The Sox erupted for a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 19 hits in front of a season-high 32,025 satisfied customers (not the biggest crowd of the season, but more were satisfied than in any other game -- we took a survey). Everybody got into the act, as Dustin Pedroia was the only starter without at least one RBI or one run scored.
Four Boston players hit home runs and the team hammered out 13 extra-base hits, four shy of the all-time record, which the Red Sox set against St. Louis in 1950. The only zero put up in eight innings by Rangers pitchers came on the arm of outfielder David Murphy, who got David Ortiz to fly to right to end the eighth, his first career inning on the mound.
Some Texas players were pretty pumped when Murphy strolled off the field with a scoreless frame to his credit. On a night when Boston’s bats did loads of damage, it was a feat deserving of praise.
Here is some of what we saw along the way:
Junior grows up: When asked about his early-season slump, Jackie Bradley Jr. said upon his return to the big leagues that you have to crawl before you can walk, or words to that effect. The youngster appears ready to put some big steps together.
Bradley’s two-run blast in the second, which cleared the bullpens in right, continued a nice stretch of play that began with some production at the minor-league level prior to his promotion. Since coming up, Bradley is 5-for-16 with three of the hits going for extra bases.
Rookie hazing: Facing a rookie starter is often an iffy scenario. Many times rookies find success in their first encounters due to the fact that their stuff is unfamiliar. For others, the magnitude of a debut in Fenway Park can be too much to handle. When facing Boston, it has been the latter, as Texas starter Justin Grimm discovered in a disastrous outing.
After Grimm surrendered eight runs on seven hits (five for extra bases) in 1 2/3 loud innings, rookie starters had posted a 12.93 ERA in eight appearances against Boston. Such a welcoming bunch, these Sox.
Dempster delivers: Prior to the game, Ryan Dempster was spotted in the Red Sox clubhouse sporting what appeared to be a U.S. Mail cap. While this won’t be the start he shows his kids when they ask for the best example of their father’s work, the package arrived at the doorstep in time and without any major damage.
Dempster meandered through a 20-pitch first inning, which included a fastball that hit Murphy in the upper back, and gave up a pair of home runs on the night. But as he has done when on his game this season, Dempster limited the hits and piled up the strikeouts. The Rangers had five hits against him and the veteran righty picked up six more Ks. It was Dempster’s first home win since April 26.
It feels so right: Among the notable long balls struck by Red Sox hitters was Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s blast into the Monster seats to lead off the sixth against reliever Joseph Ortiz. It was his sixth of the year and his first against a left-hander since last May.
Salty had struck 23 homers against right-handers since then.
Keeping with the theme: Of rare achievements, it should be noted that David Ortiz recorded his first triple since April 11, 2011. This one came after a shot bounded into the triangle in center and bounced around a bit. Ortiz was in easily and came home soon thereafter on a Mike Napoli sacrifice fly. The speedy trip around the bases drew one of the louder ovations on a night filled with loud ovations.
Something fishy: Mike Carp had quite a game for the Sox, going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. But he will not live down what happened in the eighth, when Murphy caught him looking at a floater. Perhaps out of embarrassment, Carp barked at home plate umpire Andy Fletcher, who tossed him.
It was the first ejection of Carp’s career, and perhaps the most embarrassing strikeout he has endured.
Who needs him?: The Red Sox are 3-1 since the surging Jacoby Ellsbury hurt his groin. They are hitting .405 as a team in the last three games, during which they’ve clubbed nine homers.
Where is he?: Boston has won nine games since Andrew Bailey was activated from the DL and inserted back into the closer’s role, yet he has just one save chance. The team’s average margin of victory in that span is nearly six runs. It’s only one-run victory was the walk-off win against Cleveland on May 26.
It’s probably not a bad thing that the oft-injured Bailey gets to take it easy, but rust could be a concern.
There’s always a negative: If we had to pick one, it would have to be Clayton Mortensen’s rocky outing, the latest in a string for the struggling right-hander. After giving up a two-run bomb to Mitch Moreland, Mortensen’s ERA sits at 5.53. He has been reached for eight runs in his last 5 2/3 innings and it could have been much worse if Andrew Miller didn’t clean up the bases-loaded mess that Mortensen left for him.
It gets better: At least it should on the mound, as the matchups for the next two games of the series are a bit more appetizing. The resurgent John Lackey opposes Alexi Ogando, who defeated the Sox a month ago at home, on Wednesday. Standout lefties Jon Lester and Derek Holland square off in the series finale Thursday.