The Boston Red Sox cleaned up their act in a big way.
Less than 24 hours after stumbling through their sloppiest effort of 2014, the Red Sox pulled a complete 180-degree turnaround Friday and throttled the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 behind an excellent all-around performance.
The Red Sox, who committed five errors while producing just four hits in a 14-5 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday, tossed up a goose egg in the error column Friday. Boston supplemented the much-improved defense with a 16-hit attack and a fine night of mound work spearheaded by Jake Peavy, who spun seven innings of one-run ball in the series-opening win at Rogers Centre.
“He’s a proven winner. He’s a competitor,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Peavy after Friday’s victory. “He shows it in his emotions on his sleeve on the mound, which I think gives the rest of us some energy when he’s starting the night for us.”
Each player in the Red Sox’s starting lineup collected at least one hit against the Blue Jays. Jackie Bradley Jr. and A.J. Pierzynski led the way with three knocks apiece, and Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks each collected two hits. David Ortiz drilled Boston’s lone homer in the third inning.
It didn’t take long for Boston to throw Thursday’s disaster in the rearview mirror, as the Red Sox got to Mark Buehrle for four runs in the second inning Friday. Buehrle gave up seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits over 5 1/3 innings before all was said and done.
“I think the approach that we took, we had a pretty clear understanding of how (Buehrle) was going to try to pitch us,” Farrell said. “The most important thing is we waited out those pitches that were borderline good pitchers’ pitches that were off the plate to get into some good hitter’s counts, and we were able to get a number of two-out base hits, particularly in that four-run inning.”
The Red Sox showed tremendous poise in rebounding Friday. Not only did the Red Sox roll into Toronto on the heels of their ugliest game of the season, but they also faced a starter in Buehrle who had surrendered just two earned runs in his first four starts. Yet, the Red Sox’s confidence never wavered, and Boston suddenly looked like the club that enjoyed World Series success in 2013.
“If you think about it, it’s the same team as last year — add one, minus one, whatever,” said Middlebrooks, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday’s game. “It’s basically the same nucleus of veterans here and leadership here. We’ve got a great group of guys. We work hard every day and come here to win.”
The Red Sox aren’t going to win them all. But they reassured everyone Friday that they’re not going to lose them all, either, which is something Boston needed after Thursday’s discouraging defeat.