The Red Sox took a 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon thanks to contributions from an unlikely source in Nick Punto.
To say Nick Punto has had a bad start to 2012 would be an understatement. Hitting .132/.266/.151 in his first 53 at bats, Punto was perhaps making Sox fans wonder if the DH wasn't better used on him than on their pitcher. Finally, however, he came through with some hits.
HIs first came in what would be a big second inning for the Red Sox. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had already scored on a Will Middlebrooks hit after walking with one out and moving to third on a Ryan Sweeney single with two outs. Punto would keep the inning going by hugging the line in right with a line drive double, bringing Sweeney in to score and then coming home himself on a Daniel Nava single (which should have been an error on Colby Rasmus, who overran the line drive) that capped off a four-run frame.
The Jays would consistently manage to stay in the game. Jeff Mathis made it 4-1 when he took an outside fastball not even in the strike zone and managed to put a jolt into it, knocking a solo shot to right field. After the Sox scored a fifth in the top of the fourth, a fielding gaffe from Felix Doubront, a bunt, and a blooper were good to equal it in the bottom half of the inning.
That was just sort of the night Felix Doubront was having. He fooled Mathis into swinging at an outside pitch, and was rewarded with a homer. He almost makes a great defensive play, and it costs him a run (the ground ball he stopped was headed straight for Aviles). He paints a corner against Jose Bautista, and there's nothing in it for him but another homer. Still, Doubront would manage 6.1 innings of three-run ball (two earned), striking out seven and walking one. Even when things really aren't going his way, he's been able to keep the runs to a minimum.
The Sox would extend their lead back to three runs in the eighth on a ground out with the bases loaded, but again had the Jays respond in the bottom half of the inning, as Ryan Sweeney threw a ball all of about 10 feet in front of him in right to allow a runner to score from second. Ultimately, though, it would be Nick Punto who would have the last say, launching a very long shot to right field to make it 7-4 before Alfredo Aceves closed the game out with ease.
|Final - 6.2.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||1||7||8||2|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0||0||1||1||1||0||0||1||0||4||9||2|
|WP: Felix Doubront (6 - 2)
SV: Alfredo Aceves (14)
LP: Kyle Drabek (4 - 6)