Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ranaudo Rises to Occasion

Ranaudo shined in his major league debut last night (
The new-look Boston Red Sox won their first game following Thursday's fire sale that sent Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, John Lackey, Stephen Drew, and Andrew Miller packing, beating the New York Yankees 4-3 at Fenway Park last night. Allen Craig went 1-for-4 with a double in his Red Sox debut.

The skidding Sox stopped their three-game losing streak in Anthony Ranaudo's first big league start. The 24 year-old, fresh from Pawtucket, notched his first major league win in front of a sellout crowd that included his parents. Ranaudo went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out two.

Wearing number 63, Ranaudo kept the Yankees off the board until the fourth, by which point Boston had staked him to a 2-0 lead on run-scoring hits by Dustin Pedroia (ground-rule double) and David Ortiz (single) the previous inning. Ranaudo's shutout bid ended when Carlos Beltran led off the fourth by lining the rookie's second pitch of the inning and 50th of the game into the right field bullpens.

Unfazed, Ranaudo set down the Yankees in order on 10 pitches and needed only nine to dispatch them the following inning. With Boston leading 3-1 and one out in the sixth Beltran struck again, smoking Ranaudo's 80th offering of the evening into center field for a single that plated Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, who'd reached on a leadoff walk and stolen second, came around to score and trim Boston's lead to one.

Once again, Ranaudo rebounded from a Beltran breakthrough, this time with the potential tying run on base. He effectively neutralized the threat, first by freezing Brian McCann, then by getting Chase Headley to ground out and end the inning. That was all for Ranaudo, who after 91 pitches was done for the evening.

Tommy Layne, also up from Pawtucket, pitched a 1-2-3 seventh by retiring Drew, new Yankee Martin Prado and old Yankee Brett Gardner. Pedroia got Boston a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the frame, poking a single up the middle to score Mookie Betts and pick up his second RBI of the game.

That run would prove crucial as Derek Jeter greeted Junichi Tazawa with a home run--Jeter's third of the season--over the Monster, cutting Boston's lead in half with one swing of the bat. Tazawa worked around Mark Teixeira's one out double and a two out walk to Brian McCann, escaping the inning with Boston's lead still intact.

The Red Sox were still nursing that one-run lead when Koji Uehara entered the game in the top of the ninth, looking to nail down his 22nd save of the season. The ever-reliable Uehara made quick work of  the Bombers, retiring the side on 13 pitches.

Bolstered by the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes, Boston will go for its 50th win of the season today. Allen Webster, another recent call-up, is making his second start of the year and first career start against New York. Hopefully he fares as well as Ranaudo did yesterday.

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