Written by Lee Tackett
Shane Victorino went a perfect 3 for 3 with two home runs and 7 RBI as the Red Sox defeated the Orioles 13-2. Felix Dubront struck out seven in 6.2 innings and earned his tenth win of the year.
The Red Sox started early off Oriole starter Wei Yin Chen. Shane Victorino drew a one out walk on a close check swing call and moved to third on a Dustin Pedroia double off the Green Monster. David Ortiz lifted a sac fly to center and put the Sox on top 1-0.
Chen worked a scoreless second, but ran into difficulties again in the third. Will Middlebrooks started the inning with a single and two batters later Victorino ripped a Chen fastball left out over the plate into the seats atop the Monster.
Mike Napoli continued the barrage against Chen in the fourth with a lead off solo home run, also over the Monster. Jared Saltalamacchia then singled and Stephen Drew waked to put Chen on the ropes. After a Middlebrooks strike out, Jacoby Ellisbury singed up the middle but Drew took a huge turn around second base and was caught in a run down for the second out. Chen was unable to take advantage of the gift. Chen hit Victorino to reload the bases then surrendered a bases clearing ground rule double from Pedroia. Chen's night was through after an intentional walk to Ortiz.
It was a night of negative superlatives for Chen: a career low in innings pitched with 3.2 and a career high in runs allowed with 8. It is not hyperbole to call this the worst start of Chen's professional career. He was unable to locate in or out all night and the Red Sox lineup teed off on pitches down the middle.
Making his second relief appearance in as many games, Miguel Gonzalez came in to try and stop the bleeding. Johnny Gomes missed a home run to dead center but cleared the bases with a double to close out Chen's line. Gonzalez retired Napoli to end his night with the damage done.
Troy Patton kept with the theme of the night for the Orioles pitching staff of see how many Boston hitters could get souvenirs to the Monster seats. Victorino sent the crowd home happy with a three run shot, his second of the game to widen the deficit to 11-2. Patton did manage to work a scoreless seventh.
Brian Matusz was charged with a run in the seventh when (who else) Victorino drove in his seventh run of the night with an RBI double.
Francisco Rodriguez worked a scoreless eighth and struck out two.
In the third, J.J. Hardy led of with a single up the middle, Danny Valencia followed with a single to left and Steve Pearce took one in the thigh to load the bases. Brian Roberts took a few close pitches, but worked a walk to drive in the O's first run. Manny Machado gave the Orioles the lead with a sac fly to right but a Chris Davis pop out and an Adam Jones strike out left runners at the corners.
The evening was a wash offensively. Wilson Betemit had his first at bat since coming off the disabled list in the ninth and grounded out. Valencia and Hardy both went 2-3
The difference in this game was fairly simple. In the top of the third, the Orioles had the bases loaded, no outs with Machado, Davis, and Jones due up. The trio managed to drive in just one run. In the fourth, Boston had the bases loaded with two outs and Pedroia cleared them. Boston got hits with runners in scoring position and the O’s didn’t.
Observations and Musings
-On one hand, Buck likely saw the direction of this game and wanted to save the bullpen as much as possible, hence the Gonzalez in game side session. But the game was still somewhat within reach when Gonzalez entered the game and I don't see the harm in bringing in Patton, who was going to pitch anyway. Asking Gonzalez to put out a fire against a top offensive team is an entirely different request than asking him to close out a blowout.
-Not sure what brought about the Felix Dubront strike out barrage, but he punched out the Orioles seven times Tuesday night
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