Rapid reaction: Red Sox 5, Phillies 2
June, 30, 2011
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
PHILADELPHIA --This had to be one of the most productive 0 for 4's of Adrian Gonzalez's career.
The Red Sox first baseman failed to get the ball out of the infield in four trips Thursday afternoon, but his fourth-inning liner struck Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels in his nonpitching hand and knocked him out of the game.
With Hamels, who has pitched every bit as well, if not better, than fellow aces Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, removed from the scene, the Sox teed off on the Phillies' bullpen, Jason Varitek hitting two home runs and Dustin Pedroia one as the Sox salvaged the finale of this much ballyhooed three-game set against the team with the best record in baseball.
X-rays on Hamels' hand were negative, the Phillies said, and he is not expected to miss his next start.
While Jon Lester restored some order to the Boston universe by shutting out the Phillies on two hits over seven innings for his 10th win, the Sox finally mustered some offense with a rejiggered lineup that was missing Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz and Pedroia and Varitek hitting cleanup and fifth, respectively.
"I think he's very happy about it,'' manager Terry Francona said before the game about Pedroia in the 4-hole. "His chest size was expanded by it. It won't ensure that he gets hits, but he'll love it. He'll enjoy the day.''
Pedroia went out quietly in his first three trips, but launched an opposite-field home run in the eighth, the third straight game he has homered when batting cleanup. You have to go back to Sept. 2-3, 2008, for the last two, which raises questions about whether statman Bill James has fallen asleep on the job.
Varitek followed Pedroia's home run with his second of the game, both with the bases empty. It was Varitek's first multiple-homer game since he hit two on April 10, 2010.
Hot-hitting Josh Reddick, making a strong bid for regular playing time, tripled and scored Boston's first run in the fifth on a single by Drew Sutton, who last started eight days ago and came into the game with just one at-bat on the trip. Sutton took third on a well-executed hit-and-run single by Marco Scutaro and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's base hit.
Varitek's first home run came off David Herndon. Pedroia and Varitek hit the second back-to-back home runs of the season for the Sox off Drew Carpenter.
The win, coming after six losses in their last seven games, was the 700th of Francona's career with the Sox. Only Tony La Russa (1,361 with the Cardinals), Mike Scioscia (1,022 with the Angels) and Ron Gardenhire (837 with the Twins) have more wins with their current team among active managers.
The Phillies averted being shut out when Ryan Howard hit a two-run home run in the ninth off Bobby Jenks. When Jenks then walked Shane Victorino, Francona summoned closer Jonathan Papelbon, who retired Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez to register his 15th save in a scant 16 chances.