Nearly perfect Sox hang 10 on Padres
June, 20, 2011
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The tweet was launched by @allfieldnohit moments after the Red Sox squeezed a "10" into the home slot of the seventh inning on the Fenway Park scoreboard Monday night.
"This team is spoiling the hell out of us,'' it said.
Giddy? Maybe they should just leave the duck boats parked in the center-field garage, motors running. The way the Red Sox are playing these days, John W. Henry may want to ensure those vehicles are available for booking long about late October or so. No one prints World Series tickets before the official start of summer, but few teams have looked so consistently other-worldly for the better part of two months now as the Olde Towne Team.
The Sox are 42-18 since their 2-10 start, their best record over a comparable stretch since they closed the 2004 season with a 42-17 finishing kick.
They have won 14 of their last 16 games, a stretch in which they have outscored their overmatched foes by a 128-67 margin. After a 19-10 May, which was the best record for the month by an AL team, they are 14-3 in June, a record equaled only by the Twins.
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesAdrian Gonzalez connects for the go-ahead double that sparked the 10-run seventh.
The 10-run seventh inning was their biggest of the season, making the 3-all tie fashioned by Orlando Hudson's three-run home run in the sixth a distant memory. The Sox have scored five or more runs in an inning 14 times this season. The Padres, cellar dwellers in the National League West, have scored five or more runs only six times in their last 31 games.
Native son Adrian Gonzalez took a few of his former Padres teammates to lunch this afternoon, then stuck them with the tab for Monday night's loss. His Wall-ball double (and one can only imagine the muttered prayers of thanksgiving that he no longer labors in Petco) snapped the 3-all tie, with the Sox then piling on nine more runs.
“In a lot of places it could have just been a fly ball to left,'' Gonzalez said, "so I definitely hit in the right spot.”
Two runs in the inning scored on hit batsmen with the bases loaded. A third scored on a bases-loaded walk. At one point, nine straight Sox hitters reached safely in the inning.
“We just kept having good at-bats,'' said Dustin Pedroia, whose hustle in beating out a potential double-play ball proved to be a catalyst for the big inning, as Gonzalez followed with his double. "A couple guys got hit, but it seemed like everybody was up there having quality at-bats. It was great for us.
“Guys are walking, guys are finding ways to get on, and we’re getting the big hits, so it’s a good feeling.”
Gonzalez later singled in two more runs in the inning, and that hit was followed by a two-run double by Kevin Youkilis. The Sox sent 14 batters to the plate, the 15th time this season they've batted around in an inning and the second time in two nights. No team in the majors has had more innings this season where they've batted around.
“It’s a lineup that consistently has good at-bats, professional at-bats,'' Gonzalez said, "and you wear down the pitcher.''
Andrew Miller was not the beneficiary of that eruption, but the left-hander made a strong case for sticking around in his debut in a Sox uniform. Miller took a 3-0 lead into the sixth before Hudson lined his home run into the Monster seats, and struck out six while featuring an impressive curveball.
"We've got a guy who's got a tremendous arm, likes to compete and hopefully it'll be a big help for us,'' manager Terry Francona said.
The Padres, meanwhile, have now lost six in a row after a game in which five San Diego pitchers combined to give up 14 hits and nine walks in addition to the two hit batsmen. The Sox scored 14 runs without a home run for the first time since they beat the White Sox, 14-2, on Aug. 25, 2007.