Red Sox offense comes alive in series finale against Rays
The Boston Red Sox offensive took advantage of James Shields every chance it got and easily won the final game of the series, 7-4. Will Middlebrooks was the hero of the game with three hits and 2RBI in four at-bats.
Josh Beckett got the start for the Red Sox and pitched well enough to get the victory. He lasted six innings while striking out seven and allowed only three runs. All three runs came in the first inning for the right-hander.
The Red Sox drew first blood on a RBI single for Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning, after Shields walked Daniel Nava and David Ortiz with one out.
The Rays came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. All of the batters in the lineup were being aggressive against Beckett which led to four hits. Sure, there was a pitch where Ben Zobrist went around for strike three, but Beckett still was able to minimize the damage after the first three batters reached base.
After Zobrist’s RBI single, Desmond Jennings singled with the bases loaded to score two more runs and expanded the lead to 3-1 for the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Mike Aviles tied the game 3-3 on a two-run home run to center that was right out of the reach of B.J. Upton’s glove in centerfield.
After Beckett worked out of a second and third jam with two outs in the bottom of the inning, the 32-year-old retired 12 of the next 15 batters he faced.
Shields did not get off that easy.
“Big Game James” could only last five innings. He gave up six runs on 11 hits and only struck out five batters.
The big offensive inning came in the fifth for the Red Sox as they scored three runs off of Shields in the inning. Daniel Nava led off the inning with a home run to right. Ortiz singled up the middle before Shields retired forced Gonzalez into a fielder’s choice to retire Ortiz at second.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia came up after Cody Ross laced a single to right and fought back from a 0-2 count to load the bases with a walk for Middlebrooks. The 23-year-old delivered and smacked a single up the middle that scored Gonzalez and Ross to put the Red Sox up 6-3.
Ross added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning that scored Jacoby Ellsbury to make it 7-3. Ellsbury, in just his third game back, finished 3-for-5 and with two doubles and a run scored.
The Rays loaded the bases in the ninth game on three walks for Alfredo Aceves before a long fly ball from Hideki Matsui retired the side and ended the game for the Rays.
The Red Sox will head to Fenway Park to welcome Kevin Youkilis and the Chicago White Sox into town for a four-game series. The Rays will stay home and take on the Cleveland Indians for a three-game set.
By: Brian Roach
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