BOSTON — For the second straight game, nine innings wasn’t enough for the Red Sox to determine a winner.
The Red Sox, who lost in extra innings to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, needed 12 innings Tuesday to defeat the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park. Grady Sizemore provided the walk-off heroics for Boston.
The Red Sox and Reds will battle again Wednesday before Boston heads to Texas for a three-game series against the Rangers beginning Friday. Let’s first go over Tuesday’s exciting tilt.
– Felix Doubront had a few hiccups but pitched OK for the most, part despite not factoring into the decision.
Doubront gave up one earned run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three, walked three and threw 97 pitches (58 strikes).
– Mike Napoli collected two RBIs — one on an RBI groundout and one on a bases-loaded walk. He finished the game 1-for-4 and now has reached base in a career-high 27 straight games dating back to April 4.
Napoli’s on-base streak is the longest for a Red Sox player since Jose Iglesias reached in 27 straight from May 24 to June 25 last season.
– Dustin Pedroia made an impact both offensively and defensively.
Pedroia went 3-for-5 and reached base four times. He scored two runs and continues to solidify the top of the Red Sox’s order after Boston went nearly a month without a clear-cut leadoff hitter.
One key defensive play from Pedroia came in the sixth inning with the Red Sox leading 3-1. Burke Badenhop replaced Doubront with one out and runners at first and second. The right-hander tossed just one pitch and induced a ground ball up the middle that Pedroia fielded on the back hand and flipped out of his glove to Xander Bogaerts to begin an inning-ending double play.
“You’ve seen him forever. You don’t get to be an MVP playing second base without being an awesome defender and making ridiculous plays,” Badenhop said. “He’s been an absolute Godsend over there at second.”
The double play marked the fifth induced by Badenhop this season. He did not record his fifth double play until Aug. 2 last season.
– Badenhop, who tossed 1 2/3 perfect innings, hasn’t allowed a run over his last 11 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.20.
– Junichi Tazawa gave up two runs in the eighth inning to allow Cincinnati to tie the game. Tazawa now has surrendered at least one run in three of his last four outings.
“When (he’s struggled), it’s been more quick strike against him,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It comes down to the mislocated fastball, particularly against aggressive fastball-hitting teams.”
– Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow kept the Reds off the scoreboard after Tazawa’s struggles.
Miller struck out four over two perfect innings. He now has struck out 20 over 14 2/3 innings this season, and his ERA is down to 1.84.
“Much like the last number of outings, he was strong (and) threw a lot of strikes,” Farrell said. “The breaking ball has some late action to it, and what we’ve seen as a continuation from last year is not only the effectiveness but some dominance against some good right-handed hitting. Those were key innings for us tonight.”
– Sizemore’s walk-off hit — a line drive off the Monster — capped a 3-for-6 performance. For what it’s worth, Sizemore is batting .394 (13-for-33) when batting fifth this season.
Sizemore’s walk-off hit was his first since Aug. 11, 2006 versus the Kansas City Royals as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
– David Ortiz scored the game-winning run in his 2,000th career regular-season game. Farrell said he would have inserted a pinch-runner for Ortiz in the 12th inning if the Red Sox trailed by a run.