July 24, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (64) and relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves (91) celebrate after beating the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Red Sox won beating the Ranges 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
This was not an easy win, or a convincing win, but for a Red Sox team desperately struggling to stay relevant and, indeed, alive in this long, exhausting 2012 season, it was a big one.
Still, it's hard to speak too positively.
For the second straight night, the Red Sox came up against a Rangers spot starter...and did nothing. A bases loaded situation in the second was frankly the most impressive part of the performance for the lineup, but it went by the wayside. They would manage the first run--and only run against Martin Perez in six innings--on a hard hit but playable ball to right in the fourth inning. David Murphy got a bad break, never recovered, and ended up having the ball get away from him as he collided with the wall.
It was a bit of a fluke, but one the Sox desperately needed, because they would get nothing more against Perez, or against the bullpen in the seventh or eighth.
Clay Buchholz, however, was up to keeping them alive, if not through strikeouts, then through ground balls and good timing. It was not a dominating start, but it was a solid one which will help further his position as the current top starter in a struggling rotation. The only run would come in thanks to a wild pitch which allowed Elvis Andrus to move from second to third with one out, and then score on a ground ball out.
The big run would come against Joe Nathan, and it was exactly the sort of run we see less and less from the Sox these days. Down to their last out in the ninth, the Sox got patient, with Daniel Nava (in for Carl Crawford with Bobby Valentine not wanting to test his arm) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drawing walks. Up came Mike Aviles, who also fought hard and worked the count, and then caught a slider just well enough to dump it over a leaping Elvis Andrus for a base hit that scored the go-ahead run. With Alfredo Aceves shutting it down in the ninth, the Sox left victorious.
It's the first win in five games and gets them back to .500. It's not a great situation to be coming from, but for those fans still hoping, and the 25 men wearing the uniform, it's life.