Napoli Homers Twice to Boost Red Sox Past Angels

The Red Sox ended up creaming the Angels 8-3.  Napoli smashed two homers high into left field.  One nearly hit a target saying, it’s my birthday, hit it to me and the other nearly left Fenway.  The game started off slow in the top of the 1st for Steven Wright and the Red Sox.  Erick Aybar led off with a single.  Then Albert Pujols hit a ground rule double into the bullpen and Aybar headed for third.  Kole Calhoun followed with a double to left to score Pujols and Aybar, and all of the sudden it was 2-0 Angels. Wright was able to finish with the two outs he needed on David Freese and Matt Joyce.

There wasn’t much action over the next few innings, but Napoli hit is home run to the birthday sign to break up what would’ve been a 1-2-3 2nd inning.  The Red Sox struck again in the 3rd inning.  Holt led off with a walk, followed by a Dustin Pedroia single, as Holt chugged along to second base.  Betts hit for Shane Victorino, who had gotten injured in the 3rd inning.  Betts followed through with a line drive single to left, sending Pedroia to third and scoring Brock Holt, to tie the game 2-2.

Through the 4th, 5th and top of the 6th, only one hit by L.A., and one walk by Boston.  But it was time for the Red Sox to strike.  Ramirez was on first with two outs.  “Andrew, watch Napoli’s second home run, my dad had said to me.”  About 10 seconds later, I watched Napoli’s bomb fly over the monster and onto Lansdowne Street. Ramirez scored along with Napoli, making it 4-2 Red Sox.

Ogando came in on relief in the seventh and threw a lot faster than Wright did wit his knuckleballs, making it hard for the Angels hitters to transition.  He worked around a walk given up by Wright to earn himself two more outs.  As Wilson left the game in the bottom of the 7th, the Red Sox struck again, this time on Angels reliever Mike Morin, to start at least.  Swihart led off with a walk, followed  by a Pedroia strikeout.  But Betts reached first on a right field error by Kole Calhoun, the guy who earned the two Angels RBIs.  Swihart advanced to second.  Then Ramirez got a base hit to load the bases.  The Angels were onto their third pitcher of the inning when Bogaerts got a base hit to score Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts, making it 1st and 2nd, while the Red Sox took a 6-2 lead.

The Angels scored on Tazawa though, as Aybar doubled followed by a Mike Trout single to score him.  6-3 Red Sox.  The Sox scored again in the bottom of the 8th,  Holt singled, and Swihart followed with another base hit where Holt came all the way around to the plate to score and Swihart advanced to second on a throw.  With two down, Betts singled to score Swihart.  8-3 Red Sox.

Koji Uehara came in.  When I say that Uehara gave up two consecutve walks, you might think he blew it, but he worked around it to earn him the save.  The Red Sox pounded the Angels in an 8-3 win to tie the series 1-1.   The series finale is to be played at 1:35 pm today.  I might be on with another post later today, especially if they win the game, winning them the series.  Napoli has now had 4 home runs in 4 games, and if he continues to ditch his slump, he may finally have a batting average over .200 and help the team win.  Wade Miley is on the mound for the Sox today, facing Angels starter Hector Santiago.  The Sox also play a 2:00 game tomorrow against the Twins at Target Field.  It’s during the day because of Memorial Day, and Target Field will host Memorial Day ceremonies.

Red Sox Shutout Phillies In Season Opener

Today was the Red Sox opening day, as they faced the Phillies in Philadelphia.  There were a couple record breakers for the season opener.  Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez are two of seven Red Sox players to hit multiple home runs on opening day.

Now for a game recap.  In the top of the 1st, things immediately got exciting.  Dustin Pedroia hit a solo home run that became play of the game.  It was a short inning, but jammed between three outs was a solo home run, that gave the Red Sox the 1-0 lead early.  When the Phillies came up to bat, Clay Buchhloz was off to a good start, despite a helpless error that let Chase Utley take first base.  Besides that, Buchholz pitched well, getting three outs easy.  The second inning went by quickly, and it tired out Cole Hamels.  The Red Sox walked two times, again between outs, but all throughout the inning, they worked the count well.  Buchholz got through a quick 1-2-3 inning to end the 2nd.

The third inning was another quick one, but it started off on the first pitch of it with a solo home run by Mookie Betts.  He was clearly looking for a first pitch fastball.  Betts won the center field job over rookie Rusney Castillo who will be in the minors for now.  They again walked once, and worked the count well for the three outs.  The 3rd was another 1-2-3 inning that went by fast.  Clay Buchholz still had a lot of energy in him.

The fourth consisted of a base hit by Ryan Hanigan, his first as a Red Sox player.  However, nobody else at the bottom of the lineup could get a hit, so the inning ended after four at bats.  The Phillies were a similar story.  Ryan Howard hit a double, but other than a walk an three outs, the Phillies didn’t have much action and Buchholz kept up a 1 hitter.

In the fifth Pedroia hit his second home run of the game between two strikeouts.  But after the strikeout following Pedroia’s home run came another home run.  Hanley Ramirez hit his first one as a Red Sox player.  He would later hit the grand slam that would surely secure the Red Sox’s win.  His homer followed a quick strikeout by a struggling Pablo Sandoval.  He ended up going 0-5 with three strikeouts.  Buchholz pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, which ended with an amazing catch by Shane Victorino.  That shows that it’s worth starting Victorino in right field.  In minutes the Sox were up to start the 6th.  After a walk, relief pitcher Luis Garcia pitched three consecutive strikeouts.  Another 1-2-3 by Buchholz ended the 6th.

The seventh inning started out on a good note, with two base hits, one by Mookie Betts, one by Dustin Pedroia.  But, then Ortiz struck out and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a double play to end the inning.  The Phillies also had a 7th inning full of hits, and it finally tired out Clay Buchholz.  After a groundout by Ryan Howard, both Carlos Ruiz and Grady Sizemore hit base hits back to back.  Then, Cody Asche grounded into fielder’s choice, causing Sizemore to be out at second base.  After that, they struck out and ended the inning with a man on first and third.

By the top of the 8th, Mike Napoli was in for Big Papi, and the score remained 4-0 Red Sox.  It was quiet, consisting of three consecutive ground outs after a walk.  Junichi Tazawa was in for Buchholz in the 8th, and also threw a 1-2-3 inning.  In the ninth, it started off with Allen Craig hitting a base hit as a pinch hitter for Buchholz.  Then, it was followed by two walks and a strikeout.  By then, the bases were loaded.  Hanley Ramirez was up to bat.  He swung and crushed and 0-2 breaking ball out of the park, hitting the foul pole, then gone!!!!!!!!!!  Hanley Ramirez hit a grand slam!!!!!!!!!!!   The Red Sox took an 8-0 lead!!!  After two quick outs, Tommy Layne came in to finish the game for the Sox.  A ground out, a line out, and after a quick walk, the final out.  The Red Sox crushed the Phillies shutting them out 8-0.  Below I have listed some amazing or interesting stats about the game.

Fun Facts:

1. Dustin Pedroia an Hanley Ramirez are two of seven Red Sox players ever to hit multiple home runs in the season opener

2. Buchholz struck out 9 batters, and only gave up three hits

3. Pedroia only hit 7 home runs last year, and he hit two today

4. Ryan Hanigan got his first hit as a Red Sox player

5. The Red Sox only had one game where they hit 4 home runs last year.  They hit FIVE today.

With 161 games to go, something tells me we’re going to see a lot more multi-HR games.