The Red Sox are losers for the fourth straight game after a second-inning injury to Aaron Cook derailed the sinkerballer's debut start in a seven-run third.
While Cook started off exactly how you might expect from a pitcher like him, recording three straight ground ball outs to start the game, things went terribly awry in the second. Covering the plate with two outs as a runner scored from third on a passed ball, Cook suffered a deep gash to his knee as Chris Davis' spikes tore into him.
From there, Cook had nothing. Leaving the ball up in the zone, he was pounded for six runs in the third inning, including a big homer from Adam Jones. Finally pulled with five runs on the board and two out, Cook was replaced by Clayton Mortensen, who quickly surrendered another home run to Mark Reynolds to make it 8-0.
The Sox were able to hold the score there thanks to Mortensen bouncing back in style with three scoreless innings and Scott Atchison holding down the fort for the seventh, eighth, and ninth. Unfortunately, the Sox were not able to get anything going at the plate, with Jason Hammel facing the minimum from the second through the sixth innings. Hits from Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney, and Cody Ross would finally produce a pair of runs in the seventh, but after that the bats went back in their holes, leaving the Orioles clear winners at the end of the day.
No Judgement For Cook: Seven runs, six earned on eight hits, a walk, and zero strikeouts in just 2.2 innings is not an outing to be proud of, but Cook has a pretty legitimate excuse. The image of his mangled knee on NESN is not for those with week stomachs, and frankly it is to his credit that he even tried to stay in the game. If he can get that knee healed up, there's no reason assume he can't come back to contribute as expected.
Punto Fails To Contribute: It's easy to understand how a late scratch of your starting third baseman can mix up a manager's plans. But there's no excuse for Bobby Valentine's solution to losing Will Middlebrooks for the day. By putting Nick Punto at the leadoff spot, he gave his worst hitter the chance to receive the most at bats. It's an inexcusably bad idea. How much longer is ownership going to put up with this?
No, Seriously, Punto: The guy is hitting .160/.313/.200. He's a career nothing with the bat! What happened to the original plan to bat Ryan Sweeney first? Why did you scrap the good idea for the worst idea, Bobby?
Stay tuned for Sunday's game, when Clay Buchholz will bat leadoff and Punto will DH for first baseman David Ortiz.
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|WP: Jason Hammel (4 - 1)
LP: Aaron Cook (0 - 1)
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