Napoli's 5 RBI carry Red Sox to win

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 23, 2013
Mike Napoli tried to downplay the question about playing in Fenway Park. Nope. He couldn't help himself. Napoli hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, Will Middlebrooks busted out of a slump with a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox rebounded from a doubleheader sweep by beating the Oakland Athletics 9-6 on Monday night. ''I've been feeling good on the road, too, but I just love hitting here,'' he said. ''You've got the wall right there and you can get away with some stuff that you don't necessarily have to hit it so good. Sometimes you can hit a pop fly that would be an out at some other parks and it goes off the wall.'' Napoli's playing time was limited, but the results were excellent in Fenway as a visiting player. In 19 career games, he hit .306 with seven homers and 17 RBIs. Signed as a free agent during the offseason because of his propensity to pull the ball for power with Fenway's Green Monster, Napoli is off to a great start, collecting 25 RBI and four homers in 19 games. ''The last 10 days his swing has been so compact,'' Boston manager John Farrell said. ''We're 19 games into the season and he's got 25 RBIs, that's what we were hoping he'd be able to do.'' The Red Sox, swept by Kansas City in a split-doubleheader Sunday, scored three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Napoli's fourth career slam keyed the five-run fifth and helped end Oakland's eight-game winning streak against Boston. The Athletics dropped their season-high fourth straight after being swept in a three-game series at the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. Oakland's winning streak against Boston was its longest in franchise history since the Philadelphia Athletics won eight in row in 1932. Felix Doubront (2-0) struggled with his control, but got the win on a night with wind chills in the 30s. He allowed three runs on three hits, walking five. He also threw two wild pitches and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings. A.J. Griffin (2-1) was tagged for a career-worst nine runs -- seven earned -- and eight hits in four-plus innings. Oakland manager Bob Melvin felt as if the young right-hander was just missing up in the strike zone. ''It just looked like he was rushing just a bit and balls that are usually at the knees for him were more mid-thigh,'' he said. ''Actually, the ball Napoli hit was down, but he's a pretty good low-ball hitter.'' Dustin Pedroia went 0 for 5, ending his streak of reaching base safely in each of Boston's first 18 games. Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Red Sox jumped in front when the slumping Middlebrooks belted his homer. Napoli was hit by a pitch and Daniel Nava doubled down the left field line before Middlebrooks, just 4 for his last 43 since hitting three homers in Toronto on April 7, homered into the Green Monster seats. Chris Young's sacrifice fly cut it to 4-3 in the fifth, but the Athletics left the bases loaded. Boston then broke it open with Napoli's slam. Shane Victorino singled leading off and Pedroia reached on a fielder's choice. Second baseman Andy Parrino dropped a throw at second trying to get a force on the play. David Ortiz then walked before Napoli hit an 0-1 pitch into the first row of the Monster seats into deep left-center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added an RBI double off reliever Chris Resop, making it 9-3. ''The one Napoli hit, he went down and got it, just kind of got to tip your cap to him on that,'' Griffin said. ''That's a good piece of hitting right there.'' With Ortiz returning the lineup three games ago, it makes for a potent 3-4 punch. Napoli knows it can only help him later. ''I feel good right now. I'm just going in there seeing the ball and hitting it,'' he said. ''But it's nice hitting behind him, you get to watch his at-bat and see what he does, see how the pitcher attacks him. But I'm just going in there, seeing the ball and hitting the ball.'' The Athletics made it interesting in the eighth, scoring three runs off reliever Clayton Mortensen -- two on a double by Josh Donaldson and the other on Josh Reddick's RBI double -- before Junichi Tazawa escaped a two-on, one-out jam. Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his fourth save. Oakland had moved ahead 2-0 in the second when Doubront's first wild pitch allowed a run. Reddick followed with an RBI single. Boston cut it to 2-1 in the bottom half on Napoli's RBI double. NOTES: The Red Sox honored the Watertown, Mass., police officers that were in a gunfight with the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings late Thursday night. They were introduced and stood on top of Boston's dugout after the fourth inning. ... Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Oakland is 11-2 versus the AL West, but 1-6 against other teams. ... Napoli and Bailey were named the AL's co-players of the week. ... Farrell said before the game that closer Joel Hanrahan, on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring, ''threw the ball well'' in a 30-pitch bullpen. He's expected to have another one Wednesday. ... Boston RHP John Lackey, on the 15-day DL with a strained right biceps, began a rehab assignment by throwing 3 2-3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts and two walks for Double-A Portland. ... Boston's Alfredo Aceves (1-0) is slated to face the A's Bartolo Colon (2-0) on Tuesday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker