph fastball over the left field with two outs in the fifth inning. Konerko came into the game hitting .378 with three homers against fastballs this season. The first baseman’s 401st career homer gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead. It was the first homer allowed by Bard in 2012. Prior to the home run, it looked like the starter was going to come away with a much-needed manageable inning, having thrown 68 pitches heading into the fifth. Bad finished the frame at 79 pitches.
– With two outs in the third inning, Alex Rios‘ grounder back up the middle was knocked down by Bard’s pitching hand. Not only did it sting the pitcher’s hand, resulting in the training staff attending to the hurler, but put runners on first and third. The Sox got out of the frame the next batter, Viciedo, to pop out to shortstop Mike Aviles in shallow center, but not after Alexei Ramirez scored the tying run on a passed by Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
– White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski became the only batter this season to manage to claim a hit off a Bard changeup, ripping an 89 mph change to left field to drive in the game’s first run, in the first inning.
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