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At first glance, the Red Sox didn’t look to be doing well out of the gate, but from the second glance onward, everything was fine, and the Red Sox dispatched the Houston Astros 8-4 to clinch the series and the best record in majors (17-7).
After all, when you start off the game by giving up a single, hitting a batter, throwing a wild pitch and walking two batters as Felix Doubront did, morale tends to run low. Houston immediately added a second run on a sacrifice fly, but at least there was an out. After yet another walk reloaded the bases, Doubront got out of the inning without further damage with a popout and strikeout.
With two outs in the 1st, Boston put runners at the corners, but Houston’s Brad Peacock struck out Mike Napoli looking with a tough curve to end that threat. He wasn’t so lucky in the next inning, however. Boston loaded the bases with one out when Jacoby Ellsbury singled in two runs. With the bases reloaded with two outs, David “Big Papi” Ortiz continued his impressive return, doubling in two more to give Boston a 4-2 lead. Papi also added a sac fly in the 4th to make the score 5-2.
With a leadoff single in the 7th, Houston looked to make a move to regain some momentum, particularly after a passed ball got the runner into scoring position. A steal of third base and a groundout later, Houston was back to within two runs, and another single finally knocked Doubront out of the game. Still, Junichi Tazawa stopped Houston in their tracks by ending the inning on a strikeout following a walk.
Just to make sure, Boston’s bats came alive again in their half of the 7th. A double, walk and single, all with one out, knocked in a run to put Boston up 6-3. Then, with two outs, consecutive singles plated consecutive runs to make it 8-3 Boston.
Houston nearly got going again in the 8th, thanks to Daniel Bard walking the first two batters of the frame on nine pitches. Not wanting things to get out of hand, manager John Farrell yanked Bard in favor of newcomer Alex Wilson, who allowed a single to let the lead runner score, but quickly settled down. Except for a fielding error on Stephen Drew, which did not result in any more runs, Wilson retired the rest of the batters he faced to once again minimize the damage.
Andrew Miller came out to work the 9th, and unlike the previous two innings, Houston could do nothing with Boston’s bullpen. Miller had a nice 1-2-3 inning to seal the 8-4 victory for the Red Sox.
Two hits, three RBIs and a walk. It’s safe to say Ortiz isn’t bothered by his preseason injury issues anymore.
Boston needs to play a full nine innings and not let opponents back into the game. It was only Bard’s second game of the season, but after last season, he doesn’t have room for many of games like these.
W: Felix Doubront (3-0)
L: Brad Peacock (1-3)