Red Sox swat four homers, halt Phils' win streak

Red Sox swat four homers, halt Phils' win streak

Red Sox swat four homers, halt Phils' win streak
PHILADELPHIA -- Citizens Bank Park has long played like an American League park, and the Red Sox hit four more home runs Saturday in a 7-5 win over the Phillies. That gave Boston seven through the first two games of the series, which the teams have split.

"We're a good-hitting team," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who singled, doubled and homered a night after receiving 12 stitches in his left ear. "They're a really good pitching staff. It can go either way just as easy as that. We swung the bats well and didn't miss any pitches and just kept going."

They can play some National League-ball, too, those Red Sox. They turned in some of their finest defensive work of the season, even with their regular designated hitter at first base and their first baseman at right field.

Ryan Sweeney, starting at center for the sixth time this season, needed all he had to track down a Carlos Ruiz drive to right-center on a Vicente Padilla eephus pitch. With a full-out stretch and dive on to the warning track in right-center, he recorded the final out of the seventh inning and erased a potential two-run hit that would've cut Boston's lead to one.

"I thought it saved the game," manager Bobby Valentine said. "That's a highlight-reel catch, that's a top-10'er and he, I don't think he had anything left. He gave everything he had, he was full extension and dove and made I think a game-saving catch."

"It changed the game right there," said Sweeney, who thought the play was one of the five best he's made. "If that ball falls, I don't know what the score would've been, but it would've been pretty close."

The Phillies -- who had won six in a row entering Saturday -- did get one run in the next inning, the eighth, when Alfredo Aceves entered with two out and gave up an RBI single to Jimmy Rollins, a switch-hitter, cutting the lead to 7-5. Valentine elected not to keep left-hander Rich Hill in the game against Rollins. The inning ended on a Shane Victorino pop to short, on a pitch the Phils' center fielder certainly liked.

"You're darn right I would swing at that every single time," Victorino said. "It just beat me. I tip my hat to him. I went up there looking for a cutter. I got the pitch I wanted and he just beat me."

A double play that started with a caught line drive to shortstop Mike Aviles settled trouble in the ninth for Aceves' second multi-inning save of the season.

After he was given a day off partly because of a stomach bug that's been going around the team, David Ortiz played an error-free first base and hit a two-run homer in the fifth into the greenery in center field, just to the right of the 409-foot mark.

The two-run shot -- the only homer the Sox have hit this series that came with men on -- brought Boston's lead to 7-4 an inning after the Phillies pulled within one. Ortiz, like Sweeney after his catch, didn't feel great physically after the game, after Ortiz fell running to first base early on.

Sox left-hander Jon Lester followed up his complete-game, one-run outing with six innings of four-run ball. His was a stronger performance than Philadelphia's Joe Blanton, who was charged with six earned runs, but did not qualify as a strong performance.

"I was battling myself really from pitch one," Lester said. "I couldn't really get into a rhythm of getting comfortable on the mound. I don't know what it was, if it was mechanical or just one of those nights you're just feeling that way or what."

Boston built a 3-0 lead through two innings. Aviles hit his second home run in as many days and seventh of the season on the fifth pitch of the game, to left. That was the first time in Aviles' career he homered to lead off a game, and the first time a Sox leadoff hitter had done so this season. He's on a five-game hit streak, and also started a rally-killing, inning-ending double play in the sixth on a short hop to his left.

The Sox in the fourth went back-to-back for the second time this season, and Saltalamacchia's been a part of both instances. Will Middlebrooks, who had been struggling, took one out the other way.

Gonzalez, who made a sliding catch of his own in foul territory in the third, said of Saltalamacchia: "It was incredible for him to play today."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.