We won! Finally! We finally won a game after that horrendous homestand. Never mind the fact that we had to actually leave our home park, and that we had to play a mediocre team, and that it’s going to take more than this one game to dig us out of the hole we’ve buried ourselves in. We won, and we should be happy about it, because with the way the team’s been playing so far, you never know when we’ll win again.
Doubront didn’t break the seven-inning mark, but he came close. He gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits in six and one-third innings. He walked three and struck out two. He threw 111 pitches, sixty-nine of which were strikes. He threw some really good fastballs as well as quite a few changeups, cutters, and curveballs. Most importantly, he gave the bullpen a rest. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to see only two pitchers get up there.
Doubront allowed two runs in the second on four consecutive productive plays. He allowed another run, his unearned one, in the third on a throwing error by Middlebrooks. He threw twenty-four pitches, loaded the bases via singles, and walked in another run in the seventh before he was replaced by Padilla, who pitched the rest of the game and didn’t allow any runs.
We won, 11-5, so naturally I was thinking how awesome it would have been to have somehow saved some of those runs for Sunday. We didn’t waste any time, either. Aviles began the game with a flyout, but then Pedroia walked and Papi singled. Ross struck out after that, but then Gonzalez, who certainly had a lot to make up for, singled in Pedoria, and then Middlebrooks, who’s made quite the splash upon entering the big show for the first time, smacked a three-run shot to right field on the first pitch he saw, a fastball clocked at eighty-nine miles per hour. It was barely fair, but fair is fair, and that ball was fair. Somehow, on a swing that looked like your average two-strike, end-of-the-at-bat, I’m-not-going-to-get-anything-good swing, it was fair. It was unbelievable.
Papi got in on the home run action in the third, leading it off with a solo shot to right center field on the second pitch of his at-bat, a fastball clocked at eighty-eight miles per hour. Jeff Francoeur had nothing to do but watch it go; it was a textbook swing right down to the follow-through. Then Shoppach led off the fourth with the triple of his career (his 1,525 plate appearances without one was the longest such stretch by any active Major Leaguer) and, one out later, Pedroia got in on the home run action with a two-run shot to right center field on the third pitch of his at-bat, the non-sinking third of three consecutive sinkers clocked at ninety-three miles per hour. As usual, he put his whole self into that swing.
Aviles led off the eighth with a strikeout but, to round off the scoring, Pedroia walked unintentionally, Papi walked intentionally, and Ross doubled in both of them. After Gonzalez grounded out, Middlebrooks homered yet again, a two-run shot to left on the second pitch of his at-bat, a changeup clocked at eighty-five miles per hour. Yet again, it was barely fair; it actually bounced off the foul pole in left, but fair is fair, and it was fair. It was the first multi-homer game of his career, and if he keeps playing like he’s playing, he can expect many more of those in his bright future.
Half of our hits were for extra bases: three doubles, a triple, and four home runs. Gonzalez and Byrd had two hits each, and Pedroia went two for three with three walks. Papi went three for four with two walks, and Middlebrooks went three for five with five RBIs.
Wow. That felt great to write and even better to watch. What a sight for sore eyes.