Offense comes to life at Fenway

April, 14, 2012
BOSTON -- In winning only one of six games on the season-opening road trip, the Boston Red Sox’ offense had not exactly looked like a juggernaut.

But a heaping helping of home cooking seems to be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling bats.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
AP Photo/Michael DwyerDavid Ortiz is hitting .462 against lefties so far in 2012.
Saturday, the Sox pounded out 15 hits, 10 of which were for extra bases, including five homers, one each by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Aviles, David Ortiz and Cody Ross, in a 13-5 victory of the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Ortiz, Ross, Aviles, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney each contributed a double, as Boston erased a 4-0 first-inning deficit, snapped a 5-5 tie with a three-run seventh and poured it on with five more runs in the eighth.

It was the second straight drubbing of the vaunted Tampa Bay pitching staff by the Sox, who improved to 3-5 for the season.

In Friday's home opener, the Red Sox broke open a tight game with eight runs in the eighth inning for a 12-2 win. Two of Tampa’s top starters, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson, combined to throw a total of only nine innings as the patient Sox made them work and made them pay for mistakes.

On Saturday, Ortiz went 4-for-5 with five RBIs, which was one more RBI than he had accumulated in the team’s first seven games of the season. Ross, taking over for injured Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, iced the game with a two-run double in the seventh and put the exclamation point on the win with a two-run homer in the eighth.

In six games on the road, Boston totaled 22 runs. In the two games at home, the Sox have posted 25. In their first seven games, the Sox hit a total of two home runs. They clouted five Saturday.

To hear the Sox tell it, it was only a matter of time for the offense to come to life.

“We scored the most runs in baseball last year,” Saltalamacchia said. “We know we can score runs.”

Ortiz seconded that sentiment.

“We have a good offensive team,” said Ortiz, who racked up at least four hits and five RBIs in a game for the third time in his career. “It’s time to produce. It’s not going to happen every day but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to go at it. We have good hitters."

Ortiz said that even without Ellsbury "we’ve got to keep on rolling, keep on moving. Definitely it’s going to hurt us not having Ells in our lineup. Without him, of course, we're going to miss him a lot. But whenever we can come out and produce like we did today we’ve got to take advantage of it,” Ortiz said.

Pedroia said the approach has to be simple.

“I don’t think any of the guys think about it," Pedroia said of Ellsbury’s absence. "We’re just out playing. We’re facing some pretty tough pitching right now. Taking it one pitch at a time and trying to put together good at-bats.”

That approach is working very well right now.

Notes: McClure absent -- Pitching coach Bob McClure was ill and wasn’t available during the game. Bullpen coach Gary Tuck assumed his duties, strolling out to the mound in the first inning to talk with Clay Buchholz after the Sox right-hander had been torched for a three-run homer by Luke Scott. . . . Venerable Red Sox ambassador Johnny Pesky was honored in a pregame ceremony for his longtime service to the organization. Saturday was the anniversary of his 1942 major-league debut, when he had a single and a triple in the Fenway Park home opener en route to a 205-hit rookie season. . . . Che-Hsuan Lin made his major-league debut, taking over for Ross in center field in the ninth. He is the first Taiwanese-born player to appear in a game for the Red Sox. . . . The Sox won their second in a row, the team’s first two-game winning streak since taking a doubleheader from Oakland last Aug. 27.



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