Believe it or not, but this was the first time this season that an opposing pitcher had a blown save in the ninth inning, and it could not come at a better time.
The Red Sox won only their second series in May, and now go to Minnesota to avenge their home stand where the Twins took three out of four games.
Here are the four bases:
First Base: Another reliever first: it was the first time this season that a pitcher has gone more than two innings in a save situation to win a game. With the Red Sox bullpen thinner than a broom handle, Junichi Tazawa pitched two big innings. He did give up two hits in the ninth inning, but he was able to pitch around the trouble he pitched into. It is the best game Tazawa has had since being named the closer, and he might start adjusting to his new role.
Second Base: After struggling through the beginning of his sophomore season, Will Middlebrooks is finally heating up his bat once again. He is hitting .296 with six doubles and a round-tripper over his last seven games, and his average is climbing further and further higher above the Mendoza line. What is more exciting is the gap power he’s displaying; after hitting an eighth inning home run to right center last night, he lines a Fernando Rodney change-up to left center to drive in three runs. Anytime Don Orsilo raises his voice on NESN, it is something special. Let’s hope that his hot bet went into the oven and not in the microwave.
Third Base: Félix Doubront‘s starts are now getting to the point where the Red Sox just have to live with them. John Farrell did recognize that he had to split up Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, so Doubront, who has not started since the beginning of the month, gave his manager six innings. Were they pretty six innings? Absolutely not (six walks and a home run). But did he do the job he needed to? Absolutely (his third quality start of the season, his second start where he has given up two runs or less). And hey, he pitched into the seventh inning (only for the fifth time this year). I guess we just have to live with it, for now…
Home Plate: The Red Sox team chemistry, that was a problem last year, is the right mixture this year. How do I know that? Just look at Daniel Nava‘s and Middlebrooks’s face when the Red Sox take the lead. Nava, who just looked like a steam engine chugging around third base, jumped three feet in the air after sliding into home. What does he do immediately after that? He looks straight out at second base and pumps his fist. Middlebrooks acknowledges his teammates’ praise and jubilation at second base, pointing to his shoulders that just had his team on them. It may have just been a normal baseball celebration this year, but I’ll tell you what, that kind of emotion and passion for the game just did not exist last year. It’s good to have the idiots back.
Beyond the Diamond… The Red Sox confirmed late Wednesday that Joel Hanrahan had a successful surgery to repair his elbow. Hanrahan is on the 60-Day Disabled List with a season ending elbow injury. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery and repaired the ulnar colateral ligament and the flexor muscle, as well as removing bone spurs from the area. That means he had an official Tommy John Surgery, something that was not quite clear when the initial injury happened…
Minor League Scoreboard
Triple A:Gwinnett Braves 6, Pawtucket Red Sox 4 | Boxscore
W – Omar Poveda (3-2), L – Ruby De La Rosa (0-1), SV – Cory Rasmus (7)
HR – Todd Cunningham GWN (2)
Portland Sea Dogs 15, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 4 | Boxscore
W – Brandon Workman (5-1), L – Ryan Tepera (4-3)
HR – Travis Shaw POR (3), Michael Almanzar POR (6), Kevin Pillar NH (4)
Salem Red Sox 4, Carolina Mudcats 5 | Boxscore
W – Enosil Tejeda (1-2), L – Matty Ott (2-4)
Low A:Charleston RiverDogs 6, Greenville Drive 3 | Boxscore
W – Rafael De Paula (4-2), L – Francisco Taveras (0-1), SV – Alex Smith (2)
HR – Aneury Tavarez GRN (2), Dante Bichette Jr. CHA (3)
(Photos Courtesy of Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)