So far, Erik Bedard has not been known for long outings this season. The Red Sox, however, decided to take this trend to a new, more ridiculous level by way of long at bats full of foul balls. Bedard was already over ten pitches before he even recorded an out, and was just shy of twenty when Dustin Pedroia doubled home Jacoby Ellsbury from first base to make it a 1-0 Boston lead. Bedard would manage to get out of the inning without surrendering any more runs, but left with 33 pitches already on his arm.
While Dempster had looked slightly shaky in the first, he rebounded with a nice second and sent the Red Sox back to work in the bottom half of the inning. This time it was David Ross doing the damage, leaving the park completely with a big solo shot to left field. Pedro Ciriaco would triple behind him, but was stranded there after Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out.
While the game had the feel of a blowout with all the pitches the Red Sox were seeing, it was still just 2-0. With Matt Dominguez doubled to lead off the top of the third and then scored on a Robbie Grossman groundout, the Red Sox saw their lead quickly cut in half, the game clearly still yet to be won.
That pressure would not last too long, however. Dustin Pedroia hit a well-placed bloop double down the right field line, then scored on a more emphatic double from Mike Napoli to make up for the run Dempster had just allowed. Then, in the fourth, it was Will Middlebrooks launching a Monster shot right ahead of David Ross, who picked up his second of the night to the same spot.
Just like that, the Sox had extended their lead to three runs, and while another leadoff double from Matt Dominguez would cost Dempster a second run, David Ortiz would earn it right back, homering to dead center off Houston reliever Paul Clemens.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox would not be able to completely spare their bullpen. While Ryan Dempster had been rolling, his 10 strikeouts required a few pitches along the way. With the bullpen coming into action after the sixth, Clayton Mortensen committed the cardinal sin of hitting the first batter he faced with a four-run lead. After a bunt single and errant throw from David Ross left runners on the corners, the Sox were forced to turn to Junichi Tazawa to hold the Astros to just the one run. Koji Uehara would follow up with a scoreless eighth.
Alex Wilson, however, would pitch the ninth in place of Andrew Bailey courtesy of a Jonny Gomes RBI in the bottom of the eighth. There, he needed fewer than ten pitches to record the three outs to finish off the win.
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