Kevin Youkilis hit a grand slam and Jarrod Saltalamacchia went deep twice as the Sox hammered Phil Humber in a 10-3 win over the White Sox.
Making his first start since pitching a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, Phil Humber wasn't able to cool down the torrid offense the Sox have featured over the past few games. Walking Mike Aviles right out of the gates, Humber would surrender an infield single to Dustin Pedroia, a double to Adrian Gonzalez, and then a base hit to David Ortiz to let two come across in the first.
The White Sox got one back off of a wild Felix Doubront in the bottom half of the inning, but a wild third would blow the game wide open. After allowing Ryan Sweeney his tenth double of the year, Humber walked the bases loaded, and then let a fastball tail back over the plate against Kevin Youkilis, who sent it over the wall in right field for a grand slam. On a hanging curveball, Jarrod Saltalamacchia made it back-to-back homers, leaving Boston up 7-1.
Chicago would get a run back in each of the next two innings as Doubront struggled to find his bearings on the inside part of the plate, but the Red Sox' starter managed to settle down and escape any more trouble through the end of the sixth. From there, Junichi Tazawa took over, throwing 51 pitches in recording an old fashioned three-inning save.
Vindication: Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia suffered through some serious difficulties early in the season, so it was very good to see them take up almost the entire offensive burden on the night. There's still a ways to go for each to erase their troubled start (though, actually, Saltalamacchia already looks like his old self with a bit more power--too bad that means a .280 OBP), but for now it's a good beginning.
Not His Best: Felix Doubront was not at his best tonight. While he was still able to miss some bats, he struggled to put batters away, found his pitch count high early on, gave up too many free bases, and found himself in trouble early and often. The good news is that, like Daniel Bard against Tampa Bay, he was able to contain things even without his best stuff. Add that to his more impressive games earlier in the year, and things are looking up for Mr. Doubront.
Tazawa Impresses: To a starving man, even food taken from the garbage might look good. But there was no mistaking that tonight Junichi Tazawa looked like a legitimate option from the bullpen. Utilizing strong secondary offerings, Tazawa controlled the strike zone, and was able to get swings-and-misses when he chose to go outside of it. With the likes of Matt Albers and Justin Thomas getting so many innings, it's high time Tazawa got his chance in some close games.