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Diamondbacks 7, Red Sox 6: The Return of Ross

The Diamondbacks needed a win to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the offense came through. Cody Ross went 4-5 with a stolen base, coming up a triple short of the cycle, and Paul Goldschmidt cleared the Green Monster in his first at-bat at Fenway.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks wasted no time trying to shake the Darvish monkey off their back. A.J. Pollock led off the game by tagging a ball to right field that was tracked down by Victorino, but then Aaron Hill followed up with a single to set the table for Paul Goldschmidt. In his first bat at Fenway, Goldschmidt deposited a ball just barely over the Green Monster and the Diamondbacks were quickly on top 2-0. Two batters later, Cody Ross made his return to Fenway, and was greeted warmly by the Boston faithful before lacing a double to Jacoby Ellsbury. He would be stranded there however as Kubel popped up to third to end the inning.

Delgado and the defense got a rude introduction to Fenway when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a double off the Green Monster that was misplayed by Pollock which allowed Ellsbury to coast into third with a triple. Shane Victorino grounded out to Paul Goldschmidt, which usually would have scored Ellsbury, but the Diamondback first basemen made a heads-up bluff to the plate which froze Ellsbury at third. Delgado managed to follow up that good play by striking out Dustin Pedroia. Delgado was unable to wiggle off the hook though. On the first pitch, David Ortiz crushed a home run to straight away center field to tie the score.

The second inning started off well again for the Diamondbacks, with Nieves leading off the inning with a base hit. He would still be on first when the Red Sox decided to not pay attention to the scouting report on Pollock and played back to defend against the ground ball to end the inning. Pollock promptly laid a bunt down the third base line and was safe at first without a throw. This brought up Aaron Hill who then tagged Lester’s first offering towards left field, but a great snag by Holt at third base robbed him and ended the Arizona threat.

Boston also was able to get the lead-off hitter on in their half of the second, when Didi Gregorious committed his ninth error of the season on a throw to first. Saltalamaccia followed that up with a hit off the Green Monster to set up runners on second and third, nobody out. Both Nava and Saltalamaccia would come home to score on consecutive sacrifice flys by Drew and Holt to Pollock in center. That would put the Red Sox up by two headed into the third inning.

The Diamondbacks responded nicely, scoring on a double by Prado high off the Green Monster and a single by Cody Ross. Ross would go on to steal second, but would be stranded there.

Delgado pitched to the heart of the order in the bottom half of the frame and pitched a perfect inning, including strikeout of David Ortiz to get Arizona back up to bat.

Despite zeros by both teams in the fourth inning, it was the longest inning to that point in terms of time. That’s saying something in a game that took over two hours to clear five innings. The Red Sox managed to load the bases on a single, a hit batsman, and a walk, but Delgado managed to get out of the inning unscathed.

Randall Delgado’s work on the mound in the bottom of the fourth seemed to have given the Diamondbacks some momentum. Aaron Hill led the inning off with a double. He advanced on a grounder to the right side by Goldschmidt, and came home to tie the game on a double to center field by Prado. Cody Ross continued to show Boston what they passed up by not bringing him back by hitting a double to left that scored Prado and gave the Diamondbacks back the lead, 5-4, which brought up Jason Kubel. Kubel then managed to beat the exaggerated defensive shift, hitting a single to right field, scoring Ross. That would bring a close to Jon Lester’s night

Lester’s final line:
4.1 IP / 11 H / 6 R (all earned) / 6 SO
It was his shortest outing of the season and the most hits he has allowed all season.

Delgado responded to the support by setting down Victorino, Pedroia, and Ortiz, 1-2-3 for the second time getting David Ortiz to bite on the change-up twice after falling behind to the heavy hitter 3-1.

Unfortunately Delgado was not as fortunate in the sixth, as Stephen Drew hit a two-out, two-run homer to tie the game at 6, ending Delgado’s chances at another quality start on the books.

Determined to salvage Delgado’s start, the Diamondbacks came out in the seventh and got right back to work. Cody Ross led the inning off with a home run, putting the visitors back on top 7-6. That would be all the scoring though as the Diamondbacks would end their half the inning on Didi’s fourth strikeout of the game.

J.J. Putz came on in relief of Delgado for the 7th inning. Despite allowing a ground-rule double to Victorino, he bounced back to get Pedroia which brought on the newest Arizona Diamondback, Joe Thatcher, to face the dangerous David Ortiz with Ellsbury representing the tying run at third. The lefty specialist acquired from San Diego in the trade for Ian Kennedy got Ortiz to pop out on a check swing to end the threat.

The Diamondbacks ran out the HBE™ for the 8th inning. Bell plunked Napoli to put the leadoff runner on, but managed to induce a double play off the bat of Nava to erase the scoring threat and then promptly struck out Saltalamaccia to end the inning.

Cody Ross came to bat with one out in the ninth with a chance to go 5 for 5, while being a triple short of the cycle. Unfortunately for Ross, he grounded out to Drew.

Brad Ziegler came in to close out the game and, in typical Arizona Diamondback fashion, had a drama-filled outing. Singles by Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury sandwiching a strikeout by Brock Holt set the stage for Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. Victorino flew out to Ross in left field to keep the runners stuck at first and second to bring up Pedroia, one of the best against groundball pitchers. Then, as if things were not exciting enough, Pedroia hit a soft grounder towards third that Prado had no chance on. Luckily for Arizona, Ziegler can field his position as the side-armer fielded the ball with the bare hand and fired to just get Pedroia at first, stranding David Ortiz in the on-deck circle.

Source: FanGraphs The Good: Cody Ross (4-5 / 2 R / HR / 3 RBI / SB)
The Bad: Randall Delgado (6.0 IP / 4 ER / 1 BB / 7 SO)
The Ugly: Didi Gregorious (0-4 / 4 SO / Throwing Error that cost 2 runs)

The game was followed with 566 comments by 29 commenters made up of: 4 Corners Fan, AzDbackfanInDc, BulldogsNotZags, Clefo, EzioExManAZ, FatBoysEatMeat, GODSCHMIDT, Gildo, GuruB, Husk, Jim McLennan, Marc Fournier, TolkienBard, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azshadowwalker, blank_38, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, cole8865, dbrowell, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7, preston.salisbury, rd33, shoewizard, snakecharmer, xmet

Clefo led the pack with 74, followed by Zavada's Moustache with 62.