While the night did not start promisingly for the Red Sox, a combination of plate discipline and timely hitting led to a comfortable 10-3 win tonight at Fenway.
The Indians drew blood first tonight on a long home run by Carlos Santana over the right field bullpen in the top of the second inning. Perhaps the Red Sox are turning a corner offensively, or perhaps it is just taking advantage of their opportunities. After retiring the side in order in the first, in the bottom of the second inning, Justin Masterson (who had shut down the Red Sox last week, striking out ten in seven scoreless innings) started to lose the strike zone in the second inning. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli led off the inning with walks and Daniel Nava continued his hot streak with a single to center, but Ortiz was thrown out at home. The Sox did not let up, as two pitches later, A.J. Pierzynski stroked a two run double to the triangle in center field to tie the game. Jackie Bradley Jr. untied it with a long triple to right center field.
Repeating a frequent storyline from the Red Sox recent struggles, the lead did not last for long. Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley tied the game leading off the third inning. Red Sox starter John Lackey bore down, retiring the side in order, after the game was tied, without allowing the Indians to take the lead.
The Red Sox took advantage of Masterson’s wildness once again in the third. Walks to Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia sent the ex-Red Sox Masterson to the showers without recording an out. Rookie Kyle Crockett relieved Masterson and managed to retire Ortiz, but Napoli inside-outed a double to the right field corner to plate both runs and make it 5-3 Red Sox.
Lackey settled down and did not allow another hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning. At 110 pitches, it was likely his last batter in any case. Andrew Miller stranded the runner, so Lackey ended another game with only three earned runs allowed. The Red Sox broke it open in the bottom of that frame, Singles from Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, set the table for a booming double by Pedroia off the left-center field wall, scoring both runners. The Red Sox added two more insurance runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to complete the scoring.
At 31-36, the Red Sox are certainly not satisfied, but they have won seven games in a row at home to reach 17-17 at Fenway for the season. They have won four of six games. They scored a season-high ten runs tonight. Red Sox fans can hope this turn in the right direction is one they can sustain to reach playoff contention once again. Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.76) looks to notch his first win of the season at home for the Red Sox, and first of any kind since April 25, as he faces Indians lefty T.J. House at 4:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Notes Bogaerts broke an 0 for 19 slump with a solo home run over the Monster in the eighth inning. Indians reliever Kyle Crockett, drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, was the first player from that class to make it to the majors, when he made his major league debut on May 16. Daniel Nava is 10 for his last 21, raising his season average from .132 to .204.