For four innings James Shields limited the home hitters to four baserunners but in the fifth inning the Rays starter failed to show proof that his team’s pitching staff has the best earned run average in the American League.
Mike Cameron’s gutshot single to his counterpart set the stage, Marco Scutaro’s wall-ball warmed up the crowd, and David Ortiz’s three-run shot over the visitors’ bullpen set the audience into a frenzy. Ortiz nonchalantly tossed his bat after the blast, like he had just swatted a fly and flung away rolled-up newspaper.
Shields hunched over, hands on knees as if someone had just thumped him in the diaphragm. He swiped angrily at the dirt as fans battled over the ball and Ortiz rounded third.
Evan Longoria refrained from criticizing his teammate’s pitch selection but instead manned his base and pondered why he let a four-year old cut his hair.
Pinch hitters infused the shell-shocked Tampa Bay squad with new life in the late innings. Responding to Bill Hall’s two-run homer was Willy Aybar’s two-RBI effort over the left field wall in the eighth. Joe Maddon summoned B.J. Upton to pinch hit with two out and the center fielder showed hustle on the basepaths that he didn’t on the field in a recent game against the Diamondbacks.
Despite a lead of seven runs Terry Francona had to call on both Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon to finish off the irksome Rays. John Lackey and Jon Lester now share the same win-loss record, 9-3, although their peripherals are highly divergent: 119 to 78 hits, 50 earned runs to 34, 111 strikeouts to 59. But it’s the wins that count, and the Red Sox have three more of those than the Rays.
|Game 78: June 29, 2010|
|5||L: James Shields (6-8)|
|2B: Carl Crawford (17)|
3B: B.J. Upton (3)
HR: Willy Aybar (5)
|8||W: John Lackey (9-3)|
S: Jonathan Papelbon (18)
|2B: Adrian Beltre – 2 (23), Marco Scutaro (20)|
HR: David Ortiz (17), Bill Hall (6)