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Closing Time: Yoenis Cespedes again mashes Red Sox to victory

08.12.14 at 10:16 pm ET
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So this is why the Red Sox wanted to add Yoenis Cespedes.

For the second straight game, the outfielder gave an intriguing demonstration of what he might be able to add to the middle of the Red Sox lineup. With his team trailing, 2-1, in the top of the eighth inning, Cespedes sent a 433-foot rocket over the center field fence to propel the Sox to a 3-2 win.

Cespedes now has a .467 slugging mark this year, which ranks second on the team to David Ortiz. His 19 homers are likewise behind only Ortiz among current Sox lineup members. The idea, then, of having Ortiz, Cespedes and Mike Napoli combine forces in the middle of the order represents a potential path forward for a team that entered Tuesday ranked 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors in homers.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

— Though right-hander Joe Kelly stumbled out of the gate, permitting two runs in the first inning before an out had been recorded (walk, stolen base/error, walk, single, single), he stopped the rally by getting a double play grounder and a punchout to end the first, then cruised through the next four innings before punctuating his outing by working around a one-out double to retire the Reds in the sixth. Kelly has now allowed three runs in 13 innings (2.08 ERA) in his two starts since the Sox acquired him from the Cardinals. He once again showed the ability to record plenty of outs on the ground, as eight of his 18 outs came on grounders with four more occurring via punchout.

— Kelly collected a hit and eventually stole third base, becoming the first Sox pitcher to steal third since 1959.

Xander Bogaerts initiated a pair of 6-4-3 double plays, showing quick hands and a strong, accurate throw to second on both of them. He also went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, his first multi-hit game of August.

— Left-hander Tommy Layne continued to make his case for a spot in the Red Sox‘ 2015 bullpen. He earned his first win with the Red Sox (and third of his big league career) by retiring all three batters he faced, all of whom were lefties. Fellow lefties are 1-for-13 against the 29-year-old.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

— Immovable object met irresistible force. Irresistible force won. Speedster Billy Hamilton took off to steal second against Howitzer-armed Christian Vazquez. In his effort to unleash a quick throw to nab perhaps the fastest player in the game, Vazquez fired errantly, resulting in a throwing error that allowed Hamilton to cruise into third.

Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .180 with a .558 OPS.

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