Closing Time: Jake Peavy impresses in debut as Sox win 5-2

August 03, 2013 - 6:15 pm
Jake Peavy earned his first standing ovation at Fenway Park on Saturday, dominating the Diamondbacks for seven innings in a 5-2 Sox win. The Red Sox' trade for Peavy looked smart when they made it on Tuesday. While one game is no definitive statement, the deal looks even better now, as Peavy allowed just four hits and two runs through seven. He struck out seven and walked two, both in the first two innings, and needed just 97 pitches to get through seven innings. Sixty-five of those pitches (66 percent) were strikes. Peavy allowed a baserunner in every inning but the fifth and seventh, but never faced more than four batters in an inning. He had a variety of pitches working well for him: he struck out Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra swinging at his curveball, but also got swinging punchouts on his changeup and his cutter. After a string of high-scoring games, the Sox found themselves in a pitchers' duel for most of the night on Saturday, with Patrick Corbin matching Peavy almost move for move. The difference was the seventh inning, when the Sox pushed two runs across with three straight singles and a sacrifice fly. Both bullpens struggled somewhat, but the Sox came away with the 5-2 win. Here's a look at what went right and what went wrong for the Sox on Saturday. WHAT WENT RIGHT - On a night when the Sox struggled at the plate early on, Shane Victorino stood out. After singling in the third, Victorino hit a line-drive solo home run that cleared the left-field wall by inches in the fifth, tying the game 1-1 after Goldschmidt's solo homer. Victorino has now hit in five straight games, with two home runs and a pair of doubles in that time. He also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. - Jacoby Ellsbury overcame some early issues against Corbin with a timely single in the seventh. After going down 0-2 on an awkward check-swing on Corbin's slider, which had been fooling him all night, Ellsbury dropped a single into center that scored Stephen Drew from third, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead and knocking Corbin out of the game. Ellsbury has now hit in nine straight games, hitting .317 in that span. He also stole his league-leading 40th base in the seventh inning. - Corbin, a second-year left-hander, had never allowed more than three hits to lefties in a game. He gave up four on Saturday: a single each to Ellsbury and David Ortiz, and two to Drew, - Jonny Gomes continued a recent string of notable defensive plays, throwing out Cliff Pennington, who represented the tying run, at home from left field in the top of the eighth. Gomes also turned an unassisted double play from left field earlier this week against the Mariners. - The hits may not be coming frequently for Mike Napoli, but that doesn't mean he's not contributing to the Sox' offense: in four plate appearances Saturday, Napoli walked three times. The third one led to a run, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed him with a home run into the bullpen to make it 5-2. WHAT WENT WRONG - The Sox, and Ellsbury in particular, had some trouble with Corbin's slider. Ellsbury struck out his first two times at bat on a total of seven pitches, and went down swinging at a slider that broke outside both times. Five of Corbin's six punchouts came on the slider. - After Peavy gave up a single to Wil Nieves to open the eighth, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa had some issues in relief. Breslow hit Pennington and then gave up a single to Gerardo Parra to load the bases with nobody out, and Tazawa allowed an RBI single to Aaron Hill, the first batter he faced. Gomes saved the tying run from scoring on that play by throwing out Pennington from left field. On the positive side for Tazawa, he struck out Goldschmidt swinging at a fastball in the zone for the second out, then got a flyout to left field to end the inning with the Sox still in the lead.