Sox bats stay hot against Tampa; notch 5 home runs in 13-5 victory.
The game didn't start off so promising. Buchholz walked the first batter of the game, then gave up an RBI double to Pena. He quickly got two outs, walked Zobrist then gave up a 3-run home run to fan favorite Luke Scott. Buchholz looked awful, Valentine had Michael Bowden warming up, and it looked as though we were in for another classic burn 'through the bullpen' game. To his credit, Buchholz bounced back, and lasted 7 full innings. He only gave up one more run (a double to Luke Scott in the 3rd), struck out 5 and walked 3. Not a great stat line, but after the rough first inning, an impressive performance.
Morales relieved Clay and pitched a perfect 8th. 3.2 innings isn't the largest sample size, but he's looked great this season, only allowing a single hit against Detroit. Aceves followed Morales and closed it out in the 9th, striking out Molina and Rodriguez to end the game.
But the offense was the story here. Papi gets my MVP with a 4-hit, 5 RBI game. He hit a 2-run home run in the 5th to tie the game, and he cleared the bases with a 2-out double down the 3rd base line in the 8th. I don't want to tip off any opposing managers, but Papi is destroying "the shift" this season going the other way. His 3-run double doesn't happen if Rays LF Elliot Johnson wasn't patrolling center. His single in 7th was also thanks to the shift, with the Rays leaving a gigantic hole between third and second.
Other than Papi, Aviles had a great game batting leadoff in place of Ellsbury. 3-5 with the go-ahead solo shot in the 7th and 2 runs scored. Saltalamacchia hit a two-run home run in the 2nd, and Pedroia hit a solo shot in the 3rd (one of his two hits on the day). Cody Ross even brought his bat out to play, hitting the Sox 5th home run of the afternoon to cap off a fantastic 2-5 effort with 4 RBIs.
If you squinted, it almost looked like the Rays were playing the Detroit Tigers and not the Red Sox.