The Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays benefited from something their other starting pitchers, especially last night, could not do: they lasted longer than expected.
The Red Sox sent Rick Porcello to the mound against knuckler R.A. Dickey. Both men have had a rocky season, as of late, and were hoping that they could stay in the game longer than their respective aces did. In front of over 34 200 fans, they didn’t disappoint.
After a fairly quiet first inning, the Blue Jays opened the scoring with catcher Josh Thole lining to shallow center field. Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts quickly threw the ball to Pablo Sandoval at third base to force out Michael Saunders, but as the bases were loaded, Kevin Pillar scored. However, unlike Clay Buchholz, who could not get out of the third inning the night before without five runs to his name, Porcello was able to get the ground ball that he needed for Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia to start the double play, unassisted to second and then the throw to first base.
In the bottom of the third inning, Dickey wasn’t so lucky. After Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit a soft single to right field, scoring catcher Ryan Hanigan, left fielder Hanley Ramirez drove a screaming homer to left center field. The play cashed in Ortiz for the Red Sox to take a 3-1 lead.
After that, the game went rather smoothly, especially compared to the night before. Both starters lasted until the top and bottom of the eighth inning. Dickey, however, was touched once again in the bottom of the seventh inning, before his night was done. Betts hit a single to right field, where Saunders threw home, but not before Red Sox outfielder Brock Holt scored. The throw did beat Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts home, even after Boston challenged the umpire’s call of a home-plate collision.
That would be it for the scoring. Relatively a much calmer night for both teams, with Porcello picking up the victory, Dickey the defeat, and both sets of fans able to go home at a decent hour, for once.
- Both Porcello and Dickey hit a batter, but were able to put it behind them for most of the game. This game was Porcello’s second win of the season, while Dickey’s record now stands at 0-2.
- Koji Uehara came in for the ninth inning, striking out the side for his fourth save of the year, despite his fastball only reaching a maximum of 88 mph.
- Ramirez’s home run is the league-leading total of 10 home runs, shared with Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners. Ramirez now stands at 22 RBIs for this April to lead all of Major League Baseball.
- Betts made another highlight-reel catch in deep center field early in the game, cementing his name as one of the most exciting players to watch, at least this far into the season.
Porcello finished the night by allowing only a single earned run on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. In 7.0 innings of work, Porcello threw 99 pitches, where 69 of them were strikes. That 70% to the good side is the consistency that Red Sox Nation was hoping to see from their newly acquired, and contract-extended, starting pitcher. Now, if he can stay that consistent for the rest of the season, he will be one less name to worry about in Boston’s starting rotation.
Kanpeki! That’s Japanese for perfection. Without even looking like he broke a sweat, Uehara sat down three Blue Jays in order. It took 17 pitches for him to do it.Junichi Tazawa
, who originally relieved Porcello in the eighth inning was almost just as good, allowing only a hit, while earning a strikeout. That’s what you want from your bullpen: hold the other team off not only the scoreboard but off the bases, too.
The team was 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. While that’s two-thirds successful, it also means that the Red Sox were rarely in the position to score, throughout the game. The winning run was smashed in by Ramirez, which also sat him atop of the home run lead and the RBI lead for the league. Three glorious achievements by the once-shortstop-turned-outfielder. Drink it in, because it won’t be every game that Ramirez’s long ball will save the day, again. The Red Sox need to keep hitting to not only stay in games, but take the lead and run with it, too.
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