|Closing Time: Red Sox hold on, beat Royals||08.26.12 at 5:14 pm ET|
The Red Sox’ season might be over, but don’t tell them that.
After completing one of the most monumental trades in team history on Saturday, the Red Sox are looking toward the future. And on Sunday, that future was on full display. Pedro Ciriaco put together yet another impressive performance while a pair of Red Sox players making their Boston debuts — first baseman James Loney and relief pitcher Pedro Beato — made an impact in the team’s 8-6 victory over the Royals at Fenway Park.
Felix Doubront, making his return from the disabled list, was inconsistent, pitching just five innings and allowing four earned runs while striking out seven, but the offense once again picked up the slack, racking up 14 hits and putting across eight runs.
Here’s what went right and wrong for the Red Sox in the win over the Royals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
• Ciriaco continued his impressive season by going 3-for-5 with two RBIs from the leadoff spot, including a mammoth solo homer – his second career round-tripper – in the fifth that cleared the Green Monster seats and smacked off the AAA Auto Insurance sign.
Ciriaco is hitting .360 this season and has 17 hits in his last 35 at-bats. His hitting streak is at six games.
• Dustin Pedroia gave the Red Sox some insurance in the eighth inning, crushing a solo home run over the Green Monster to extend the Sox’ lead to 8-6. It was his 12th home run of the season and third in August.
• Pedro Beato, in his Red Sox debut, relieved Doubront and pitched two impressive scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two in the sixth and seventh innings before putting together a rocky eighth inning.
• Loney, who was acquired in Saturday’s blockbuster deal, recorded his first career Red Sox hit in the fifth, singling through the right side to score Jacoby Ellsbury, which tied the game at 4-4 at that point.
• Doubront ran into a bit of trouble in the third inning, but got out of it unscathed. With one out, Ciriaco made an impressive stop at third on a fast shorthop, but threw it into right field while trying to get a force out at second, which allowed Lorenzo Cain to advance to third.
The Royals were denied runs, however, after Doubront forced Alex Gordon into a foul out to Ciriaco before striking out Billy Butler swinging to end the inning.
• Cody Ross opened up the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single that found its way through the left side of the infield. The play was set up after Pedroia hit a lazy blooper over Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer’s head that landed just inside the right field line to put him and Ciriaco – who singled to begin the game – in scoring position with one out.
It was Ross’s 64th RBI of the season, which ranks second on the Red Sox this season behind the recently departed Adrian Gonzalez.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
• After getting two quick outs to start the fourth, Doubront was unable to evade trouble like he did in the third as he gave up four consecutive hits to let the Royals take a 4-2 advantage. Back-to-back singles from Johnny Giavotella and Hosmer got things going before Tony Abreu singled home Giavotella, who narrowly beat Ross’s throw from right on a play at the plate.
The Royals weren’t through, as Cain followed Abreu by blasting a three-run home run, his sixth of the year, into the Monster seats to give the Royals the lead.
• Bobby Valentine was ejected for the fifth time this season after a questionable call in the fifth inning. With one out, Pedroia hit a grounder to third and was called out on a close play at first. Valentine raced out from his spot in the dugout immediately to argue the call with first base umpire Dan Bellino, then got even more testy after Bellino threw him out and exited to a roaring applause from the fans at Fenway Park.
• After two scoreless innings to begin his Red Sox career, Beato gave up a pair of singles and then a walk, loading the bases to begin the eighth inning. Craig Breslow relieved him, but couldn’t keep the Royals off the board as he gave up two runs that closed the lead to 7-6.
• Mauro Gomez was the only Red Sox hitter to not get a hit. He went 0-for-2 with two walks.
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