The reasons for Boston's success this season are plentiful, but three of them are right at the top of their lineup, in Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. These three accounted for nine of the 14 Red Sox hits - three apiece - in their 13-2 thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
|Victorino: 3HR, 7RBI|
The win pushed the Red Sox lead over Tampa Bay to 2 1/2 games in the AL East, dropping the Orioles 6 1/2 off the pace. Tampa Bay lost to the Angels, 6-5. The Yankees continue to hang on in fourth place, topping the Blue Jays, 7-1, though they remain 7 1/2 behind the Red Sox.
Boston will try to make it two straight over the Orioles when the two teams meet at 7:00 pm EDT Wednesday night.
Niese improved to 6-6, hurling a three-hit shutout, covering the nine innings with 115 pitches, walking one while striking out five. Niese gave up two hits to the first four batters he faced, but after Michael Young led off the second inning with a single, the 6'4" lefty was virtually untouchable, getting 18 straight outs before Young doubled to lead off the eighth inning.
That didn't faze Niese in the least, setting the side down in order, and getting the first two outs in the ninth before issuing his only walk of the game, to Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley flied out to center to finish the game.
It was Niese's first complete game shutout of the season and the second in his fourth year as a full-time starter for the Mets, evening the four game series at one apiece. Game three is scheduled for 7:10 pm Wednesday night at Citi Field in New York.
Today's Trivia: After Baltimore's fabulous 1971 season, who beat them, four games to three, in the World Series? (answer tomorrow)
Yesterday's Answer: The four Baltimore hurlers on the 1971 AL championship team who were 20-game winners were Mike Cuellar (20-9), Pat Dobson (20-8), Dave McNally (21-5) and Jim Palmer (20-9). Between them they threw 70 complete games and 12 shutouts.