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."