For the better part of the year, the Sox have been relying on big contributions from unexpected sources. Backups, call-ups, converted players, random fans selected from the stands pretending to be Daniel Nava. You name it, the Sox have relied on it for runs.
Of late, however, that well had run a little dry. Will Middlebrooks is injured, Felix Doubront has been tired, Franklin Morales went to pot last night, and they've hit a few unproductive fan imitators of Daniel Nava. Today, they received help from the new wave.
Mauro Gomez and Pedro Ciriaco. Batting at the end of the lineup, the International League All-Stars looked like pros for the night. In the third, Ciriaco hit a bunt single to move Gomez to third, where he'd score the team's first run from on a double play. In the fifth, it was Ciriaco scoring from third on a sacrifce fly. Then came the really big innings: in the sixth Gomez loaded the bases with a single behind Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross, and Pedro Ciriaco unloaded them by shooting a double past third base, giving the Sox the lead. And in the seventh, Gomez doubled home Ryan Sweeney, and Pedro Ciriaco knocked in Mike Aviles (who had pinch run for Gomez) before stealing third and running home on the errant throw to the bag.
All together they provided six hits, four runs, and four RBI to lead the Red Sox to victory.
To be fair, it was not entirely the new wave that got the job done. Felix Doubront suffered an unlucky three-run first that should have been one run at most after Gomez allowed the first two runners to reach on an error and a bunt. After that, he locked it down until the seventh, grabbing six strikeouts in allowing just two more baserunners before Andruw Jones chased him with a seventh inning homer--his third in the doubleheader.
Vicente Padilla also redeemed himself after a mediocre outing on Friday. With Clayton Mortensen loading the bases in the eighth, Padilla came in to face Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. His first pitch earned him a pop-up to the left of home, as did his third. With Salty fielding both of them cleanly, the Sox escaped to the ninth with their big lead intact.
The Red Sox still really need to win tomorrow. Going into the ASB two over .500 would be a lot better than going in even, especially with the tough schedule ahead. One gets the feeling that one more trip under that all-important even mark would be disastrous.