Jake Peavy kicked off his Boston career in style, with seven strong innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and a win that sealed another day alone in first place for the Red Sox.
While Peavy was not perfect in his introductory inning, he did get out of it having faced the minimum thanks to Jarrod Saltalamacchia gunning down Paul Goldschmidt trying to steal second after a leadoff walk. The walks would be the only concern for Peavy early, as he allowed another in the second, but that would be it for free passes on the night, as the Chicago import turned on the strikeouts, working around a leadoff single in the third with punchouts of Cliff Pennington and, for the second time that night, Aaron Hill.
The impressive young Patrick Corbin was not having much more trouble, however. The Red Sox wasted an opportunity in the bottom of the second, with Stephen Drew striking out and Brandon Snyder lining out to Cody Ross with the bases loaded to keep the zero on the board, and neither David Ortiz nor Mike Napoli managing to take advantage of a pair of baserunners in the third.
With the Red Sox wasting chances, the Diamondbacks would end up striking first, and it was once again Paul Goldschmidt going deep to do it, blasting a fly ball into the bleachers right of the triangle in center field, perhaps making that first-inning walk seem a little wiser.
Just one inning later, though, Shane Victorino got Peavy his run back, copying Goldschmidt's homer from the day before with a rocket into the Monster seats to know the game up at one. And while Peavy was able to settle right back down and get back to recording outs, Corbin finally ran out of gas in the seventh inning, surrendering back-to-back singles to start the inning, and then a third to Jacoby Ellsbury--a bit of a hanger that Ellsbury just managed to flip into center field--to bring home the tie-breaking run. Victorino came through again with a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox gave Peavy a two-run lead headed to the eighth.
What could well have been a one-run outing for Peavy would, unfortunately, turn into two as he allowed a leadoff single on a pretty good slider to start the eighth. With Peavy tipping his hat to a standing Fenway crowd, John Farrell turned to the bullpen, and the game suddenly got very bumpy indeed. While Craig Breslow started his at bats against Cliff Pennington and Gerardo Parra well, a slider buried to far down and in clipped Pennington's foot, and Parra just barely managed to squeak a weak chopper past Stephen Drew at short to load the bases with zero outs.
At this point, it felt as though the lead was almost gone. And when Aaron Hill hit a line drive into left field off of Junichi Tazawa in the next at bat, that feeling was reinforced. But the Diamondbacks took a page out of Boston's book, with third base coach Matt Williams waving Pennington home even though Gomes had already come up with the ball in shallow left before Pennington had touched third. The play at the plate was not close, leaving Pennington out, the lead intact, and Boston with an important first out. Tazawa took the gift and rolled with it, striking out Paul Goldschmidt and getting Eric Chavez to fly out to left to end the inning with the Sox still clinging to a one-run lead.
While ultimately 3-2 would have been enough to get the job done, Jarrod Saltalamacchia made the situation a lot less tense by launching a two-run shot right to Koji Uehara in the bullpen in the bottom half of the inning. And while Koji's splitter was about the only thing that was working for him, it was enough. A leadoff walk was made up for by a pair of ground balls, the last leading to a game-ending double play and, as always, high fives.
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