Grit Index: Ross leads D-backs past Red Sox in return to Fenway Park
One week removed from his first career shutout, Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher allowed six runs — four earned — to the Boston Red Sox on Friday, though ultimately tallying his fourth win of the season, 7-6.
Four of the game’s 13 runs came in the first inning, on two-run home runs from Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.
Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits — three of which came off the bat of former teammate Cody Ross, who was 4-for-5 on the night with a home run, a pair of doubles and three RBI.
Like Ross, former Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew did some of his own havoc-wreaking on his former team, going 2-for-2 with a home run, a walk and three RBI for the Red Sox.
Each of the Diamondbacks’ 1-8 hitters collected hits, with all but two — outfielders A.J. Pollock and Gerardo Parra — reaching base twice or more. Shortsop Didi Gregorius, who hit ninth in Kirk Gibson’s batting order, was hitless on the night.
The bullpen held Delgado’s one-run lead for the final three innings of the game, with left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher making his Diamondbacks’ debut with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Thatcher coaxed Ortiz to foul out to third base territory, stranding Shane Victorino — who had doubled earlier in the inning — on third base. Left-handed hitters are now hitting just .212 against the Diamondbacks’ trade-deadline acquisition.
Heath Bell tossed a 14-pitch hitless, scoreless eighth inning to set up the ninth for closer Brad Ziegler, who converted his sixth consecutive save opportunity, despite allowing a pair of hits in the inning.
With the win, the Diamondbacks remained 3.5 games back in the National League West, trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were victorious at Wrigley Field earlier in the day.
Despite blowing 19 saves over the first four months of the season, the back end of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen has been rock solid since last month’s role mix-up.
Since the switch, which put sidearmer Brad Ziegler in the closer role, J.J. Putz, Heath Bell, and Ziegler have combined to strike out 19, not allowing an earned run in 19.1 innings cumulative innings pitched. The trio has walked four, allowing 15 hits during the stretch.
On Friday, Ziegler — thanks to the setup work of Putz, recent addition Joe Thatcher, and Bell — improved to 6-for-6 on the year in save opportunities.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius is hitting just .209 (9-for-43) since July 6.
– Brandon McCarthy will come off the disabled list Sunday for the series finale in Boston. He was originally placed on the 15-day DL on June 1 with right shoulder inflammation.
– Trevor Cahill is slated to make his second rehab start with Triple-A Reno on Monday.
– Cody Ross is hitting .311 (42-for-135) over his last 40 games, dating back to June 9. In that time, he has compiled five home runs, nine doubles and 19 RBI to go along with a .371 on-base percentage.
Saturday’s game at Fenway Park features Diamondbacks’ left-hander Patrick Corbin (12-2, 2.24 ERA) squaring off against Red Sox trade-deadline acquisition Jake Peavy, formerly of the White Sox. In 13 starts with Chicago this season, Peavy was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA. The game is scheduled for 4:10 MDT on Arizona Sports 620 AM.