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Longball saves Buchholz, Boston; Righty shaky, but Sox again over .500.

Byline: Bill Ballou

BOSTON - The Red Sox, upstanding members in the community here since 1901, are like the Department of Energy.

They keep trying to find alternative sources of fuel - starting pitching, the bullpen, Gold Glove defense, even some speed on the bases once in a while - but always seem to come back to their old, reliable version of Black Gold.

They fill it up the same way Jimmie Foxx, Ted Willliams, Dick Stuart, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez did - with the home run.

They hit three of them last night and beat the Miami Marlins, 7-5. David Ortiz, Kelly Shoppach and Cody Ross were the homer-hitters and the game marked the first time since May 30 that the Red Sox compiled a homer hat trick.

It was also the 10th time this season Boston batters have hit three or more home runs in a game and the Red Sox are 9-1 in those games. Or, look at it this way - they are 25-32 when they don't hit at least three homers in a game.

Going beyond that, Boston is 29-15 when it hits even one home run, 5-18 when it is homerless.

Drill baby, drill.

The victory put Boston in the black again, both overall and vs. the National League. The Sox are 34-33, 7-6 in interleague play.

The beneficiary of this particular longball barrage was Clay Buchholz, who may be up for the Beneficiary of the Year Award, seeing as the Cy Young Award is probably out of reach.

Buchholz wasn't as sharp as he had been for the past month or so, but was as fortunate as he has been almost all year. He gave up five runs in six innings and his record improved to 8-2 even though his ERA is 5.53.

"It seems like every time I go out there and give up a couple of runs early," Buchholz said, "we find a way to bounce back and give me a chance to go out there an pitch some more."

All five Marlins runs came with two out. All five were driven in by Logan Morrison, who had a homer and two doubles.

"The last time Morrison came up," Buchholz said, "I told myself that if I walk him, whatever. Then he hits the ball off the wall. That shows you how that worked out."

Morrison's two-run homer in the first gave Miami a quick 2-0 lead, but it was 2-2 after one thanks to Ortiz' homer and Boston never trailed after that. Buchholz's six adventurous innings were about all anyone could take, so Bobby Valentine went to the bullpen and it was splendid once again.

Matt Albers, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves closed it out. Aceves picked up his 17th save, exactly the same number as Jonathan Papelbon has for the Phillies.

The homer hitters all had some side story to what they did.

Ortiz is having a season that is simply amazing. He occasionally falters, but when he does, it is not for long. He was 1 for 3 on Opening Day and his average has never been below .300. It dipped to that point on June 9, but since then he is 11 for 25 (.440) with two doubles and four home runs.

He continues to hit lefties with impunity, and last night's blast into the box seats in the right field corner off Mark Buehrle made it 8 of 17 home runs off southpaws.

Shoppach was in the lineup because he likes what Buehrle throws and his homer in the second inning was his fourth against the lefty, the most of any opposing pitcher. Shoppach is 8 for 18 (.444) with four home runs and 10 RBIs vs. Buehrle in his career.

Ross had not played since May 18 in Philadelphia. He homered in that game and also homered in the game before that, so he has hit a home run in three straight over a span of a month.

Summer's sizzling days seem to be settling in, which should be good news for the Red Sox. It's perfect weather for $50 million worth of hi-test.




CUTLINE; (1) Boston catcher Kelly Shoppach tags out Miami's Logan Morrison at the plate during the fifth inning. (2) Fans react as Miami third baseman Hanley Ramirez falls over the wall while catching a foul pop by Boston's Adrian Gonzalez.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jun 20, 2012
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