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Pedroia's Single Lifts Red Sox Over Dodgers

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A line drive single to right field by Dustin Pedroia scored Daniel Nava from second base, and gave the Red Sox their second straight win this weekend over the Dodgers, 5-4.  Pedroia's hit came off Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton, who was brought into a tie game on the road for the first time since April 6, 2008 in San Diego, which was three months before he took over as closer.

Broxton wasn't brought in to start the inning; the run was charged to Ronald Belisario, who allowed a hit and a walk before departing.  However, the departure from the norm by Joe Torre, using his best reliever in the highest leverage spot against the heart of the order, was a welcome sight.  That Broxton gave up a game-ending single shouldn't dissuade Torre from making the same call in the future.  Pedroia told Chris Rose of Fox Sports that Broxton has "the best stuff maybe I've ever seen," and he was able to rebound after looking bad on two swinging strikes earlier in the at-bat.

Another matchup spotlight of the game was Hong-Chih Kuo facing the middle of the Red Sox order in the seventh and eighth innings.  After giving up a single to Pedroia, Kuo struck out Ortiz swinging on a slider, blew away Kevin Youkilis on a fastball, got Victor Martinez to pop out to James Loney -- on a great play into the photography well near the dugout -- then froze Adrian Beltre on a fastball.

For his first game back, Vicente Padilla did okay.  He had good stuff; early in the game he was hitting 96 miles per hour on the gun, and he even mixed in a few eephus pitches for good measure.  However, he left the game trailing 4-2 thanks in large part to home runs by Martinez and Youkilis.  There a pair of 7/27 ratios that paint different pictures of Padilla's season to date:

  • Good:  Padilla has seven walks and 27 strikeouts
  • Bad:  Padilla has allowed seven home runs in 27 innings

Manny Ramirez hit a Tim Wakefield knuckleball over the Green Monster in the sixth inning, his third home run in his last four starts.  Ramirez also stole a base today, making today the eighth time he has homered and stolen a base in the same game, and first since April 17, 2004.

The Dodgers trailed early, but tied the game in the seventh on doubles by Garret Anderson and Blake DeWitt, and a sacrifice fly by Matt Kemp.  Anderson had three hits today, including a double, and is riding a mini-hot streak right now.  He has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats, with two doubles and a home run, raising his OPS from .395 to .524.

Spot Start Needed

With Carlos Monasterios now on the disabled list, there is an open spot in the starting rotation.  It could come up as soon as Thursday, but with Monday's off day the start could be pushed to Saturday if needed.  However, the Albuquerque cupboard is bare, Joe Torre told reporters before today's game, "There’s nobody [in Triple A] starter-wise that we could just say ’it’s a no-brainer.’ That’s why we’re talking about the possibility of a bullpen game."  Among the options for that spot start is Claudio Vargas, who threw three innings last Thursday in his first game with the Isotopes.  Torre said Vargas could throw up to 75 pitches his next time out if needed.

Vargas would have to be added to the 40-man roster, a move that seems unlikely for now, especially when it looks like the open spot will be for just one start.  Chad Billingsley will throw off a mound Tuesday or Wednesday, and is eligible to be activated from the disabled list as soon as next Sunday.

Scott Elbert, who under normal circumstances would be an option to spot start, is still on leave from Albuquerque, on leave as he deals emotionally with a rough season.  Torre has not yet spoken to him, but hopes to soon.  "This kid has major league stuff, and major league heart," Torre said, "we certainly need to make sure we stay connected."  Elbert last pitched for Albuquerque on June 3.

Hiroki Kuroda and Clay Buchholz close out the series tomorrow night on ESPN.

WP - Jonathan Papelbon (2-3):  1 IP, 1 hit

LP - Ronald Belisario (1-1):  2/3 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Box Score