Following a three-game winning drought and Thursday’s transaction that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers, the Sox took posted their second consecutive win against Oakland tonight, 12-2. After Jon Lester allowed only two runs in seven innings and Justin Masterson posted a scoreless eighth, Chris Smith retired all three Oakland batters (Mark Ellis popped out and Carlos Gonzalez and Jack Hannahan struck out) to finish the win in the top of the ninth.
Lester earned the win and improves to 10-3 with a 3.14 ERA. Oakland’s Dana Eveland took the loss (7-8, 4.46 ERA).
Kevin Youkilis came up big with 2 two-run HRs to left field (one to start the Sox scoring in the bottom of the first and another to finish it in the bottom of the eighth) while newcomer Jason Bay posted his first home run wearing in the American League (a three-run shot in the bottom of the first that put the Sox up, 5-2).
Jed Lowrie also had a big day, matching his career high 3 RBIs which he established in his major league debut April 15. That makes him 4-for-7 (.571) with 5 RBIs during the first two games of this Oakland series.
Some other quotes from the press conference and locker room:
- On battling mechanics and location: “I don’t really know what is was, just couldn’t really find a rhythm with my mechanics. I don’t think anything was off, but I just couldn’t really find a rhythm, couldn’t feel comfortable and it was a grind to get through seven and Mikey picked me up, had a couple of great plays at third. It always helps when the offense is going out there and putting up that amount of runs. It takes pressure off you to be too fine. You can just go attack guys and hopefully get quick innings.”
- On his starts being consistently 7 innings: “It’s very important. It’s not just me, it’s all the starting pitchers. Guys have been throwing the ball really well this year, with this offense, you can go out and give up three, four, five, sometimes six runs, and you can go six, seven innings and still get a win, it definitely makes it a little bit easier to pitch for this team.”
- On giving up the first inning homerun: “It’s frustrating, but it was a bad pitch. It was a hanging curveball; he stayed back on it and hit it out. I’d rather give up a home run on a pitch like that than a well-executed pitch that a guy hits out.”
- On run support: “It’s so nice to score early and put a crooked number up and then do it again and spread it out, give ourselves some breathing room. Jon started without his best stuff and then gave up the 2 early, threw the breaking ball to Brown, but we come right back and the he settled in and established down with that two-seamer and got aggressive in the zone.”
- On Lowell’s toughness: “He made some great plays at third. We have a quick turnaround, when we spread it out we can get him out of there. I don’t know how much that will make him feel good for tomorrow. Nobody has ever questioned his toughness. He wants to play every day. He shows up to win and tonight was a great example of that.”
- On clubhouse environment: “Tonight is a good example. We got down early and Jonny had to fight a little bit to find it and we’re fine. Let’s go play our game because there had been some frustration. That’s part of baseball but how you handle that ism ore important and I think tonight was a very good example of ‘let’s just go play and see where we end up.’ You don’t always come back and score 5 runs but it’s a good way to play.”
- On change in clubhouse environment affecting Sox’ success: “I wouldn’t say it’s anything different. I think it’s just we’re playing better baseball. It’s always there. Right now we’re just playing some good ball and putting together good at-bats, pitching good. Winning solves a lot. That’s the biggest thing that we weren’t doing before. We were in a lot of games, it wasn’t like we were getting blown out. It’s just we were in games and we couldn’t put it together. … We’ve got 51 games left and we’ve just gotta go out there and play all 51 the best we can.”