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After dropping the series opener on Wednesday night by the score of 2-1, the Boston Red Sox hit two home runs on Thursday night to back Felix Doubront en route to a 5-3 victory. Doubront went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out seven. Matt Moore made the start for the Tampa Bay Rays and gave up only five hits over six innings – but two of the hits were solo home runs.
The Red Sox got off to a hot start out of the gate with first-inning singles from Mike Aviles and David Ortiz. Up was Adrian Gonzalez, who had guaranteed to the press after Wednesday night’s loss that he would go deep. Upon hearing this, David Price tweeted to his 87,000+ followers that “Moore should put one right between his numbers.” On the first pitch of the at bat, Moore did indeed drill A-Gone in the area of his belt buckle. Gonzalez finished the game 0/3, leaving his promise unfulfilled. After Will Middlebrooks struck out, Cody Ross drew the walk to open the scoring.
Marlon Byrd led off the second inning with a home run, his first of the year. Cody Ross continued the picket fence push in the third with his seventh homer of the season.
Felix Doubront was cruising when it appeared that he had induced B.J. Upton to pop out to first to end the bottom of the third. Instead, Kelly Shoppach was called for catcher interference, allowing Upton to reach first base. Doubront then hit Luke Scott and allowed a single to Jeff Keppinger that scored Upton.
In the bottom of the fourth, Chris Gimenez hit a ground ball back to the mound with a runner on first. Doubront was unable to field in cleanly and could only get the out at first, allowing Sean Rodriguez to move up to second. Rich Thompson made him pay with an RBI single to cut the Boston lead to one.
Mike Aviles was ejected after arguing a called strike three that ended the top of the seventh inning. It was the first ejection of his career.
Sox manager Bobby Valentine used four pitchers to get four outs after removing Doubront from the game in the bottom of the sixth. In the top of the eighth, Cody Ross secured some insurance for reliever Vicente Padilla by singling home Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to stretch the lead back to three runs.
Valentine had been hoping that Padilla would be able to complete the eighth before going to closer Alfredo Aceves in the ninth, but after a double and a hit batter brought the tying run to the plate, Bobby had to bring in Aceves for the four-out save. Aceves gave up a single to Upton to make it 5-3 Boston, but then induced Scott to ground out to end the threat. A one-two-three ninth earned Aceves his eighth save of the season, and preserved Doubront’s fourth victory.
The Red Sox now head to Philadelphia for a three game set against the Phillies. Daniel Bard (3-4) will face Cole Hamels (5-1). The first pitch is at 7:05 from Citizens Bank Park.
Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Alfredo Aceves, B.J. Upton, Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Doubront, Game Recap, Kelly Shoppach, Marlon Byrd, Matt Moore, Mike Aviles, Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays