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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Red Sox Use The Long Ball (Grand Slam, 3-Run HR) To Beat A's 9-6

The Red Sox probably won't be one of the American League leaders in home runs this season but tonight, they couldn't have asked for much more timely power. Mike Napoli hit a grand slam and Will Middlebrooks added a three-run shot as Boston beat Oakland 9-6 in the series opener at chilly Fenway Park.

Boston (13-6 overall, 9-4 home) had lost both games in a day-night doubleheader on Sunday to Kansas City so this was a nice way to bounce back against a quality opponent. The A's were swept in Tampa Bay last weekend so they have now lost four games in a row.

Felix Doubront (2-0) threw a career-high 113 pitches in 6.2 IP. He allowed three earned runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and five walks. Oakland (12-8 overall, 6-4 road) scored a pair of runs in the second inning on a wild pitch and former Red Sox great Josh Reddick's RBI single.

Napoli (who leads the AL with 25 RBIs, seriously) got the Red Sox on the board with an RBI double in the second then Middlebrooks crushed his homer (5th of the season) over the Monster in the fourth off A.J. Griffin (2-1). After Chris Young's sacrifice fly in the fifth, Napoli responded with his grand slam (fourth homer of the season) in the home half to end Griffin's night and Jarrod Saltalamacchia added an RBI double for the 9-3 lead.

Boston appeared to be on their way to an easy win but Clayton Mortensen allowed a two-run double to Josh Donaldson in the eighth and Reddick chased him with an RBI double of his own. This meant that Junichi Tazawa had to come in and get the last two outs of the eighth (no problem) for his fifth hold of the season. Working his third day in a row (meaning that he won't possibly be available tomorrow), closer Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts for his fourth save of the season.

If the rain holds off enough to play a baseball game, Alfredo Aceves (1-0) is scheduled to face Bartolo Colon (2-0) tomorrow night (6:35 p.m., NESN). The game-time temperature was 45 tonight and it's expected to be even colder tomorrow with rain all day.

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