|Closing Time: Will Middlebrooks does it again, helps lead Red Sox to rout of Royals||05.07.12 at 11:24 pm ET|
The rookie has decided to put the Red Sox on his back.
A day after hitting a grand slam for his first major league homer, Will Middlebrooks launched two more home runs in the Red Sox’ 11-5 win over the Royals in Kansas City. The third baseman went 3-for-5 with five RBI to raise his batting average to .381 in four big league games. David Ortiz also knocked out three hits (including a home run), while scoring three runs. The Sox finished with 16 hits.
The win snaps the Red Sox’ five-game losing streak, giving them an identical record to the one they had after 28 games last season (12-16).
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Sox’ series-opening win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Vicente Padilla has now stranded all nine baserunners he has inherited this season after inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Billy Butler. The ground out came immediately after Padilla came on for Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, who left the game with the bases loaded, one out and the Sox clinging to a two-run lead.
- Doubront finished his 6 1/3-inning outing giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits, striking out two and walking three. It was the longest out of the season for the lefty, who threw a career-high 111 pitches.
- After escaping the seventh, the Red Sox put the game away with a four-run eighth inning, keyed by Middlebrooks’ second home run of the game, a two-run blast which rattled off the left field foul pole. Also plating a pair was Cody Ross, whose double to center field scored both Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.
- Middlebrooks went a long way in getting the Red Sox off on the right foot, hitting another home run, this time coming in the form of a three-run variety. The blast, his second in as many days, scored both Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz. It was a welcome change for the Red Sox, who had totaled just 10 runs (along with a .238 batting average) in the first inning all season. Even before the home run, the Red Sox got on the board first via Gonzalez’ RBI single, plating Dustin Pedroia.
- An unorthodox move by Sox manager Bobby Valentine seemed to pay dividends in the first inning when, after Doubront issued a two-out walk to Billy Butler, Valentine visited the mound for what appeared to be somewhat of a pep talk. The Sox starter came back and got Eric Hosmer to pop up to third base to end the inning, allowing the visitors to head into the second inning carrying a four-run lead.
- Ortiz hit another home run against a left-hander, going deep against KC starter Jonathan Sanchez in the third inning. The blast to right-center field was Ortiz’ seventh of the season, and fourth against a lefty. The DH came into the game with a 1.204 OPS against southpaws, far and away the best of any left-handed hitter in the majors (and 8th-best overall).
- Pedroia had another big game, going 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBI and his fourth home run of the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Marlon Byrd missed a catchable ball at the edge of the warning track on a Mike Moustakas’ fly ball, with the ball dropping to the side of the outfielder’s glove in the second inning. The play resulted in a Moustakas double, moving Jeff Francoeur (who had walked) to third. Francoeur would ultimately come in on a ground out from Brayan Pena, and Moustakas scored on Chris Getz’ fly ball.
- Doubront got into a jam in his final frame, giving up three singles before walking home the Royals’ fifth run on a bases-loaded walk to Alex Gordon.
- Kelly Shoppach had some tough luck, first getting robbed on a rocket down the third base line by Moustakas, and then, with runners on second and third and two outs, Gordon made a great diving grab on Shoppach’s sinking liner in the seventh.
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