Four Real? Middlebrooks comes up big in KC win, 8-10-13

Pete Lepak
RedSoxLife Staff 
Game 119: Boston taked game three of the series, 5-3
The return of Will Middlebrooks to third base helped spark the Red Sox to a 5-3 lead in Kansas City Saturday night, as his two hits lead to two RBIs and a couple of runs scored. The top of the order combined for six hits and two RBI and helped drop KC starter Jeremy Guthrie to 12-8 on the season. Sox starter Felix Doubront was yanked early, but the choice ended up bring a smart one, because the Red Sox bullpen shut down the Royals in the late innings of the game. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:

1) Will the real Middlebrooks please stand up? In the top of the fourth inning, Boston jumped all over starter Jeremy Guthrie. Mike Carp walked and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled. Stephen Drew took a low fastball to right field that Justin Maxwell could not catch up to, and his double scored Carp. Will Middlebrooks, who was playing in his first game with the Red Sox since being sent down to the Minors because of poor play, swung at a sinker ball and blooped it into the opposite field to score two runs and instantly give the third base position some offense. Later, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to score Middlebrooks and the hitting spree puts Boston ahead early, 4-0.

2) Attacking Doubront Early Kansas City got punched in the face in the fourth, but they came back swinging in the fifth. Alcedes Escobar walked, then Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler both swung at the first pitch they saw to hit doubles that scored a run a piece. Alex Gordon singled to put runners on the corners and manager John Farrell saw enough of Doubront. Brandon Workman entered the game to try to get Boston out of the jam, and while he gave up an RBI single to Miguel Tejada, he struck out two to keep the slim lead, 4-3.

3) Hustle Run Guthrie retired the first two men of the sixth early, and it looked as if he would retire the third when Middlebrooks grounded to Mike Moustakas at third. Middlebrooks came screaming out of the batters box, and Moustakas double clutched the ball, causing a late throw to first. Ellsbury then crushed a fastball into the left field gap and again Middlebrooks was on his horse, beating the throw home and giving the Sox a much needed insurance run, 5-3.

4) Bullpen Strong In the seventh, Billy Butler lead off with a double off of Junichi Tazawa. Trouble? Not for Tazawa, who threw only ten more pitches in the inning, (and only three of them balls) and struck out two to get out of the jam.

The Red Sox bullpen was called upon early and often Saturday, but they put together five innings of four hit ball and helped preserve the win. Boston is now three games up on Tampa Bay, which is their largest lead in the AL East since July 13. It was great to see Will Middlebrooks perform today, as Boston's third base production has been horrible. Since July 31, Sox third basemen have been 5 for their last 37 with only three runs batted in. Middlebrooks looks to increase those numbers and help lead the Red Sox to an AL East title. Let's hope he does both.

Like me? Tweet me! @Red33Sox