Sources close to the Red Sox have informed me that 7:52 pm EDT (4:52 LA time) Mike Napoli’s ninth-inning home run Friday night finally landed. And David Ortiz was still pimpin’ his.
Ah, yes. These are your Boston Red Sox. The best team in the American League and having the most fun you’ve seen in several years. Whoever said chemistry doesn’t win baseball games might want to rethink their statement.
The Red Sox (54-34) are 20 games over .500 and have their largest lead in the AL East this season, currently at 5.5 games, with a chance to push it to six over the Yankees (who beat the Orioles earlier today, propelling New York into second place). Boston has won nine of 10 and kicked off a 10-game road trip on the West Coast with a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels (41-45).
Ryan Dempster goes for win No. 6 tonight. He is 5-8 with a 4.11 ERA and has put together a couple of strong starts in a row. Boston has won each of his last two starts, in which Dempster has gone 11.1 innings and allowed four runs combined.
Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 10:05 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Nava, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Holt, 3B
9. Iglesias, SS
The Angels will start Jerome Williams, who is 5-4 with a 3.89 ERA. He took the loss against the Cardinals Wednesday, allowing seven runs and four walks in 1.2 innings.
Diaz back down, Holt up
Jonathan Diaz has been sent back down to Pawtucket after being with the club for six games. He had four at-bats without a hit. The Red Sox called up infielder Brock Holt, one of the players they received with Joel Hanrahan in a trade with the Pirates. Holt hasn’t played in the Majors this season and is getting the start at third base tonight. He batted .292 in 24 games last season with the Pirates.
The Angels made two big miscues Friday night leading to two Boston runs. In the second inning, a routine single to left field by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that should have scored one run wound up scoring two when J.B. Shuck misplayed it and allowed the ball to roll to the wall, scoring a second run. Later in the game, Jonny Gomes popped up down the right field line for what should have been the third out. Josh Hamilton sprinted to the line, seemed to be under the ball and let it hit off his glove, allowing Shane Victorino to score from first. That broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Sox the confidence they needed to pull away late.
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