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What is it with Boston against Florida teams?
First the Celtics roll over the Heat and started fantastic against the Magic. Then the Red Sox got into the action by steamrolling the Rays.
It was Big Papi and Youk that led the way with two home runs as Boston accumulated 12 hits and ended up winning 6-1.
Clay Buchholz continued the recent trend of excellent pitching, going six innings and allowing only one run on six hits, while striking out eight. Even better was the relief pitching of Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard who combined for three hitless and scoreless innings.
Tampa’s Wade Davis only survived 3.2 innings giving up seven hits and allowing five runs, including David Ortiz’s ninth home run of the year. Ortiz has been on a tear lately. In his last ten games Big Papi has a .417 average, twelve RBI’s and five home runs.
Even with Boston’s bats going strong, the story should be the pitching. The combination of Buchholz, Okajima and Bard corralled the Rays, the team who has driven the fourth most runs in the majors, to only six hits. No Rays batter had more then one hit and, if not for a Carlos Pena two out solo home run, almost blanked Tampa.
The downside was Jacoby Ellsbury. Since returning to the lineup, Ellsbury has gone 1-14 as the leadoff. Monday’s 0-5 was another sign that he might need a little longer to get his bat back. On the bright side, he did not strike out. That’s always a good thing, right?
With the victory, the Red Sox have gained some ground in the AL East. Their three-game winning streak now pushed them to seven and a half games behind Tampa. The Rays still have the best record in the Majors and look to get back on the track Tuesday.
Jon Lester will take the mound Tuesday against James Shield. Lester is 4-0 in his last five starts and has 42 strikeouts in that time span. The underlying story: Can Ortiz maintain his recent success? Find out Tuesday at 7:10pm.