Sox punctuate streak with comeback win
August, 15, 2014
By Kyle Brasseur | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- From where the Boston Red Sox stand right now, the benefits of a four-game winning streak would seem virtually insignificant.
At 55-65, Boston still remains well out of contention -- 10½ games back of even a shot at a wild card. However, a night like Thursday's 9-4 victory over the Houston Astros offered many positives for a team short on highlights this year.
"Eventually things started to fall our way," outfielder Daniel Nava said. "We have a bunch of guys that are going out and we're trying to finish the season and finish it strong. We know where we stand."
Few things have fallen Boston's way this season, but the Red Sox flipped the script Thursday night. Down 4-1 entering the sixth inning, Boston's offense seemed helpless once again with only four hits against Astros starter Scott Feldman. However, in their third time through the lineup, the Red Sox hitters finally broke through.
AP Photo/Charles KrupaAllen Webster got the win Thursday, improving to 3-1 with a 4.97 ERA over four starts this season.
The result was a single-inning, season-high seven runs scored on six hits as they sent 12 men to the plate in the process of taking a comfortable lead and never looking back. And perhaps most encouraging of all were contributions from both Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. with the bases loaded, each tallying an RBI.
"We came to life," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the inning. "Anytime we get some production out of that bottom third, we feel like we've got the ability to score five to seven runs, and that was the case tonight."
In all, eight of the nine Red Sox starters had a hit in the game, led by Dustin Pedroia, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs -- raising his batting average in the month of August to .360. Nava also chipped in prominently with two doubles, his first game with multiple extra-base hits since Sept. 15 last season.
All of it was more than enough for starter Allen Webster, who made it through six hard-fought innings to post consecutive quality starts for the first time in his career.
"I grinded through it until the sixth and then they took off," Webster said. "When you get seven runs you can't complain with that at all."
Unlike his previous start at Fenway, a 2⅔ innings, six-walk disaster against the New York Yankees that got away from him early, Webster battled back from control issues early Thursday to keep the game within reach. He got two double plays when he needed them, erasing multiple Astros rallies and escaping out of multiple jams that he created for himself.
"I think we're seeing some small gains here," Farrell said. "When you compare it to two starts ago where things might have gotten away from him a little bit -- he did bend today but he didn't break. That was an encouraging sign."
The only con of the contest came in the form of a Yoenis Cespedes foul ball off his shin in his second-to-last at-bat that led to him being removed from the game after a defensive replacement in the ninth. However, Farrell expects Cespedes to be ready to play once again on Friday as the team will look to push its streak to five games and continue focusing on the positives.
"Good to see us break out [tonight]," Farrell said. "To come from behind -- a good win."