|Closing Time: Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez stars in Red Sox win||07.07.12 at 10:53 pm ET|
Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader was dominated by two Red Sox players who were not even with the team a week ago. Pedro Ciriaco and Mauro Gomez provided a powerful spark from the No. 8 and 9 sports in the Red Sox batting order, leading Boston to a 9-5 win over the Yankees.
The night did not start so well for Gomez though, who made two errors and allowed a bunt base hit in the first to set up a three-run home run for Mark Teixeira off Felix Doubront. However, Doubront settled down and kept Boston within striking distance, not allowing another run until the seventh inning. Doubront finished the night having allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on four hits while striking out six through 6 1/3 innings.
Thanks to Doubront’s efforts, the Red Sox clawed their way back into the game, scraping across runs in the third and fifth before capitalizing on a three-run double in the sixth inning off Phil Hughes to take a lead they would not surrender again. Hughes left the game after the sixth-inning double, ending his night having allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on 10 hits while striking out three through 5 1/3 innings.
While Gomez made two errors on the first play of the game, the Yankees were the team that did not play well in the field for the rest of the game, recording a season-high five errors.
The Red Sox salvaged their first win of the four-game series, bringing their record back above .500. Boston will try to keep it above .500 entering the All-Star break during Sunday’s series finale.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- Ciriaco had a good showing at the plate from the bottom of the order. Batting ninth, the 26-year-old went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs, a double and a stolen base. The former Pirate’s night was highlighted by a clutch bases-clearing three-run double in the sixth inning.
Besides his performance at the plate, Ciriaco also showed that he can play the field well, making a couple of nifty snags at shortstop in the fourth inning. As a versatile fielder that can play any infield position, Ciriaco is another mid-season call-up that would be hard to send back down to the minors if he continues to perform well.
- While Gomez was not good in the field for the Red Sox, he provided a spark to the offense from the bottom of the order. Gomez went 3-for-5 on the day with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. The runs were the first two of his career.
Gomez earned his first two RBIs of his career in the two games prior to Saturday’s Game 2 on a couple of RBI singles. With his first two runs of his career and a .421 batting average through his first six major league games, Gomez provides a decent offensive option off the bench that may help counteract his defensive shortcomings.
- Adrian Gonzalez lofted a double off the Green Monster in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Gonzalez recorded another two hits on the night, including a double off the wall in center field.
The 18-game hitting streak is a career high for Gonzalez, whose previous career high had been 17 set twice in 2006 with the Padres. The hitting streak, which dates back to June 20, has increased Gonzalez’s batting average from .257 to .285.
- After surrendering the three-run home run in the first inning, Doubront settled down nicely for the Red Sox, not allowing a hit for nine batters from the fourth through the seventh inning. In what could have been another disastrous outing for Red Sox starters in the series, the Venezuelan kept the Yankees within striking distance and his offense capitalized.
Doubront, who lasted 6 1/3 innings, has lasted at least six innings in seven of his last nine starts. With a 4.41 ERA, the 24-year-old remains one of the most consistent Red Sox starters in a rotation that lacks consistency.
- Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh to increase the Red Sox lead to 6-4. The triple marked a successful return for Sweeney, who looked as if he was going to go hitless in his first game back from a toe injury he received on June 16.
The triple, which was his first triple since the first game of the season on April 5, gave the Red Sox a much-needed insurance run late in the game. Sweeney came around to score another insurance run when Gomez knocked him home later in the inning.
- Vicente Padilla was back to the form he had been in all season when he came in with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth. Padilla did not allow any of the inherited runners to score by forcing back-to-back pop-outs by Yankees hitters.
Padilla did not hit either of the two batters he faced.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- The Yankees picked on Gomez in the top of the first using his poor defensive play to get the first two batters on base. First, Gomez bobbled a ground ball from Derek Jeter and then threw the ball wide of Gonzalez at first. The play resulted in two errors and Jeter standing on second base. Then, Curtis Granderson laid down a bunt to third base and legged out an infield single as Gomez could not whip the ball to Gonzalez in time for the out.
Gomez, who also made an error in Game 1 of the doubleheader, deserves a bit of slack, as he is not a natural third baseman. Until Wednesday in Oakland, the last time the 27-year-old had played third base had been at the Single-A level. Gomez played mostly first base or designated hitter in the minors, but the injuries to Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia have forced Gomez to be a more versatile infielder.
- Doubront gave up a first inning home run to the Yankees, something that is becoming a trend for Red Sox starters. Teixeira crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in straightaway center field to give the Yankees an early three-run lead.
The homer was the third first-inning homer allowed by Red Sox pitching today, as Franklin Morales allowed back-to-back homers to Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones in the Game 1 loss. The Red Sox have now allowed 10 first-inning earned runs in the past three games, and have a 6.25 ERA in first innings this season as a staff.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia struggled at the plate for the Red Sox on Saturday night, going 0-for-5 with four swinging strikeouts. The toughest out for Saltalamacchia came in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded when he had an opportunity to expand the Red Sox two-run lead after striking out his first three times at the plate. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old catcher, he swung and missed again, this time against Boone Logan.
While Saltalamacchia has been consistently good for the Red Sox this season, he has struggled to make contact with the ball in his last two games, totaling seven strikeouts in ten at-bats.
- The Red Sox continued to struggle finding an answer for Jones. The 35-year-old outfielder crushed his third home run of the doubleheader with a gargantuan blast over the Green Monster for the third time today. Jones also made an impressive diving catch on a line drive by Sweeney to end the second inning.
Jones is doing it all this series for the Yankees, showing flashes of what he could do in his prime with the Braves. Red Sox pitchers have to find a way to keep the ball away from Jones, or else he could continue to make it rain baseballs on Lansdowne Street.
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