ST. PETERSBURG - MAY 17: Cody Ross #7 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on May 17, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox have won a tough game against a strong opponent. This one was just about as nerve-racking and vicious as they come. Both sides missed opportunities to break the game wide open and Red Sox and Rays pitchers had to find their way out of trouble all night. In a season that has been characterized by difficult, infuriating losses, winning a game like this comes as a relief and possibly even lets us hope again, if just a little bit.
The Red Sox hit Matt Moore hard, but they missed their best chance against the lefty as well as the opportunity to make him pay for the beaning of Adrian Gonzalez when they managed only one run in the first despite loading the bases. That run came care of the night’s offensive hero, Cody Ross. Ross made up for his misadventure on that pop fly last night with two hits, including a home run, and rove in four of the team’s five runs. Ross walked to drive in a run in the first, but
Maybe the most significant moment of the game came as Doubront’s pitch count climbed and he found himself in trouble with runners at first and third and two outs and a 3-2 lead. Thus far, Bobby Valentine has typically left his starter in to complete the inning in these situations and with lefty, Luke Scott, coming to the plate, I would have bet dollars to doughnuts he would keep Doubront in. Instead, he pulled the tiring starter and turned to Rich Hill to end the threat. Hill got Scott on short fly ball and the disturbing trend of Valentine leaving his starter in one batter too long got the night off. Whether this is turning point for Valentine or not remains to be seen, but it was an encouraging sign.
Another encouraging sign came in the eighth when Pedroia, Ortiz and Ross combined to get the team two insurance runs. They would need the breathing room as Vicente Padilla got into trouble in the bottom of the inning and Alfredo Aceves need to be called in. Ace allowed one inherited run to score when he gave up a single to BJ Upton, but he got Luke Scott to ground out after, ending the threat. He was perfect in the ninth and the Red Sox got a hard fough 5-3 win. It feels good and it feels even better because it came against the Rays and better still because it featured so much failure by Luke Scott.