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Closing Time: David Ortiz leads Red Sox offensive outburst, helps snap losing streak

05.26.14 at 6:27 pm ET
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Well, it is a start.

En route to snapping their 10-game-losing streak with an 8-6 victory over the Braves, the Red Sox seemingly awoke at the plate for the first time in over a week and a half. The Red Sox‘ eight-run offensive output was the team’s highest run total since May 14 (the date of their last victory), when the offense generated nine runs against the Twins.

David Ortiz led the offensive output with a 1-for-3 showing with four RBIs and a walk. Ortiz’s biggest contribution came in the fifth inning, when Ortiz deposited a 1-0 Ervin Santana slider into the left-field bleachers. Ortiz’s four RBIs were his first since May 14, when the Red Sox earned their last win. Ortiz also drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when he hit a long fly ball with the bases loaded that sent Braves right fielder Jason Heyward to the warning track, allowing Brock Holt to score from third base, making the score 7-6.

Holt continued to shine from the leadoff spot with a 2-for-5 performance. Holt is making a strong case to stay in the majors, shining both at the plate and in the field at third base during his current stint in the major leagues. The 25-year-old is hitting .290/.303/.387 with three doubles, two RBIs since being called up on May 17.

The Red Sox overcame an anemic performance from Clay Buchholz, who went three innings, walking eight batters, allowing six runs, striking out four and throwing only 47.7 percent of his pitches for strikes. In the month of May, Buchholz sports a 7.40 ERA in 24 1/3 innings pitched with a 2.384 WHIP. Considering Buchholz’s recent performance, it would not be the least bit surprising if this is the last start the righty makes for a while.

While the win does not move Boston out of the basement of the American League East, it does bring the team within 7 1/2 games of the first place Blue Jays, who are scheduled to play the Rays Monday night.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

— The Red Sox scored the first run of the game after B.J. Upton misplayed a Grady Sizemore line drive to deep center field, allowing him to advance to third base, and Jackie Bradley hit a high fly ball to right field that allowed Sizemore to score. The Red Sox took just their fourth lead since the start of the their 10-game losing streak on May 15.

— The Red Sox tagged Santana for five runs in the fifth inning, all of them with two outs Following a Sizemore ground out and a Bradley strikeout, Daniel Nava walked and Holt doubled to kick off the inning. Xander Bogaerts turned in a great at-bat, laying off a couple of sliders off the plate to draw a walk, and Dustin Pedroia singled in Nava and Holt. With Bogaerts on second and Pedroia on first, Ortiz drove a 1-0 slider on the outer half of the plate into the left-field bleachers to tie the game at 6.

The Red Sox have struggled so far this season with men on first and second and two outs. Going into Sunday, the Red Sox were hitting .224/.296/.265 with 12 RBIs, two doubles and no homers.

A.J. Pierzynski knocked in the Red Sox’s eighth run of the game off of Ian Thomas during the seventh inning. Pierzynski has been hitting well as of late, coming into Monday’s contest hitting .409/.435/.636 with one home run, three RBIs and two doubles in his last five games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

— Buchholz accomplished something that has not been done by a Red Sox pitcher since 2010, but it was not an achievement worth boasting about. Through his three innings of work, Buchholz walked eight batters, becoming the first Red Sox pitcher since May 27, 2010, to accomplish the feat when Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed eight free passes against the Royals.

Beyond the walks, Buchholz struggled throughout the outing. The righty turned in his fifth outing of the season in which he failed to go at least five innings. Buchholz had difficulty all day throwing strikes. Buchholz’s strike percentage has dropped over his last three starts, going from 64.5 percent (62 of 96 pitches for strikes) to 63.5 percent (68 of 107 pitches for strikes) to 58.9 percent (53 of 90 pitches for strikes) to 47.7 percent (42 of 88 pitches for strikes) on Monday.

— Bradley continued his struggles in the month of May with his third straight hitless output. Bradley’s average fell below the Mendoza Line as he ended the game at .193 after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an RBI. In the month of May, Bradley is hitting .141/.214/.188 with no homers, two RBIs, three doubles and eight runs.

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