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Monday, May 9, 2011
Jacoby Ellsbury & Adrian Gonzalez are on fire
Despite what the Bill James' and stat geeks of the world will tell you (through 1000 page books and boring websites), baseball is and will always remain a simple game.
To that point, when you have a leadoff hitter that is consistently getting on base and a middle of the lineup bat that is driving guys in, you are going to have a potent offense.
Such is the case right now with the Boston Red Sox, leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez (their No. 3 hitter).
Ellsbury had three hits, a run and a stolen base yesterday afternoon and Gonzalez had a grand 29th birthday with three hits (including a solo homer), two runs and two RBIs as the Red Sox (16-18) beat the Minnesota Twins (12-20) 9-5 at Fenway Park.
After losing the series opener on Friday night (its third loss in a row), Boston has bounced back with back-to-back wins against Minnesota, who is a complete mess at the moment. Much of the Red Sox' spotty success lately has been due to Ellsbury and Gonzalez who are both currently on fire.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3) was at his frustrating best yesterday as he gave up three runs in the top of the first but settled down to go six innings, allowing only one more run. He gave up five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Connecticut native Carl Pavano (2-4) has had a terrible start to the 2011 season-trust me, I had him on two fantasy teams-and that continued yesterday. In five innings, he allowed ten hits and seven earned runs with a walk. With that, I dumped him from both teams (and yes, I know you care).
The Red Sox banged out a season-high 14 hits with Kevin Youkilis (4 runs, 2 hits) and David Ortiz (2 hits) also recording multiple hits.
Jason Kubel (3 hits, 2 RBIs) had an RBI single to start Minnesota's big first inning. Danny Valenica (3 RBIs, 2 hits) topped that with a two-run single of his own.
J.D. Drew began the Red Sox comeback with an RBI ground out in the second. In the third, Jason Varitek cut it to 3-2 with another RBI ground and Gonzalez delivered an RBI single in the third to tie it at three. Youk's fielder's choice put Boston up 4-3 in the third before Drew came through with an RBI single to cap off the five-run third for Boston.
Valencia's solo homer in the fourth made it 5-4 Red Sox but Gonzalez answered with a solo shot (his fourth of the season) in the fifth over the Monster. A fielder's choice by Drew increased the lead to 7-4 in the same frame.
Jed Lowrie put this one in the win column with a two-run single in the seventh.
The Twins got one more run on Kubel's RBI single in the eighth.
Matt Albers went two innings (giving up three hits and one earned run but striking out three) and Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless ninth.
Josh Beckett faces Nick Blackburn tonight in the series finale. A win here by the Red Sox would cap off a nice 3-1 series. Beckett last started during the rain delayed game against the Angels last Wednesday, so he should be raring to go since he only went 4.1 innings then.