On Friday night, Philip Humber gave up six runs, 10 hits and walked four in 5 2/3 innings. But the bullpen pitched 4 1/3 scoreless frames and the Sox offense, highlighted by Alex Rios's game-winning homer in the 10th, bailed him out with the 8-6 victory in the opener of the three-game set with the Angels.
On Saturday night, Gavin Floyd imploded in the first inning, giving up three runs on pair of hits, three consecutive walks and a hit batter. The Sox gave it a shot, tied the game at five in the seventh on a Kevin Youkilis two-run blast, his second of the game, but couldn't overcome Floyd's mess and this time the Sox lost a 10-inning affair, 6-5.
This afternoon, Francisco Liriano was sailing along until Maicer Izturis's grounder deflected off of his leg. It caused a right quad contusion and he left the game trailing 1-0. Through no fault of his own, Liriano became the third starting pitcher in three games to fall short of expectations. But, again, Youkilis tied the game in the sixth with his third homer in two games, A.J. Pierzynski hit a go-ahead two-run pinch-hit clout in the seventh and the bullpen finished strong highlighted by a scoreless inning each by Brett Myers and Addison Reed (19th save) for the 4-2 triumph and a series victory. It's also significant to note that A.J. has now hit homers in five consecutive games, tying a club record.
Much better starting pitching will be a must, of course, if the Sox are to continue their first-place standing (still a 1 1/2 game advantage over the Tigers). But there's something to be said about winning a series from one of baseball's most potent teams without the rotation being even close to its best.