The Red Sox set a new season high for runs scored Monday, coming back from early 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to beat the Athletics 14-7. “Clay Buchholz earned the win,” I tweeted just after the game and was admonished several times to consider, instead, alternative phrasing, like perhaps, “squeaked by with a win.”
Words aside, Buchholz managed to go the requisite 5.0 innings for his second win of 2016 despite allowing four earned runs on six hits with two walks and just two strikeouts. Buchholz allowed the lead off batter to reach in three of his five innings; two of those three came around to score.
But once again last night the story was Red Sox offense, which bailed Buchholz out in an explosive fourth inning of six runs. It was the Sox most runs in any inning this season. In all, seven runs would be charged to Athletics starter Sonny Gray, who was knocked out of the game after just 3.2 IP. Gray, Elias reported, had been 23-0 with four no decisions in all previous starts when staked to a lead of three or more runs.
First Grand Slam
Already leading 9-4 in the sixth inning, the Sox loaded the bases on the combination of an infield single by Xander Bogaerts and walks to both Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt. With two outs, up to the plate strode Jackie Bradley, Jr., of whom there is such good will across Red Sox Nation.
No longer simply a gifted outfielder, Bradley this season has been hot with the bat in the early going, having already singled as part of the fourth inning rout and thereby extending his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, the longest active streak in baseball.
Strike one. Strike two. Foul. Ball. And then boom! A 382-foot right field line drive that just cleared the wall for Bradley’s first career grand slam home run.
It was the Sox’ major league-leading third slam of the season, besting their two total slams of last season. Since 2013, no team has more 2-out grand slams than Boston (9) with three of those coming against the Rays.
In all, Bradley delivered six runs, the most RBI by a Red Sox player since, well, Jackie Bradley had seven last August 15 against the Mariners.
In addition to Bradley, David Ortiz and Travis Shaw each collected three hits Monday, including two doubles for both. It was Ortiz’ 60th career game with multiple doubles; it was Shaw’s second. Monday’s was Shaw’s 10th game with 3+ hits making him the first Sox hitter with as many as 10 games of 3+ hits over his first 100 MLB games since Nomar Garciaparra in 1996-97.
The Red Sox had 15 hits Monday in their fourth game of the season, the most in the AL. Only the Diamondbacks have had more such games in baseball (5). Boston has scored 5+ runs in 19 of their 32 games (59.4%), also tops in the AL.