BOSTON -- The Red Sox offense came alive Monday night against the Angels, erupting for six runs in the seventh inning a season-high for one inning as Boston beat the Angels at Fenway Park, 9-5.
If this game is remembered for anything, it will be Dustin Pedroias 13-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning against Jered Weaver. On the 13th pitch, Pedroia lashed a grounder into center field, scoring Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Clay Buchholz earned the win, improving his record to 2-3 (4.81). He went 6 23 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks, with two strikeouts and a wild pitch. It was Buchholzs first quality start of the season.
The Sox offense, which has betrayed the team so often this season, finally came around. Boston had 11 hits in the game, two shy of its season high, and the nine runs matched a season high. Batting with runners in scoring position has been a mark of futility this season, with the Sox batting just .212. Monday against the Angels they were 5-for-8 in such situations.
After a four-game sweep in Anaheim in April, the Sox are 5-0 against the Angels this season. They have outscored them, 29-10.
Player of the Game: Dustin Pedroia
While Pedroias 13-pitch at-bat against Jered Weaver mayhave been the turning point in the game, he was all over the field for the RedSox.
Just before his marathon at-batagainst Weaver, it was his defense that kept the Angels in check. In the top of the fifth, the Angels loadedthe bases with one out. Bobby Abreusshot up the middle seemed destined to score a couple of runs. Pedroia broke to his right, but Buchholz deflectedthe ball. Pedroia quickly reversed field,snagged the ball and tossed to Jed Lowrie covering second. Instead of two runsin with one out, just one run scored and there were two outs. Buchholz then gotHoward Kendrick to ground out, ending the threat.The play set the stage for Pedroias at-bat in the bottom ofthe inning, scoring two runs to give the Sox a lead they would not relinquish.He has a way of doing that, manager Terry Francona said. Hefights. He doesnt give in, not just at the plate, on the bases, in the field. Hegets a double-play ball, turns it into a double-play ball. On the bases he getsa great read. He plays the game. Hes a ballplayer.
Honorable Mention: Clay Buchholz
Wins have not come easy for Buchholz this season. With Mondays victory over the Angels, he improved to 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. It was his first quality start of the season, besting the Angels Jered Weaver, who entered the game leading the league in wins, with six, ERA (0.99), strikeouts (49), opponents batting average (.163), and complete games (2), posting quality starts in each of his six previous outings.
Buchholz kept the Angels in check, going 6 23 innings, matching a season high, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts and a wild pitch.
Everybody knows going in that Weavers going to throw a lot of strikes, hes going to throw all his pitches for strikes, Buchholz said. That being said, as the guy going up against him, you got to keep their guys off balance and try to keep them off base. They made some early contact, had some runners in scoring-position situations. All I can do is try to limit the damage as best as I could. Got a couple of balls that were hit at guys and got out of the inning. But yeah, Weaver thats what he does. He goes out there and wins. Hes obviously a strikeout guy and not a whole lot of stuff going on on the base paths with him on the mound. It was a definitely a good step for this team.
The Goat: Francisco Rodriguez
The Red Sox had a slim one-run lead going into the seventh inning. Rodriguez entered with one out and runners on second and third after Hisanori Takahashi gave up consecutive one-out hits to Jason Varitek and Jacoby Ellsbury to start the inning. Rodriguez allowed the next four batters to reach base Pedroia on a walk, Adrian Gonzalez on a three-run double, Kevin Youkilis on an RBI double, and David Ortiz on a two-run homer before getting an out. The Red Sox scored six runs in the inning, a season high. Two runs were charged to Takahashi, four to Rodriguez.
Turning Point: Pedroia's 13-pitch battle
Dustin Pedroias 13-pitch at-bat was the signature moment of the game. With the Sox trailing, 2-1, in the fifth, two outs, and runners on second and third, Pedroia came to the plate. The Sox second baseman had just 4 hits in his last 23 at-bats, and was 3-for-25 in his career against Jered Weaver. But he worked Weaver for 13 pitches over nearly 10 minutes, including five straight 3-and-2 pitches that he fouled off. On the 13th pitch, Pedroia lashed a grounder in center field, scoring Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Plays like that can serve as a catalyst not only for a game but also for a team that has been struggling to find ways to win.
To be honest with you, man, I was just trying to put the ball in play, Pedroia said. Jereds tough. I faced him a lot in college and the first few years in the big leagues and it doesnt get any better than him. I havent won too many of those, but it was nice to drive in a couple and kind of get things going.
By the Numbers: 5-for-8
Entering the game the Sox had been struggling to find ways to get runners in scoring position across the plate. They had been hitting just 54-for-255 (.212) in such sitautions this season.
Against the Angels Monday night, however, they were 5-for-8 (.625) with runners in scoring position
Its a nice way to play the game and it took us a while to do it, Terry Francona said. Theres night when you need your big guys to hit some three-run homers or hit a ball off the wall. But I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. You talk about Dustin Pedroia's at-bats, or they way he played defensively. And we had to because the way Weaver pitches, you better play a good game.
Quote of Note
Itwas awesome, man. Just one of those things that he just battled, battled,battled. And you see Weaver make pitch after pitch. And he just kept foulingthem off. And finally Weaver left,I think itwas a fastball away that Pedroia could handle and took it up the middle. It was great. -- AdrianGonzalez on Dustin Pedroias 13-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning that endedwith the tying and go-ahead runs scoring.