The Red Sox offense came to life for the second straight night Tuesday, this time for a 7-3 win over Los Angeles.
Despite the final score, the battle of the aces lived up to the hype. At first, Jon Lester looked like by far the shakier of the two, allowing a hard hit ground ball double down the line to Maicer Izturis to lead off the game and leaving a cutter up to Mark Trumbo which was sent well out of the park by one big swing from Mark Trumbo in the second. But Lester tightened up, and quickly quieted the Angels lineup, earning strikeout after strikeout--eleven in total--completely fooling a number of Los Angeles' hitters.
Dan Haren, meanwhile, was doing a number on Boston's lineup, allowing just two singles through the first five innings. With his pitches dying at the plate as often as they seemed to dive suddenly away from the batter, there was just no scoring off of him--at least until the sixth, that is.
As has so often been the case of late, it was Jacoby Ellsbury starting the Red Sox' rally, racing out a double on a line-hugging ground ball to right with one out. Haren came back to strike out Dustin Pedroia, against whom he's had a great deal of success over his career, but then things seemed to fall apart. First, Adrian Gonzalez put the Red Sox on the board with a hard ground ball single through the hole to left, then Ortiz followed up with a single of his own past a diving Mark Trumbo before Jed Lowrie shot an RBI single through the hole between second and first to give the Red Sox the 2-1 lead.
The Sox would score again off Haren in the seventh inning, with Carl Crawford continuing his strong May with a rocket into center field and was doubled home by Jarrod Saltalamacchia's wall ball double. But it was in the eighth inning that the Sox really opened things up using the longball.
Adrian Gonzalez was the first to do the honors, knocking Dan Haren from the game with his first Fenway Park homer--a shot into the bullpen in right. Next up was David Ortiz, who greeted Hisanori Takahashi--the man who gave up so many runs to the Red Sox on Monday--by taking his second pitch of the game and wrapping it around the pole in right, quite a few rows deep. Jed Lowrie gave the Red Sox a baserunner with his second single of the game--a strong line drive to right field--which made the homer hit into the Monster seats shortly thereafter by Marco Scutaro worth twice as much.
Jonathan Papelbon was not nearly as strong as in the rest of his opportunities this season, giving up two runs on three hits in the ninth. But that's not so far out of the usual in a non-save situation, and it was far from an urgent situation. When all was said and done, the Red Sox left with their third straight win against a top-of-the-line starter, pulling to within a win of .500.