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Saturday, 03 May 2014 21:48

Jonny Gomes Blasts a Grand Slam; Jon Lester Dominates; Boston Red Sox Top The Oakland Athletics 6-3

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Today, Jon Lester had the second best outing of his career, second only to his no hitter.

Gomes Strikes Early

Boston had the lead throughout the course of the game starting in the bottom of the first inning. Pedroia started off the first inning walking on a seven pitch at-bat. Xander Bogaerts followed up Pedroia with a line drive single to left field. With runners on first and second and no outs, David Ortiz drew another walk which loaded the bases. Mike Napoli had a huge chance to break the game open, but failed to take advantage of the situation when the struck out. Next, Jonny Gomes stepped up to the plate. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Gomes came up swinging hard on a curveball which landed in the Green Monster seats which put Boston up 4-0 with only one out in the first inning. Despite Grady Sizemore and Will Middlebrooks both striking out after Gomes’ monster hit, the first inning was quite productive.

The Davids Go Deep

After Jonny Gomes blasted the grandslam to give Boston a commanding lead, Boston’s bats were relatively quiet reaching base just ten times in total. In the third inning of the game, David Ortiz led off. Ortiz put a ball in the bleachers to make it a 5-0 game. With his homerun today, Ortiz tied Dwight Evans for the 4th most homeruns in Red Sox history. Right now, Ortiz only trails Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice on the Red Sox all-time homerun leaderboard. In the next inning the other David, David Ross, did his damage at the plate. Ross also blasted a solo shot, only Ross hit his to left field unlike Ortiz. After this point in the game, Boston’s bats were virtually silent, but six runs satisfied Boston’s needs for runs.

Jon Lester Fans 15, Tosses a Gem

Before today’s game, Jon Lester had impressive stats on the year. His ERA was 3.10, but his run support was low. In Lester’s first six starts, he received only 12 runs in support of his pitching cause. Today was a different story though, he received six, four of which came in the first inning. Lester received great run support so he did not need to pitch a gem in order to earn a win. Even though the Red Sox did not need a gem, Lester gave them one anyways. In the top of the third inning Jon Lester gave up a bloop single to right field and that was the only time an Oakland Athletic got a hit off of Lester today. Although Lester walked a pair of batters, he only let three runners reach base in eight innings of work which is dominant. Lester’s dominance also showed on the mound by way of the K. In total, Lester struck out fifteen batters, a career high for him. Had Lester not thrown 119 pitches in eight innings, he would have pitched the ninth inning, but Capuano got the ninth instead.

Chris Capuano Has a Rough Day; Koji Gets The Save

To put it this way, Chris Capuano was not himself today. He started of the inning by giving up a ground-rule double to Nick Punto and a single to Coco Crisp. Keep in mind at this point Capuano has thrown just two pitches. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Jed Lowrie slammed a double to left field where a bad throw allowed Crisp to score from first. After this, Capuano beaned Josh Donaldson so John Farrell made the change putting in the closer, Koji Uehara. Uehara earned the save today, but not without some battling first. First, Uehara let up a walk to Yoenis Cespades which loaded the bases. After this, Derek Norris hit a ball softly to Koji who fired to home to get the force out at the plate. Ross then fired the ball to first which sailed high and landed in right field. Josh Donaldson scored and the runners advanced to second and third respectively. In a tough situation, Uehara remained calm striking out Alberto Callaspo then he got Brandon Moss to line out to Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the game.

Quick Facts

Jon Lester reached his career high for strikeouts in a game today with 15.

With his homerun in the third inning, David Ortiz is now tied for 4th on the Boston Red Sox all-time homerun list with Dwight Evans at 379. Jim Rice is the next player Ortiz could surpass as Rice smacked 382 career homeruns with the Red Sox.

After a hot start, Grady Sizemore has cooled down considerable and his average now stands at .205 with a .287 OBP. If Sizemore wants to see consistent playing time, he will need to do better especially with the possible return of Daniel Nava. In eight games with the Pawtucket Red Sox, Daniel Nava is batting .333 in 24 at-bats along with a pair of homers and four walks.

Today marks the first time Chris Capuano gave up a run for the Boston Red Sox. After today’s outing, Capuano’s ERA still stands at just 1.20

Overall

Overall, today was a good day for the Boston Red Sox. Despite a slow start to the season, Boston is battling back and stands at 15-16. Boston is now just two games out of first place, meaning they have a legitimate shot at stealing first place by the middle of next week if all goes well. In today’s game, Jon Lester showed he has what it takes to be an elite pitcher who can step up and pitch some big games. Gomes is still the most clutch man alive as he was last year which is a great sign, especially when Boston is down late in the 9th and looks for a pinch hitter sometime.

Follow me on Twitter @CLNS_Tom