From losing 10 straight games to going on a 4 game winning streak? Only the Red Sox would do that!
Red Sox have not given fans much to cheer about particularly during a 10-game losing streak. But there’s good news — the ship is slowly starting to turn. The Sox won their second straight on Monday night to sweep a quick set from the Braves. They prevailed with contributions from the entire roster and lots of little things adding up to a satisfying victory.
“More than anything, our guys are having some fun playing the game,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s a tough 10-game stretch we came through, but there’s been plenty of energy injected back into that dugout.”
Now with a winning feeling coming over the players, the strive fr success is being displayed.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore is regaining his stroke, and in the nick of time. Sizemore went 2-for-5 with a double and drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout in the seventh. Sizemore also swiped third and now has four extra-base hits in his last three games. With Shane Victorino’s return from the disabled list, Sizemore is making his case to stay in that starting position.
“He’s looked better each passing week,” Farrell said. “You see the life in the body continue to be more explosive. Good swings in this two-game series here and he adds length to the lineup.”
In right field, Jonny Gomes had himself a Jonny Gomes kind of night. He made solid contact, hitting a single to right to load the bases during the winning rally, and best of all made a tremendous diving catch, easily his best in a Red Sox uniform, to rob Gerald Laird in the eighth.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. showed up on Monday night, who put his offensive struggles aside long enough to rip a two-out, two-run single to left that gave the Sox two huge insurance runs in the seventh.
“That’s how you start building up your confidence,” said DH David Ortiz. “Everybody expects a lot of good things coming out of him. It’s a learning process. It’s not a magician that pops out of the box and makes things happen right away. He has unbelievable skills. He’s going to learn.”
Starter Jon Lester wasn’t at his sharpest, and certainly had his issues with home plate umpire Bob Davidson, but he gutted out six innings, striking out seven. Lester did his best work in the second inning when the Braves loaded the bases with no outs. He induced Atlanta counterpart Aaron Harang to bounce into a 1-2-3 double play before retiring Jason Heyward.
And so the Red Sox return to Boston feeling legitimately good about themselves for the first time in two weeks, hoping to execute a perfect starboard turn.
It was the team’s third walkoff win this season.
After seeing Napoli placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning — and then seeing the Sox lose their 10th straight that afternoon — it appeared this team was in serious trouble.
But Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and even A.J. Pierzynski have helped ignite the offense the past four days.
The Red Sox rallied for the win last night in the ninth inning against the game’s top closer, Craig Kimbrel, who entered in the eighth inning with the score tied 3-3.
Holt and Bogaerts, the Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, each had three hits, including both smashing doubles. They also each scored a run and Holt worked a walk.
Meanwhile, Pierzynski added two more hits while batting cleanup and now has hit safely in eight straight games.
Atlanta certainly helped Boston win yesterday with three errors. But a win is a win — and this team clearly needed to string together some wins after its longest losing streak since 1994.
With Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront both on the DL, veterans Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy need to stepup and they all did this week. Lester earned the win Tuesday, Lackey earned the win Wednesday and Peavy hurled his best game in a while at Fenway yesterday.
Peavy went 8.0 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out four.
The righty started the year out strong with a 2.87 ERA in five April starts. But he entered yesterday with a 6.59 ERA in five starts here in May.
“Eight very solid innings for him,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox now turn to their young arms against the Rays, who have won five of six against Boston this year.
Brandon Workman will start tomorrow as he continues to pitch in Doubront’s spot.