Wade Miley continued his turnaround on Tuesday night as the Red Sox returned from their road trip to Fenway for a three game set against the Rangers. Miley looked much more comfortable on the mound, had command of all of his pitches including his fastball, changeup and slider and was able to win his second game in a row to get to 3-4 on the season.
He scattered seven hits, but didn’t let base runners bother him. The only inning where he truly struggled was the sixth in which he gave up a double to LF Kyle Blanks, a single to 2B Tommy Field and a triple to C Robinson Chrinos which totaled two runs for Texas. It was a positive sign to see Miley regroup and come back for a one-two-three seventh inning to finish his night. Earlier in the season an inning like the sixth may have been the end for Wade. His final line: 7IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR.
The Red Sox bats were lively in their return to Boston. Things got off to a quick start with a Dustin Pedroia double in the first. He would go on to score after David Ortiz singled to right. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval would also single to load up the bases, but Texas starter Yovani Gallardo was able to get out of the jam. That inning seemed to set the tone though as the Red Sox would put pressure on Gallardo all night.
Mike Napoli hit his fourth homerun of the season to kick off the fourth inning. David Ortiz would add a solo homerun of his own in the fifth. Hanley Ramirez would follow that up with a double and would eventually score on a Mike Napoli infield single. That would be the fourth run of the night for Boston and would be all they needed to get the job done.
Junichi Tazawa looked great in the eighth in relief striking out the first two batters in Adrian Beltre and Kyle Blanks and forcing Mitch Moreland to ground out. His fastball was near electric and baffled the aforementioned three batters he faced. Koji Uehara came on in the ninth and was able to pick up his tenth save of the season. Koji did have a slight hiccup in giving up a homerun to the pinch hitting Leonys Martin, which is the first batter he has allowed on base at Fenway in 2015. Although Shin-Soo Choo would reach on an in-field single on a wild throw from 3B Brock Holt, a strikeout and two fly-outs would end the game and get the Red Sox the 4-3 victory.
The Sox and Rangers will do it again Wednesday night at 7:05pm at Fenway Park. Joe Kelly (1-2, 5.58 ERA) will look to right the ship against right hander Phil Klein (0-0, 7.71 ERA). The Red Sox have now won five of their last eight games and are only one game below .500 and two games out of first place in the loss column in the cluttered AL East.
* Pablo Sandoval left the game in the seventh inning after getting drilled in the left knee by a Sam Freeman fastball. Sandoval dropped to the ground and was immediately taken out of the game. It may have looked worse than it really was as preliminary reports are that Sandoval will be fine and there is no structural damage. It will be interesting to see if he plays Tuesday night.
* The Red Sox totaled 13 hits buy were only able to muster 4 runs. They left 12 runners on base and were only 3-11 with runners in scoring position
* Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli all totaled two hits. Hanley Ramirez was the only Sox batter with three hits as he looks to be getting stronger after returning from the shoulder injury. Bogaerts and Sandoval had a hit each as well. Pedroia continues to rake and has been on base in 23 games in a row now.
* Neftali Feliz blew a save on Saturday against Cleveland, and Texas officially removed the title of “closer” from him choosing to go with more of a “closer-by-committee” philosophy. However, they chose to go with Feliz early tonight in the seventh to get out of a jam. It would prove to be a good decision as Feliz did get the final out of the inning.
Miley has looked much better in his last two starts and is definitely showing some promise. His overall approach on the mound displays an heir of confidence. He had full command of all four of his pitches on Tuesday night, kept batters off balance and pitched at nice, brisk pace. Miley looked very composed even with runners on base. This is precisely what Boston is looking for out of Miley, and he’ll look to carry this momentum forward.
Tazawa displayed what has made him such a successful set-up man over the last few years on Tuesday night. Two big strikeouts and a ground-out on 15 pitches was the perfect bridge between Miley and Uehara. His fastball was dominant and reached 95 on multiple occasions.
Big Papi went 2-4 on the night with 2 RBI, a run scored and a walk. He also clocked his sixth homerun of the year, a solo shot in the fifth. His average is up to .244 and he has 16 RBI total, but Boston needs the old Ortiz back. This was a good start.
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