Saturday, June 2, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 4
By Mark Polishuk
TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox used some timely hitting and another quality start from Felix Doubront to record a 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday at Rogers Centre.
Boston jumped out to an early lead with four runs in the second inning, all of which were scored with two outs. Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks continued his hot hitting with an RBI single, Nick Punto followed with an RBI double and Daniel Nava delivered a two-run single that blooped in front of Toronto center fielder Colby Rasmus.
It was yet another instance of the Sox coming up big in important situations. Boston entered the game with an .848 OPS with runners on base, the third-highest total of any team in the majors.
PUNTO POWERS UP: Punto went 3-for-4 in the game, including his first home run of both the season and his tenure with the Red Sox. The occasion was marked by the Boston bench giving Punto the silent treatment before exploding to congratulate the light-hitting infielder on his rare long ball. Punto made his fifth straight start at second base in place of the injured Dustin Pedroia, who is out with a right thumb injury.
DOUBRONT DELIVERS: Doubront matched his season high by throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out eight Jays batters. It was Doubront's eighth quality start in 11 outings this season, and he improves to 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA over his last six starts.
Doubront allowed solo home runs to Jeff Mathis and Jose Bautista, and he risked further damage on two other occasions. The left-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third by inducing a pop-up from Rasmus to end the inning, and after committing an error in the fourth that led to an unearned run, Doubront got a forceout that left two Jays runners stranded.
BLOOPERS: The Red Sox got an unearned score of their own in the fourth. Kevin Youkilis lined a double off the right-field wall and advanced to third on a wild throw from Bautista. Youkilis later came in to score on a double play from Middlebrooks.
Shortstop Mike Aviles appeared to be shaken up after bobbling a ground ball from Edwin Encarnacion in the third that was originally scored as an error on Aviles but changed to an infield single. Aviles received a brief visit from manager Bobby Valentine and trainer Rick Jameyson following the play but remained in the game.
Right fielder Ryan Sweeney made a peculiar error in the eighth inning that led to a Toronto run. Following a single from Brett Lawrie that advanced Encarnacion to second, Sweeney appeared to fake a throw into the infield, but the ball slipped from his grasp and rolled into center field. Sweeney's misplay allowed the Jays to temporarily cut the deficit to two runs.
Then Lawrie committed perhaps the game's worst blunder, getting thrown out trying to steal third by Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- ending the inning and the Jays' rally.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Red Sox have now won 16 of their past 22 games and go for the sweep of their AL East rivals Sunday. Daniel Bard takes the mound for Boston, while the Jays counter with rookie right-hander Drew Hutchison.