Closing Time: Nick Punto’s bat, Felix Doubront’s arm carry Red Sox out of last-place
|06.02.12 at 4:18 pm ET|
The Red Sox have finally climbed their way out of last-place in the division as they topped the Blue Jays on Saturday. The two teams entered Saturday’s game two games over .500, but the Red Sox used a 7-4 win at Rogers Centre to squeak into fourth place.
A four-run second inning gave the Red Sox a lead that they would never surrender, thanks to RBIs from Will Middlebrooks, Nick Punto, and Daniel Nava. All of the RBIs came with two outs, including Nava’s two-run single to center field that bounced off Colby Rasmus’ glove.
The Blue Jays slowly were making a comeback between the third and fifth innings, as they scored a run in each of those three frames thanks to two home runs and an unearned run. Toronto had a chance for more runs in the third with the bases loaded and two outs, but Rasmus helped the Red Sox out again by popping out to third.
The Red Sox play the final game of the series tomorrow and will be looking for a series sweep on the road before their day off on Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Punto drove an RBI double to right field in the second inning, scoring Ryan Sweeney from third base. Punto earned his first double and first RBI since his first start of the season on April 8 against the Tigers. That game was also the last time Punto had a multi-hit game, a feat that he accomplished on Saturday after a seventh-inning single to right field.
Punto also hit his first home run since Sept. 27, 2011 in the top of the ninth inning, crushing one into the second deck in right field.
While Punto has been struggling at the plate recently and is only hitting .175 on the season, he has a hit in three of his last five games.
– Felix Doubront continues to be the most consistent Red Sox starter this season, earning his fifth win in his last six starts. Doubront pitched 6 1/3 innings, only allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven on Saturday. The Venezuelan lefty leads the Red Sox with six wins and 66 strikeouts on the season.
– The Red Sox left Nava in the leadoff spot again on Saturday and he continued to produce, driving in two runs on an RBI single in the second inning that went off of Rasmus’ glove. In his four games batting leadoff this season, Nava has four hits and six RBIs while scoring two runs.
Nava has been a reliable option in the outfield for the Red Sox with all of their injuries, as he is now batting .315 with 18 RBIs in his 23 games played this year.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Even though Middlebrooks drove in a run with an RBI single in the game, the 23-year-old third baseman grounded into two double plays on Saturday. Middlebrooks has grounded into three double plays in the past two games after only hitting into one in his first 24 games. The first double play that he hit into scored Kevin Youkilis from third.
– Jeff Mathis not only hit his third home run on the year in the game, he caught the Red Sox napping in the fourth inning by bunting for a base hit with two outs. Mathis dropped a bunt towards Middlebrooks, who was positioned too far back to have a chance to make the play. The bunt single advanced David Cooper, who had reached on an error the previous at-bat, and set up Kelly Johnson to deliver an RBI single to left field.
– Sweeney let a throw to the infield slip out of his hand in the bottom of the eighth, allowing Edwin Encarnacion to score all the way from first instead of standing in at second. With a runner on second, the tying run came to the plate for the Blue Jays with only one out. However, Rajai Davis flew out to center field, before Brett Lawrie was caught stealing third to end the threat. The error was the Red Sox second error on the game.
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