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Sunday, June 8, 2014

David Ortiz Saves the Day For the Millionth Time in His Red Sox Career

We all know that there currently is little reason to tune into Red Sox games. Still, once again David Ortiz proved to be must-watch TV whenever he steps to the plate. Boston (28-34 overall, 13-17 away) was headed to its sixth straight loss at Detroit's (33-26 overall, 16-15 home) Comerica Park until Ortiz connected for a go-ahead three-run bomb (his 14th of the season and 445th of his career) against former overhyped Yankee Joba Chamberlain (1-3). Joba rules got to be the Tigers closer for a night since Joe Nathan has been a mess this season.

They can't be too worried about the standings yet, however it should be noted that the Red Sox gained a game on all four of the other teams in the AL East since they all lost earlier in the day. Boston finally found a way to beat Detroit after starting 0-5 against everyone's pick to win the American League in 2014 (ever hear of Oakland?). It was the 27th game-tying or go-ahead hit in the ninth inning or later for Ortiz on Boston, the 16th that was a homer.

Ortiz will receive all the credit but a couple other guys kept the Red Sox in it, laying the foundation for his almost routine heroics (we are so spoiled). John Lackey (8 innings, 3 runs, 2 earned, 7 hits, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk) is still Boston's best starting pitcher while Brock Holt (4 for 5 with a triple and run) has morphed into Pedro Ciriaco circa 2012 (let's hope the team's season is a little different). Meanwhile, Mike Napoli returned with a bang: 3 for 4 with a solo homer in the sixth that tied it at two (his sixth of the season) and his first stolen base of the season. Oh and Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on 13 pitches for his 12th save of the season, haha his ERA is 0.68 so I guess 2013 wasn't a complete fluke.

Dustin Pedroia gave his team a 1-0 lead in the third with a sacrifice fly. After that, Anibal Sanchez (6 innings, 2 earned runs, 6 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks) kept the Red Sox in check except for Napoli's blast to right field. Tigers rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez (great name) provided a boost with RBI singles in the third and seventh inning. Victor Martinez put Detroit up 2-1 in the fourth with an RBI single. The greatest hitter of his generation-Miguel Cabrera-was 2 for 3 with a double and run before he tapped out in the sixth with a tight hamstring. It's too much to ask for him to be in shape I guess, at least as far as we know he's not a drunk anymore.

This victory means nothing if the Red Sox can't build up some positive momentum. They have been so schizophrenic: losing 10 games in a row, winning seven and dropping the last five before tonight's Sunday Night Baseball. Here's an idea: be more consistent. Toronto (38-26) looks like the team to beat this season in the AL East while Baltimore (31-30) and New York (31-31) are the epitome of average. Tampa Bay (24-40) is the one team I think that you can completely write off in the division, assuming you haven't done that already with Boston.

The Red Sox can chip away at their 3.5 game gap behind the Orioles beginning tomorrow night (7:05, NESN) at Camden Yards. Boston plays three games against Baltimore, the Red Sox are 4-3 so far in 2014 against the O's. Jake Peavy (1-3) faces Bud Norris (4-5) in the opener, Brandon Workman (0-0) opposes Chris Tillman (5-2) on Tuesday (7:05, NESN) and Rubby De La Rosa (1-1) takes on Wei-Yin Chen (6-2) on Wednesday (7:05, NESN) in the series finale.

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