There are two types of players on the Red Sox: those who have exceeded expectations and kept the team afloat, and those who have disappointed and been a drag. Last night the Red Sox won because a starting pitcher exceeded expectations, and also because one of those previously disappointing draggers stepped up and contributed.
Aaron Cook went 7 innings, allowing only 1 run that was due entirely to defensive miscues. While the infield was shifted, Will Middlebrooks made a mistake in covering the wrong base. Adrian Gonzalez compounded the mistake by throwing to the uncovered 3rd base. Either that or Middlebrooks went to the Chad Ochocinco school of route running and wasn't on the same page as Gonzalez.
Fittingly, that run-scoring play was on a groundball out. Because Cook induced 15 of those, and only allowed 6 fly-outs. So even though he didn't strike anyone out, he kept the ball low, and the White Sox couldn't lift it off the ground.
Cook, then Vicente Padilla, kept the White Sox from scoring long enough for Adrian Gonzalez to get his clutchest hit of the season. He blasted a deep homerun to left-center and blew the game open in the 8th.
It was Gonzalez's first homerun since June 24th, the day Youkilis was traded.
This was the type of win I like to see from the Sox. They've gotten some good outings from Aaron Cook, and finally highly paid stars like Gonzalez are taking advantage of the opportunities given to them by the hungry role players.
David Ortiz extended his hit streak to 11 games, and his walk streak to 10 games. Then he injured himself rounding 2nd base on Gonzalez's homerun. I think he's listed as day-to-day with a Classic Baseball Injury (CBI).
Pedro Ciriaco was 3 for 4 with a double and is currently hitting .464.
Carl Crawford returned to the lineup and was 1 for 3 with a single. He scored twice and drew a walk. He only walked 23 times last season.
The Red Sox made Dylan Axelrod look like a Cy Young candidate, but that tends to happen when they face someone they have little experience facing. And that also makes this win even more satisfying because it was a game that easily could have gone the other way.
The Red Sox need Jon Lester to start pitching like Aaron Cook. Lester is on the mound tonight, facing Philip Humber. Humber is 3-4 with a 6.01 ERA and hasn't had a Quality Start since May. Adrian Gonzalez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have done well against him in the past.
This is a great chance to secure at least a split in this series.