The Red Sox overcame an early 4-0 deficit, backing up Clay Buccholz with thirteen runs and five homers as they left the Tampa Bay Rays in their wake Saturday afternoon.
While Clay Buchholz got off to a terrible start, allowing a three-run shot to Luke Scott as part of a four-run first inning, the Red Sox' third starter would end up having a promising game after finishing with six strong innings. After his disaster in his debut, having such a terrific finish allows Red Sox fans to hope that what they saw in the latter innings was the real Clay Buchholz come back to them.
The Sox' offense, meanwhile, was more than up to the task of recouping his losses. Jarrod Saltalamacchia quickly brought in two runs on a massive home run to center field in the second, and Dustin Pedroia responded to another Luke Scott RBI with a Monster shot. Then, in the fifth, it was David Ortiz dropping a two-run shot of his own into the bullpen in right to bring the teams equal.
The tie would only last a couple innings, with Mike Aviles taking Burke Badenhop deep in the seventh to make it 6-5. Cody Ross would end up bringing another pair of runs in with a bases loaded double off the wall to end the seventh with an 8-5 lead.
Then, just like on Friday, the Sox would really close it out in the eighth. Once again it was David Ortiz and Cody Ross providing the big hits, with Ortiz clearing the bases with a double, and Ross bringing himself in along with Ortiz on the fifth homer of the day. With Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves finishing the final two innings in quick and dominant fashion, the Sox left with their third win of the year.
Encouraging Performances: From Kevin Youkilis (two walks and the hardest contact he's had all year--a ringing wall ball) to Mike Aviles (3-for-5 with a homer and a double) to Cody Ross (2-for-5 with a homer and a double), the Sox had strong outings from a number of players very much in need of them. And that's not even considering...
Clay Buchholz (After The First): While he started with a bad inning where he could only find the plate with middle-high fastballs, Clay Buchholz managed to get his off-speed pitches working, located his fastball better, and worked in an exceptional cutter to turn a bad day into a terrific six inning finish. After Beckett's strong outing, Sox fans have reason to be encouraged by their rotation.
Jeremy Hellickson Takes His Licks: Eventually when you're falling behind, walking batters, and not striking guys out, it's going to come back to haunt you. This is especially true when facing a team capable of as much raw power as the Red Sox are with players like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ortiz taking big hacks. Ironically, however, it may have been Dustin Pedroia who had the longest shot, turning on one of those high-inside fastballs like only he can.
Anyone remember that MLB: The Show commercial? Shows what they know.
So Do The Rays: They started off in much better shape, but after allowing 25 runs in two games, suddenly the Rays are right around the bottom of the barrel for runs allowed in the MLB. Meanwhile, the Sox have crept up to within a game of their biggest A.L. East competition, making this slow start a lot easier on the eyes.