Justin Masterson pitched six solid innings in the Red Sox' win Thursday over the Phillies. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Justin Masterson, 6-run third inning lead Red Sox to series finale win over Phillies

Ryan Hannable
April 09, 2015 - 6:16 pm
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After their bats were silenced Wednesday night, the Red Sox bounced back Thursday by scoring six runs, although it just wasn't in as exciting fashion as Monday's five home runs on Opening Day. Their six runs came on just one extra-base hit and poor Philadelphia defense (three errors), but it was more than enough to top the Phillies, 6-2. The Red Sox took two-of-three in the first series of the year. The Red Sox got all the runs they needed in the third inning off Phillies starter David Buchanan -- scoring six runs, all of them coming with two outs. Following back-to-back infield singles from David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval walked to load the bases. Shane Victorino then reached on an infield single, and picked up his first RBI of the season as Ortiz scored on the play. Ryan Hanigan walked on four pitchers forcing in a run -- the second of the inning without a ball leaving the infield. With the bases still loaded and two outs, Xander Bogaerts cleared the bases with a bloop hit to right field where Jeff Francoeur misplayed it into a triple. The Red Sox finished off the scoring with a Justin Masterson RBI single up the middle. Masterson made his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform in 2,080 days (July 29, 2009) and gave the Red Sox their third straight good outing from their starting pitcher to open the year. He picked up the win by going six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out seven. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Masterson pitched very well in his first start in a Red Sox uniform in more than six years. He went six innings allowing two runs on just three hits, while walking two and striking out seven on 95 pitches. The two runs both came in the third, the only inning where he had any issues. The seven strikeouts illustrated how in command Masterson was not just of his fastball and sinker, but his slider as well. "I don't even know what the strikeout totals were, but just being able to see that slider, being able to mix that slider in for strikes, is a really good equalizer for me," Masterson said. "That really helped out, being able to mix in some sinkers, change that speed a little on those guys and have a little bit of command, it's just good. It was tough for them." Here's a look at what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox' second win of the season. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- After doing nothing in the first two games, Bogaerts reached base five times. Besides his triple, he singled twice, reached on an error that could've been scored a hit, and walked. It was a much-needed confidence boost for the young shortstop, who followed up a tough spring training by being dropped to eighth in the batting order after just one game. "Timing is something that I always have a problem with in the beginning," Bogaerts said. "I kind of know myself on that. It just comes down to see the ball, hit the ball. I'€™m just trying to simplify things as much as possible." -- Two veterans didn't scald the ball, but at least reached base. Shane Victorino went 0-for-3 in the opener, but recorded two hits on Thursday. He also added a nice running catch in right field to end the seventh inning. Meanwhile, after starting the season 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, Ortiz reached base three times -- a hit and two walks. -- Ramirez continued his hot start to the season. The slugger went 2-for-5, and is now 4-for-13 to open the season after homering twice in Monday's opener. -- Masterson's RBI in the third inning was the first RBI by a Red Sox pitcher since John Lackey on June 29, 2011, also against the Phillies. He also had an infield single on a hard hit ball down the third base line in the fifth inning. It was his first career multi-hit game. He's just the second Red Sox pitcher to have two hits and an RBI in the same game, joining Josh Beckett. "I can't [hit]," Masterson insisted. "I can't. You get lucky out there. Hit one up the middle, pull one down the line. That's not skill. It's just luck." -- The Red Sox' relievers continued their strong start to the season, as they have yet to allow a run in seven innings. Craig Breslow pitched the seventh, Tommy Layne the eighth, and Edward Mujica -- whom Masterson dubbed, "The Chief" -- finished the ninth. WHAT WENT WRONG -- After Masterson was given a six-run lead in the third, the right-hander allowed two runs in the bottom half of the inning. He was cruising until that point, striking out four of the first seven hitters he faced. "Third inning, got in the stretch, got out of ourselves a little bit, and then able to (fix) it," Masterson said. "Still, nothing too crazy went on in that inning, but enough that it was, 'OK, let's get back into what we need to do.' I think we'll do that quicker and quicker and get stronger and stronger as the season goes on." -- Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. After hitting two home runs on Opening Day, the second baseman is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in his last two games. John Tomase in Philadelphia contributed to this report.