Closing Time: Jake Peavy, Jackie Bradley Jr. help lead Red Sox back to respectability with win over Blue Jays

Rob Bradford
April 25, 2014 - 6:04 pm

TORONTO -- Whatever wake-up call John Farrell gave his team, it evidently worked pretty well. Prior to the Red Sox' series-opening game against the Blue Jays Friday night, Farrell offered a reminder to his team regarding the importance of playing the right way (particularly defensively). The result was striking, with the Sox winning the first game of a series for just the second time this season, trouncing the Blue Jays, 8-1, at Rogers Centre. Earning the win was Jake Peavy, who turned in a stellar seven-inning outing in which he allowed one run (a Juan Francisco solo homer) on five hits. With the seven-strikeout performance, Peavy lowers his ERA to 2.87. Conversely, another former White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle, didn't fare as well. The Toronto starter snapped his string of four standout starts to begin the season (not allowing more than a run in any of them), giving up seven runs on 12 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Helping key the offense was Jackie Bradley Jr., who came away with a pair of doubles and a triple. A.J. Pierzynski also chipped in with three of the Red Sox' 16 hits. Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox: WHAT WENT RIGHT - Pierzynski jumped on the first pitch he saw, flying to center field for a sacrifice fly and the game's first run. The fly ball scored Mike Napoli, who had led off the second inning with a walk. The catcher has swung at more first pitches (40 percent) than any player on the Red Sox. - Will Middlebrooks made the most of his first at-bat since coming off the 15-day disabled list, looping a broken bat, opposite field single to right field, scoring Xander Bogaerts with the game's second run in the second. The hit was the first in 22 at-bats against Buehrle in which the lefty hadn't given up a hit with runners in scoring position. - Dustin Pedroia capped off the four-run second inning with his second hit of the game, a single that plated both Middlebrooks and Bradley, who had reached via an opposite field double. Pedroia did end the inning by getting tagged out trying to stretch the hit into a double, but not before both runs had scored. The four runs in one inning matched a season-high for the Red Sox. - David Ortiz kept the momentum going in the third inning, lining a solo homer to right field for his fifth homer of the season. It was the 75th career at-bat for Ortiz against Buehrle, the most at-bats the DH has had against any lefty. The Red Sox finished with a 5-0 lead after three innings. They had entered the night with an American League-worst 24 total runs in the first three innings this season. - Pierzynski threw out his third baserunner of the season, gunning down Jose Bautista trying to steal third base in the fourth inning. - Middlebrooks came away with a multi-hit game thanks to a run-scoring double in the sixth inning, scoring Pierzynski. The third baseman how has five games with two or more hits in 12 total contests played at Rogers Centre. - Mike Napoli notched his 35th bases-loaded RBI as a member of the Red Sox, most by any player during that stretch. This one came as a result of a sixth-inning walk. WHAT WENT WRONG - The Red Sox first stab at a rally ended in the first inning when Shane Victorino followed up Pedroia's leadoff single with a double play grounder. It increased the Sox' major league lead in twin-killings, marking their 25th of the season.