They forgot about David Ortiz's ongoing steroid saga. They bid farewell to Justin Masterson and Adam LaRoche and put the trade deadline behind them. They hit some much-needed bombs over the walls. And they came out on top against Baltimore.
John Smoltz didn't do much to help matters, but the Red Sox still managed to prevail 6-5 at Camden Yards behind some offensive firepower from David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 5
Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.
July 31, 2009
Headliner: The honor goes to Boston's three-man home run crew, beginning with Ortiz, who jacked a two-run bomb in the third to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. It was his second homer in as many games and proves he's not thinking about a certain New York Times report. Ellsbury's fifth-inning solo shot broke a 3-3 deadlock, and he finished the night 3-for-5 with an RBI, two runs and one unbelievable catch. Youkilis' two-run shot in the seventh put Boston on top for good after Smoltz lost a lead in the sixth.
Dirt Dog: Baltimore's Aubrey Huff went 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs, and a run scored. He jacked a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning against Smoltz — right after Nick Markakis barely missed a homer off the right-field scoreboard — and effectively ensured that Smoltz wouldn't be back for another inning.
Shout-out to closer Jonathan Papelbon, who — for once — submitted a drama-free ninth inning. Zero hits, two strikeouts.
Better Luck Next Time: Given the abysmal nature of both starting pitching performances, it's only fair that they deserve best wishes for better luck. Smoltz, especially, needs some. He's still just 2-4, and it's starting to become obvious that he is cursed because he debuted less than an hour after the Michael Jackson saga began. On Friday, he threw just 87 pitches in six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while fanning two.
Jeremy Guthrie was just a bit worse: He went 6 2/3 innings, surrendering six runs on nine hits — including three home runs — and fanned four.
Special shout-out to Dustin Pedroia, who fanned twice against Guthrie.
Key Moment: The Sox were down 5-4 in the top of the seventh, and things didn't look good. Nick Green led off with a check-swing ground out, then Ellsbury singled to left before Youkilis launched a shot over the wall, chasing Guthrie from the game and putting Boston on top to stay.
On Deck: Everything is good in the world when Josh Beckett (12-4, 3.44 ERA) takes the mound — or so the Red Sox hope. Last time out, he allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out 10. Since May 2, he's 9-2 with a 2.33 ERA, and he's lasted at least six innings during each outing.
Baltimore sends David Hernandez (3-2, 3.20 ERA) to the mound. He faced the Sox about a week ago and threw seven innings, allowing one run on five hits.
Look out for the possible Red Sox debuts of Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman.