Monday, July 11, 2011
Red Sox Sweep Orioles, Head Into All-Star Break Up 1 Game On New York
After one more win (8-6) over the Baltimore Orioles (36-52), completing a four-game sweep at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox (55-35) head into the All-Star break on a real high.
The Red Sox have won 10 of their last 11 games, including six straight, and they hold a one-game lead in the AL East over the New York Yankees. Most importantly as they sit a season-high 20 games over .500, they've made the 0-6 and 2-10 starts to the season a distant memory that's pretty much laughable now.
Boston is the powerhouse that we all knew they would be. They lead the AL in most offensive categories: batting average, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, doubles, RBIs, slugging percentage and OBP. This is the sixth time in the last seven seasons that they've led the AL East at the All-Star break (showing how irrelevant that stat can be).
They're sending six players (Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester) to represent the team in the All-Star Game in Arizona.
Kyle Weiland made his MLB debut yesterday afternoon for Boston and it was memorable, albeit not for positive reasons on a personal level. In four innings, he gave up six earned runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He was ejected in the fifth after hitting Vlad Guerrero with an errant pitch. Terry Francona was also tossed since both managers had been warned.
Later, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and reliever Mike Gonzalez were thrown out in the sixth after Gonzalez threw behind Ortiz.
Baltimore jumped out to a 6-2 lead on Weiland with six runs in the second but predictably, they couldn't hold on as Mitch Atkins was gone after 1.2 innings and Jeremy Guthrie (3-12) took the loss.
Boston went up 2-0 in the first on an RBI single by Ortiz and a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick.
The Orioles put up six thanks to a two-run bomb by Derrek Lee and four RBI singles (three of the infield variety).
The Red Sox immediately tied it up at six in the second as Marco Scutaro (fourth), Dustin Pedroia (11th; 3 runs, 2 hits) and Youkilis (13th, two-run) all went deep.
Ortiz walked with the bases loaded in the fourth and Ellsbury (2 hits) produced an RBI single in the seventh for an insurance run.
As he's been most of the first half, Red Sox jack of all trades pitcher Alfredo Aceves (4-1) was the unsung hero. He pitched three scoreless innings with no hits allowed and four strikeouts.
Daniel Bard got his AL-leading 21st hold in the eighth, extending his career-long scoreless streak to 19 1/3 innings, before Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 20th save (out of 21 chances) with a walk and two strikeouts in the ninth.
The best team in the American League earned its four days off while everyone scatters to different parts of the country. If possible, enjoy Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. The Red Sox get back to work on Friday with three games in Tampa Bay (who are six games behind Boston) then three in Baltimore.