If you want the division, you can't go down to Houston and lose 2 of 3 to the last place Astros. You have to win that series. Even if it's ugly. Even if it's more dramatic and difficult than it should be, it is crucial to leave Houston with more Ws than Ls. And the Red Sox managed to do that. Ugly Ws count as much as immaculate Ws.
Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes each had big hits, which is becoming a trend. Drew's 3-run homer in the 9th put the Sox ahead, whiles Gomes hit a 2-run shot in the 7th put the Sox within striking distance.
However, the hero of the game was Junichi Tazawa, who pitched 2 perfect innings in relief of Dempster. Tazawa only needed 17 pitches and struck out 2. He prevented the Astros from padding their lead and put Gomes and Drew in position to be the heroes. Tazawa earned his 5th win of the season.
Tazawa and Koji Uehara have saved this bullpen, and also saved this team. Speaking of saves, Uehara recorded his 11th by striking out the side in the 9th. I love how many strikes he throws. In 19 pitches, he threw 16 strikes. Tazawa and Uehara have each made over 50 appearances and each thrown over 50 innings.
The Sox head north to Kansas City, where the Royals are over .500 (58-53) and only 4.5 games out of a playoff spot. The Royals have a better record than the Yankees. Just thought I'd mention that. And even though it's August, it won't be 1,000 degrees in Kansas City. Highs in the 80s.
Jon Lester faces Bruce Chen tonight. Chen has mostly been used as a reliever this season, although he is 4-0, and he is a lefty, and the Sox have struggled against lefties. Jon Lester needs to do his job. He doesn't need to dazzle, just do his job.
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