An uncomfortable start to the 2012 season has given way to signs of encouragement for Boston Red Sox fans as the Red Sox defated the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-4, for their third straight win over their division rivals on Sunday.
The Red Sox got out to an early 4-o lead thanks to a three-run home run by Cody Ross in the second inning and a fourth-inning double by Kelly Shoppach that plated David Ortiz. Starter Felix Doubront (5 IP, 9 H, 7 K, 4 ER) could not hold the lead, however, as he started strong but sputtered in the fifth inning, allowing three runs on singles by Chris Giminez and Desmond Jennings and doubles by Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. Doubront’s day ended when Luke Scott hit his second home run of the season to lead off the top of the sixth and tie the game.
The Red Sox got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on an Ortiz double that plated Kevin Youkilis. In the seventh, shortstop Mike Aviles continued to fill in admirably for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, hitting a solo home run to pad the Red Sox lead to 6-4.
Both Ross’s and Aviles’s home runs were their second in as many days.
Rays starter Matt Moore (L, 0-1) hung in well despite the early four-run hole, going 6.1 innings and striking out five. In the end, the eight hits, four walks, and six earned runs he allowed doomed his efforts.
Vicente Padilla got the win (1-0), working 1.2 innings and striking out two, lowering his ERA to 1.50. Closer Alfredo Aceves worked a perfect ninth inning for his second save, and got some help from Ellsbury’s replacement in center field, Jason Repko, who made up for an 0-3 showing at the plate by diving to make a spectacular catch and take an extra-base hit away from Rays second baseman Jeff Keppinger for the second out. Aceves then struck out right fielder Ben Zobrist swinging to end the game and send a sellout crowd of 38,024 home happy.
The Red Sox (4-5) and Rays (4-5) will finish up this four-game set at 11:05 a.m. on Monday, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.