It might not have been pretty but it got the job done, as the Red Sox beat the Reds 4-3 in 12 innings at Fenway Park Tuesday night.
Grady Sizemore’s single off the wall in left-center scored David Ortiz from second base with no outs. It was Sizemore’s fourth career walk-off hit, his first since Aug. 11, 2006, against Kansas City while with Cleveland.
The Sox improved to 2-2 in extra innings, 1-2 at Fenway.
Craig Breslow earned the win, pitching a scoreless top of the 12th. Reds right-hander Logan Ondrusek took the loss, giving up consecutive singles in the 12th to Ortiz, Napoli, and Sizemore.
The Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to put some distance on the scoreboard between themselves and the Reds but failed to do so.
Left-hander Felix Doubront was uneven in his outing, as he has been for much of the season. He went 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts, lowering his ERA from 5.70 to 5.09.
Doubront threw a total of 97 pitches, 58 strikes. He faced just three batters in the first and third innings, needing 14 and 13 pitches, respectively, in each facing the top of the Reds lineup in each. But in the second and fourth he needed 23 and 26 pitches, respectively.
In the fourth, with two outs, he gave up consecutive singles to Skip Schumaker and Zack Cozart before getting Neftali Soto – the Reds designated hitter in the No. 8 spot making his second major league start – to strike out.
In the sixth, he walked Brandon Phillips on four pitches to open the inning before getting Todd Frazier to line out to Shane Victorino in right. But another four-pitch walk to Ryan Ludwick ended Doubront’s outing. Burke Badenhop entered, getting a one-pitch double play for Schumaker to get out of the inning.
The Sox offense continued to struggle with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-13 in such situations, and leaving 13 runners on base.
The Sox got a run in the first off Reds right-hander Homer Bailey. Dustin Pedroia led off with walk, taking second on Shane Victorino’s single to center field, going to third on David Ortiz’s groundout and scoring on Mike Napoli’s groundout.
The Reds tied the game in the second when Todd Frazier led off with a walk, going to third on Ryan Ludwick’s double, and scoring on Skip Schumaker’s single to center.
But the Sox sent eight batters to the plate in third scoring two runs. Jackie Bradley led off with a walk on six pitches after being down 0-and-2. Pedroia doubled to center, moving Bradley to third. After Victorino grounded out, Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases for Napoli, who walked to score Bradley with the go-ahead run. Grady Sizemore’s single to right scored Pedroia giving the Sox a 3-1 lead.
• The Red Sox earned the win opening the 12th on three consecutive singles by Ortiz, Napoli, and the game-winner by Sizemore.
• Relieving Doubront with one out in the sixth and the tying runs on base, Badenhop needed just one pitch to get an inning-ending double play from Schumaker. Badenhop went 1 2/3 perfect innings, needing just 11 pitches, eight for strikes, before Tazawa replaced him for the eighth.
• The Sox went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and left the bases loaded in the two-run third.
• Bogaerts and Pierzynski went a combined 0-for-10 with five strikeouts, and were responsible for leaving a combined 12 runners on base.
• Doubront was inconsistent in his outing, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.
• Tazawa gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in one inning of work to let the Reds tie the game.
• Sizemore’s single off the wall in left-center with no outs in 12th scored Ortiz with the go-ahead run. It was his fourth career walk-off hit, first since Aug. 11, 2006, against the Royals while with the Indians. He went 3-for-6 with two RBI, raising his average from .224 to .242.
• Andrew Miller entered to start the 10th, pitching two perfect innings with four strikeouts.
• Breslow got the win pitching a scoreless 12th inning, giving up a hit with two strikeouts.
• The Sox continue to struggle with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-13 in such situations, leaving a total of 13 runners on base. They are batting .219, going 65-for-297 with runners in scoring position this season, leaving an average of 7.85 runners on base each game.
• Victorino stole his first base of the season, giving the Sox 11 stolen bases. Pedroia was caught stealing for his team-leading third time, the Sox’ ninth time altogether.
AROUND THE BASES:
• The Sox improved to 2-1 in walk-off games this season, 2-2 in extra innings, 1-2 at home, 4-8 in one-run games, and 5-5 in games decided in the last at-bat.
• After getting swept by Milwaukee in the home-opener series, this was the Sox first win against a National League team this season.
• Sox starting pitchers have allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts since April 29, giving up a total of 11 earned runs in 46 innings for an ERA of 2.15. Starting pitchers are 3-1 with three no-decisions in that time.
• Napoli extended his career-high on-base streak to 27 straight games, and 29 of 30 since April 4. It is the longest on-base streak for a Sox batter since Jose Iglesias’ 27-game streak last season.
• Ortiz played in his 2,000th career game. He is 11th among active players in games played.
• Pedroia went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a walk. His second double of the game, with two outs in the 11th inning, was the 300th double of his career. He leads the Sox with 13 doubles this season. With his lead-off walk in the first, he has reached base in seven of 14 plate appearances as the Sox lead-off batter, going 2-for-9, with a double, and five walks.
• In his career against the Reds, Sizemore is batting .319, going 46-for-144. It is the third-highest average among all active players with at least 150 plate appearances against the Reds. He is batting .394, going 13-for-33 in the fifth spot in the lineup this season.
• Badenhop’s one-pitch inning-ending double play in the sixth was the fifth of the season he’s induced, in his 14ht game. He didn’t record his fifth DP last season until his 49th appearance. He has not allowed a run over his last 11 1/3 innings.
• Miller has struck out 16 batters in his 10 2/3 innings this season. This was his 14th scoreless appearance in 16 appearances. He lowered his ERA at Fenway to 0.91 this season, allowing one earned run in 10 innings.
• Right-hander Edwin Mujica felt tightness in his right oblique during the series against the A’s at Fenway Park over the weekend and was unavailable for the last two games. He got some treatment on it Monday, during the Red Sox’ off-day, and was throwing off a mound Tuesday afternoon before the start of the two-game series with the Reds. Manager John Farrell said he would be surprised if Mujica didn’t pass the test.
The Red Sox and Reds finish up their two-game series at Fenway Wednesday night, wrapping up the Sox’ eight-game homestand.
This is the Sox ninth chance to get back to .500 for the first time since April 4.
Right-hander Jake Peavy (1-1, 2.87) is scheduled to start for the Sox, opposed by right-hander Mike Leake (2-2, 3.82).
In 10 career starts, Peavy is 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA against the Reds. It is his best ERA among teams he’s faced at least three times, and the second-best ERA against the Reds among active pitchers (minimum 50 innings pitched) behind Cole Hamels’ 1.70. He also has the second-best WHIP, at 1.04, to Hamels among all active pitchers with at least 10 starts.
This will be Leake’s first career appearance against the Sox. In 12 career starts against AL teams, he is 3-3 with a 2.78 ERA, going 1-1 (1.98) in four starts last season. This is his first start against an AL team this season. Leake has pitched into the seventh inning in all six starts this season.