Thursday, May 16, 2013

Middlebrooks comes through

When Will Middlebrooks came to the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, the Red Sox were down by two runs with the bases loaded. Middlebrooks didn't have much to show for his earlier plate appearances, as he was 0-for-2 with a walk up to that point. But none of that mattered, because with two strikes on him, Middlebrooks laid off a high fastball from Rays closer Fernando Rodney, took the next offering (a changeup), and lined it into right field.

Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Daniel Nava scored on Middlebrooks' double, and the Red Sox took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth. With Andrew Bailey still on the disabled list, Junichi Tazawa came in to try to lock things down, and he successfully got the save, allowing the Red Sox to take the rubber match of the series.

Even Felix Doubront had a pretty solid outing - though he did not get the win, he managed to go five plus innings and give up just two earned runs, even wiggling out of a tough situation when he loaded the bases in the first inning, somehow getting out untagged. The bullpen pulled out a piecemeal effort, as Clayton Mortensen managed just a third of an inning and gave up a run, but Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, and Tazawa pitched the rest of the game cleanly.

It was certainly a feel-good win, as the homegrown fan-favorite Middlebrooks provided the offense needed, and the Red Sox strung two wins together for the first time since their last series in Baltimore two weeks ago. Tomorrow the Sox head to Minnesota for a three game set, and hopefully they can bring some momentum with them to Target Field, as they only managed to take one game out of three from the Twins last week at Fenway. Clay Buchholz (6-0) will get the start for the Sox, against Vance Worley (1-4).

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