After a painful opening series sweep care of the Detroit Tigers, the media has skipped the time honored stages of worry and consternation and go directly to panic. The Boston Red Sox came into tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays winless after the Red Sox bullpen blew two save chances in the final game in Detroit ruining three separate comebacks mounted by the offense. Rookie left-hander Felix Doubront got the ball forBoston hoping to play stopper for a beleaguered Red Sox rotation.
Doubront was very good through five innings for the Red Sox, allowing just two runs on four hits and three walks and striking out six. Both runs came in the third inning, when Colby Rasmus lined a triple to deep right. Doubront then walked Yunel Escobar and got Kelly Johnson to tap the ball back to the mound. Doubront threw to the plate and appeared to get Rasmus, but the umpire called the Jays centerfielder safe. Yunel Escobar then scored on an Edwin Encarnacion single. Though Doubront did not factor into the decision, Red Sox fans can finally feel good about a starter pitcher other than Jon Lester.
Doubront was matched by the young Toronto Blue Jays righty, Henderson Alvarez, every step of the way. Alvarez didn’t have the strike out ability of Doubront, whiffing just two, but he was even better at keeping runs off the board, holding the Red Sox to just one run in six innings on four hits and one walk. The one blemish against Alvarez came on a solo shot from Dustin Pedroia in the sixth. Pedroia caught a high fastball from the rookie sending it over the left field fence to get the Red Sox on the scoreboard.
Pedroia was the lone force in the Red Sox offense entering the ninth inning and he was once again the sparkplug for the offense, drilling a double to left to lead off the ninth, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring on an Adrian Gonzalez,sacrifice fly to tie the game. Toronto Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos struck out a struggling Kevin Youkilis, but then walked David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Darnell McDonald was brought in to pinch run for Ortiz, with Ryan Sweeney at the plate. The gamble paid off as Sweeney singled and McDonald scored on a close play at the plate when catcher J.P. Arencibia dropped the ball. Ross came in on another wild pitch from Santos and Boston took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Despite his infinite ERA, Bobby Valentine once again called on Alfredo Aceves to close the game out. Aceves undid some of the psychological damage he inflicted on Sox fans in his first two appearances with a perfect ninth, getting two ground outs and a strike out. Scott Atchison pitched three scoreless innings of relief and earned the win for Boston.