"Oh, gosh, a long time ago," the veteran outfielder, trying to
write a nifty comeback story with Boston, said after his long RBI
single in the 12th inning gave the Red Sox a 4-3 victory over the
Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a two-game interleague series.
Sizemore, once a star center fielder with the Cleveland Indians, is
back in the majors after missing the past two seasons with back and
knee problems -- and playing a total of just 104 games in 2010 and
'11. Last winter, he chose the Red Sox over the Reds, and Tuesday
night he crossed what his manager, John Farrell, called another
"first" off the comeback list.
"Nights like tonight go a long way to continue to rebuild Grady,"
Farrell said after the Red Sox (16-17) won for the third time in
four games to get to within a game of the elusive .500 mark again.
"To walk things off, I gotta believe tonight gives him even further
feeling that he's contributing here rather than being someone coming
back from an injury."
Sizemore, usually calm on the field, clearly was in a mood to
celebrate this one.
"I was pretty excited," he said. "It was a good feeling. I try not
to get too emotional out there, try to keep it on the same level,
but right there I let it out a little bit."
Sizemore is platooning with Jonny Gomes in left field and appears to
be coming around at the plate. This is a process, and he took a
major step Tuesday.
He also continued his career assault on the Reds, improving his
lifetime average against Cincinnati to .319 by going 3-for-6.
Designated hitter David Ortiz, playing in his 2,000th major league
game, opened the 12th win a single off Logan Ondrusek (0-2), and he
moved up on first baseman Mike Napoli's single. Ortiz seemed to be
looking into the dugout for a pinch runner, but it didn't matter as
Sizemore then came through with a long drive off the wall in
left-center, scoring Ortiz from second.
It was the fourth walk-off hit of Sizemore's career.
Boston left-hander Craig Breslow (1-0) pitched the top of the 12th,
striking out two.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara pitched out of trouble in the ninth, when
Cincinnati rookie catcher Tucker Barnhart hit one almost 380 feet
that was run down by right fielder Shane Victorino -- a ball that
would be a home run in warmer weather or in most ballparks.
Left-hander Andrew Miller struck out four in two scoreless innings
before Breslow came on.
The Reds, making their second visit to Fenway Park since winning the
classic 1975 World Series, tied the game with two runs off
right-hander Junichi Tazawa in the eighth. A walk, a double by
second baseman Brandon Phillips, an RBI single by third baseman Todd
Frazier and a sacrifice fly by left fielder Ryan Ludwick leveled the
score at 3-3.
"We finally got something going a little late," said Ludwick, who
added, "Any time you lose a game, you think about missed
[to top of second column]
The Reds, who have eight players on the disabled list and several
others nursing minor injuries, lost for the sixth time in 10 games.
They fell to 15-17.
"These guys don't want sorrow from anybody." manager Bryan Price
said. "It is what it is. There are other teams that get a little
banged up. These guys are great. These guys are gamers. These are
guys who are a little beat up who are going out there and playing
"I admire them for that. I'm proud of them for that. That being
said, we're not going to lower our standards and expectations and
say, 'We're not supposed to win against the better team because
we're banged up.' This is a disappointing loss, a game that was
winnable and we didn't win it."
Napoli drove in two runs for the Red Sox, while second baseman
Dustin Pedroia had three hits, including the 299th and 300th doubles
of his career.
Boston left-hander Felix Doubront, who hasn't won since his first
start, left with a 3-1 lead after working 5 1/3 innings. However,
the bullpen blow a lead for the second time in his six-start
Reds starter Homer Bailey pitched six innings, allowing three runs.
The Red Sox will again try to get back to the .500 mark in the
series finale Wednesday night. Since losing the fifth game of the
season to fall to 2-3, Boston has had five chances to reach .500 and
failed all five times.
NOTES: Reds RF Jay Bruce, expected to miss as much as a month after
Monday's arthroscopic right knee surgery, was placed on the 15-day
disabled list. OF Roger Bernadina, recently outrighted to the
minors, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Louisville. ...
Reds CF Billy Hamilton's left hand was still too swollen to swing a
bat, and the speedster missed his fourth consecutive start, but he
did enter late and bunted twice. ... Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia was
praised by Mariano Rivera in Rivera's memoir, "The Closer," Rivera
saying he would take Pedroia over former Yankees 2B Robinson Cano.
"Not surprising. The ultimate compliment," Red Sox manager John
Farrell said. ... Boston RHP Jake Peavy, 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 10
career starts against Cincinnati, pitches against Reds RHP Mike
Leake on Wednesday night. ... Tuesday marked the 99th anniversary of
Babe Ruth's first big-league home run, hit while pitching for the
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