Ross, Gonzalez blast away as Red Sox roll on
With designated hitter David Ortiz going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right Achilles’, there was a fear the Red Sox would struggle with such a huge offensive spark missing from their lineup. With all the players who spent time on the DL in the first half of the season — 21 — it was a huge blow to lose Ortiz at the start of the second half.
“Yeah, it’s another guy we’re going to have to make up for the loss of,’’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said before Wednesday night’s 10-1 win over the White Sox. “He’s been our MVP, our best hitter so far this year, and it’s going to take a team contribution to make up for that.’’
The Red Sox banded together and drubbed lefthanded starter Pedro Hernandez, a 23-year-old rookie who was called up from Triple A to make his major league debut at Fenway Park.
No Big Papi?
While Mauro Gomez was summoned from Pawtucket to fill Ortiz’s spot, Cody Ross and Gonzalez were more than capable of making sure their DH’s absence didn’t lead to a power shortage. They combined to go 6 for 8 with 4 runs, 10 RBIs, and three home runs, including back-to-back shots in a four-run fourth off Hernandez, to put the game out of reach.
Ross, who went 3 for 5, provided the crowning blows with three-run homers in the third and fourth, the former breaking a 1-1 tie. It marked his third multi-homer game of the season and 10th of his career.
It made a winner of Sox lefthander Felix Doubront, 24, who became the first 10-game winner of Boston’s staff at 10-4. Doubront is emerging as the team’s stopper after picking up his fifth win after a Red Sox loss.
Doubront got off to a shaky start when he spotted the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Youkilis led off with back-to-back singles before Paul Konerko’s single to right scored De Aza.
The Red Sox came back in the bottom of the frame and got a leadoff double off the scoreboard in left from Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 3 for 4 with three runs. Gonzalez opened the floodgates with two outs when he stroked a single to right to score Ellsbury.
After Doubront strung together scoreless innings in the second and third, Ross rewarded his pitcher’s work when he belted a 1-and-1 pitch from Hernandez into the Monster seats that scored Ellsbury (leadoff single to center) and Carl Crawford (single to center) to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
Doubront came back in the fourth and retired the side 1-2-3.
The Red Sox erupted for four runs in the fourth, highlighted by Ross’s shot off Hernandez to make it 7-1. Gonzalez followed with an opposite-field shot.
It marked the fifth time this season Boston has struck for back-to-back homers.
Doubront did not give an inch, retiring the visitors 1-2-3 for the second consecutive inning.
Doubront ended his night in fine fashion, with a scoreless sixth in which he overcame a one-out walk to Konerko by inducing Alex Rios to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Doubront, who allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out two, handed it over the Matt Albers in the seventh after throwing 96 pitches (58 strikes).
Hector Santiago, who entered the game in relief of Hernandez with no out and a pair of runners aboard in the fifth, wound up getting tagged for a pair of runs in the sixth. Santiago hit leadoff batter Crawford with a pitch, then gave up a towering double off the wall to Ross, before Gonzalez ripped a single to center, scoring Crawford and Ross to make it 10-1.
By this juncuture, the Red Sox had a combined 10 RBIs from their right fielder and first baseman, which more than adequately made up for the absence of their designated hitter.
Albers pitched a scoreless seventh then handed it over to Mark Melancon, who threw a scoreless eighth before Andrew Miller came in the ninth and retired the side 1-2-3.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.