Offense Picks Up Lester as Sox Blow Out Tigers, 10-6

John Lester struggled yet again, but managed a victory as the Red Sox offense pounded out 17 hits off Doug Fister and the Detroit Tigers. Shane Victorino led the way for Boston with his best game as a Red Sox, collecting four hits and five RBI. Boston was able to overcome a monster night at the plate by MVP favorite Miguel Cabrera – who likewise put up four hits and three RBI.

Early on it was all Red Sox, as Victorino belted a homer in the first and put the Sox up 1-0. It ws 2-1 Sox going into the fourth after the Tigers and Sox exchanged a Brayan Pena RBI single, for a Dustin Pedroia run-scoring groundout.

With Lester looking on his game for once, the Red Sox looked to blow the game open in the top of the fourth. After  Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Stephen Drew, and Jose Iglesias all reached on singles with one out, the Sox had the bases loaded. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled down the right field line to bring in two runs, and he was followed by the red hot Victorino, who notched his second and third RBI’s on a single up the middle.

With the score 6-1, the Tigers looked to Cabrera to jolt them right back into the game. After a 1-2-3 fourth for Lester, the high-powered offense of Detroit finally broke through in the next frame. Cabrera then came up with Brayan Pena and Torii Hunter on, and launched the first pitch he saw deep to the left field bullpen for a three-run shot that pulled the Tigers to within a run.

Lester after the game had what could be the quote of the year in regards to the reigning triple-crown winner, and his homer, “Wish he’d quit and go to a different league — make a league especially for him, I guess. I thought at first it was off the end, and apparently not.”

Unfortunately for Jon Lester, Miguel Cabrera will be staying in the MLB and continuing to inflict massive damage.

Unfortunately for Jon Lester, Miguel Cabrera will be staying in the MLB and continuing to inflict massive damage.

In the sixth, Victorino came through with his fourth RBI of the night, driving home Iglesias on a two-out single to left. Iglesias had tripled earlier in the inning, but Ellsbury failed to push him across as he struck out on three pitches. The single by the Flyin’ Hawaiian would make it 7-5, and prove to be the game-deciding tally for Boston.

The Sox would push two more runs over in the eighth on a fielder’s choice by Victorino and a wild pitch by Al Alburquerque that brought in Drew. The fifth RBI by Victorino tied a career high, as he upped his season total to 16.

The bullpen, which has been roughed up of late, most noticeably by defected closer Andrew Bailey, looked sharp against the Tigers. Junichi Tazawa relieved Lester in the sixth to set down the final two of the night. Lester’s line at the end was again ugly, as he went 5 1/3 allowing nine hits and five earned runs – allowing four or more runs for the sixth time in seven starts. The bullpen went the final 3 2/3 allowing the Tigers a single run. Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller combined with Tazawa on the effort, with the lone run coming in the ninth on a Prince Fielder fielder’s choice.

The Red Sox will look to win two straight on the road for the first time since taking the final two of a three game set against the Yankees in the Bronx on June 1st and 2nd. The Sox called up Allen Webster from AAA Pawtucket to make the start, hoping the outcome is more like his first Major League start (6 IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 5K, ND in a loss to Kansas City) than his second (1 2/3IP, 6H, 8ER, 3BB, L in a 15-8 mauling by the Minnesota Twins). It will be a tough task for the youngster as he faces Cabrera, Fielder, and the Tigers deep lineup.

Inside The Game

-The home run by Victorino was just the 10th extra-base hit for him this season out of 50 hits.  For the second year in a row, his slugging % stands under .400, but he appears to be heading in the right direction.

-Dustin Pedroia clocked in with two hits, his first multi-hit game since June 8th against the Angels. He is batting just .230 in the month of June with a .638 OPS.

-Jacoby Ellsbury continued his hot month going 2-5, and is hitting .333 in June with an .852 OPS. Somewhere, Scott Boras is taking notes to fill a binder on the soon-to-be free agent.

-Six players had multi-hit games, as the Sox pummeled the Tigers for 17 in the game. Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias went a combined 6-10 with three runs scored from the bottom of the order to set up many of Victorino’s chances.

-Speaking of Iglesias, he upped his BA to .431 and has hit at least .423 in every month so far! He leads all of baseball in average with at least 100 at-bats

-Miguel Cabrera upped his insane totals to .368, 20 HR, and 74 RBI, putting him on pace for 45 homers and 167 RBI. He lags another MVP candidate, Chris Davis of the Orioles, in home runs, but is still very much in contention for his second consecutive Triple Crown.

 

Jay Coorey – Senior MLB Contributor – Title Town Sports

 

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