May 30, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Drew Smyly (33) looks to the outfield as Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) rounds first base on a single during the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
For three innings this seemed like a bad day waiting to happen.
Jon Lester was shaky, giving up long fly balls and three runs.
The defense wasn't helping him, with Aviles and Byrd missing a relatively easy double play ball and misplaying a pair of fly balls respectively.
Then, in the fourth, everything changed. Lester settled down, throwing the next three innings without giving up a run before being left out to dry a bit in the seventh by Bobby Valentine. The defense stopped struggling, but for one failure on Adrian Gonzalez' part to cover major ground in right field.
And the offense? Oh, the offense.
After two quick outs in the fourth, the Sox just exploded. Adrian Gonzalez doubled to right-center, and David Ortiz made it 3-2 with an explosive shot to center field--his twelfth of the year and second in two days. Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks repeated the act, with the former singling and the latter launching an absolute rocket into and out of the Monster seats to make it a 4-2 Boston lead.
While the lead would go away between Bobby Valentine leaving Lester in for too long and Matt Albers' K-free ways coming back to haunt him when a dribbler to third and a bloop to right (the aforementioned Gonzalez failure which, while an admirable effort, showed his shortcomings in Fenway's big right field) scored an inherited runner and tied the game up.
Gonzalez would quickly make up for his defensive deficiency in the bottom half of the inning against Phil Coke, however, bringing in a 2-out run by hitting a ground-rule double to deep right field and once again giving the Sox the lead. A loud leadoff shot from Kevin Youkilis in the eighth would give them an insurance run before Alfredo Aceves closed things out in the ninth.
It's a big win to stay above .500, give themselves some breathing room, and pick up a series win against the team that so frustrated them at the beginning of the year. As badly as the year has gone, the Sox are now jut 2.5 down in a tightly-packed AL East, and shockingly just one game behind the Indians for the second wild card spot.