Daniel Bard really doesn't want to become a relief pitcher again. In his first start since the Bullpen Implosion Heard Round the World, Bard took care of the White Sox in a lopsided 10-3 victory for the Red Sox.
Bard was good tonight. He got through 7 innings on 97 pitches, with 6 strike outs allowing 3 runs (only 2 earned) and a single walk. The only real blemish on his night was a 5th inning Paul Konerko home run that put Chicago up by one. Beyond that, he was on cruise control for most of the night. Matt Albers threw the final two innings of the evening and didn't give up a single hit. His ERA on the year is now at a very respectable 2.25.
The Sox offense was cruising, too, despite the temperature hanging around in the 30's. David Ortiz, who isn't getting nearly enough attention for the obscene year he's having, blasted a 2 run shot in the 2nd (and finished the night 2-4 to raise his average to .425 on the year). But the 6th inning is when the bat party broke out. Gonzo and Youk walked. Papi singled to load the bases. Ross singled, driving Gonzo home. McDonald then cleared the bases with a double. Then, for a little extra kick to the groin, Marlon Byrd drove McDonald home.
And, because no lead is safe with this Sox bullpen, Ross and Shoppach each drove a run home in the 7th and McDonald hit a solo shot in the 9th. Darnell McDonald ended the night 2-4 with 4 RBIs. Yes, THAT Darnell McDonald. I'm as shocked as you are.
We even got to see Lars Anderson make a cameo appearance in the 9th as a defensive replacement for Adrian Gonzalez. Good night of baseball. The Sox dominated and I got to watch it from the comfort and warmth of my couch. And wasn't on television wearing one of those ridiculous head warmers that make me look like I was dressed as Jesse James for Halloween.