Thursday, May 8, 2014

Red Sox Reach .500

Uehara (right) sealed the win with a perfect ninth inning
For the first time in over a month, the Red Sox don't have a losing record. They evened their record at .500 (17-17) with last night's come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

The visiting Reds jumped out to an early lead, scoring two in the top of the third on a rare home run into the bullpen from Skip Schumaker, his 26th career blast and first of the season. Mike Leake held Boston scoreless until the sixth, when the Sox struck back to knot the score at two. David Ortiz singled home Jonathan Herrera and Mike Napoli followed with an opposite field double into the corner, plating Shane Victorino and sending Papi to third. Despite having two runners in scoring position with one out, Boston was unable to take the lead.

Cincinnati re-took the lead in the seventh, driving Jake Peavy from the game by loading the bases with nobody out. Chris Capuano induced a run-scoring groundout from Roger Bernadina before giving way to Burke Badenhop, who neutralized the still-bases loaded threat and escape the inning without further damage.

That proved crucial when the Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the eighth. With Leake finally out of the game, Boston got to Cincy's bullpen. Following an Ortiz strikeout, Napoli and Jonny Gomes worked one-out walks, then A.J. Pierzynski drove home Napoli with a game-tying ground-rule double. After J.J. Hoover intentionally walked Jackie Bradley, Jr. to load the bases and set up a potential force out at the plate/inning-ending double play, the slumping Will Middlebrooks ripped a single up the middle, past a diving Zack Cozart to score Gomes and give Boston the lead.

With the bases loaded and only one out, the Red Sox were poised to grab some insurance runs, but once again failed to get a big hit with men on base. Sean Marshall came on in relief and fanned pinch-hitter Mike Carp and Dustin Pedroia (Pedey's fourth whiff of the game) to end the frame.

No matter, for Koji Uehara came in and nailed down the save--his eighth of the season--by retiring Todd Frazier, Bryan Pena and Ryan Ludwick in order, all with K's. Koji now his 22 strikeouts (against just three walks) in 14.2 innings.

After taking both games of their short two-game interleague series with the Reds, Boston gets the day off today to travel to Texas. The Sox send a struggling Clay Buchholz to the mound as try to get over .500 for the first time since April 3rd, but to do so they'll have to get the best of Yu Darvish.

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