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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Red Sox Avoid The Sweep in Toronto, Thanks to Napoli and Sandoval's Blasts


With their pathetic downward spiral to last-place in the AL East over these last few weeks, the Red Sox had basically become unwatchable. I only saw bits and pieces of the carnage, because who could devote three plus hours to that trainwreck every day/night in early May? At least Boston (14-17 overall, 7-8 away) salvaged something from the trip to Canada with a 6-3 win this afternoon on Mother's Day at Rogers Centre vs. Blue Jays (16-16 overall, 9-7 home).

Clay Buchholz (2-4) actually pitched pretty decently by his very low standards (6.1 innings, 3 earned runs, 7 hits, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks) while Mike Napoli hit a three-run bomb and Pablo Sandoval (double, 2 runs) added a two-run shot of his own. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth with one strikeout for his sixth save of the season and 100th of his career (combined between MLB and Japan).

It sounds pretty simple but the Red Sox have excelled when they have scored first this season (they are now 9-2). That's why today's start was basically perfect: Mookie Betts tripled to lead off the game and Dustin Pedroia knocked him in with a groundout. Later that inning, Napoli launched his third homer of the season to center. Haha if only Boston could play R.A. Dickey (6 innings, 6 earned runs, 7 hits, 0 strikeouts, 3 walks) more often, then they would be getting somewhere.

Sporting a new gross haircut (hard to believe, I know), Buchholz actually held that four-run lead for over three innings which was a cause for celebration. Framingham native Chris Colabello (3 for 4) continued his hot streak with an RBI single in the fourth which cut it to 4-1. Sandoval's two-run home run to right center in the fifth was also his third of the season.

The Blue Jays got a run in the fifth on Josh Donaldson's RBI double and their final run came in the seventh on a groundout. After getting outscored 7-0 on Friday night and 7-1 on Saturday afternoon, it was nice to see the Red Sox show a slight pulse. Buchholz pitched long enough that new pitching coach Carl Willis (in his first day on the job) only had to see Junichi Tazawa (1.2 scoreless innings) bridge the gap to Uehara. No need to use any of their far less reliable relievers.

In their first West Coast action of the season, Boston headed for Oakland (12-21 overall, 5th in AL West) where they will play three games against the reeling A's. Then it's off to Seattle (14-17 overall, 3rd in AL West) for four games. They don't return to Fenway Park until a week from Tuesday against Texas. Haha who knows what kind of shape the hometown team will be in by then?

In the series opener tomorrow night (10:05) it is Rick Porcello (3-2) vs. former Rays great Scott Kazmir (2-1). Justin Masterson (2-1) faces Drew Pomeranz (1-3) on Tuesday night (10:05. NESN) before things wrap up on Wednesday afternoon (3:35, NESN) with Wade Miley (1-3) taking on Sonny Gray (4-0). If the Red Sox have any hope of becoming a good team in 2015, they need to take at least two out of three vs. the awful A's.


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