|Closing time: Lineup explodes as Red Sox coast to win over Blue Jays||06.27.12 at 4:17 pm ET|
Tuesday night, the Red Sox waited until late in the game to break out the offense against the Blue Jays. Wednesday afternoon, they wasted no time getting to work.
Or, to be a bit precise, almost no time. The Sox actually found themselves down 1-0 when they came to bat in the first, as Jon Lester gave up two hits to the Jays’ first two batters of the game. Lester however, settled down to retire the next three in a row.
But Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero could not recover from his own early struggles, instead facing issues with staying in the strike zone. The left-hander walked two of the first three batters he faced and six overall. When he did get the ball over the plate, the Sox made him pay, hammering shots all over the park en route to a 6-1 lead in the first and an eventual 10-4 win.
The damage was done up and down the lineup. David Ortiz had yet another monster game, walloping a homer and walking three times, while Cody Ross, Adrian Gonzalez and Mike Aviles all had multi-hit efforts.
Lester, meanwhile, retired 17 of 18 batters after giving up the two early hits, as the Sox claimed one of their easier victories in some time.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Offensively, where to begin? The Sox batted around in the first inning, the 11th time this year. The 10 runs represented the most Boston’s offense has scored this year with Lester pitching. Lester had entered the game with the second lowest average run support among Sox starters.
– Ortiz had quite the day, with three walks, and four runs, including a solo home run, the 399th in his career. Ortiz is on pace for 45 homers and 50 doubles. There are just 11 seasons in baseball history of 40+ homers and at least 50 doubles, and none by a player who was older than 29 years old.
– Cody Ross went 2-for-3 with a double, his eighth extra-base hit in nine games since returning from the disabled list.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Lester allowed hit a few rough patches in the outing and the Jays were able to capitalize. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead to start the game, the Jays power-bats took Lester deep for two home runs to make it a 10-4 game. He struggled in the sixth inning, giving up a double to Bautista and a home run to Encarnacion. He allowed two homers, just the second time this year he’s given up multiple homers in the same game.
Though he evened his record at 5-5 and delivered seven innings, Lester allowed four runs on seven hits (including a pair of massive homers, his second multi-homer game of the year), as his ERA crept up from 4.48 to 4.53. He has allowed at least three runs in eight straight starts, the longest such run of his career.
– Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-4, completing a three-game series in which he went 1-for-11 with a pair of errors.
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