Eight is enough: Big frame leads to rout
Red Sox send 14 batters to plate during eight-run outburst
BOSTON -- Big innings generally equal momentary relaxation for struggling teams, and the Red Sox could not have put together a more prototypical big inning in the eighth Friday.
Leading by three runs with no one who screams stability at the back of their bullpen, the Red Sox plated eight runners and blow open a 12-2 win over the Rays in their Fenway Park opener. Boston sent 14 to the plate -- 10 before there was an out recorded -- and saw a combined 55 pitches between two Rays relievers in the frame.
"It's good, because everyone's getting good at-bats and confidence and takes it to the next day," said Kevin Youkilis, who singled in a pair of runs. "I think when you have those good at-bats and you battle as a team and slapping hands, there's a lot of excitement and a lot of happiness. I think that's the key to all of it, being excited and having the happiness of coming together as a team and scoring a lot of runs. That's a lot of fun."
Every Red Sox starter aside from Jacoby Ellsbury, who had already left because of his right shoulder injury, reached base in the inning, and only Cody Ross did not have a hit. He walked.
Darnell McDonald, who could find himself with even more playing time if Ellsbury's out of action, started things with an eight-pitch walk against Rays righty Joel Peralta, and the good at-bats continued. Ross and Mike Aviles both drew six-pitch walks, and that gave way to the hit parade.
Kelly Shoppach, who was one of two Sox hitters with three hits, doubled to left to plate two. A pitching change brought on righty Josh Lueke, and here's what followed: single, single, single, single, double and walk -- all before the first out was made on a sac fly by Ross, who was the 11th batter of the frame.
"It was great," said Adrian Gonzalez, who had a first-pitch single to load the bases against Lueke. "We did a good job of scoring runs day in and day out for our pitchers, but it's always nice to add on once we have a lead."
The last Major League team to have at least 10 batters all reach base, coincidentally, was the 2009 Red Sox. They did it against the Indians on May 7, putting the first 12 on.
The Sox finished with 16 hits, including five doubles. At some point, the Red Sox will bust out the home run power, too. They entered the day with just two home runs, the fewest in the Majors, and did not go deep on Friday.