|Closing Time: Umpires help Sox as Doubront cruises||05.28.12 at 4:14 pm ET|
Felix Doubront and some questionable umpiring helped the Red Sox get back to .500, as the Sox defeated the Tigers on Monday, 7-4, to improve to 24-24 on the season. It wasn’t all good for the Sox, however, as Dustin Pedroia left the game prior to the sixth inning with a jammed right thumb.
Doubront, who improved to 5-3 on the season, threw 95 pitches over six innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs on a pair of solo homers and walking one while picking up six strikeouts. His earned run average now sits at 3.86. The Tigers got their runs against the starter on dingers from Delmon Young and Gerald Laird.
The Sox held a 7-2 lead entering the ninth inning, but Alfredo Aceves had his second straight shaky outing as he allowed a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta before striking out Andy Dirks to end the game.
Though the Sox jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a David Ortiz double, it was a blown call by the home plate and first base umpires (see below), that allowed the Sox to extend the second inning and pick up three runs on RBIs from Mike Aviles, Daniel Nava and Pedroia. Both Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont were tossed from the game as a result.
The Sox added to their lead in the second inning on Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s ninth homer of the season, while Will Middlebrooks picked up an RBI single in the sixth inning. Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed 11 hits and six earned runs over five-plus innings.
The Sox will look to get above .500 for the first time this season when Tuesday, but they face a big challenge as they send Daniel Bard to the mound against reigning American League MVP Justin Verlander.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
• The Sox caught a real break in the bottom of the second inning when first place umpire Bill Welke botched what should have been an inning-ending third strike to Aviles. The Sox shortstop got a piece of an offering from Fister with two strikes and two down, but contended after Laird caught it that the ball had hit the dirt first. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson appealed to Welke, who incorrectly confirmed the call. Two pitches later, Aviles lined an RBI single into center field to score Ryan Sweeney.
Both Nava and Pedroia picked up RBIs in the following two at-bats, so the blown call allowed the Sox to score three runs. Leyland and Lamont came out of the dugout to argue the call in between innings and, with Lamont being thrown out by third base ump Tim Tschida. Leyland then threw a water bottle, and just before play resumed Welke called timeout to toss out Leyland from across the field.
• Doubront has tossed at least six innings in six of his last eight starts. He was very sharp on Monday, and as a result of Danny Worth oversliding second base and being tagged out to lead off the third inning, he only had two men on base during at-bats the entire day, and no runners in scoring position.
It was the first time this season that Doubront allowed multiple homers in a game, but given the lack of baserunners Doubront had on the day, the damage was limited by the fact that they were solo shots.
• Saltalamacchia has been on quite the tear (for him at least) when it comes to homers. Five of Saltalamacchia’s nine home runs this season have come over the last 13 games, and Monday’s dinger was the catcher’s second in the last three contests. At his current rate, Saltalamacchia should easily surpass his career-high 16 homers from last season and is on pace to turn in a 30-homer campaign.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
• Pedroia’s jammed right thumb may have come as a result of a really sharp play he made to end the top of the fifth inning. The Sox’ second baseman dove to get to a sharp Worth grounder that was going away from him and into the outfield, and he was able to throw out the Detroit second baseman to retire the side. Nick Punto replaced him at second base to begin the top of the sixth.
• For the first time since coming off the disabled list, Kevin Youkilis failed to reach base for the Sox. He was the only member of the starting lineup to not get a hit for Boston Monday, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Prior to Monday, Youkilis had gone 6-for-16 with a homer and two RBIs over five games since his return from a back strain.
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