Red Sox 13, Rangers 2
The mystique is gone. After an 11-5 beatdown of the Rangers Tuesday, the Red Sox took it a step further Wednesday, absolutely dominating Texas to the tune of 16 hits and 13 runs.
The scoring started immediately thanks to a few lucky hits. Jacoby Ellsbury bounced a chopper over Matt Harrison's head for a leadoff infield single, and then advanced to second when Adrian Gonzalez blooped one into center field. Dustin Pedroia's ground ball found a hole, and just like that it was 1-0 Boston.
The line drives off the bat of David Ortiz, Jed Lowrie, and Carl Crawford were not so much about luck, though Lowrie's did find a glove. But again the Sox found themselves on the right side of fortune, with Mike Napoli failing to receive the throw home on Crawford's double, allowing Ortiz to score with ease.
The scoring just kept going as the game progressed, with single runs being pushed across in the second, fourth, and fifth frames. And then came the two-run homers. First was Ellsbury, wrapping one around the right field foul pole in the sixth. Next was Carl Crawford, who continues to show improvement by going long to dead center. Finally it was Adrian Gonzalez picking up his third in just two games, launching a long foul ball just to the right of the foul pole, and then straightening it out and planting it in the stands in right.
The Rangers' only real offensive achievement was to get Beckett out of the game after only six innings thanks to some long at bats. Mike Napoli scored their only run off Boston's ace with a long home run, and they mounted threats in a couple of innings, but could never really open the floodgates against him.
With the blowout, the Sox have pulled within just a few runs of the Rangers in their season series. Regardless of tomorrow's outcome, the Sox have shown that not only can they hit the Rangers' pitching, but more importantly, can shut down their lineup. They can enter into any playoff series now feeling fully confident.
Three For The Road
No Rust For Ellsbury, Ortiz
Jacoby Ellsbury did a bit of everything tonight, picking up three hits including a long ball and an infield single, making another tremendous catch in center, and stealing a base. Clearly this is not a situation like 2010, when Ellsbury made a short return and then went right back out with his injury aggravated. He's playing at full speed and full strength.
The same is true for David Ortiz, who picked up two solid hits and went from first-to-home on Carl Crawford's double in the the first. He looked a bit awkward on the way home, but that was just a matter of hesitation on his decision to risk it, and when he got to the dugout he was all smiles. That heel is just fine.
Carl Crawford's Hot Bat
Entering Wednesday's game 7-for-23 with a double, a homer, and two walks to just three strikeouts in his last six games, Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 with another double and homer, and a sac fly that came on a very hard hit line drive. If you're looking for a reason, check out his stance and how quickly he closes it these days-not to mention how his timing step is now less pronounced, previously trending very far towards right field. Sox fans have wanted him to drop the ridiculously open pose, but if this works for him, then it works for him.
Back On Top
Coco Crisp isn't with the team anymore, but he certainly came through for them tonight, driving in five runs with four hits including a pair of homers. That was enough to defeat the Yankees, giving the Sox sole possession of first place once again. Given that the Sox seem to just now be getting hot again, that's bad news for New York.
Red Sox MVP -- Carl Crawford
Ellsbury and Gonzalez would also be reasonable choices, but Carl seemed to make the hardest contact of anyone all night, and really, it's just nice to see him performing at last. Everyone's always said that if he can perform the way he should, the Sox would be nigh unstoppable. Well, he might finally be starting to do that.
Up Next -- Andrew Miller vs. Alexi Ogando
It strikes fear in even the most courageous of Sox fans' hearts, but the upcoming Andrew Miller start may not be all that bad. He was actually pretty strong in his last start against the Kansas City Royals, and after a couple of difficult games, the Texas lineup could be ripe for the picking. Alexi Ogando has been a nice surprise for the Rangers in the starting rotation, but the Sox have a lineup that can make any right-handed pitcher weep.