Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 0
April, 7, 2013
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
TORONTO -- Hmmm, maybe that sellout streak at the Fens isn’t quite dead yet. The Red Sox are coming home Monday looking like a team demanding to be watched.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs and fell just a few feet short of becoming the first Sox player ever to hit four in a game, the Sox hit six homers in all after managing just two in their first five games, and Jon Lester pitched seven scoreless innings in a 13-0 rout of the Blue Jays.
The Sox, after taking two of three from the Yankees in the Bronx and two of three in what used to be Farrellville, return home with a 4-2 record, their best to start a season since they won five of their first six games in the 2006 season.
Held to just two hits Saturday afternoon, the Sox went double, single, single, double and the first of Middlebrooks’ home runs before making their first out against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, and the Jays never recovered from that knuckle sandwich.
Middlebrooks, 24, became the first Sox player since Dustin Pedroia on June 24, 2010 to hit three home runs in a game, a feat performed 26 times by a Sox player. He joined Bill Mueller and Jim Tabor as the only third basemen to hit three in a game.
Middlebrooks, who also homered here Friday night, lined his first home run over the right-field wall. He grounded a double down the left-field line in the third, scoring on a sacrifice fly, then led off the fifth with a home run to left off Dickey, who left three batters later trailing, 8-0.
Boston’s next four home runs came off reliever Dave Bush, who had just been recalled from the minors Saturday. Middlebrooks hit his third home run to left to lead off the seventh, and the next hitter, Daniel Nava, cleared the wall in center to make it, 10-0.
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Jacoby Ellsbury launched a majestic shot into the second deck to make it 11-0 to open the eighth, and Mike Napoli followed a walk to Pedroia with the team’s sixth home run, and his second of the season.
Middlebrooks was the next batter, and he hit Bush’s first pitch, a breaking ball, on a high arc to left field, where it was caught by Melky Cabrera just a few feet in front of the left-field fence.
Staked to a 5-0 lead before he took the mound, Lester scattered five singles, did not walk a batter (he hit one) and struck out six to start a season 2-0 for the first time in his career. Lester won just nine games all last season, and went eight starts in 2012 before winning his second game on May 14. Clayton Mortensen completed the shutout with two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, who were without slugger Jose Bautista for the entire series because of a jammed ankle.
Ellsbury had a single, double and home run for the Sox, who had 15 hits and have at least 10 hits in four of their first six games.
Middlebrooks, the sixth Sox player to have a three-homer game within the first 100 games of his career, was approached by a spectator with two outs in the ninth, the interloper extending his hand in Middlebrooks' direction before being buried by four security guards and dragged off the field.
The Sox again played error-free baseball and have yet to make an error this season, the first time since 1957 they have gone the first six games without an E in the box score.