The Red Sox offense awoke Saturday night, with Stephen Drew and Shane Victorino powering a seven-run attack that saw the Sox get back on a winning track after some tough losses.
Having scored all of one run in their last two games, the Red Sox did not show any early signs of breaking out of their funk. Three groundball outs had Scott Feldman out of the first with only a high pitch count to concern him, and a walk to David Ortiz was the only blemish on a second inning that still didn't see a ball leave the infield. Boston would finally get on the board in the third inning, but even then, there weren't really signs of an explosion, with the run being produced by a couple of singles and a ground out.
The small ball approach would end suddenly in the fourth. With Feldman struggling to record outs, allowing another pair of singles with two down, Stephen Drew stepped up to the plate, took ball one, and was given a pitch to hit over the middle of the plate. With just one hit in 15 at bats since his return from the disabled list, Drew perhaps channeled some frustration into the swing, turning Nick Markakis around to watch a no-doubt home run that gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead after four.
While Scott Feldman was done after the fifth, Stephen Drew was not. An identical pitch on an identical produced an identical result. While Stephen Drew would initially score on a failed run-down by the Orioles after the ball bounced back into play, meaning the Sox were up two runs either way, but John Farrell came out to argue for Drew's sake that it should have been gone to begin with. He was right, and the umpires eventually agreed.
The six runs already in would have been enough for Boston's pitching staff. Ryan Dempster didn't manage to go terribly deep, but he managed to keep the Orioles from really getting on a role, holding them to just a run after three straight hits to start the fifth before a ground ball out off Craig Breslow gave Dempster a second run to his name in the sixth. Another run would come in the bottom of the eighth on a ground ball that barely got past the mound, but by then Shane Victorino had already extended Boston's lead in the top of the seventh by cranking a solo shot over the wall in right.
It was the game the Red Sox needed, with their offense finally back to working good at bats, reaching base, and scoring runs. And if a David Ortiz outburst over a questionable strike call (leading to a bat shattered violently against a dugout phone and an ejection) will perhaps draw more attention than it should, the real story tonight is Boston winning against the Orioles convincingly. They'll need more of the same Sunday.
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