15-5: Red Sox Rout Cubs, Pull Within Half Game Of AL East Lead

6 walks, 19 hits, 6 doubles, 2 homers...

15 runs.

That's what I'm talking about. 

The Cubs returned to Fenway for the first time in 93 years, and were greeted with an absolute beatdown at the hands of the Red Sox' lineup. It started early, with the Red Sox scoring twice in the first, and continued in frustrating fashion for the Cubs. They tied it up in the third, only to have the Sox match them with two more in the bottom of the frame. They pulled back within three following a four-run fourth by the Sox, but again, Boston built the lead right back, making it 10-5 after five. Any hopes of a miracle held by the Cubs were dashed when the Sox batted around in the eighth, picking up bases-loaded hits from both Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Some performances of note:

  • Adrian Gonzalez: Four hits in six at bats to bring in four runs. All of them were singles, but at least one was a "Gonzo only" single off the wall. 
  • Kevin Youkilis: Three hits in five at bats including the longest homer we've seen all year and two doubles to go with it. He even reached 500 career RBI.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Two hits in three at bats including a homer of his own to go with two walks. Hard to ignore that sort of production from the formerly hopeless Salty.

No, Jon Lester wasn't great. Five strikeouts and two walks doesn't save the five earned runs the Cubs' right-handed lineup put up on Jon, who is suddenly pitching like May is the new April. But when everything else is going according to play, it's hard to complain. His low inning count didn't even matter much, as Scott Atchison threw three scoreless frames to preserve the rest of the bullpen going into a couple of questionable games.

So where does this leave the Sox now?

They're still only on an 88 win pace, but the 22-10 record they've put up since their 2-10 start would be good for 111 wins over a full season, or 105 with their poor start factored in. A half-game back of the Rays for the AL East lead, four back of the Indians for the best in baseball, and--if the season ended tonight--in the playoffs.

Oh what a long way they've come since mid-April. 

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