Boston Red Sox: AL East
April, 25, 2014
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
TORONTO -- Life after the apocalypse? The doomsday crowd will be disappointed, but it's sweeter than you might think.
A night after the Red Sox made Alexander Cartwright/Abner Doubleday/an anonymous Russian boychik rue the day he ever invented the game of baseball, the Sox came roaring back with a display of hardball virtuosity. They pummeled the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 in the domed comfort of Rogers Centre before a dismayed crowd of 29,411, who had heard rumors the Sox were on their last legs after a 14-5 horror against the Yankees the night before.
Friday night, the Sox had 16 hits, with every player in the lineup collecting at least one. The bottom of the order -- A.J. Pierzynski, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- combined to go 8-for-2 with five runs scored and four RBIs.
Bradley Jr., who had just three hits in his past 19 at-bats, matched that total with two doubles and a triple, and he also stole a base.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Frank GunnWill Middlebrooks (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, run) returned to action and enjoyed a productive night with Jackie Bradley Jr. (3-for-4, 2 runs, RBI, SB).
Middlebrooks, who had missed the previous 19 games with a strained right calf, singled in a run in his first at-bat back and later doubled.
The Sox, showing no respect for Mark Buehrle's success coming into this game -- 4-0 with an 0.64 ERA in four starts -- opened a 5-0 lead against the Jays left-hander in the first three innings and wound up with eight extra-base hits against Buerhle and two successors.
That included a home run by David Ortiz, who shed another baseball of whatever dignity it possessed by rocketing it into the right-field seats for his fifth home run of the season.
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, meanwhile, checked the Jays on five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking two. He saved his best pitches for the sixth inning, in which he registered back-to-back whiffs of Jays strongmen Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The Jays' only run came on a home run by Juan Francisco in the seventh.
The Sox, a night after committing five errors, also played a clean game afield.
Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and J.P. Ricciardi of "Baseball Tonight" break down the AL East, discussing what team had the best offseason, what players are primed for breakout seasons and who will will win the division.