Doubront proves himself in season's final start

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Doubront proves himself in season's final start

BOSTON -- Felix Doubront feels he has something to prove. And as the 2012 season nears its end, the 24-year-old left-hander is proving that he didn't need to be shut down early, and that his innings did not need to be limited in just his first full season as a starting pitcher.

On paper, Doubront did not factor into Sunday afternoon's decision at Fenway Park (Junichi Tazawa got the win), but the Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.

Doubront did, however, have a rock-solid outing, striking out 11 Orioles and allowing only one run in seven innings. He became the youngest Red Sox left-hander to record 11 strikeouts in a game in the DH era.

"Felix was terrific," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "Eleven strikeouts, throwing strikes, competing the whole time."

Doubront took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, where back-to-back hits to lead off that inning put runners at second and third with no outs.

A Manny Machado bloop single into right field scored one run that tied the game at 1-1. But Doubront responded with two strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam.

"That really was the key to the game, I thought," said Valentine. "Giving up one run when there's second and third and no outs. It gave us a chance to scratch our way back."

Doubront threw 112 pitches, and when he left the game after seven innings, it remained a 1-1 game. So while Doubront didn't pick up his 12th win of the season, he pitched like someone who deserved it.

He also showed that he didn't need to be shut down early.

"He just wanted to prove that these innings aren't something for us to be concerned with," said Valentine. "He's a good pitcher, and ya know, he had some hurdles to get over. And if he's not pitching, he can't get through those hurdles. And I've seen him get through them and continue to get better."

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

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Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP