The Red Sox improved to 3-1 in the second half of the season Monday night as Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Aaron Cook led the team to a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The two keys to a good Aaron Cook outing are ground balls and good defense. While Cook had one of those two keys working all night long, picking up an impressive 15 ground ball outs, the defense wasn't quite so consistent. In the first inning, making his return to Fenway Park (and enjoying a standing ovation), Kevin Youkilis singled up the middle. He would score when Adrian Gonzalez made an ill-advised throw behind Will Middlebrooks trying to catch Youkilis going to third after a ground out into the shift. Middlebrooks had moved to cover second for a possible double play, leaving Youkilis free to take his momentum around the bag towards a vacant third, and putting Middlebrooks in an impossible no-man's land.
The Sox would answer immediately, however, thanks to Carl Crawford, making his season debut after months of injury woes. Like Youkilis, Crawford was able to single up the middle, scoring when David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez added singles of their own behind him.
Despite each team allowing a run in the first, the game would develop into a pitchers' duel for the next six innings. Cook would record ground ball out after ground ball out, barely letting anything so much as leave the infield, while Dylan Axelrod did his best Justin Verlander impression, striking out eight batters before leaving with two outs in the seventh after an infield single.
The game would enter the eighth tied, where Vicente Padilla would get Kevin Youkilis out for the first time on the night after two doubles and a single in the early going. Leyson Septimo wouldn't fare nearly so well, offering up walks to Carl Crawford and David Ortiz, and then falling behind Adrian Gonzalez 2-1. His fourth pitch would be a high fastball, and Adrian took full advantage, sending a high fly ball to left field that dropped into the Monster seats to turn a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Red Sox lead. The Sox would add a fifth run before the inning was over, turning the ball over to Alfredo Aceves to complete the win in the ninth.
The bad news is that David Ortiz came into home limping on the home run, but the not-awful news is that Bobby Valentine said Ortiz should just miss a couple of days with a banged up ankle. On the other hand, with Ortiz going for an MRI, there's still (unfortunately) time for another shoe to drop.
|Final - 7.16.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Chicago White Sox||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||0|
|Boston Red Sox||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||X||5||10||2|
|WP: Vicente Padilla (3 - 0)
LP: Leyson Septimo (0 - 1)