Sox bring their A-game in win over Texas
After a humiliating three game-sweep at the hands of the Rangers to start May, the Sox needed to set the tone when they matched up again to kick off June. All the Sox needed was for Ryan Dempster to be sharp and to put a few runs together, and what they got was a ruthless beat down that featured several key contributors and even came close to making history.
No American League team in history has scored at least one run in each of the nine innings of a game, the Red Sox came close though, putting big runs on the board every inning until David Murphy, of all people, came on in the eighth inning and finally stopped the bleeding. While 17 runs are hard to keep track of, I’ll do my best to break down the scoring for you.
Sox starter Dempster pitched a gem that was outshined by the offense. He threw seven innings while giving up three runs and striking out six. Not the best start of his career, but after his recent string of losses he needed a win.
‘I like my chances when we get 17 runs,’’ Dempster said. ‘‘It was just fun to watch the guys swing the bat as well as they did today. When you have breathing room like that, it is nice because you kind of fill up the zone a little bit more and try and get some quick outs.’’
The Sox jumped ahead early thanks to David Ortiz who got things going with an RBI double. Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to first to score another run giving the Sox an early lead 2-0 lead in the first, something Dempster definitely needed given his recent string of poor starts.
When the second inning came along, the game got out of hand as the Sox erupted to put six runs on the board. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two run bomb over the bullpen in right, and then Ortiz hit a base-clearing triple to center (yes, you read that right, he hustled all the way) and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli. When the inning was up the Sox had an 8-0 lead over the Rangers, plenty of run support for Dempster who was dealing left and right to start the game.
The Sox offense quieted down a bit, scoring a run each inning thanks to a pair of homers by Stephen Drew and Mike Carp until it was 11-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Once again the Sox bats erupted and came to life as Salty crushed one into the Green Monster and Daniel Nava and Carp strung together a pair of sacrifice flies giving the Sox a commanding 15-3 lead.
The Sox added their final two runs when Jose Iglesias scored Salty and Drew with a two run double, and that is where the scoring ended. Rangers’ starter Justin Grimm didn’t fair too well against the Sox, throwing 1.2 innings while surrendering eight runs. The Rangers bullpen combined for 6.1 innings while giving up nine runs and striking out five. Outfielder David Murphy came in the eighth inning and easily had the best outing throwing a scoreless to keep the Sox’s bats at bay.
For those wondering, Murphy last pitched in high school, but he showed no rust as he threw a fastball in the high 70’s and even featured a knuckleball.
“I wasn’t trying to mess around,” Murphy said. “My arm is definitely not in condition to pitch, and I didn’t want to do anything silly or anything I would have regretted. I mean, it would have been fun to throw as hard as you can and light up the radar gun, but I wasn’t going to do that.”
Left fielder Mike Carp was happy to see the Sox offense click so well, especially against a major rival like the Texas Rangers.
‘It’s just baseball. It happens. Over 162 games, you’re going to have opportunities to score a lot of runs and tonight we didn’t stop,’’ Carp said. ‘‘We kept it going all night.’’
The Rangers are widely regarded as the best team in baseball, when they came to Boston Tuesday night it would prove to be a matchup to settle the score as to which team is better. The Sox needed to get a win over their rival at the top, and with that 17-5 routing the Sox set the tone for the series and may take their place as best in the American League.