Just a day removed from losing despite scoring six times, nine runs were more than enough for Boston on Wednesday night thanks to Felix Doubront’s strong performance.
In the first inning, Shane Victorino laced a single to left with 1 out to start an early rally. A red-hot David Ortiz doubled to right center to put two men in scoring position. Big Papi picked up right where he left off last night when he was four for five with two homers and four RBI. Mike Napoli cut down on his swing and hit a grounder to the right side to score Victorino for an early 1-0 lead.
With two men out, Grady Sizemore doubled home Ortiz on a ball off the scoreboard in right center making it 2-0 Red Sox. AJ Pierzynski grounded out to 1st for the final out, stranding Sizemore at second.
After Correia set down a string of four batters including 2 quick outs to start the third, David Ortiz launched his 3rd home run of the series to the upper deck in right for a 3-0 lead. With this solo homer, Ortiz passes Jim Rice on the Red Sox home run list with 383, good enough for third all-time.
Just after the home run, Mike Napoli hit an opposite field double for another extra base hit. Napoli extended his on-base streak to 33 games with the extra base knock. Grady Sizemore followed with a single to center for his second RBI of the night, now 4-0 Sox.
In the home third, Felix Doubront allowed a leadoff double to shortstop Eduardo Escobar despite a two-strike count. Doubront’s mistake impacted his focus on the next man, as he walked Aaron Hicks on five pitches. Pitching coach Juan Nieves made a trip to the mound to calm his pitcher’s nerves and get him back on track. Brian Dozier singled to load the bases for franchise face Joe Mauer. Doubront focused on the task at hand and limited the damage to a sac fly, working around the bases loaded, no out situation.
Just when Correia’s team gets him a run, he gives the Red Sox an excellent opportunity to get it right back, allowing a leadoff double down the line by Xander Bogaerts. Will Middlebrooks drove in the fifth Red Sox run with a single to right, staying back on a curveball. A good sign for Will after struggling all month, mustering a .147 average in May. Correia retired the side in order after giving up his 5th run of the night, but that would be it for the Minnesota starter.
Correia won his only other start against the Sox last May at Fenway, but lasted only four innings after giving up five runs on nine hits this time around. Five of those hits went for extra bases, including an Ortiz blast, though Correia did not walk a batter. Maybe giving in on the mound once in a while is not such a bad idea.
In the top of the fifth, Thielbar enters the game from the bullpen to face David Ortiz. At this point the Twins are dumb to even pitch to him. Despite 2 home runs last night and 2 hits so far in this game, Thielbar does not want to walk the leadoff man trailing by four runs and elects to pitch him anyway. Ortiz made him pay--you guessed it--with yet another jack. Papi’s latest blast gave the Sox a 6-1 lead, and his third hit of the night.
So far in the series he is an unconscious 7-10 with four home runs and six RBI. With tonight’s multi-homer game, Ortiz now has 43 such games in his career, 3rd among active players.
Xander Bogaerts worked a leadoff walk to start the sixth against the new pitcher Anthony Swarzak, though he rebounded by striking out Middlebrooks looking.
The Twins infield did not help their pitcher on an interesting play after the K. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe uncorked an errant throw allowing Bogaerts to reach second and Jackie Bradley to reach first, and the defense failed to record an out. Dustin Pedroia plated the seventh Sox run in Bogaerts on a single to right.
Felix Doubront took the mound in the seventh having retired the last nine Twins to face him, but former Yankee Eduardo Nunez broke the streak with a leadoff single to left. Felix struck out the next Eduardo to face him, Eduardo Escobar, though he left the game after Hicks singled to make it first and second with one out. Burke Badenhop walked Brian Dozier out of the gate but a double play ended the frame.
Doubront’s start originally was slated for Tuesday, and Peavy took the mound instead. That decision did not pay off for John Farrell as Peavy did not have his best stuff. Tonight Felix went six and a third innings, giving up the one run on a sac fly, and scattered seven hits. He fanned five and walked one batter. At times Doubront shows just how successful he can be on the mound, but other times he has issues with focusing in and concentrating on the hitter. Those issues were not a factor for him tonight.
Doubront allowed only one run in his last outing against the Reds as well, going five and a third innings resulting in a no-decision.
In the bottom of the eighth, Minnesota struck for their second tally of the game. Chris Parmelee drew a one out walk before Burke Badenhop threw the ball into center trying for a double play, moving Parmelee to third. Nunez later singled to score Parmelee with two outs, making it a 7-2 game.
The Sox tacked on two more in the ninth thanks to some more sloppy defense. Pedroia walked to lead off the inning and Jonathan Herrera pinch-ran for him at first. Victorino and Ortiz made outs--yes, Ortiz failed to reach base in 2 consecutive at-bats-- then Mike Carp reached on a gaffe in left by Nunez.
Grady Sizemore drew the 2nd walk of the inning, bringing out the Twins pitching coach. The visit on the mound did not help much, as A.J. Pierzynski took a two-strike fastball the other way for a two-run double, giving the Sox a 9-2 lead heading into the home ninth.
Edward Mujica came on for the ninth to get some work in. He allowed a single to Dozier and a home run to Plouffe, though he did strike out two and induced a grounder for the final out of the game.
Getaway day tomorrow features Clay Buchholz (2-3, 6.44) taking on former Yankee pitcher Phil Hughes (4-1, 3.92) at 1:1opm. Clay looks to duplicate what he did two and three starts ago, and move on from four and a third innings and six runs in his last start in Texas.