Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Red Sox Clinch Series With Orioles Thanks To Some Unlikely Power
This afternoon was one of those type of contests as the Red Sox (22-22, 13-11 away) beat the Orioles (28-17, 13-11 home) 6-5 at Camden Yards.
The win clinched the series for Boston (2-1) while also keeping them hot (10-3 in their last 13 games). Best of all, they completed their absurd 20 games in 20 days stretch (11-9) and eight-game road trip (5-3) in good shape. This is the third time that the Red Sox have reached .500 this season, hopefully now they'll take the next step and get over it-something they haven't done yet.
I'm very confident that Daniel Nava (2 hits), Kelly Shoppach (2 hits) and Scott Podsednik (2 hits, 2 runs) will never all hit home runs in the same game again but that's exactly what they did today. Boston needed all those longballs since Daniel Bard (4-5) didn't give them anything more than an average start. In 5.1 innings, Bard allowed two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and four walks. As always, I ask: why isn't he in the bullpen? He's not nearly the same guy when he starts, he's lost his velocity and he can't put any batters away.
Jake Arrieta (2-5) wasn't good either for the O's. He went 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
The Red Sox had 13 hits, including two from Kevin Youkilis (run, walk) and Will Middlebrooks (RBI). The Orioles were limited to seven, basically by three players Xavier Avery (2 hits, run), Adam Jones (2 hits) and Nick Johnson (3 RBIs, 2 hits, 2 runs), who hit not one but two home runs. I said it was a strange day, right?
Alfredo Aceves had his third straight perfect outing as he got four outs for his 11th save of the season.
Baltimore went up 1-0 in the first on Chris Davis's sacrifice fly. Boston tied it on Podsednik's double play ball in the second. Johnson (3rd of the season) hit a solo shot in the second. Middlebrooks tied it with an RBI double in the third although Youk was easily gunned down at the plate to end the inning on the same play.
Nava (2nd of the season) and Shoppach (2nd of the season) both went deep in the sixth, Shoppach's was a two-run blast. Johnson answered with his second home run, in the sixth, but Podsednik made it 6-4 with a solo homer in the eighth-his first since Sept. 2010 with the Dodgers.
The Orioles threatened in the eighth and pulled a run back on Wilson Betemit's sacrifice fly (that would have been more if not for a great diving catch by Che-Hsuan Lin in right field) but Aceves struck out Johnson to end the frame.
After a much needed day off tomorrow, the Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays for three games this weekend then the Detroit Tigers for four games at Fenway Park. Tampa Bay (27-18, 2nd place AL East) has already played Boston six times with the Red Sox going 4-2 so far.
Jon Lester (3-3) faces rookie Alex Cobb (1-0) on Friday night (7:10 p.m., NESN), Josh Beckett (4-4) gets David Price (6-3) on Saturday night (7:15 p.m., FOX) and Clay Buchholz (4-2) opposes Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) on Sunday afternoon (1:35 p.m., NESN).
It's Memorial Day weekend in a few days so it's about time that the Red Sox get over the hump and don't look back to their pitiful start to 2012.