Six homers lift Red Sox past Orioles
Maybe David Ortiz is going to have to rethink his lineup for the Home Run Derby.
The American League captain selected Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez (a no-brainer), Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, and Yankee Robinson Cano to be part of his four-man wrecking crew.
But Big Papi might want to inquire about the availability of some of his other teammates after the Sox clouted six home runs as part of a 13-hit assault - including back-to-back-to-back blasts off reliever Pedro Viola in the seventh inning - in last night’s 10-4 demolition of the Orioles.
It was the most homers the Sox had in a game since clouting six vs. the Orioles Sept. 8, 2009, also at Fenway Park.
Before the game, the crowd of 37,981 offered a moment of silence for Dick Williams, former Sox manager of the 1967 Impossible Dream team, who died yesterday at age 82.
Afterward, the mood turned euphoric as the Sox improved to 52-35, climbing 17 games above .500 (their largest such margin of the season), and pole-vaulted the Yankees for first place in the AL East by a half-game.
“We got a long way to go,’’ said Dustin Pedroia, who went 2 for 5 with three RBIs and ignited the home run derby with his go-ahead three-run shot in the third that rocketed over the Green Monster. “There’s a lot of games to be played. I mean, we’re not going to be too excited because we’re a half-game up. What is it, July? We’ve got a long way to go.’’
Although Andrew Miller spotted the Orioles two runs in the first, it was not going to be enough to beat the Sox, as they erupted for eight extra-base hits for the second straight game. Miller benefited from the offensive onslaught, picking up his third consecutive win in four starts since coming up from Pawtucket June 19. He allowed three runs on six hits in five innings.
“Fortunately the offense came alive,’’ Miller said. “Pedroia hit that big homer and after that we just took off. They kind of saved my butt today, because I shouldn’t have put them in that situation.’’
Gonzalez, back in the lineup after taking Wednesday night off, hit the game’s second homer, a line-drive solo shot to center in the fifth that gave the Sox a 5-3 lead. Two batters later, Orioles starter Jake Arrieta (9-6, 4.90) was sent packing after allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who was voted an All-Star by his peers Sunday, proved once again his worthiness when he hit a two-run shot to right in the sixth that gave the Sox a 7-3 lead.
“We swung the bats great and we just got to keep it going,’’ Pedroia said. “We got a lot of good pitches to hit tonight and we didn’t miss ’em.’’
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis singled leading off the game and Adam Jones hit a run-scoring single off Miller’s glove that caromed between first and second, which caught Pedroia moving in the opposite direction to cover the bag, scoring Hardy.
Baltimore DH Vladimir Guerrero grounded into a double play, enabling Markakis to score, increasing the O’s lead to 2-0.
After Matt Wieters drew a two-out walk, then stole second (his first career theft), Miller stranded him when he got Derrek Lee to ground out.
In the third, Miller still seemed shaky as he allowed Jones to reach on his throwing error. Jones advanced to second on the throw, then moved to third on Guerrero’s ground out. But, after walking Wieters, Miller again induced Lee to ground out to end the inning.
“It was the second game in a row where they came out ambushing fastballs,’’ said Miller, who gave way to Alfredo Aceves in the sixth. “I think I’ll make an adjustment off that. It’s not the way I want to start the game. I don’t want to go out there and put us in a hole. I don’t want to go out there and have a long inning.’’
But, as Ellsbury said, “We know that two runs is not going to beat us.’’
Last night, it took more than the Orioles were capable of mustering, especially after the Sox erupted for three homers in a decisive three-run seventh, with Ortiz leading the way with his one-out solo shot to center, followed by Josh Reddick’s titanic blast to right and Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s blast to the Green Monster seats for a 10-3 lead.
It was the first time the Sox had homered back-to-back-to-back since Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, and J.D. Drew did it last Aug. 13 at Texas.
Asked if he needed to rethink his team for the Home Run Derby, Ortiz chuckled. “Maybe I need to bring Pedey with me,’’ he said.
Perhaps a better idea would be to bring Pedro Viola, the man who served them up, to serve as the pitcher.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.