This game wasn’t very much in doubt from the bottom of the first inning, when the Red Sox put together six runs to back starting pitcher Jon Lester to his fifth win of the year. With the 10-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox won their fifth straight series and moved into a tie for third place in the AL East with the slumping Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox are still 6 1/2 games out of first place, and they have a long way to go before anyone can seriously call them a playoff contender – but don’t things just seem a lot more put-together than they were, say, a month ago?
For the water cooler talk, David Ortiz. Papi hit his 399th career home run yesterday, a solo home run in the fifth inning that marked his 21st of the season, and moved him into a tie with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 49th place on the all-time list. Next up? The big 4-0-0. Ortiz told reporters that hitting his 400th home run is “something I don’t really think about. I know at some point, when I’m not playing, you start realizing how good a career you probably had. Right now, my focus is just on contributions for this ballclub, trying to win some games and put ourselves in a better situation.”
Sounds like Papi has the right idea, and it sounds like he’s taken the Crash Davis course in how to talk to the media (I wonder if Ortiz has fungus on his shower shoes).
The Sox scored four runs in the first inning, before Toronto starter Ricky Romero recorded an out. Lester, who hasn’t seen a lot of run support lately, appreciated the outburst, and meted out seven hits over seven innings, walking none and allowing four runs.
The Red Sox pitching staff also got some great defensive support. In the top of the ninth, Kelly Johnson hit a fly ball to deep right field: Darnell MacDonald hauled in a beautiful catch at the bullpen wall, leaving his feet and saving an obvious home run.
Here’s a link to the encouraging box score, courtesy of the Red Sox. The Sox travel to Seattle tonight (here we go, late-night games!) for a 7:10 PACIFIC TIME start. Franklin Morales (1-1, 3.12 ERA) will step up against King Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.36 ERA).
In other news, Clay Buchholz is out of the hospital following treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding and esophagitis. Buchholz told reporters that he lost three pounds from not being able to eat for 72 hours, and he had to receive a few pints of blood. Although he won’t be traveling with the team to the west coast, he plans to be up and around in a few days, admitting that he snuck a burger and a pizza into MGH, the hospital in downtown Boston where he was treated. But, Buchholz seems to realize his close call:
I’ve never felt the urge to pass out every time you stand up and I didn’t really know what was going on. It was pretty scary for about two days, and then I think they were trying to downplay it, but when you’re laying in [the intensive care unit], where I’m from it usually means that stuff’s not going really well.
Feel better, Clay! We don’t blame you for not going to the west coast with the Red Sox – those games are tough to stay awake for.