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Closing Time: David Ortiz reaches milestone as Red Sox show off depth in win over Mariners

07.10.13 at 1:54 am ET
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David Ortiz matched Harold Baines for the most hits ever by a DH. (AP)

David Ortiz matched Harold Baines for the most hits ever by a DH. (AP)

The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and a dreadful start to produce one of their most impressive top-to-bottom victories of the year. The Sox overcame an early 5-1 deficit with a performance that underscored the team’s considerable depth, benefiting from five players with multiple hits and a tremendous effort from a quintet of relievers to beat the Mariners, 11-8.

The Sox constructed a roster meant to possess the depth to withstand the inevitable toll of the year, and Tuesday offered a textbook demonstration of the notion. Andrew Miller is likely gone for the year. Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup for a second straight night. No matter.

Recent call-up Jackie Bradley Jr. was one of five Sox players to hit a homer, while Brock Holt, another season-long member of the PawSox who is still in his first week of 2013 in the big leagues, drove in a pair of runs. Every member of the Sox lineup had at least one hit, and five went deep. Meanwhile, the bullpen shook off a poor start from Allen Webster to deliver 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, as the Sox eventually claimed a comfortable victory.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

David Ortiz went 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and an eighth-inning single. His fourth hit of the night (the single) gave Ortiz 1,688 career hits as a designated hitter, tying him with Harold Baines for the most hits of all time as a DH. The four hits also matched a career-high for the 37-year-old, who is now hitting .414/.469/.759 in eight games this month.

Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and a walk while driving in three runs. He’s now 15 games into a surge that has seen him hit .400/.464/.600.

Jackie Bradley Jr., called up on Tuesday with Jacoby Ellsbury still trying to work his way back to full health after his Sunday night wrist injury, blasted a solo homer in the fifth inning to give the Sox the 8-7 lead that they would not relinquish. Bradley now has nine homers this year — seven in Triple-A, two in the big leagues — and in 65 combined games at the highest two levels of pro ball, he’s matched his homer total of a year ago, achieved in 128 games with High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

Bradley also worked a walk in four plate appearances.

– With Aceves unable to work into a second inning, Craig Breslow contributed mightily, tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings while striking out two, giving up two hits and walking no one to earn the win. The seven outs were the most recorded by Breslow in an appearance since a 2 1/3 inning effort with the Diamondbacks last April.

On the year, he now has a 2.97 ERA in 30 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts (5.3 per nine innings) and just seven walks (2.1 per nine innings). His 43 pitches, meanwhile, were the second most of his career, behind only a 62-pitch appearance in 2005.

Andrew Bailey added to the evidence of his turnaround, logging 1 2/3 shutout innings while getting a strikeout and a double play. He permitted just one hit (a single). In his last four outings spanning five innings, Bailey has allowing one run on three hits, walked none and struck out seven.

Mike Napoli launched a two-run homer to right-center, his second longball in the month of July after hitting just one in all of June. Though Napoli was considered a made-for-Fenway hitter when he signed with the Sox, he actually has more homers (7 vs. 4) and a higher OPS (.822 vs. .749) on the road than he does at Fenway.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Allen Webster flashed electric stuff in spring training and again at times in his three call-ups to the big leagues. Still, he looks very much like an unfinished product, incapable of the sort of consistency necessary to contribute to a big league rotation in the immediate term.

The 23-year-old submitted a disastrous outing, lasting just two-plus innings while giving up seven runs on six hits, including a pair of homers. He struck out two, walked two and threw just 58 percent of pitches for strikes.

The homers were particularly noteworthy. Webster arrived in the Sox organization with a reputation for having a tremendous, mid- to high-90s fastball with nasty sink. But he’s left a staggering number of flat pitches up in the strike zone, resulting in seven homers in just 26 1/3 innings in the big leagues this year — a shocking 2.4 per nine innings, a mark that is a head-spinning departure from the two homers he permitted in 130 2/3 innings in Double-A a year ago (0.1 per nine innings).

Webster is the only pitcher in the majors this year with two outings of seven or more earned runs and three or fewer innings (he also had a 1 2/3 inning, eight-run stinker against the Twins in May). He is the first Red Sox pitcher with two such starts since Derek Lowe in 2004.

At a time when the Red Sox bullpen seems stretched like taffy, it remains to be seen whether the Red Sox can continue to weather Webster’s inconsistencies while hoping that his swing-and-miss stuff translates to big league results.

Alfredo Aceves helped stabilize the game after Webster’s poor showing, entering with the Sox trailing, 7-6, and recording a pair of outs to escape the third inning without further damage. However, Aceves — who seemed destined for long relief duty when he entered the contest — left the game following the third inning, presumably due to injury.

 

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