Bats Back Aceves As Sox Route Phils, 9-3.

The Boston Red Sox inflicted punishment early and often in their opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Memorial Day Monday, taking the series opener 9-3.  The onslaught provided Alfredo Aceves – starting in place of Clay Buchholz sitting out with a collarbone injury – with plenty of support in a solid start by the enigmatic right-hander.  Phillies starter Tyler Cloyd had no answers against a Red Sox lineup that is currently third in the majors in runs scored.

The Sox wasted no time in the first inning when Dustin Pedroia connected on a Fenway-assisted two-run home run.  With Jacoby Ellsbury on and one out, Pedroia connected on an opposite field liner that just sneaked past Pesky’s Pole for the shallow home run, and a 2-0 lead.  Two batters later, Mike Napoli blasted an opposite-field shot of his own over the bullpens in right field for his eighth homer of the season.

Pedroia got the scoring started in the first with his third home run.

Pedroia got the scoring started in the first with his third home run.

Philadelphia got a run off of Aceves in the third when catcher Erik Kratz went to right for his own Pesky Pole sneaky home run.  After centerfielder Ben Revere walked, it looked like the Phillies would grab more with Michael Young at the dish.  With Revere off with the 1-0 pitch on a hit-and-run, Young lined one to Ellsbury, who fired back into first, just barely doubling off Revere.

Boston would get the run back and then some in the home half of the third, connecting on three straight hits to begin the frame.  David Ortiz and Mike Napoli doubled back-to-back to make it 4-1 Boston before a Stephen Drew single upped the tally again.  One out later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to chase Cloyd from the game as Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called on Michael Stutes.  Stutes would get out of the inning, but not before an Ellsbury double scored Drew to make it 6-1; Saltalamacchia would be thrown out at home trying to score, which ended the inning.

Aceves was far from perfect, but got the benefit of some fine defense behind him.  Boston managed to pick up three double plays on Monday as the Phillies couldn’t get anything going, even when they did manage baserunners. Aceves got out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings (giving up four hits between the two), and the Red Sox offense kept tacking on runs to put the game out of reach.

“He took tonight as an opportunity to make an impression,” manager John Farrell said of Aceves. “He made a solid one. It’s a night-and-day difference.”

Saltalamacchia plated two more runs for the Sox with a two-run single in the fifth.  Salty got credit for only one RBI as rightfielder John Mayberry Jr. misplayed the ball in right which allowed Mike Carp to score after Drew.  With the seven run lead, Aceves looked to get more comfortable as he pitched through six strong innings of one-run ball.

Clayton Mortensen relieved Aceves and pitched a scoreless seventh, but walked Ryan Howard to lead off the eighth.  After inducing Delmon Young into a fielder’s choice grounder, John Farrell made the switch to Andrew Miller to face left-hander Dominic Brown.  Brown caused the final damage of the evening to the Sox, as he got Philadelphia closer on a two-run homer to right.  Miller escaped without further harm.

Phillies reliever Mike Adams was a bit erratic after he got the first two outs of the inning.  Pedro Ciriaco (who replaced Dustin Pedroia after the Sox gained a large lead) singled before Admas walked Ortiz, Napoli, and Drew in succession to force in another run for the Sox.  Justin De Fratus came on to mercifully end the inning for Philadelphia.

In a rare occurrence, Miller actually came out for a second inning when he appeared out of the dugout for the ninth inning.  With the six-run lead and no real need to exhaust the arms of a bullpen that has turned it on late this month, Farrell let Miller close out the victory.  In typical Miller fashion, he would get the last two outs on Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard swinging strikeouts.  With the victory, Boston pulled ahead of the New York Yankees following their loss at the Mets. Boston will look to extend their winning streak to five on Tuesday as a struggling Ryan Dempster takes to the mound against Phillies ace Cliff Lee.

Inside the Game

-Daniel Nava was the only Sox batter not to have at least one hit, as the Sox ripped 15 hits.

-Jacoby Ellsbury was 3-5, and is now 5-10 over his last two games with three extra-base hits.  Over his last eight games, he has increased his average from .241 to .257

-Aceves, since being called up, has allowed one earned run over seven innings, lowering his ERA from 8.66 to 6.57.

-In commemoration for Memorial Day, both teams wore special uniforms with camouflage lettering, and camouflage hats.

Jay Coorey – MLB Contributor – Title Town Sports

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