ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red Sox starter Felix Doubront had a wildly inconsistent five innings. On the positive end, he allowed two runs on just three hits and struck out seven. But he also walked a career-high six and threw 105 pitches, 54 for strikes.
“Much improved,” John Farrell said after a 4-3 victory against the Rays. “The work he and Juan [Nieves, the pitching coach] have been doing between outings seemed to pay off. He was on the plate with his stuff, all three pitches. I thought he had better conviction to the stuff that he threw tonight.”
About those walks . . .
“We have to take one step at a time,” Farrell said.
• The Sox had not won a game when trailing after eight innings since July 19, when they beat the White Sox, 3-1, on a walkoff home run by Cody Ross. Dustin Pedroia was base for that, too.
“These kind of wins are big ones,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s against. We had good quality at-bats in a row and Will gets the big hit. It’s uplifting for everybody. We’re all excited.”
• Pedroia has been on base 79 times this season, second in the AL to Miguel Cabrera.
• The three-run double for Will Middlebrooks was the first go-ahead RBI in the ninth inning of his career.
• It was the worst-case scenario for righthander Joel Hanrahan, who went in for surgery by Dr. James Andrews on Thursday in Pensacola, Fla.,
In addition to flexor tendon surgery, Hanrahan required Tommy John reconstruction surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He also had bone spurs removed according to one his agents, Mike Dillon.
Hanrahan is expected to miss 12-15 months. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season.
Hanrahan, who was obtained from Pittsburgh in December, appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox.
• Former Boston College and Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie was at the game, wearing a Sox jersey.
• There was a heartwarming moment before the game. The Rays had 9-year-old Alayna Adams of Dunedin, Fla., throw out the first pitch with her mother, Dana, also on the mound. The catcher proved to be Army Lt. Colonel William Adams, home after a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Lt. Colonel Adams had on a Rays uniform with full catchers gear and surprised his family. His wife and daughter ran to the plate to hug him. The crowd then gave the family a standing ovation.