From the first at bat, the Red Sox had their power stroke working against Joe Blanton and the Phillies tonight. Jon Lester continues to pitch just alright, getting by without his typically strike out stuff. The best thing about this win, however, is that it immediately follows a loss. For a team that has been winning and losing in long streaks, getting back in the win column right away is a relief.
Mike Aviles, Will Middlebrooks, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ortiz all went deep off Phillies starter Joe Blanton. Aviles home run came on in the first at bat of the game. Middlebrooks and Salty went back to back in the fourth and David Ortiz hit a two run blast in the fifth. The ball was definitely carrying, but none of the Red Sox home runs were of the cheap variety. Saltalamacchia’s and Ortiz’s were good enough to get out anywhere and Aviles and Middebrooks both hit the ball just off of center.
Jon Lester was not as dominate as he has been in past trips to CitizensBankPark and he didn’t get by as economically as he did in his last start. He threw 90 pitches in his six innings and walked just one while striking out three. He allowed a fair amount of hard contact though. He gave up one run in the third one a Shane Victorio double that nearly left the yard, but he only really got into trouble in the fourth. He hit Carlos Ruiz to start the inning, and Ruiz then scored a batter later on a Hector Luna single. Freddy Gravis followed that hit with a two run home run to bring the Phillies to back at 4-5, the closest they would get in the game. Lester got out of the inning on ground ball from Blanton and a strike out of Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies threatened again in the eighth, when Vicente Padilla, in his second inning of work, allowed consecutive base hits. Rich Hill got a ground out from Juan Pierre, but Alfredo Aceves allowed one to score before he ended the inning.
It was not a great night for pitchers' fielding. Joe Blanton made two errors and Boston was able to capitalize on the first getting a run on the next play a double play ball that would have ended they inning had Blanton made the previous play. Jon Lester also made a throwing error in the first, but it did not end up hurting him.
Overall, it was a good win, though I am still waiting for the 8 innings, 10 Ks Jon Lester to reappear. It was good to see Middlebrooks go deep again before his inevitable demotion. If Josh Beckett can build on his last start and dominate tomorrow, the Red Sox may be able to take the series, though Cliff Lee is going to make that as difficult as possible.