Miller impresses again, offense clicks as Sox roll, 10-4

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Miller impresses again, offense clicks as Sox roll, 10-4

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Just as road interleague games are coming to an end for another season, the Red Sox seem to be getting the hang of things.

The Sox scored early (three runs in the first) and added on late (six runs over the last three innings) to cruise to an easy 10-4 victory over the Houston Astros.

The win was Boston's third in a row against NL teams after a stretch that saw them go 1-7 in interleague play.

Boston got nine hits from its 2-3-4 hitters (Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis), pounding out 13 hits in all.

Even Darnell McDonald, who came into the game with just six hits all season, contributed, belting a three-run homer in the eighth to put the game effectively out of reach.

The first five Red Sox hitters reached in the first against J.A. Happ, resulting in the early lead.

Back-to-back doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia producd another run and Yamaico Navarro, pinch-hitting for starter Andrew Miller, launched his first major league homer in the seventh.

Miller turned in his third straight good start, going six innings while allowing two runs on seven hits.

Four other relievers -- Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler -- finished out the game after Miller left.

STAR OF THE GAME: Andrew Miller
Three starts in, the Andrew Miller Experiment is a qualified success.

Saturday night, he limited the Astros to two runs over six innings and is now an out shy of posting three quality starts in three outings since being promoted from Pawtucket.

He rebounded nicely after being hit around some in the first and allowed just four hits over his final five innings of work.

HONORABLE MENTION: Darnell McDonald
McDonald got a start Saturday, and for a change, made the most of it.

The outfielder had just six hits all season before he cranked a tape-measure three-run shot to left for his second homer of the season. In so doing, he doubled his RBI total for the season.

It was McDonald's first career three-run homer.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Carlos Lee
Lee has been the target of a frustrated Astros fan base, with boos regularly cascading down on him when he fails to come through at the plate.

Saturday night, he managed a single in the sixth, but otherwise stranded seven baserunners in his other three at-bats.

TURNING POINT: Bard's escape act
The Sox led 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh with Daniel Bard inheriting a bases-loaded jam from Bobby Jenks.

Bard walked Hunter Pence -- though he appeared to be squeezed by home plate umpire Cory Blaser on more than one pitch -- to force in a run, then retired Lee on a fielder's choice, leaving the bases loaded.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6232002
Yamaico Navarro became the first Red Sox player to hit his first major league homer as a pinch-hitter since Juan Diaz did it on June 23, 2002.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"It's a long season and a humbling game. Hopefully, this will get me going.'' -- Darnell McDonald on his three-run home run.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Mike Felger and Dan Shaughnessy discuss the Boston Red Sox bouncing back from their slump with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

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Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 win over Tampa Bay

 

QUOTES

"I can't say enough about the way our position players have continued to grind away. . . Tonight was just another example of that.'' - John Farrell.

"He's been everything that we could have hoped. You look to a starting pitcher to go out and be consistent every fifth day -- he's been a model of that for us.'' - Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"It's nice to come back with a statement game tonight. The past couple of week haven't been good for us, so it was nice to get back on the right track tonight.'' - Travis Shaw.

"Preventing them from scoring first was big and then limiting the big inning. The fourth inning was a grind. I dug myself a hole and had to find a way out of it.'' - Rick Porcello.

 

NOTES

* Rick Porcello became the first Red Sox starter to record a win since David Price beat Seattle on Jume 19.

* Porcello is unbeaten over his last eight starts, going 3-0 with five no-decisions.

* Porcello had gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than two walks, the longest such streak for a Red Sox starter since Curt Schilling went 33 in a row.

* The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and are one of two teams (Cleveland is the other) to not have lost four straight this season.

* Boston has a major league-leading 22 games in which it has scored eight or more runs.

* The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup were 11-for-24, while the bottom three were a combined 0-for-13.

* Travis Shaw's home run was measured at 449 feet, the second-longest homer by a Red Sox player this season.

* In one night, Travis Shaw had more RBI (five) than he had in his previous 27 games (four).

* David Ortiz tied Frank Thomas in career RBI (1,704); both are in 23rd place.

 

STARS

1) Travis Shaw

Shaw belted out three hits -- including his first homer in the month of June -- and knocked in five RBI, tying a career high.

2) Rick Porcello

In a perfect world, Porcello would have gone a little deeper, but kept the Rays off the scoreboard early and helped set the tone for the night.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez reached base five times with two hits -- both singles -- and three walks - one intentional - and seemed to be in the middle of every Red Sox rally.