Closing Time: It’s raining RBIs for David Ortiz as Red Sox rout Rays in Game 1
|06.18.13 at 7:12 pm ET|
The Sox’ designated hitter continued his ridiculous run production pace by driving in three runs prior to the onset of a deluge that led to a 2-hour, 59-minute rain delay. His offense allowed the hosts to take the first game of the teams’ day-night doubleheader.
Ortiz delivered a pair of run-scoring singles, the first driving in both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino in the third inning, with the DH adding another run via a fifth-inning hit to plate Victorino.
Another key for the Red Sox was another solid spot start for Alfredo Aceves, who allowed just one run on three hits over five innings. In his last three starts for the Sox, Aceves has allowed three runs over 17 innings.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— The top of the Red Sox’ order did its job, with Ellsbury and Victorino both providing sparks. Ellsbury scored three times and Victorino crossed the plate twice while also stealing his seventh base.
Ellsbury went 3-for-5 with a single, double and triple. He is now hitting .280/.347/.393 while on a pace that would yield 70 steals on the season — more or less replicating his production of his first two seasons as an everyday leadoff hitter for the Sox (combined .291/.346/.405 with an average of 60 steals in 2008-09).
The two collaborated on a rare feat: In the bottom of the sixth, Ellsbury and Victorino hit back-to-back triples, the first time that the Sox had recorded consecutive three-base knocks since Coco Crisp and Ellsbury did so in the top of the sixth inning of an 8-1 win over the Rangers on Sept. 5, 2008.
— For a second straight time, the Red Sox’ offense got Tampa starter Chris Archer out of the game fairly early. The promising righty was chased after just four innings in the teams’ meeting last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., while this time he couldn’t make it through the fifth. Archer allowed four runs on five hits while walking five and striking out five over 4 2/3 innings. He threw 109 pitches.
— Aceves got out of a big jam in was already a tw0-run second inning for the Rays. Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out, prompting a visit from Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves. But Aceves, who had already walked three batters in the frame, came back to induce a 6-4-3 double play grounder off the bat of Yunel Escobar to end the threat.
The contest marked the second straight in which Aceves went from a complete inability to command early to a relentless assault on the strike zone as the game progress. In his prior start against the Rays, he threw 12 of his first 33 pitches (36 percent) for strikes, then found the zone with 38 of his next 51 offerings (75 percent). On Tuesday, just 14 of his first 35 pitches (40 percent) were strikes, but 29 of his last 40 (73 percent) were strikes.
— Junichi Tazawa delivered a spectacular inning, blitzing through a perfect sixth inning (following the almost three-hour rain delay) on 12 pitches, striking out two batters. He now has 38 strikeouts and three walks in 32 1/3 innings this year, with his 12.67 strikeouts per walk ranking as the third best ratio in the majors this year (min. 20 innings). He delivered the most impressive of four shutout innings from the Sox bullpen, with Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara and Craig Breslow all following him with zeros.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a rough game, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and grounding into a double play. The three punchouts matched a season-high for the catcher, a mark previously reached on four occasions this year — most recently June 1.
— Stephen Drew continued to struggle, going hitless while striking out once and leaving two runners on base. Since his four-hit game on June 4, the shortstop is 6-for-44 (.136) with 18 strikeouts and three walks.
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