This One Wasn’t for the Birds
Victorino, Boston Blast Baltimore
Boston — Shane Victorino homered twice and added a two-run double. He also walked once and got on another time when he was hit by a pitch.
He reached base safely five times in all. Four times he scored. And a career-high seven RBIs in all for Victorino in Boston’s 13-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think he could do much better,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose top three batters had three hits apiece. “That’s why they’re at the top of the order, to have that kind of on-base (percentage) ahead of our power hitters.”
But that wasn’t good enough for Victorino, the No. 2 hitter, who drove in most of Boston’s runs on his own. It was the second two-homer game of his career, and his most RBIs in a game ever — topping his previous high of five.
“He’s been playing great all year,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “And the plays he made in the outfield — I don’t remember anything like it.”
Felix Doubront pitched 62∕3 innings of four-hit ball, and Mike Napoli also homered for AL East-leading Boston. Pedroia and leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits apiece for the Red Sox, who improved to 2½ games ahead of Tampa Bay in the division when the Rays lost to the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 later Tuesday night.
“Every game is big from here on out,” Pedroia said. “We played great tonight, but it doesn’t carry over for tomorrow.”
J.J. Hardy and Danny Valencia each had two of Baltimore’s four hits. Wei-Yin Chen (7-7) lasted just 32∕3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out five and hit a batter and allowed three homers to lose for the fourth time in five starts.
Chen, who has allowed six homers in his last three starts after allowing six for the rest of the season, called it the worst game of his career.
“It’s hard to believe we were ahead in this game 2-1,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You’ve got a team playing well over there. That’s why they are where they are. If you make some mistakes, especially in this park, you’re going to pay for it.”
Doubront (10-6) had only one bad inning, allowing the first four batters in Baltimore’s two-run third to reach. But he retired 14 of the next 16 before leaving to a standing ovation from the Fenway Park crowd of 36,226.
In all, Doubront gave up two runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman. He struck out seven and has allowed three or fewer runs in 21 of 24 starts.
“We had one opportunity against him and cashed in two, but there was potential for more,” Showalter said. “He pitched well, and we did not pitch well.”
Victorino started the scoring in the first when he walked, took third on Pedroia’s double and scored on David Ortiz’s sacrifice fly. After Doubront allowed his only runs in the third to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead, Boston came back in the bottom half with two of their own when Will Middlebrooks singled and scored on Victorino’s two-run shot — the 100th homer of his career.
Napoli led off the fourth with a homer to spark a five-run inning and chase Chen. Boston added three more in the fifth on Victorino’s second homer.
The Red Sox started a nine game homestand after playing 16 of the previous 19 on the road. They were 4-2 on their most recent trip, to California to play the Giants and Dodgers. In all, the Red Sox will play 18 of their final 30 games at home.
Notes: Red Sox infield prospect Xander Bogaerts made his Fenway debut as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. ƒ To honor their connection with the Jimmy Fund, God Bless America was sung during the seventh-inning stretch by a patient at the Dana Farber cancer clinic, 4-year-old Darla Holloway, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. … Red Sox starters have held opponents to two or fewer runs in seven straight games. … Pedroia is batting .424 (14-for-33) with 6 doubles, a triple, 4 RBIs, and 7 runs over his current eight-game hit streak. … It was Chen’s fourth loss in five starts. … Victorino is the first Red Sox player with four runs and seven RBIs in a game since Dwight Evans in 1988.