Bullpen gave Red Sox chance to win vs. Reds

Bullpen gave Red Sox chance to win vs. Reds
May 7, 2014, 12:30 am
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BOSTON -- When your lineup seemingly can't buy a hit with runners in scoring position -- at least not by someone other than Grady Sizemore -- your pitching staff had better be good.

With one notable exception, that was the case for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Over 11 innings five Red Sox pitchers limited the Cincinnati Reds to a single run. Only a poor eighth inning from Junichi Tazawa spoiled things and necessitated extra innings.

Otherwise, the Sox got 5 1/3 innings from starter Felix Doubront, and scoreless work from Burke Badenhop, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow, buying time until Grady Sizemore could come up with a walk-off single to score the winning run in a 4-3, 12-inning marathon victory.

Doubront was touched for a run in the second, but otherwise, allowed just five hits in his start.

"The last couple of times through the rotation,'' said John Farrell, "it's been consistent, it's been dominant in cases.''

Doubront, as is his wont, was inconsistent. He faced the minimum three hitters in the first, third, and fifth, but ran up his pitch count and had difficulty in his other three.

"I'm getting there,'' vowed Doubront. "Every outing, I'm learning more with my mechanics and learning those situations, limiting the damage and try to give my opportunity to win.''

"Felix, while in a couple of innings was very crisp and very sharp,'' said Farrell, "but we're still trying to get him through some things where a following inning leaves you wondering what happened in the previous innings -- trying to gain some consistency with him to get deeper into games.''

When Doubront walked two of the first three hitters he faced, it was time for the bullpen to take over.

"Fortunately, the back end of the bullpen continued to give us opportunities to come to the plate,'' said Farrell. "Miller, Brez, Koji, Burke....they did an outstanding job keeping them at bay.''

Badenhop got Doubront out of a first-and-second one out jam in the sixth with one pitch, resulting in a double play, the fifth he's recorded this season.

He also worked a 1-2-3 seventh and hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 1/3 innings.

Next came Tazawa, who wasn't nearly as successful, allowing two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly as the Reds tied it in the eighth.

"Against aggressive hitting teams,'' said Farrell, "when he's mislcoated his fastball, he's paid for it and that was the case again tonight. When it's happened to him, it's been more quick-strike and it comes down to the mislocated fastball.''

Koji Uehara then danced out of trouble in the ninth before Miller carved up the Cincinnati lineup. Miller had four strikeouts in two innings and has fanned16 in 10 2/3 innings this season.

"Much like the last number of outings, he was strong, threw a lot of strikes,'' said Farrell. "The breaking ball has some late action to it and what we've seen as a continuation from last year is not only the effectiveness but some dominance against some good righthanded hitting. Those were key innings for us tonight.''

Finally, there was Breslow, who has been used sparingly of late, making just his second appearance since April 24. There was little sign of rust for the lefty, however, who allowed a single but recorded two strikeouts.