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With no member of the Boston Red Sox ever having faced him before, San Diego Padres starter Wade LeBlanc stood an excellent chance of derailing Boston’s explosive offense. But LeBlanc could not stop Boston’s scoring Monday night at Fenway; all he could do was delay it.
The Red Sox scored 11 runs – 10 in one inning – off the Padres bullpen, powering Boston to a 14-5 victory over San Diego. It was Boston’s 14th win in 17 games this month.
The Red Sox entered the seventh inning tied 3-3. Reliever Cory Luebke gave up a lead-off walk, then got Dustin Pedroia to ground into a fielder’s choice. Adrian Gonzalez followed that up with a double off the Green Monster to score Pedroia and give Boston a 4-3 lead.
Gonzalez’s double was the first hit in 3+ innings against Luebke, who at one point struck out five batters in a row. Luebke was lifted for Ernesto Frieri, who struggled badly. Two walks – one intentional – loaded the bases, and Frieri then hit both Marco Scutaro and Jason Varitek to make it 6-3 Boston.
After loading the bases again, Scribner walked Pedroia to bring in a run, and Gonzalez’s liner to right plated his second and third RBIs of the inning to make it 11-3. Gonzalez finished his first game against his old team with three hits, three RBIs and two runs.
Kevin Youkilis finished the scoring with a two-RBI double off the Green Monster.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first on a bases-loaded single by David Ortiz that culminated a 14-pitch battle, then went up 2-0 on a first-pitch double by Ortiz that scored Youkilis from first. The Red Sox scored again in the fourth when Luebke got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground into a bases-loaded double-play to make it 3-0 Boston.
Pawtucket call-up Andrew Miller made his first major league start for the Red Sox Monday, and through five innings he looked strong. He struck out his first batter on three pitches that right fielder Chris Denorfia never swung at, and through five innings gave just four hits and two walks. He stranded a leadoff triple to designated hitter Jesus Guzman in the fourth and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth. He commanded his fastball, confused hitters with his curveball, and buried righties inside with his change-up.
Miller controlled the pace of the game for the first five innings, but in the sixth the game sped up on him. Third baseman Chase Headley (4-5 with two runs) led off with a single, then left fielder Ryan Ludwick walked on five pitches. Miller struck out Guzman for the first out in the sixth, then up came second baseman Orlando Hudson, who planted the first pitch he saw in the Green Monster seats to tie the game 3-3. Hudson finished the game 3-5 with three RBIs and two runs.
Miller recorded one more out before being lifted for Matt Albers, who finished the inning and then pitched a scoreless seventh to record the win. Boston’s mop-up pitchers gave up a run each in the eighth and ninth, on an infield single by Denorfia and single to center by Guzman.
Both Miller and LeBlanc wound up with no decisions, each pitching six innings of seven-hit, three-run ball. Miller walked three and struck out six, while LeBlanc walked two and struck out one. Luebke took the loss.
The box score will show Luebke pitched 3.1 innings, giving up two earned runs on a hit, two walks and six strikeouts. The reality is that he dominated the Red Sox until his final inning, and it was the pitchers who came after Luebke that truly cost the Padres the game.
Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Miller, Boston Red Sox, Chase Headley, Chris Denorfia, Cory Luebk, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Ernesto Frieri, Evan Scribnere, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jesus Guzman, Josh Reddick, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Albers, MLB, Orlando Hudson, Ryan Ludwick, San Diego Padres