The Sox bounced back after dropping both games of a doubleheader with Kansas City Sunday with a 9-6 win over the Royals.
Fresh off being named American League co-player of the week, Mike Napoli continued his tear, smacking a fifth inning grand slam that busted the game open.
He went 2 for 4 with 5 RBIs, upping his team-high total to 25 runs driven in.
Felix Doubront went 6.2 innings in a much-delayed Fenway debut, giving up three runs on three hits and using eight strikeouts to work through minor turbulence.
Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 12 games. David Ortiz (2 for 4) had another multi-hit game, and Andrew Bailey came on for to earn his fourth save of the season.
Top of the eighth, Red Sox 9, A’s 3: After throwing a scoreless inning yesterday against Kansas City, Clayton Mortenson came in and struggled, allowing the A’s to hang three on the board.
Josh Donaldson belted a two-run double, then Josh Reddick brought him home with a double of his own.
Top of the seventh, Red Sox 9, As 3: For the first time this season, Felix Doubront couldn’t make it seven full innings. He came out for the seventh and got two outs before John Farrell took the ball from him.
Sox starters have gone at least six innings the past four times out.
Bottom of the fifth, Red Sox 9, A’s 3: This grand slam by Mike Napoli essentially busted the game wide open.
It more or less knocked AJ Griffin out of the game, to pitch to Daniel Nava. Between errors by Derek Norris and Brandon Moss, the A’s defense didn’t do him any favors.
Things are obviously clicking for Napoli. He’s reached base in each of the past 13 games, hitting .327 (17-for-52) with eight doubles, a triple and two home runs with 17 RBI. He’s creeping up on the streaks of 16 straight games reaching base in 2011 with the Rangers and 2007 with the Angles.
He’s also driven in a run in seven of his last eight games with eight extra-base hits.
Top of the fifth, Red Sox 4, A’s 3: Felix Doubront’s control issues got him into not one but two bases-loaded jams. He was only able to get out of one of them. But the damage was fairly minimal.
After striking out Josh Reddick, walks to Nate Freiman and Coco Crisp, with an Andy Parrino single in between, put him in hot water with the bases full. (after a 2-and-0 wild pitch to Crisp, he had no choice but to use the open base).
Chris Young shot a sacrifice to center to score Freiman. Then, Doubront walked Brandon Moss to load them up again. Jed Lowrie’s fly ball to center got him out of the inning.
Bottom of the fourth, Red Sox 4, A’s 2: Will Middlebrooks’s three-run home run may or may not be a slump-buster, but it’s his fifth of the season and it gave the Sox a two-run lead. On 2-and-0, Griffin served him a belt high slider and immediately regretted it.
Again, Middlebrooks wasn’t exactly happy leaving the clubhouse after struggling yesterday. He was asked after both games about the slump, doubling the daily dose of salt in the wound, and it was obvious how much he wanted to do something about it — if only to not have to answer the same questions over again.
Top of the fourth, A’s 2, Red Sox 1: A 1-2-3 inning for Doubront, who’s up to five strikeouts now.
Also, up in Portland, John Lackey’s done for the night. He threw 3.2 scoreless innings, gave up just three hits, struck out five and walked two.
Bottom of the third, A’s 2, Red Sox 1: Jacoby Ellsbury stretched his hit streak to 12 games with a one-out double, but the Sox couldn’t capitalize.
Shane Victorino moved him along with a long fly ball, but with two outs Dustin Pedroia, who’s hitting .364 this season with runners in scoring position, popped one up to short.
So far the Sox are 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Bottom of the second, A’s 2, Red Sox 1: These were the words of David Ichiro Ortiz yesterday:
“I’m battling right now. Trying to do too much. Haven’t faced good pitching for months. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t feel good at the plate right now.”
This from a man who was 5 of 8 after being activated on Saturday. He led the inning off with a double and reigning American League co-player of the week Mike Napoli drove him in with a double for his team-leading 21st RBI.
Top of the second, A’s 2, Red Sox 0: A leadoff walk by Jed Lowrie got things going for the A’s in a two-run inning. Josh Donaldson moved him along with his fourth double of the year. Then a wild pitch by Felix Doubront allowed him to come in. With Donaldson at third, Josh Reddick ripped a single to center that brought him home and gave the A’s the early lead.
Of course, the Sox are 2-6 when opponents score first.
Top of the first, Red Sox 0, A’s 0:The wait for Felix Doubront’s first start this season at Fenway was a long one. His first inning wasn’t. Coco Crisp bounced out to Will Middlebrooks at third. Then, Chris Young lined out to him. To end a quick inning, Doubront pumped a 92 mile-per-hour fastball by Brandon Moss.
Coming in, he was averaging two strikeouts per inning in two career starts against Oakland (14 Ks in 7 innings), but is still looking for his first win against the A’s.
Pregame: At the same time the Red Sox are trying to bounce back from dropping both games of Sunday’s double header with the Royals, Will Middlebrooks is trying to snap out of a deep slump. No one’s more frustrated with this recent stretch than he is. Since smashing three homers against the Blue Jays earlier this month, he’s gone 4 for his last 43.
He went 1 for 9 yesterday coming up empty in his last eight at-bats. “We lost by one run,” he said after the nightcap. “And I felt I could’ve done something about that.” Eventually, he said, things will come around. Manager John Farrell echoed the sentiments. In AJ As right-hander Griffin, he’ll be facing a pitcher he’s never seen, looking to turn the tide.
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