Offense comes through with quick turnaround
July, 26, 2011
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- After losing a depressing 3-1, 14-inning marathon to Kansas City on Monday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox responded and defeated the Royals 13-9 on Tuesday during an offensive onslaught from both clubs.
The Red Sox banged out 16 hits en route to the victory. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz led the way with four hits each. Ortiz provided three doubles, a single, a walk and five RBIs.
Pedroia finished the night 4-for-5, including a pair of singles, a double, a triple, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored as he extended his hitting streak to 23 consecutive games.
He matches the longest hitting streak by a Red Sox second baseman since Del Pratt accomplished the feat in 1922. Pedroia’s streak is the longest in the American League this season and he’s batting .392 (40-for-102) with one triple, nine doubles, seven homers, 17 RBIs, 24 runs and 11 walks during the streak.
What’s more impressive is the fact Pedroia was penciled into the cleanup spot Tuesday night since Kevin Youkilis (right hamstring tightness) was given the night off. Pedroia is hitting .559 (19-for-34) with five doubles, one triple, four home runs, 10 RBIs, three walks and one strikeout in nine career games (seven starts) in the cleanup spot.
NOT MILLER’S TIME: With the Sox’s starting rotation dealing with a couple of injuries, left-hander Andrew Miller has been leaned on to keep things in check. He entered his seventh start of the season with a 4-1 record and a 4.65 ERA. He struggled with his command against the Royals on Tuesday and Kansas City took advantage as he allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings. The southpaw threw 80 pitches, 43 for strikes. Thanks to the Sox offense, Miller settled for a no-decision.
“He didn’t locate his fastball very well,” Francona said. “He threw some good changeups, but he just missed and then he didn’t follow Tek’s glove very much. His velocity was good and the ball came out of his hand real nice, and he actually stayed in his delivery pretty well, but he just didn’t throw the ball where he wanted to.”
ALFREDO SPECIAL: With Miller out of the game, Alfredo Aceves was summoned from the bullpen and worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. The right-handed reliever allowed only three hits and struck out three. Aceves improves to 6-1 with one save this season.
“We got into our bullpen a lot [Monday] night and if he doesn’t do what he does, you’re asking a lot,” Francona said of Aceves. “The ability to get people out and go multiple innings is so important and he’s been so valuable to us.”
WARNED: The Sox and Royals got into a little bit of good old-fashioned baseball Tuesday night. In the top of the fourth inning, Kansas City’s Billy Butler crushed a solo home run off Miller, and during Butler’s next at-bat in the sixth, Aceves drilled him in the back. In the bottom of the inning with one out and one runner on, Royals reliever Blake Wood returned the favor and hit Adrian Gonzalez. Home plate umpire Chris Conroy immediately issued warnings to both benches.
WHIFFING: Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford tied a career-high with four strikeouts on Monday, and he followed it up with a similar performance on Tuesday. He struck out in his first two at-bats against Kansas City starter Danny Duffy before Crawford drawing a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. Crawford had an infield single in the fifth, popped out to third in the sixth and grounded out to second in the eighth.
UP NEXT: Red Sox right-hander John Lackey (8-8, 6.28 ERA) takes the mound for this 17th start of the season and will face Royals left-hander Bruce Chen (5-3, 3.30). Lackey has won his last three starts, which is the best he’s pitched all season.
In fact, during Monday’s marathon 14-inning game, Lackey emerged from the clubhouse with his spikes on and told Francona he was willing to pitch.
“We were in a little bit of a bind and we did not want to touch Aceves, and Lack showed up in his spikes and said, ‘Hey, I’ll go out there,’" Francona said. "I looked at the stuff with Curt [Young] and initially I said, ‘Yeah, go head out there.’ The more I thought about it, and as much as we appreciate it, then we would have needed a pitcher for Wednesday. That’s a side of guys you don’t see and we appreciate. That’s why we try to defend guys.”