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If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try nine more times? Tim Wakefield won his 199th career game on July 24 against the Mariners in one of his worst starts of the year (6.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER). In seven starts (and a relief appearance) since, Wakefield arguably pitched well enough to win at least six of the games, but instead went 0-2 over the stretch as the team struggled to support him and/or the bullpen struggled to protect leads.
But, Tuesday was a different day. Fresh off a horrendous 1-6 road trip and much-needed off-day, the Red Sox exploded for 18 runs, with 12 of them coming after the fifth inning, to help Wakefield become the 108th pitcher in major league history with 200 career victories.
At first, it wasn’t so easy. The Red Sox spotted Wakefield a 2-0 lead after the first, but the knuckleballer allowed a three-run HR to J.P. Arencibia in the 2nd. After the Sox got the lead back after the second, Toronto scored two on Jose Bautista’s 42nd homer to take a 5-4 lead. From that point on, it was all-Red Sox.
The Sox scored two in the fourth to re-take the lead again on back-to-back HRs from Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.
Wake labored through the fifth inning, as the first two hitters reached, but he managed to leave the runners on base and pitch the sixth to leave the game with a 6-5 lead.
The Sox then scored four in the sixth, including a backbreaking three-run HR from Pedroia, his second of the game and 20th of the season. Then, the tacked on another in the seventh inning and seven more in the eighth to blow the game wide open.
Alfredo Aceves pitched 2.0 shutout innings, and Junichi Tazawa completed the ninth in his first major league game since 2009.
Yeah yeah, this IS just because he won his 200th game. He’s 45 years old, pitching into September again and actually pitching OK. Yes, he allowed 5 ER in 6.0 innings Tuesday night, but he actually pitched six full innings and didn’t get knocked out, which is more than many Sox pitchers can say recently.
David Ortiz was originally penciled in at DH, but could not play due to back spasms. Lowrie was called on in a pinch, and went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
W: Tim Wakefield (7-6, 200th of his career)
L: Brandon Morrow (9-11)