Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 4, Rangers 2
By Tony Lee | Special to ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- It felt as if the Boston Red Sox were in dire need of a wake-up call during their 3-5 start. Leave it to David Ortiz to provide the jolt.
Ortiz uncorked a massive, three-run bomb deep into the right-field grandstand in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Sox to a big 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, giving the club some positive vibes as it hits the road for seven straight.
Rangers left-hander Neal Cotts was brought in to face Ortiz with runners on the corners with one out. It was the elementary move, as Ortiz was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in his career against Cotts. Strike one came in, then a ball and then a skyscraping shot off the bat of Ortiz that passed over the Pesky Pole before falling into the jubilant masses.
Texas manager Ron Washington discussed the matter with the umpires before they took a quick look (as in 44.1 seconds quick) at it before upholding the home run call.
Boston was careening toward a 1-5 homestand before Ortiz's bomb, the 375th of his Red Sox career. They Sox can now enter Yankee Stadium on Thursday night on a bit of a high.
Pet Peavy: John Lackey and Jake Peavy entered the series a combined 12-17 with a 6.16 ERA against Texas. They combined to allow one earned run in 13 2/3 innings and Peavy looked as efficient as he ever has in a Red Sox uniform on Wednesday. He struck out eight -- tying his high with Boston -- and was hurt only by a solo homer in the seventh on a flat 2-0 fastball to Mitch Moreland.
Andrew Miller gave up another run in the eighth to give Texas a short-lived 2-1 lead.
Doubled up: The Red Sox entered the game having grounded into 15 double plays, tops in the majors. They didn't waste much time adding to the total with a rally-killer in the second and another in the third. At that juncture they had 10 GIDPs in the series, one shy of the major league record, accomplished three times previously, the last by Seattle in 1979.
Boston avoided inclusion in that dubious group, but it did have another inning-ending double play in the form of a strikeout/caught stealing in the fourth. Daniel Nava whiffed while Xander Bogaerts was out after sliding past second base and being tagged on the arm trying to hang on.
The caught-stealing left the Sox 1-for-4 on stolen base attempts through nine games. At this juncture in 2013, they were 8-of-10. No Ellsbury. No Victorino. Not much doing on the basepaths. It doesn't much matter when Ortiz does his thing in the clutch, but it is notable.
Walk this way: Boston's reputation for patience and selectivity at the plate has taken a tiny hit in the early portions of the season, as a more free-swinging bunch had produced 22 walks in the first eight games, fewer than 10 other American League teams.
Some of the credit for a turnaround Wednesday falls on Rangers starter Robbie Ross' inability to find the zone, as he issued six walks. Boston drew seven overall, a season high, with Jackie Bradley Jr. recording three of them.
Nava's struggles: Nava has been moved out of the leadoff spot because of his early-season woes, and he didn't do a whole lot better batting sixth. Nava struck out looking in each of his first three at-bats in this one, falling to 4-for-32 with seven strikeouts on the season.
Up next: Clay Buchholz will try to rebound from a poor start in his season debut when he toes the rubber at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. New York counters with Michael Pineda.