Game 116: Red Sox at Astros - Napoli benched for rubber game against 'Stros

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

After being blanked by the Houston Astros on five hits Monday, the Boston Red Sox exploded for 15 runs on 15 hits Tuesday in a marathon win that saw Boston battle back from 5-0 and 7-3 deficits. The Red Sox (69-46) gained a full game on the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost to Arizona, and lead them in the AL East by 1.5 games.

In the rubber game tonight against the Astros (37-75), Boston sends veteran Ryan Dempster to the hill. Dempster is 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA, but has received no-decisions in five of his last six starts (1-0 in that span). In his last outing, Dempster allowed seven runs to the Mariners in a game which the Sox scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth for a wild come-from-behind walk-off victory.

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 8:10 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Carp, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Drew, SS
8. Saltalamacchia, C
9. Holt, 3B

Dempster, P

Another rookie starts against the Red Sox as Jarred Cosart makes his fifth career appearance. Cosart is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in four previous starts. In his MLB Debut against at Tampa Bay, Cosart pitched eight innings and allowed two hits and no runs for his first win.

Offense galore in H-town
Jacoby Ellsbury went deep twice and Jonny Gomes hit his fourth pinch-hit home run of the season and drove in four RBI, sparking an offensive outburst by Boston. Gomes is one pinch hit home run away from tying the Red Sox club record set by Joe Cronin in 1943. He is 6-for-16 with seven RBI as a pinch hitter this season. Ellsbury’s blasts were the first time he’s homered twice in the same game since 2011. David Ortiz went 4-for-4, Shane Victorino had three hits and scored four times – as did Ellsbury – and Dustin Pedroia was 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Napoli sits
One piece missing from last night’s offensive attack was Mike Napoli, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and left seven men on base. Manager John Farrell has elected to sit Napoli tonight and replaces him in the lineup with Mike Carp. Napoli is hitting .251 and has seen his average drop nine points since a 2-for-3 day against Arizona last Friday, a span during which he is hitless (four games).

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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