Red Sox pound away with a 10-run inning
Now that’s hitting the spot.
Or, as was the case for the Red Sox in last night’s 14-5 victory over the San Diego Padres, the 10-spot.
Playing against his former team, which traded him to Boston Dec. 6, 2010, for four players, Adrian Gonzalez went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored in a game decided by a 10-run outburst in the seventh inning that broke a 3-3 tie.
Gonzalez triggered the onslaught with a run-scoring double to left off lefthander Cory Luebke that scored Dustin Pedroia with the go-ahead run in last night’s interleague contest before a Fenway Park crowd of 38,020.
But none of it would have been possible, Gonzalez said, if it weren’t for Pedroia’s hustle on his at-bat.
The Sox second baseman appeared to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, but sparked the rally when he beat the throw to first after Jacoby Ellsbury, who had walked, was forced out at second.
“That created that seventh inning,’’ Gonzalez said. “It was all about him, getting down the line and beating that ball out. If he doesn’t do that, my double doesn’t do anything.’’
It would not have cranked up an assembly line of 14 Sox who went to the plate, nine reaching in consecutive fashion, and the first eight scoring.
“It was a time in the game where his pure hustle gives our hitters a chance to keep hitting and extend an inning, and we took advantage of it,’’ said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “But that’s just the kind of player he is. He always gives you everything he has.’’
Gonzalez’s double chased Luebke (1-2), who was saddled with the loss, after entering the game in the fourth in relief of starter Wade LeBlanc and handcuffing the Sox by recording six strikeouts, the first five in a row.
Sox starter Andrew Miller performed marvelously in his Fenway debut after the lefthander was called up Sunday from Triple A Pawtucket.
“Any time you get a chance to pitch in Fenway it’s going to be fun, especially when you go out there with a Red Sox uniform on,’’ Miller said. “It’s a blast. Unfortunately, the last inning brought me down to reality a little bit, but all in all, it’s hard to beat that experience.’’
Miller got a no-decision after allowing seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six. His only mistake was a fastball left over the plate for Orlando Hudson, who crushed it to left for a three-run homer that erased a 3-0 Sox lead.
When Anthony Rizzo, one of the prospects the Sox traded away for Gonzalez, doubled to the triangle in center, Miller’s night was done.
“There’s a lot to be encouraged about,’’ said Francona, who announced afterward Josh Beckett was ill and would be scratched from tonight’s start and replaced by Alfredo Aceves. “He just made a bad pitch and they made him pay for it.’’
Matt Albers came in and picked up the win (2-3) after allowing just one hit to go along with one walk and one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings.
The Sox, who pounded out 14 hits, responded with a Vesuvian eruption of 10 runs on five hits, two walks (one intentional), and two hit batsmen in which they sent 14 batters to the plate.
After Gonzalez chased Luebke from the game (“He threw the ball great; when he’s pounding the strike zone the way he was, he’s tough,’’ Gonzalez said), the doors of the visitors’ bullpen swung open for Ernesto Frieri, who greased the skids for the Padres by giving up four runs on no hits, two walks (one intentional), and two consecutive hit batsmen when he plunked Marco Scutaro and Jason Varitek.
After Kevin Youkilis flied to left for the second out, Frieri intentionally walked David Ortiz to face J.D. Drew, who drew a walk to load the bases for Scutaro.
Looking for a pitch to hit, Scutaro wound up getting hit by a pitch, pushing Gonzalez across with Boston’s fifth run.
Frieri wasn’t done, however, when he hit Varitek on the backside, which enabled Ortiz to score Boston’s sixth run.
Frieri handed the baton to righthander Evan Scribner, who hardly fared better. With the bases still loaded, Josh Reddick, hitting for Mike Cameron, lashed a two-run single to right to make it 8-3.
Ellsbury came up for the second time in the inning and loaded the bases for Pedroia with his single to left. Scribner walked Pedroia, scoring Varitek to make it 9-3 and loading the bases for Gonzalez, who ripped a two-run double to right to score Reddick and Ellsbury for an 11-3 lead.
Youkilis made it 13-3 with his double.
The Sox (44-28) improved to 5-2 in interleague play this season, winning those five by a combined, 56-18. Over the last 12 games, the Sox have scored in double figures in half of them.
“It’s just great at-bats,’’ Gonzalez said, explaining the Sox’ recent double-digit eruptions. “It’s a lineup that consistently has good at-bats, professional at-bats.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.