The Red Sox coasted to an easy 9-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night, leaving them once again in sole possession of first place in the AL East.
With expectations low for the spot starting Alfredo Aceves, the Red Sox wasted no time getting to Philadelphia's Tyler Cloyd. After Jacoby Ellsbury started the first with a line drive to left, Dustin Pedroia wrapped a line drive of his own perfectly around Pesky's Pole for a two-run shot, giving the Red Sox the early lead. While Cloyd managed to battle back with a strikeout of David Ortiz, Mike Napoli quickly halted his momentum by taking a hanging cutter over the bullpens in right for a solo shot. While the Sox wouldn't score any more in the second, they continued to tattoo the ball, promising more to come.
As it happened, though, the Red Sox wouldn't need a huge offensive night, because Alfredo Aceves was able to hold his own. A ground-rule double was the only harm he suffered in the first, and he even managed to erase his own second-inning error with a double play. Those double plays would end up being his calling card on the night, with another one getting him out of trouble in the third inning after a solo shot from Erik Kratz and a walk from Ben Revere. If it was the result of a line drive with Jacoby Ellsbury doubling up Michael Young at first, well, it counted all the same.
From there, the Red Sox put both Cloyd and the game away in the third. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli started the inning off with back-to-back doubles, and Stephen Drew added a line drive to right to bring Napoli home and make it 5-1. A single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia would end Cloyd's night, and Jacoby Ellsbury welcomed his replacement in Michael Stutes to the game with an opposite-field double. Dominic Brown and Jimmy Rollins would get the ball home well in time to catch Saltalamacchia trying to score from first, but the damage was done, with the Sox up 6-1.
Aceves would get another double play in the fourth, and then worked around a bunch of baserunners in the fifth and sixth while the Sox scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-1. It wasn't a dominant performance, and Aceves played with fire a few times, but in the end it was more than the Sox could have hoped for from him.
Frankly, the game would never really get particularly interesting for the Red Sox after the third. Dominic Brown would pick up a two-run shot off of Andrew Miller, as he replaced Clayton Mortensen (who allowed the extra baserunner), but that only made it 8-3. The Sox would draw three straight walks off of Mike Adam after Pedro Ciriaco singled in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-3, and Miller allowed just one more single in the ninth. With the Yankees losing to the Mets, the Sox jumped into sole possession of first place once more.