Closing Time: Adrian Gonzalez, home runs propel Red Sox to another win
|05.30.12 at 10:15 pm ET|
Adrian Gonzalez came through when it counted the most in the Red Sox’ 6-4 win over the Tigers Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
One half inning after allowing the Tigers to score the game-tying run when he couldn’t haul in Miguel Cabrera’s pop up down the right field line in the seventh inning, Gonzalez brought in the game-winner with a ground rule double into the right field corner with two outs in the seventh. The RBI, which was his second double of the game, brought in Daniel Nava, who had worked a two-out walk.
Also helping the cause were two-run homers in the fourth inning by David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, along with Kevin Youkilis’ solo shot in the eighth inning.
Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox, who now find themselves at two games over .500 and just 2 1/2 games out of first-place:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Ortiz continued his torrid stretch, launching a two-run homer in the fourth inning — his 12th of the season — and a wall-ball single in the sixth. The two hits raised the designated hitter’s batting average to .324. It was Ortiz’ sixth homer of the season against a left-hander, which is more than he has had in all but four of the slugger’s 15 seasons.
- The other Red Sox player to homer, Middlebrooks, capped a four-run, fourth inning with his sixth of the season. The ball just cleared the left field wall and plated Kevin Youkilis.
- After Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine praised Daniel Nava’s arm prior to the game, the left fielder showed his stuff in the seventh inning. Nava gathered in Alex Avila’s line-drive off the left field wall and threw to second baseman Nick Punto, who applied a quick tag for the first out of the inning.
- Valentine made a somewhat unorthodox move by visiting the mound with one out in the seventh inning and the tying run at second base, seemingly intent on taking out Lester. But after a brief conversation the manager decided to leave in the lefty, who proceeded to strikeout Quinton Berry before giving way to reliever Matt Albers.
- Jon Lester rebounded from a rocky start to turn in a fairly solid outing, allowing four runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and not walking a batter. The lefty had to dig himself out of a 3-0 hole after the first three innings. It was the first time in 31 starts that Lester had surrendered at least 10 hits.
- After some suspect plays in center field — allowing balls to hit on the warning track, resulting in Detroit hits — Marlon Byrd made the play of the game when he dove head-first to catch Gerald Laird’s sinking liner to end the Tigers’ half of the eighth.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Adrian Gonzalez was left in the right field in the seventh inning with the Red Sox and it backfired a bit. With two outs and runners on first and second, Miguel Cabrera lobbed a high fly ball down the right field line which was just out of the range of second baseman Nick Punto, forcing Gonzalez to attempt a sliding catch, which he couldn’t quite execute. The result was the game-tying run, as Gerald Laird scored from second.
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