11-7: Ortiz slams Rangers, 11-3

Boston rolled to another victory tonight on the strength of its offense and a good showing by the pitching staff, 11-3. The rebuilding Rangers came to town, starting former Sox farmhand Luis Mendoza (0-2) against Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-0). This was one of those games the Sox were supposed to win.

Dice-K was less than stellar, but scrapped together a gutsy outing, holding Texas to one run in the first five innings. He had command of his 93 mph fastball early, but struggled with his slider and changeup placement. Matsuzaka mixed his pitches well and kept the Rangers off balance just enough for the Sox to run away with it. However, he seemed to run out of gas a bit in the 6th, and was knocked out of the game after Milton Bradley hammered a ground rule double to right field with one out, and Hank Blalock followed that with his 3rd HR on the season. Final line, 5 1/3 IP, 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks with 4 Ks. 101 pitches, 62 strikes. Not great, but it was good enough for him to notch win number 4 on the year. It’d still be nice to see him go 6 innings on a more consistent basis.

After a two-out Jed Lowrie double and two consecutive walks to Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the 3rd, David Ortiz finally dealt the death blow we’ve all been waiting for, a Monster shot over the left field wall. One belt-high fastball was all it took, and it was immediately 4-1, Boston.

Mendoza wilted after that one, and I don’t blame him. He started the 4th with a walk, an RBI double and a single. Texas reliever Josh Rupe allowed all three runners to score, and gave up a two-run shot himself, to Pedroia. It was all the advantage the Sox would need.

Ellsbury ended 1-2 with a triple and 3 walks. With his speed, about half of his walks might as well be doubles. Pedroia has been on a hot streak of late, and was 1-4 with a walk, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Congrats to Lowrie, who went 2-3 in his second career start, this time at shortstop. He showed a steady glove, which is nice to see; some scouts had questioned his ability and range to play in the hole. Sean Casey was 2-4, and has done nothing but hit since filling in for the injured Mike Lowell. Despite that injury, we are in a very comfortable position because of him.

Javier Lopez and Mike Timlin turned in fine performances, and David Aardsma went one scoreless frame despite allowing a hit and two walks in the inning. Timlin threw strikes and got ground balls, that’s all I expect from him.

We are beginning to see the excellent depth on this squad; even though Papi and Manny Ramirez are still the big guns, there are a lot of guys who can contribute, and the youth has really come into play already.


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