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Final: Red Sox 5, Mariners 4 (15 innings)

Posted by Staff July 31, 2013 06:45 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Mariners 4 (15 innings): Stephen Drew was the hero. His two-out walk-off single gave the Red Sox a 5-4 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

It was the longest game of the season for the Sox and their 10th walk-off victory, the most since 1996. The Sox have won four of their last five games and are back in first place by a half game as Tampa Bay lost, 7-0, against Arizona at home.

Dustin Pedroia drew a walk off Lucas Luetge (0-2) to start the winning rally. He took second on a groundout before Seattle intentionally walked Mike Napoli. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out before Jonny Gomes walked to load the bases.

Drew then singled down the line in right and the Red Sox celebrated.

Middle of the 15th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Britton allowed two singles in the 15th inning. With one out, Michael Saunders lined to left. Jonny Gomes made a diving catch then ran in and stepped on second for the unassisted double play as Raul Ibanez had taken off.

Top of the 15th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Brandon Snyder pinch hit to start the inning and doubled to the gap in left off Lucas Luetge. Ellsbury bunted Snyder to third base. With the crowd on their feet, Victorino flied to center. Snyder tagged up and was easily thrown out by Michael Saunders. Double play, inning over.

Snyder tried to barrel over the catcher instead of sliding. He might have scored had he slid.

Middle of the 14th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Britton worked a scoreless inning, striking out two. If the Red Sox win it here, he gets his first major league win.

Top of the 14th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Gomes pinch hit and drew a walk off Lucas Luetge. But Drew popped to second. Red Sox are 0 for 20 with two walks since Ortiz singled in the seventh inning.

Drake Britton on now.

Middle of the 13th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Breslow worked around a double. The Red Sox, who have gon silent offensively, looking for something.

Middle of the 12th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Breslow retired the side in order. As Fenway slowly empties out, the Red Sox seek a hero.

Top of the 13th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Farquhar stayed perfect as Victorino fanned, Pedroia flied to right and Papi popped to right.

Red Sox are 0 for 17 since Ortiz's single in the seventh inning.

Middle of the 12th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Breslow put two runners on via walks but got Brandan Ryan to foul out to end the inning.

Victorino, Pedroia and Ortiz due up. Can somebody end this game?

Top of the 12th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Danny Farquhar is perfect in two innings against the Red Sox. Seattle pitching has retired eight straight and 14 of 15.

Craig Breslow in now for the Sox.

Middle of the 11th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: After two perfect innings by Uehara, Matt Thornton started the 11th. He allowed two hits but was bailed out by Ellsbury, who made a sliding catch to end the inning and rob Dustin Ackley of an RBI single.

Bottom of the 10th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Napoli struck out, Saltalamacchia grounded out and Nava struck out. On to the 11th!

Top of the 10th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Three up, three down for Uehara. An 11-pitch inning.

Bottom of the 9th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Headed to extras. Ellsbury struck out, Victorino walked and Pedroia struck out (which prompted Farrell to argue with the umpire, saying Pedroia got a piece of it). But Ortiz popped out to end the inning.

The Sox, for what it's worth, are 6-4 in extra inning games this season. The Mariners are 6-9.

Top of the 9th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Uehara struck out Saunders on three pitches. Ackley flew out (two pitches) and Quintero grounded out (three pitches) for an extremely quick inning.

Bottom of the 8th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4: Daniel Nava, a defensive replacement lass inning, led off. He flew out on the first pitch. Drew struck out -- after he was up 3-0 in the count. Holt grounded out to end the inning. Koji Uehara should come in for the ninth.

Top of the 8th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 4:Junichi Tazawa comes in for the eighth inning. Final line for Lackey: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO.

Tazawa retired the first batter on the first pitch (lineout). Second batter -- Seager -- only took one pitch, too. His was a game-tying home run, just past the Sox dugout. That was the seventh home run issued by Tazawa this season. After Morales singled, Saltalamacchia spoke to Tazawa on the mound. Ibanez struck out. Morse hit the ball hard, but a nice scoop by Napoli at first ended the inning.

Bottom of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3: Victorino led off with a single. And then, for the second time in as many nights, Pedroia homers. This one, a monster shot over the Green Monster, gave the Sox a one-run lead. Fenway Park erupted, the loudest it had been all night. Pedroia, so excited to run the bases, almost lapped Victorino.

On a 0-2 count, Ortiz singled to right field. That prompted a visit to the mound for Perez, who was yanked after 21 pitches. In came Yoervis Medina. He induced Napoli into a double play. Saltalamacchia, already with two hits tonight, struck out to end the inning.

Top of the 7th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2:Lackey entered this inning on only 81 pitches. He needed just 14 more to retire three of four Seattle batters.

Saunders struck out swinging and Ackley flew out. Quintero reached first on an infield single but Miller, too, flew out.

Bottom of the 6th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2: Saltalamacchia led off with a single. Carp flew out to right field on his first pitch (89 mph fastball).

Drew walked on four pitches. Holt grounded out, but that was it for Iwakuma, who exited after exactly 100 pitches. Oliver Perez came in from the bullpen. He struck out Ellsbury (swinging) to end the inning.

Iwakuma's final line: 5.2, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2BB, 4 SO

Top of the 6th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2: A streaky inning for Lackey resulted in two runs.

Lackey issued a lead-off single, followed by a walk. On a 1-2 count, Franklin struck out. He initially attempted to bunt. Then Seager singled to load the bases. Morales' sac fly tied the ballgame. Ibanez singled to score one more and keep the inning alive. That prompted a visit to the mound from pitching coach Juan Nieves. Two pitches later, Morse flied out to end the inning.

Bottom of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1:Recent call-up Holt led off with a double. He advanced to third when Ellsbury's hard hit ball to center field was dropped by Ackley. Another error -- this time by Nick Franklin -- allowed Victorino to reach first and Holt to score. Pedroia drove in another run on a fielder's choice. Ortiz struck out for the second out. Remember the first inning when Ortiz grounded into a double play with no outs and bases loaded? So far, he has not fared well with runners on base.

With two outs, Napoli struck out to end the inning. The Sox scored twice to pull ahead, both runs unearned.

Top of the 5th: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Lackey was coming off a poor start, allowing a season-high tying five runs against the Orioles. So far, much better stuff. For starters, he seems much more economical with pitches -- only 55 through five innings. In this frame, he retired the Mariners in order, including three strikeouts. That upped his strikeout total to four.

Bottom of the 4th: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: The Sox once again mustered a hit -- a one-out single from Saltalamacchia -- but once again could not score. Another good inning from Iwakuma, highlighted by his four-pitch strikeout to Mike Carp.

strong>Top of the 4th: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: The Mariners are on the board, thanks to a one-out double from Kyle Seager. Lackey escaped the rest of the inning unscathed, as Kendrys Morales grounded out and Raul Ibanez popped out.

Bottom of the 3rd: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0:A 1-2-3 inning for Iwakuma, who has settled down after the first inning. He caught Ortiz swinging on a 91 mile per hour fastball to end this inning.

Top of the 3rd: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0: A one-out single from Dustin Ackley does no damage. It was a frustrating at-bat for Lackey, who had Ackley down 0-2 in the count but could not put him away. Nontheless, Humberto Quintero grounded into an inning-ending double play. Lackey at just 29 pitches through three innings. Carlton Fisk in the crowd tonight, shown on the large screen between innings.

Bottom of the 2nd: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0: The Sox get a baserunner in Stephen Drew -- single with one out -- but not much else. Still scoreless here at Fenway.

Top of the 2nd: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0: A lead-off single does not prove costly as Raul Ibanez grounds into a 5-6-3 double play. Michael Moorse flies out to end the inning. Lackey has only thrown 17 pitches, 14 for strikes.

Bottom of the 1st: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0: Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino led off the inning with back-to-back walks. That brought up Dustin Pedroia, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI last night. Pedroia singled too and David Ortiz came to the plate with bases loaded and no outs. On a full count, Ortiz grounded into a double play.

Mike Napoli walked, loading the bases yet again. But Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined out to end the inning. Zero runs after you load the bases with no outs? Not exactly an ideal start for the Sox.

Top of the 1st: Mariners 0, Red Sox 0:A very strong first inning for Lackey, who retired Seattle in order. Took only 10 pitches -- eight were strikes.

Pregame: Welcome to Fenway Park. Emily Kaplan here to provide live updates for today's game between Boston (64-44) and the Mariners (50-56). It's game two of a three-game series. The Red Sox won the opener last night, 8-2. Boston, embarking on a seven-game home stand, have won 12 of their last 17 games in Boston.

Newly acquired pitcher Jake Peavy is not at Fenway tonight. He has yet to arrive in Boston.

The pitching matchup is John Lackey (7-8, 3.19 ERA) against Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87 ERA). Lackey has allowed two runs or less in six of his last eight starts, dating back to June 15. Last time out? He took a loss at Camden Yards on July 26, allowing a season-high tying five runs on nine hits -- including a season-high tying three home runs.

Brock Holt was recalled from Pawtucket to start third base today. He'll bat ninth. Stay tuned for updates and, as always, feel free to comment below.

Peavy likely to start on Saturday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 05:38 PM

Jake Peavy is scheduled to join the Red Sox on Thursday and will be added to the roster then. Manager John Farrell did not specifically say when Peavy would pitch but left plenty of easy-to-follow hints.

Peavy, he said, would pitch on this homestand. Farrell then said he liked the idea of splitting up lefthanders Jon Lester (scheduled for Friday) and Felix Doubrobt (scheduled for Saturday).

Add it up and Peavy will start on Saturday against Arizona.

Also:

• Brock Holt was called up and will start at third base tonight. He also was needed so that the team had a backup shortstop. As to what third base will look like moving forward, a platoon of Holt and Brandon Snyder may only be temporary.

Will Middlebrooks may soon be returning unless the Red Sox feel Xander Bogaerts is ready. One factor is that Bogaerts is not yet on the 40-man roster. The Red Sox will be very cognizant of roster management and keeping as much depth as possible in place.

• Brandon Workman will go to the bullpen. Farrell sees him working in a multi-inning role with the ability to work in higher-leverage situations in the late innings. In an ideal world, the Red Sox would keep Workman stretched out in case a starter is needed.

• LHP Franklin Morales pitched a scoreless inning for Triple A Pawtucket today and is scheduled for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. That could clear him to return.

• LHP Henry Owens, who was laying waste to the High A Carolina League in recent weeks, was promoted to Double A Portland.

• Yes, Ryan Dempster has pitched effectively in relief before in his career. No, the Sox have not thought about shifting him. They want as much rotation depth as possible to avoid what happened in 2011.

No deals for Red Sox at deadline

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 04:20 PM

The trade deadline had passed without the Red Sox making another deal. General manager Ben Cherington said there were discussions today but nothing that came close to getting done.

Game 109: Mariners at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (64-44)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Carp LF
Drew SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.19).

MARINERS (50-56)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Seager 3B
Morales DH
Ibanez LF
Morse 1B
Saunders RF
Ackley CF
Quintero C
Pitching: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Iwakuma: Drew 1-2, Napoli 1-2, Nava 0-2, Ortiz 2-2, Pedroia 1-2, Salty 2-2, Victorino 1-2, Snyder 0-0 (BB).

Mariners vs. Lackey: Ibanez 22-57, Chavez 8-13, Smoak 1-10, Ackley 3-6, Ryan 1-6, Blanco 1-6, Morales 1-3, Morse 1-3,

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have won seven straight games against the Mariners at Fenway Park.

Notes: The Sox are a half-game behind the Rays and have the third best record in baseball. ... The Sox are 4-1 against the Mariners this season but now have to deal with two All-Stars in Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez the next two days. ... Iwakuma faced the Sox on July 9 and allowed six runs on eight hits in three innings. Ortiz, Pedroia and Napoli homered off him. Iwakuma is 3-0, 2.25 in three starts since. ... Lackey, strong all season, has stumbled in his last two starts, allowing nine runs on 19 hits over 12.2 innings. Lackey is 15-10, 3,61 in 30 career starts against Seattle. He is facing the Mariners for the first time since Aug. 12, 2011. ... Ortiz is hitting .360/.434/.593 this month. For the season, he is third in baseball with a 1.013 OPS.

Song of the Day: "Get up Jake" by The Band (strong suggestion by loyal reader Dave in California).

The Biogenesis scandal helps the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 12:01 PM

If Jake Peavy proves to be a difference maker for the Red Sox, you can thank all the crooked players caught up in the Biogenesis scandal.

Ben Cherington said that the Peavy trade did not come together until the Red Sox and White Sox involved the Tigers, who were in need of a shortstop with the pending suspension of Jhonny Peralta.

MLB is negotiating with Peralta and other Biogenesis clients on season-ending suspensions that could be announced at any moment. Once Peralta is out, Jose Iglesias will become Detroit's shortstop.

The other interesting aspect of this deal was the Red Sox being able to absorb the $19.6 million remaining on Peavy's deal without going over the luxury tax threshold. The Dodgers trade 11 months ago is the gift that keeps on giving.

What's next for the Red Sox?

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 10:36 AM

The trade deadline is at 4 p.m and there's an obvious void now at third base after Jose Iglesias was traded to Detroit in a three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston.

So there's still time for something to happen where Michael Young becomes a Red Sox, unless reports that it's Texas or bust are accurate. A Red Sox official said no on Young last night after the Peavy deal was made, but there are a lot of hours where that could change. A "no" is never a "no" at the trade deadline.

The Red Sox have brought up Brock Holt, not Will Middlebrooks, another sign that they are perhaps leaving the door ajar for something bigger to happen at third base. Right now it's going to be Holt and Brandon Snyder.

Checked with Doug Melvin and it appears that Aramis Ramirez is still a couple of weeks away from coming off the disabled list with knee issues so it probably won't be him.

The Red Sox are trying to acquire another veteran reliever.

Melvin said they were definitely one of the teams in on Frankie (K-Rod) Rodriguez but he traded him to Baltimore. The Brewers also have John Axford who has been up and down. San Diego's Luke Gregerson has also been linked to Boston as has Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. But there are plenty of other relievers out there on the block and the Red Sox are trying for at least one of them.

And who knows? There's always the possibility of a huge deal for a big hitter - even an outfielder.

The revolving door of Red Sox shortstops

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 09:30 AM

If the Red Sox ask you to play shortstop, better keep a suitcase handy.

Here is a look at what happened to the Opening Day shortstops over the last 10 years and any other players who started at least five games at the position:

2013
Opening Day shortstop: Jose Iglesias (traded to Tigers, July 30, 2013).
Other shortstops: Stephen Drew (still with team, on one-year contract); Pedro Ciriaco (traded to Padres on June 14, 2013).

2012:
Opening Day shortstop: Mike Aviles (traded to Blue Jays on Oct. 21, 2012)
Other shortstops: Nick Punto (traded to Dodgers on Aug. 25, 2012); Ciriaco.

2011
Opening Day shortstop: Marco Scutaro (traded to Rockies on Jan. 21, 2012).
Other shortstops: Jed Lowrie (traded to Astros on Dec. 14, 2011); Yamaico Navarro (traded to Royals on July 30, 2011).

2010
Opening Day shortstop: Scutaro
Other shortstops: Lowrie, Navarro.

2009
Opening Day shortstop: Lowrie
Other shortstops: Nick Green (granted free agency Nov. 5, 2009); Alex Gonzalez (granted free agency Nov. 9, 2009); Julio Lugo (traded to Cardinals on July 22, 2009).

2008
Opening Day shortstop: Lugo
Other shortstops: Alex Cora (granted free agency Oct. 30, 2008); Lowrie.

2007
Opening Day shortstop: Lugo
Other shortstops: Cora

2006
Opening Day shortstop: Alex Gonzalez (granted free agency Oct. 30, 2006).
Other shortstops: Cora, Dustin Pedroia (still with team as second baseman).

2005
Opening Day shortstop: Edgar Renteria (traded to Braves on Dec. 8, 2005).
Other shortstops: Ramon Vazquez (traded to Indians July 5, 2005).

2004
Opening Day shortstop: Pokey Reese (granted free agency on Nov. 1, 2004).
Other shortstops: Orlando Cabrera (granted free agency on Nov. 1, 2004); Nomar Garciaparra (traded to Cubs on July 31, 2004); Cesar Crespo (granted free agency Oct. 4, 2004).

Totals
11 shortstops traded and five allowed to leave as free agents. That doesn't count Hanley Ramirez, who was traded to the Marlins before the 2006 season. He never actually started a game at shortstop for the Sox.

Games started at shortstop 2004-13
Lugo 245
Scutaro 234
Gonzalez 153
Renteria 150
Lowrie 130
Aviles 129
Cora 112
Drew 74
Green 74
Cabrera 57
Reese 57
Iglesias 51
Garciaparra 35
Ciriaco 28
Navarro 8
Crespo 7
Vazquez 6
Pedroia 5
Punto 5

Good luck to Xander Bogaerts or whoever is there next season. Surviving more than two seasons would be bucking a trend.

Analysis: Sox needed Peavy to match Rays

Posted by Globe Staff July 31, 2013 01:22 AM




When you watch Brandon Workman throw so well over the last three starts you ask, “Did the Red Sox need Jake Peavy?”

The answer is yes they do.

It’s always great to have veteran pitchers down the stretch and into the playoffs. With their acquisition of Peavy from the White Sox Tuesday night, the Red Sox have a rotation of Peavy, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, and Felix Doubront. If Clay Buchholz ever makes it back, then they have a decision to make on who gets dropped. Good decision.

And Workman probably could head to Boston’s bullpen and solidify that.

Peavy gives the Red Sox swagger, toughness and is battle-tested when it counts. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner, a competitor, and bulldog and he’ll raise everyone else’s game. Obviously the Red Sox are concerned Buchholz’s injury will be a problem the remainder of the regular season. Buchholz relayed the fact that Dr. James Andrews told him he would make 4 or 5 starts the rest of the way in a perfect scenario, and that wasn’t good enough.

With Tampa Bay’s incredible pitching staff, it became imperative the Red Sox find a way to reduce the Rays’ advantage in that area. The day before, the Rays had pulled off a coup by trading for injured reliever Jesse Crain, who had been a target of the Red Sox. But the Red Sox made up for it with Peavy, who was also being coveted by Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, who had once employed Peavy in San Diego.

Peavy reunites with Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, who has offered comparisons to Buchholz in terms of Peavy’s command of four pitches. When Nieves was coaching with the White Sox he always admired Peavy’s toughness on the mound and his ability to compete even when he didn’t have his best stuff.

Peavy, 32, was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts. He was on the disabled list for about a month-and-a-half with a rib injury, but he has looked healthy in his last two starts. He won the 2007 National League Cy Young when he took the pitching Triple Crown.

Was this a better choice than Cliff Lee? Probably not, but Lee would have cost the Sox more prospects and about $70 million in salary compared with $20 million for Peavy.

So the Red Sox are at least trying to match up with the Rays in putting together a drop-dead starting rotation. From here on out, they also hope Buchholz can give them the same surge that David Price’s return from the disabled list gave the Rays.

The many side effects of the Peavy deal

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 01:09 AM




Jake Peavy is not the ace he once was. He had a 3.25 ERA from 2002-08 and it has jumped to 4.00 since. He also has had numerous physical issues since 2008.

But Peavy represented two important things to the Red Sox: The chance to get better right away and to retain his services into next season. This is not a quick fix, it's part of building a team.

You can also make a case, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.com did that Peavy is a better pickup than Matt Garza.

The offshoots of this trade are significant, too:

• The Sox are protected if Clay Buchholz can't pitch this season. If he does, then the Red Sox will have some good decisions to make with their rotation. There is no such thing as having too many starters.

• Rookie Brandon Workman, so strong in three starts, could be an impact arm in the bullpen. The Red Sox badly need righthanded help in the late innings.

• No more worrying about that logjam at shortstop. Now the road is clear for Xander Bogaerts in 2014 and beyond. He says he wants to play shortstop. Here's his chance.

If Bogaerts does outgrow shortstop, the Red Sox have Deven Marreo, Tzu-Wei Lin and Jose Vinicio further down the ranks.

• Will Middlebrooks has a new lease on life with the Sox. It's easy to forget he is only 24 and was rushed to the majors last season. His righthanded power could be significant down the stretch.

Cherington did not say who was coming up on Wednesday. But Middlebrooks has to feel better about his future than he did a few hours ago.

• The astonishing defense of Jose Iglesias will be missed. His play at shortstop in years to come would certainly have been helpful as Dustin Pedroia ages. But the Red Sox sold high here. Iglesias' offensive statistics were inflated by some fantastically good fortune in June. He leaves the Red Sox having collected five hits in his last 43 at-bats.

And, come on, it's the Red Sox. They love trading shortstops. Iggy joins Nomar Garciaparra, Jed Lowrie, Mike Aviles, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro, Julio Lugo and Edgar Renteria in the long line of shortstops traded since 2004.

• Finally, this trade will be treated like Christmas morning in the clubhouse. The Red Sox are a tight team that is enjoying the heck out of this season. Adding a popular, accomplished veteran starter like Peavy will be unanimously praised.

The Red Sox will get an emotional lift from this deal. With only 54 games left to play, it comes at just the right time.

Cherington: Peavy made the most sense

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 31, 2013 01:04 AM



It's official, the Red Sox have added righthander Jake Peavy to their rotation. He is expected to arrive in Boston later today and could pitch as soon as Thursday.

The three-team, seven-player deal was announced just before midnight.

Jose Iglesias was traded to the Detroit Tigers along with three lower-level prospects. The Sox also obtained Triple A righthander Brayan Villarreal from Detroit.

The Sox sent righthanders J.B. Wendelken and Francelis Montas and infielder Cleuluis Rondon to the White Sox. Chicago also obtained outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit.

“We’re really excited to bring Jake here. He’s obviously a proven major league starter. He’s had a ton of success in his career,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “If there was one thing we could do, if we could pull it off, it’s add a starting pitcher.”

In 45 starts since the beginning of 2012, Peavy has won 19 games and has a 3.61 ERA.

“We’re in a position to compete for a playoff spot and we felt like adding a starting pitcher was one of the most important things we could do,” Cherington said. “This was the deal we thought made the most sense. We just thought that Peavy, of the starting pitches available, was the one that made the most sense to us.”

Peavy has $5.19 million remaining on his contract for this season and is signed for $14.5 million in 2014. The Red Sox are responsible for all of that. That Peavy was not a two-month rental player was part of his appeal.

“That was important,” Cherington said. “If we were going to give up a long-term asset in Iglesias that we were getting someone we would control past this year was important.”

Peavy has a $15 million vesting player option in 2015. He would need to pitch 400 innings from 2013-14 including 190 in 2014 for the option to kick in. Because he has thrown only 80 innings this season, that is unlikely.

The Sox have been negotiating with White Sox for several days but could not find a match. That changed when the Tigers became involved in the conversation and the trade was made just as Tuesday’s game against Seattle was ending.

Adding to their comfort was the familiarity pitching coach Juan Nieves has with Peavy. Nieves is the former bullpen coach of the White Sox and spent four seasons with Peavy there.

The amateur scout who originally signed Peavy for the Padres, Mark Wasinger, is now a special assignment scout for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox will call up an infielder from Triple A Pawtucket to replace Iglesias on the roster. That could be Will Middlebrooks, Brock Holt or 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts, the organization’s top prospect.

Shortstop is a deep position for the Red Sox, who are comfortable with Stephen Drew and have Bogaerts in Triple A. Deven Marrero, a Class A shortstop, was a first-round draft pick in 2012.

“We didn’t go into this July looking or expecting to trade Jose. But it was a relative area of strength to deal from,” Cherington said.

Villarreal is on the disabled list in Triple A with a thumb injury that has healed and will report to Pawtucket. He has 73 games of major league experience over three seasons, only seven this season.

Villarreal had a 2.63 ERA in 50 appearances has season. He struck out 66 over 54 2/3 innings and allowed 38 hits.

Red Sox close to deal for Jake Peavy

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 10:37 PM

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The Red Sox are on the verge of making a deal for Chicago White Sox righthander Jake Peavy as part of a three-team trade.

The price is steep: defensive wizard Jose Iglesias will go to the Detroit Tigers. Detroit will send outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox.

Other players are involved in the deal. The Red Sox are expected to land righthanded reliever Brayan Villareal, who is pitching in Triple A for Detroit. The Red Sox will be including two or three other prospects in the deal.

Pending a review of medical records, the deal should be completed on Wednesday ahead of the 4 p.m. (ET) non-waiver trade deadline.

In Peavy, the Red Sox get a pitcher who will slot into a rotation still waiting for the return of Clay Buchholz from the disabled list. The 32-year-old is 8-4 with a 4.28 earned run average in 13 starts for the White Sox and was one of the best starters available on the trade market.

Peavy is a three-time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award with San Diego in 2007. He is 36-29 with a 4.00 ERA in parts of five seasons with the White Sox.

peavy073113(1).jpg

Peavy has $5.19 million remaining on his contract for this season and is signed for $14.5 million in 2014. That he was not a rental for two months appealed to the Red Sox.

The White Sox pulled Peavy from his scheduled start against Cleveland on Tuesday. That would make him available to start for the Red Sox as soon as Thursday.

Peavy has started two games since coming off the disabled list on July 20 after missing six weeks with a non-displaced rib fracture. He has allowed six earned runs on 11 hits over 13 innings and struck out 10.

In Iglesias, the Red Sox are giving up the best defensive infielder in their organization. The 23-year-old shortstop became a regular at third base this season after the Red Sox demoted Will Middlebrooks and handled the position with aplomb.

Iglesias, overmatched as a hitter in the minors and in two brief stints during the 2011 and ’12 seasons, was a surprise at the plate. He is hitting .330 with a .787 OPS in 62 games.

But Iglesias is 5 of his last 43 over 12 games with one run scored. His last extra-base hit was on July 4. Of his 70 hits this season, 24 have been on the infield.

The offensively powerful Tigers can certainly carry Iglesias in their lineup. Detroit has Jhonny Peralta at shortstop but may lose him for the remainder of the season and perhaps beyond due to a suspension related to the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs case.

See Wednesday's Globe for more on the trade.

Workman shows poise in first win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 10:36 PM

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There’s one word that Red Sox manager John Farrell has used repeatedly when it comes to rookie righthander Brandon Workman.

Poise.

Workman doesn’t hesitate to throw the ball over the plate. He isn’t afraid to attack hitters. He doesn’t get rattled with runners on base. He didn’t flinch when injuries forced Farrell to throw him into the rotation.

“When things got a kind of little hectic, we plugged him in for the start and opportunity knocks and he's grabbed a hold of it and he's running with it right now,” Farrell said.

Workman's six innings of one-run ball made an easy night out of the Red Sox’s 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park Tuesday night.

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He struck out nine and held the Mariners to just six hits. In his first three starts, he’s gone at least six innings held each of his opponents to two runs or fewer, something no Red Sox pitcher, rookie or otherwise, has done since Rick Jones in 1976.

As solid as Workman was in his first major league win, Farrell couldn’t say he didn’t expect it.

“Every report from the development staff, who've done a great job with him, has been what we've seen and that's the poise that's the ability to use his fastball to get outs,” Farrell said.

Workman threw 103 pitches, 69 strikes. He fired 67 fastballs and got 10 complete whiffs. At the same time, he fooled batters with his offspeed pitches, throwing 17 curveballs and getting four swinging strikes on them.

When he found himself in a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth after giving three straight singles, he never lost his composure. He struck out Michael Morse with a 92-mile-per-hour heater then dialed it up to 93 to fan Justin Smoak and get out of the inning.

"I try not to get wrapped up in whether I've given up a couple of hits or whatever that inning or what kind of trouble I'm in and just try to make pitches," Workman said. "So I think that lets me not get worried about runners on, runners in scoring position, or anything like that and lets me just continue to make pitches."

He’s 24 years old, but it doesn’t seem that way when he’s on the mound.

“Coming in here I think he was never scared,” said Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “I haven't seen a guy on the mound who's afraid to throw it over the plate and have the guys make contact. He's really good pitching to contact, which is huge. So as a hitter, I look at a guy like that and I want to get aggressive and then he's got his offspeed stuff. He's just done a great job since he's been up here and just needs to continue.”

More than anything, he’s been able to offer some stability to the rotation, which has gone nearly two months without one of its most important pieces, Clay Buchholz.

“We're in every game and he's ... been pitching with the lead in two of the three,” Farrell said. “Given some uncertainties with the rotation, he's stepped in and solidifies things through three starts. When you watch him on the mound, it's almost like he's been here for a lot longer than three starts and any time you can go through a turn in the rotation and have six, seven innings each time he walks out there, regardless of the track record or inexperience, it is a sign of stability.”

Pedroia even keeled after 2-for-4 night

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 10:00 PM

Even as the empty at-bats piled up, Dustin Pedroia never got bogged down by the numbers.

He was 0 for his last 16 coming into the Red Sox’ 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners Tuesday night at Fenway Park and 3 for his last 39 since the All-Star break.

He still went about every at-bat the same way, spoiling pitcher’s pitches, dragging them out as many pitches as possible, hitting the ball hard, and accepting the stretch of tough luck he was being dealt.

When Mariners shortstop Brad Miller booted Pedroia’s ground ball in the first inning, Pedroia didn’t necessarily see it as luck slowly shifting his way.

It was just an error.

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When he wrung nine pitches out of Mariners starter Joe Saunders in the second inning before finally jacking a full-count fastball over the Monster, he didn’t look at it like a watershed moment.

It was just his seventh home run.

A 2-for-4, three-RBI night didn’t necessarily bust him out of a slump, but it was a nice reward after grinding out so many fruitless at-bats.

“Just keep plugging away,” he said. “You go through streaks where you don't feel well or you hit the ball at people. So you've just got to keep going.”

No set of numbers were more telling than Pedroia’s batting average on balls in play before the break (.348) and after (.081).

“He's been crushing the ball right at people,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “So I'm glad he was able to get a homer.”

Having been through a similar stretch before, Saltalamacchia knew the feeling. He also knew that luck was temporary.

“Pedey's such a professional that as a teammate, you know it's going to happen,” Saltalamacchia said. “For him, it's probably a little frustrating, but it's nothing he's not done before. I know personally, two years ago, I was hitting the ball well right at people. But, you know, that's a better feeling than being kind of lost up there, and he's never lost.”

Pedroia never changed his approach. That the homer came in a nine-pitch at-bat was patented Pedroia. The 4.09 pitches he sees per plate appearance is 18th in baseball. It was the fifth time in his career that he stretched an at-bat nine pitches and ended it by going deep.

“Just try to be consistent and play every day,” Pedroia said. “You go through 30 or 40 at-bats where you don't feel well. I wasn't feeling that well and when I did hit the ball hard, I just hit it right to people. So, it happens.”

Final: Red Sox 8, Mariners 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 06:51 PM

Final: Red Sox 8, Mariners 2: From an 11-hit, three-homer night from the offense to Brandon Workman's six one-run innings the Red Sox manhandled the Mariners to win the first of this three-game set. They've won seven straight at home against the Ms.

End of the 8th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia punished a 3-and-1 fastball from Brandon Maurer, shipping it deep to the seats in center for his ninth homer of the season. It's his eight homer against right-handers and pads and already comfortable Sox lead going into the ninth.

End of the 7th: Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Just grabbed the baton. The Sox went down quietly, so with that let's talk a little about Brandon Workman. With six innings of one-run ball, he's allowed two runs or fewer in each of his first three major league starts. He's the first pitcher since 1997 to allow two runs or fewer in each of his first three starts.

Roger Clemens was here earlier and he obviously keeps an eye on University of Texas guys like Workman.

He rained some general praise down, saying, "I think he's great. The sky's the limit."

Then he spoke in broader terms about what he tells younger pitchers.

"The main thing I do is I try to tell them to stay healthy and separate what goes on away from the field when they come here to do their work," Clemens said. "There's just a few things that we clean up on their mechanics to try and give them an opportunity to stay healthy over time."

One thing Clemens does is watch. But it's mostly DVR viewing, he said, and even then it's only the last three innings.

"They'd get upset because I wouldn't watch them for the first three innings," he said. "I did that on purpose because I told them, I can go get my 12 year old to throw strikes for three innings. I want to see when you're tired and your mouths open and your hands are carrying and you have a little stress."

Workman had five strikeouts in his last three innings, so he and the Rocket should have some good things to talk about.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Workman loaded the bases with one out as Seager, Morales and Ibanez singled. He came out to strike out Morse and Smoak to end the inning and walked off the mound with a big fist pump.

That may be it for him after 103 pitches. If so, a terrific outing: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.

Julian Benbow will take you home from here. Thanks for reading.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Status quo here at Fenway. Workman has thrown 72 pitches through five strong innings.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Workman is dealing (3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K). Then Victorino (3 for 3) doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Pedroia, who took a wide turn around first and was thrown out going back to the base.

The Red Sox really need to clean up their base-running.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 5, Mariners 1: Workman rolling on as he holds Seattle down. The Sox then went in order.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 5, Mariners 1: Workman worked around a two-out walk. Then the Sox went back to work on Saunders.

Iglesias hammered a line drive off the wall. He was out by several steps going to second and tried to juke around the tag. Then he went back to first base before trying to go back to second. He was out 7-4-6-3.

No matter. Ellsbury homered into the Seattle bullpen. Victorino then singled before Pedroia hammered a full-count fastball into the Monster seats. It was his first extra-base hit since the All-Star break.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1: The Sox sent eight men to the plate and got Saunders to throw 29 pitches.

Victorino doubled down the line in left with one out. Pedroia grounded to shortstop and it was booted by Miller. Victorino scored on a passed ball and Pedroia on a single by Ortiz to left as he beat the shift.

Salty reached on an infield single and Gomes walked to load the bases with two outs. But Drew grounded weakly to first to end the inning. It was two runs but felt a little like a missed chance.

Middle of the 1st: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Franklin doubled to left with one out. He took third when Seager flied out to the triangle and scored on a single by Morales. Workman fanned Ibanez to end the inning.

Joe Morgan ceremony: The former Sox manager was honored for the 25th anniversary of "Morgan Magic."

Back in the pre-internet days, kids, Morgan became manager on July 14, 1988 after John McNamara was fired. The Sox won 12 straight and 19 of 20 to surge back into contention and eventually win the AL East. Morgan, who is from Walpole, captivated the city that summer.

Morgan received two seats from Fenway and a framed jersey. He also addressed the crowd briefly. Fun to see Dewey, the Rocket, the Can and some of those guys on the field again.

Pre-game: Good evening from Fenway, where it's a perfect summer night for baseball. The Red Sox will be looking to rebound from a tough 2-1 loss on Monday.

Brandon Workman, a University of Texas product, will be on the mound. Another Longhorn, one Roger Clemens, will be at the game as part of a pre-game ceremony to honor Walpole Joe Morgan.

Game 108: Mariners at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (63-44)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP Brandon Workman (0-1, 4.40)

MARINERS (50-55)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Seager 3B
Morales DH
Ibanez LF
Morse RF
Smoak 3B
Saunders CF
Blanco C
Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (9-9, 4.48).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Saunders: Pedroia 8-32, Ortiz 3-23, Ellsbury 5-20, Gomes 7-18, Salty 1-11, Victorino 2-8, Drew 0-3, Iglesias 1-3, Lavarnway 2-3, Nava 1-3, Napoli 0-2.

Mariners vs. Workman: Ryan 1-2, Ackley 1-1, Blanco 0-1, Miller 0-1, Morales 1-1, Saunders 0-1, Seager 0-1, Smoak 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Mariners were 40-52 on July 11 after losing three of four to the Red Sox. They are 10-3 since.

Notes: The Sox have lost seven of 12 and are 5-5 since the All-Star break. This game starts a stretch of 16 games against the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals and Blue Jays. ... The Sox are 3-1 against Seattle this season. ... Workman is making his third start, this one coming on extended rest after the rotation was shuffled. The rookie was strong in his first two starts, allowing four earned runs over 12.1 innings. Workman made his MLB debut against Seattle at Safeco Field on July 10 and allowed three runs on four hits over two innings. ... Saunders is facing the Sox for the first time since Sept. 30, 2012 when he was with the Orioles. He is 5-5, 4.11 in 10 career starts against the Sox. ... Pedroia is 3 for 39 (.077) in 10 games since the break with no extra-base hits and one run scored. He has struck out only three times in that stretch, however. ... Iglesias is 4 of his last 40 and last had an extra-base hit on July 4 when he doubled. ... Ortiz is 15 of 35 since the break with four extra-base hits. ... How great has Koji Uehara been? Here's how great: In his last 23 appearances, Uehara has allowed one earned run on eight hits and two walks over 23 innings. He has struck out 33 and opponents are 8 of 77 (.104) against him. In July, Uehara has thrown 13.1 scoreless innings and struck out 17 with one walk.

Song of the Day: "Welcome to the Working Week" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

Brian Wilson signs with Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 02:38 PM

Brian Wilson has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and will start a minor league rehabilitation assignment shortly.

The former Giants closer has Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. He considered offers from the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Pirates.

Although Wilson is a native of New Hampshire, he preferred to stay on the West Coast according to several sources. The Red Sox were never seriously involved with him.

Peavy scratched; Lee on the block

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 12:03 PM

The White Sox have scratched Jake Peavy from his start against the Indians tonight in advance of Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

That accomplishes two things: He can't get hurt and he's now instantly available to pitch for any team that trades for him.

On Monday, the White Sox claimed they were planning to keep Peavy. That now appears to be a smokescreen. The Red Sox are among several teams with an interest in Peavy.

The hot rumor now is whether the Red Sox will meet the astronomically high price for Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee.

The Phillies want a package built around 20-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The Red Sox have no intention of trading a player they feel will be a cornerstone for years to come.

The question is whether the Sox can construct a package built around other players. Worth noting: The Philles drafted Brandon Workman in 2007 and did not sign him.

The Phillies obtained Lee at the trade deadline in 2009 and went to the World Series, where they lost to the Yankees. The Rangers traded for Lee at the 2010 trade deadline and lost in the World Series to the Giants.

The Indians got Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson for Lee in 2009. The Mariners got Matthew Lawson, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak for Lee in 2010.

Not one of those eight players turned out to be much. The Phillies hope to change that, obviously. But there are under no pressure to trade Lee and can simply retain him unless their demands are met.

Two complications: Lee is signed for $25 million in 2014 and '15 with a vesting option for $27.5 million or a $12.5 million buyout. He also has a no-trade clause that includes the Red Sox.

The clause is there to provide Lee with leverage. He would reportedly waive it for the right situation, which Boston would seemingly provide.

Pitching matchups for the Mariners series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 09:45 AM

Tuesday: LHP Joe Saunders (9-9, 4.48) vs. RHP Brendan Workman (0-1, 4.40), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.19), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Thursday: RHP Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.34) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.24), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Could Red Sox deal from a surplus with LHPs?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 01:05 AM

As the trade deadline approaches, the Red Sox may be dealing from a position of strength in what is an area of need for many teams.

Veteran lefthanders Craig Breslow and Matt Thornton are on the roster. Breslow, who is signed through 2014, is one of the primary set-up men at this point.

Thornton has appeared in six games for the Sox since being acquired from the White Sox. Opponents are hitting .368 against him with a .429 OBP. Lefties are 4 for 10. It's not much to go on, but nevertheless.

Meanwhile, rookie lefty Drake Britton has been quite impressive in five relief outings. Over six scoreless innings he has allowed two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Britton has thrown strikes and attacked hitters, earning praise from manager John Farrell.

(That said, Britton had his bacon saved on Monday when Shane Victorino pulled a two-run homer by Luke Scott back over the bullpen wall in right).

Finally, lefty Franklin Morales started a rehab assignment with Triple A Pawtucket on Monday and struck out all three batters he faced. Morales has not pitched since June 22 because a strained pectoral muscle near his shoulder. Once he’s ready, Morales could be an important member of the bullpen. He has been that before, after all.

Sometime soon, the Red Sox could have four lefty relievers. The easy decision would be to option Britton down until Sept. 1. But perhaps there is an opportunity to deal from a position of strength.

The Red Sox could deal one of their surplus lefties [Thornton?] and obtain a righthanded reliever. Perhaps with a prospect included, it could be a pretty decent righthanded reliever.

Meanwhile, there is this: Jose Contreras has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings in three appearances for Pawtucket. He has not allowed a hit while walking three and striking out eight. The Bronze Titan — the nickname once bestowed on Contreras by Fidel Castro — could be on his way pretty soon.

Twitter fight erupts after game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 12:45 AM

Tampa Bay's 2-1 victory against the Red Sox prompted this post on Twitter by the Rays official account:

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Then the official Red Sox account answered back:

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At that point, fans of both teams started chirping away. Even Rays fan Dick Vitale chimed in:

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Then Red Sox owner John Henry, an infrequent user of Twitter, weighed in on the loss:

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Meanwhile, how is Dick Vitale verified and John Henry is not?

A bizarre finish — and loss — for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 30, 2013 12:23 AM

The Red Sox were beaten, 2-1, by the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night thanks to a blown call by umpire Jerry Meals in the bottom of the eighth inning. But it never should have come to that — for several reasons.

Let's break down an eventful inning:

• David Price started for the Rays despite a 39-minite rain delay. He struck out Jonny Gomes but then was taken out of the game because manager Joe Maddon was uneasy.

• Facing Joel Peralta, Ryan Lavarnway drilled a pitch off the wall in left. Sam Fuld, a defensive replacement, misplayed it into a double.

• Daniel Nava, not the considerably faster Jose Iglesias, pinch ran for Lavarnway. Sox manager John Farrell said he wanted to save Iglesias for a possible double switch later in the game. Again, it was the eighth inning.

• Fan favorite Stephen Drew crushed a ball to right field, clearly over the head of Wil Myers. But Nava misjudged the flight of the ball and was going back to second when it landed. He advanced only as far as third base.

“I should have scored. It’s my fault. Bad read,” Nava said. “It happens. ... I thought he was about to catch the ball. I started to creep back to second. With one out, you have to keep extending. I told myself that a second before.”

Farrell offered no excuses for his player.

“Just kind of misread at that point,” he said. “You’re schooled if the ball is not caught to be in a position to be able to score. Unfortunately at that point, Nava’s momentum had him going back to second base.”

It was the second poor decision by Nava on the bases in a span of 10 days. Only July 20, he tried to tag from first on a foul pop to Yankees catcher Chris Stewart and was thrown out to end the eighth inning of a 5-2 loss.

• With Nava at third and one out, Farrell let Brandon Snyder hit, leaving Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the bench. It worked out when Snyder hit a fly ball to the gap in left.

Fuld's throw was to the first base side of the plate and catcher Jose Molina had to bring his glove back to tag Nava. Nava’s left leg got under the tag and touched the plate. But Meals, who was out of position behind Molina, called Nava out and the inning was over.

Meals admitted to a pool reporter that he blew the call.

“Molina blocked the plate and Nava's foot lifted. But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava's foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision,” he said. “From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina's shin guard."

Farrell was ejected. Nava protested vehemently, too.

“It was a missed call. A terrible call,” Farrell said. “Clearly the angle of Jerry Meals behind the plate when the throw came in, he did not see the view. … He was blocked out of the play. You see the reaction of the base runner. They tell you everything.”

• But wait, more intrigue was to come. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Fernando Rodney. But he did not steal second right away. Shane Victorino failed to get a bunt down then lined softly to second. A wasted out.

Ellsbury stole second but Dustin Pedroia grounded to shortstop, another wasted out. Joe Maddon had David Ortiz intentionally walked.

With Iglesias running for Ortiz. a wild pitch moved the runners up. But after six fastballs that ranged from 96-99 m.p.h., Rodney fanned Mike Napoli with a changeup to end the game.

With 55 games left for the Red Sox, it's a little hyperbolic to say this is a huge swing. But if the Red Sox lose the division or a playoff spot by a game, this will be the game they remember.

Final: Rays 2, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 06:17 PM

Game over: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second base. With one out the Red Sox had the tying run on base, but couldn't get Ellsbury in, losing the makeup game with the Rays in a playoff-like atmosphere at Fenway.

With two outs, Joe Maddon ordered David Ortiz to be walked intentionally setting the stage for Mike Napoli with two on, two out and the patrons on the edge of their seats against heart attack closer Fernando Rodney.

Rodney fell behind 2-0 but then got Napoli to swing and miss at two 98-mph fastballs and foul off a 99-mph fastball. Rodney threw a 100-mph fastball to the backstop to make it 3-2 and advancing the runners.

Rodney then threw Nava a changeup to strike him out. Huge loss.

Bad call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals calling Daniel Nava out at the plate when he was safe in the 8th inning helped Tampa Bay's cause. David price was tremendous again with 7.1 innings of two-hit ball.

Top 9th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Koji Uehara keeps the game status quo with a strong ninth.

Bottom 8th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Play resumed after a 39-minute delay. David Price came back out. He went to 3-0 to Jonny Gomes, then 3-2 before striking him out. Maddon took Price out and brought in reliever Joel Peralta, who allowed a double to Ryan Lavarnway.

Stephen Drew followed with a double over Wil Myers' head but Daniel Nava, who pinch-ran for Lavarnway, had to hold up at third.

Brandon Snyder came up hit a line to left field. Sam Fuld came up throwing as Nava broke for the plate. Close play with Molina blocking the plate but umpire Jerry Meals called the runner out. Replays showed Nava slid and caught the plate before Molina blocked it. Bad call.

RAIN DELAY: After the top of the 8th, rain begins. Nice break for the Red Sox as David Price was about to retake the mound.

Top 8th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Drake Britton has really been impressive. He retired the Rays again.

Bottom 7th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Price retires the side for the fifth time tonight. He strikes out Mike Napoli for the second time.

Top 7th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Drake Britton relieved De La Torre after he walked Wil Myers. Scott sent a long fly ball to right which Victorino caught at the wall. Escobar knocked into a double play.

Bottom 6th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1 - Brandon Snyder hit the Pesky Pole to put the Sox on the board against David Price.

Top 6th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0 - Molina walked and Matt Joyce, pinch-hitting for Sean Rodriguez, singled to centerfield to start the inning. But then Jose De La Torre reared back and struck out the next three Rays hitters.

Bottom 5th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0 - Price strikes out the side. He has five Ks, allowed one hit.

Top 5th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0 - Some really, really dark clouds rolling through with a streak of lightning but not haulting play. Longoria started with a ground rule double to deep center that kicked into the Red Sox bullpen. Zobrist singled him to third. Myers' ground ball to third got the run home. The Rays then attempted two bunts - one with Luke Scott, who was thrown out by Doubront. After Escobar was hit with as pitch, Loney attempted one and failed and wound up lining out hard to right for the final out.

Bottom 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 - Another powerful inning for Price.Victorino (foul to catcher), Pedroia (struck out) and Ortiz (liner to first).

Top 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 - The Rays broke the deadlock against Doubront. He allowed singles to Escobar and Molina to put runners at first and third with two outs. Sean Rodriguez then blooped a hit that just eluded the leap of Mike Napoli, scoring the lone run. Rodriguez was credited with a double to put runners in scoring position, but Desmond Jennings lined out to right to get Doubront out of further peril.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Drew, Snyder and Ellsbury go down against price who has retired six straight and 9 of the first 10 batters he's faced.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - The Rays had something going against Doubront who allowed a pair of walks to Jennings and Zobrist with one out, but rookie Wil Myers knocked into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - David Ortiz got a big ovation from the Red Sox crowd and doubled high atop the leftfield wall. The Red Sox made three consecutive outs stranding Ortiz at second.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Yunel Escobar singled off Doubront, but James Loney knocked into a double play. After Jose Molina walked, Sean Rodriguez grounded into a force play at second.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - David Price picked up where he left off vs. the Red Sox - a 1-2-3 inning, three ground ball outs.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Felix Doubront puts runners at the corners on singles by Evan Longoria and Wil Myers, but he struck out Luke Scott to end the threat. Doubront struck out two.

Rays get Crain from White Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 05:18 PM

The Rays made an unusual move this afternoon, acquiring a pitching on the disabled list.

The Rays obtained righthanded reliever Jesse Crain of the White Sox for future considerations. Crain has not pitched since June 29 because of a shoulder strain.

The future considerations will be based on how much Crain can pitch.

The Red Sox, a source said, had interest in Crain until a setback last week. The team remains interested in righthanded relief help.

With Jose Veras (Astros to Tigers) and Scott Downs (Angels to Braves) being traded today, the relief market is popping.

The White Sox, meanwhile, are telling teams that they plan to retain starter Jake Peavy. That could well be posturing ahead of Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

As Iglesias gets a day off, Bogaerts plays 3B at Pawtucket

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 03:40 PM

Jose Iglesias is getting a day off for assorted reasons.

Chief among them is that the rookie infielder is 4 for 40 (.100) in the last 11 games with no extra base hits and one run scored. His batting average has dropped from .384 to .330.

Iglesias also is 2 for 9 against David Price in his career, 0 for 3 last week. John Farrell also likes the idea of getting righthanded hitter Brandon Snyder in against a lefthander.

As Igesias sits, it's worth noting that Xander Bogaerts will start at third base for Triple A Pawtucket tonight. It will be his fifth game at third base for Pawtucket. Bogaerts has otherwise played only shortstop this season in the minors.

Bogaerts is hitting a solid .273/.377/.476 in 40 games for Pawtucket. He has eight home runs and 24 RBIs. Bogaerts has struck out 29 times and walked 23 times, an impressive ratio for a 20-year-old in Triple A.

"Xander's doing everything that he can to tell us when he's ready to come to the big leagues," Farrell said. "Whether that's this week or next month, that's still in the debate or in the conversation. But it's an exciting young player. We're all looking forward to the day he begins his career, not knowing when that's going to be.

"There's still some things that are a work in progress for him defensively. Any time you go up against more veteran and accomplished pitching, that's going to be another adjustment on his part. He's a pretty exciting player."

How comfortable are the Sox with how Bogaerts looks at third base?

"Getting there" Farrell said. "I know one thing. Just in the reports and talking with [Pawtucket manager] Gary DiSarcina, he feel more comfortable at short. You'd almost expect that. ... The more reps that we can get there to gain some comfort probably keeps that internal conversation alive. Whether or not that's the position he comes to here, we'll see."

Also:

• LHP Franklin Morales will pitch an inning for Triple A Pawtucket tonight as he starts his rehab.

Source: No suspension for David Ortiz

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 02:18 PM

Major League Baseball has decided not to suspend David Ortiz for his dugout tantrum Saturday night in Baltimore, according to a league source.

It was a 50/50 proposition for a while, but in the end all things were considered including the bad call made by home plate Tim Timmons that set Ortiz off.

Also:

• The Red Sox have made calls on Cliff Lee and Michael Young to the Phillies, but the asking price has been too high for the Red Sox to meet at present, especially on Lee, according to a major league source. The Phillies are in listening mode and will only sell off if their price is matched. The Phillies can certainly build with Lee next season.

• With Jake Peavy in play, the Red Sox are still in on the White Sox righty. There had been false speculation that Peavy had been dealt yesterday afternoon.

• There was a report out of ESPNChicago that Jesse Crain, who is still on the disabled list, was going to be part of a complicated three-way deal. The Rays were rumored to be part of it, but that doesn't appear to be the case. The Red Sox covet Crain and could potentially trade for him before he comes off the DL if they feel they have enough medical evidence that Crain's shoulder will be OK.

George Scott has passed away

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 02:09 PM

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The Red Sox paid tribute to George Scott before Monday's game with a moment of silence. (Jim Davis photo)

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George Scott (second from left) had two stints with the Red Sox in the 1960s and 70s. (Associated Press photo)

Former Red Sox slugger George Scott passed away on Sunday at age 69, the Red Sox have confirmed.

Scott, known as "Boomer," was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1962 and made his major league debut with the Red Sox in 1966. He played eight seasons and part of another for the Red Sox, from 1966 to 1971 and again from 1977 to 1979.

He also played for Milwaukee, Kansas City and the New York Yankees.

Scott had 271 career home runs and was an eight-time Gold Glove winner at first base. He led the American League in home runs in 1975 with 36, and was selected as an All-Star three times.

He was from Greenville, Miss.

He won his first Gold Glove and finished 10th in MVP voting as a member of the Red Sox’ Impossible Dream team in 1967 when the team lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Scott is a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, and was inducted in 2006.

Game 107: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 01:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (63-43)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Lavarnway C
Drew SS
Snyder 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (7-4, 3.78).

RAYS (62-43)
Jennings CF
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Myers RF
Scott DH
Escobar SS
Loney 1B
Molina C
Rodriguez LF
Pitching: LHP David Price (5-5, 3.75).

Game time: 6:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroia 12-39, Ortiz 7-31, Ellsbury 7-31, Napoli 8-24, Nava 1-18, Victorino 4-14, Gomes 3-14, Salty 1-12, Iglesias 2-9, Lavarnway 2-7, Drew 0-5, Snyder 1-4.

Rays vs. Doubront: Zobrist 4-18, Escobar 4-18, Longoria 4-14, Rodriguez 3-17, Jennings 4-14, Scott 4-13, Johnson 4-13, Loney 2-8, Myers 2-5, Joyce 1-3, Lobaton 0-4, Molina 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Price is 5-1 with a 1.96 earned run average and a 1.02 WHIP in nine career starts at Fenway. Over 59.2 innings, the Red Sox are hitting .194 against Price at Fenway with only three home runs.

Notes: This is a makeup game from last Thursday and a pitching rematch of the game from last Wednesday. The Rays won that game, 5-1, as Price threw a 97-pitch complete game and allowed five hits. ... Price is 4-1, 1.76 in five starts since coming off the disabled list. He is 9-5, 3.09 in 18 career starts against the Red Sox. ... Doubront didn't pitch poorly against the Rays last week (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) but was no match for Price that night. Doubront has faced the Rays three times this season and allowed five earned runs over 19.2 innings. He is 2-2, 3.20 in 10 career appearances against the Rays. In his last 13 starts this season, Doubront is 4-3, 2.71. He has 10 quality starts in that stretch including the last five in a row. ... The Sox are 10-5 against the Rays this season. ... Tampa Bay has won three of four, nine of 11 and 21 of its last 25. ... The Sox are 34-19 at Fenway. ... Ortiz is hitting .329 (second in the AL) with an on-base percentage of .413 (second in the AL) and slugging percentage of .605 (third in the AL). ... Napoli is 13 of 38 (.342) in his last 11 games with nine extra-base hits. ... Pedroia is 3 for 35 since the break with no extra base hits, one run, two RBIs and two errors over nine games. ... Iglesias is 4 of his last 40 with no extra-base hits and one run scored. His batting average has fallen from .384 to .330.

Song of the Day: "Find The Cost of Freedom" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Pitching matchup for the Rays makeup game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 09:30 AM

Monday: LHP David Price (5-5, 3.75) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (7-4, 3.78) 6:10 p.m., NESN.

(This is the makeup of Thursday's rained-out game)

The trade deadline dilemma

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 29, 2013 08:55 AM

University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun was once asked about the idea of recruiting junior college players and transfers to bolster his roster. This was early in his tenure with the Huskies, well before they became regulars in the Final Four and won three championships.

Calhoun said he preferred to recruit high school players he could develop over the course of time. The idea of a quick fix didn't appeal to him.

"I came here to build a program, not a team," Calhoun said.

That's the question Ben Cherington has to answer between now and the non-waiver trade deadline on Wednesday afternoon. Did he become the general manager of the Red Sox to win once in 2013 or several times over the course of a long and fruitful tenure?

It's not one or the other, of course. But this is a time where the Red Sox have a philosophical decision to make.

The Sox can obtain virtually any player they want at the trade deadline. Cherington has the prospects to sit at the table in every trade discussion out there. The Sox also have the financial flexibility to take on a large contract, too.

If you want Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence and Michael Young added to the roster, that's certainly possible. Just be prepared to give up Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley Jr., Deven Marrero and three or four other solid prospects.

Heck, the Marlins would probably take Xander Bogaerts as part of a package for Giancarlo Stanton. Anything is possible.

Or do you prefer the Red Sox retain their top prospects and build a self-sustaining program that will produce contending teams for years to come? That's really what this comes down to.

The Red Sox have a group of 13-15 prospects with vast potential. In three years you could well have a team that includes Bogaerts, Bradley, Owens, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, Blake Swihart, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Garin Cecchini, and Rubby De La Rosa in prominent roles.

They won't all work out. But the percentages of finding young stars becomes higher when you keep more of them around.

The more cost-controlled young talent you have, the better positioned you are to add players via trade and free agency in the winter. History shows us that's when the better deals are made, not in the frenzy of late July.

Cherington's first job with the Red Sox was in amateur scouting. Then he coordinated international scouting before becoming director of player development. His background, and his actions so far in nearly two years as GM, suggest he will not mortgage the future.

John Henry can end that with one phone call. He is ultimately in charge of this, after all. But in talking to people at Fenway Park, there is a clear sense that Henry is wary of paying high prices for past performance, which is what a player like Lee or Jake Peavy represents. Henry believes in the idea of building a deep roster instead of a top-heavy one.

The 2013 Red Sox need some help and Cherington will probably provide that. Look for the Red Sox to pick up a reliever or two and perhaps even a backup catcher before the deadline. He will try and play both sides of the equation by trading some talent but not out of that core group of high-ceiling prospects.

Do not expect some bold trade. Cherington has moved carefully as GM and those moves have the Red Sox in first place now and well-positioned for the future.

He's here to build a program, not a team.

Rest continues to serve Jon Lester well

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 08:26 PM

Jon Lester insisted that whatever benefit he got from an extra two days of rest coming out of the All-Star break was irrelevant two starts into the second half.

"I think it's kind of all null and void now," Lester said after Sunday's 5-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. "Any time you go out there and pitch, obviously it takes a lot of toll on your body. The rest was good for that [first] start. Now we're back to the grind of every five days and just going out there and competing."

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But after watching Lester go seven scoreless innings and match his season high with eighth strikeouts, manager John Farrell saw it a little differently. Coupled with Lester's last start against Tampa Bay, when he gave up just two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings, Lester won back-to-back starts for the first time since the end of June.

"At the time, he needed the extra days," Farrell said. "So it certainly paid off for him. We've seen increased command, similar to what he's shown over long periods during his career. So having a couple days just getting away from that first half has sat well with him."

Lester pounded the strike zone, throwing 65 of his 99 pitches for strikes, overpowering the Orioles. Between 50 sinkers, 26 four-seamers, and two cutters, he leaned heavily on his harder stuff.

"I'd say as far as power I feel like I've got more right now," Lester said. "It's just that part of the season where I feel like you get stronger right now, especially with your heater. As far as command, I think it's gotten a lot better through some ups and downs. But you always have to rely on your fastball. You start getting away from that, that's what gets you in trouble. So we were able to pound down-and-away today and get a lot of weak contact and get some outs."

The performance was timely. For most of his career, Lester dominated the Orioles, running off 14 straight wins, but he had lost his last two decisions against them. As a team, the Sox had lost six straight series to the Orioles dating to last season. With the win, Lester was able to get himself and his team back on track.

"Jon Lester pitching to the best of his capabilities is going to be one of the best pitchers in the league," Farrell said. "He's shown it the last couple times out. I think he's getting a better understanding of the overall pitch mix, how to be most effective. His changeup continues to be a good weapon for him. He was efficient once again today."

No-hit streak ends at 19.1 innings for Owens

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 08:22 PM

Henry Owens of Single A Salem finally gave up a hit.

The 21-year-old lefthander allowed a single by Potomac's Cutter Dykstra in the fourth inning Sunday. That ended a streak of 19 1/3 no-hit innings for Owens dating to July 11.

The streak went over parts of four starts. Before you ask, the Red Sox have no plans whatsoever to trade Owens. He's far too good.

As for Dykstra, he is the son of once-imprisoned former MLB star Lenny Dykstra and is engaged to actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Then again he also is a second-round pick from 2008 who has yet to get out of Single A ball.

Pedroia shakes off 0-for-4 day

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 07:57 PM

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As frustrating as it was to drill a fly ball to center in the first inning of the Red Sox’s 5-0 win over the Orioles Sunday in Baltimore only to watch Adam Jones track it down at the wall, then shoot another one Jones's way in the third, work a walk in the fifth, line hard to left in the eighth, and ground into an inning-ending double play in the ninth, Dustin Pedroia shook his 0-for-4 day off.

“That's the thing,” Pedroia said. “You get a little frustrated sometimes when you square the ball up and don't get hits. They made some good plays, but that's a part of the game. When you're a good hitter, you hit balls at people sometimes. So I've got to keep grinding.”

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He’s in the middle of a 3-for-38 slump in his past nine games dating to July 19. His batting averaged has dived from .316 to .297, falling below .300 for the first time since May 7.

“He squared up a couple of balls that just didn't find any green pasture,” manager John Farrell said. “He's grinding a little bit right now, but who isn’t.”

In the sixth inning, playing in shallow right field with the shift on for Orioles slugger Chris Davis, Pedroia fielded a ground ball cleanly but fired a wild throw to first that allowed Davis to reach on an error. It was his third in the past 36 games after going error-free in the first 69.

But he made up for it three batters later by taking a nosedive after making a leaping throw at second to turn a double play on a JJ Hardy ground ball to end the inning.

“It was a little different because Davis was running and I couldn't really see the throw [from third baseman Jose Iglesias],” Pedroia said. “But it's a part of the job.”

The play got Jon Lester out of a first-and-second, one-out jam.

“Pedey is fearless when it comes to turning the double play,” Farrell said. “He hangs in tough when the runner's bearing down on him. Iggy's got such quick hands and a quick release, he gets it to him in pretty good fashion there, but in that part of the game where it's still just a three-run game, it was a pretty good [play] for us.”

Final: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 01:46 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0 - The Red Sox can finally say the Orioles don't have their number anymore. They took two out of three here at Camden Yards to take that monkey off their back. Excellent work by Jon Lester (10-6), who shut them out for seven innings in heat and humidity here. David Ortiz had four hits including a big two-run homer. The game was played in 2:58 before 32,891

Top 9th: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0 - Ellsbury with his second hit.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0 - Orioles can score to save their lives.

Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0 - Four hits for Ortiz, a single to right. A double by Mike Napoli,an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and a two-run single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia breaks it open for Boston.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - Lester rebounds from shaky sixth with strong seventh.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - The Sox go down 1-2-3.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - FIrst and second and nobody out and the Orioles couldn't score against Jon Lester. Davis reached on Dustin Pedroia's throwing error and Jones reached on a bloop hit to right. Wieters struck out on 3-2 and hardy knocked into a 5-4-3 double play.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right, but was doubled off second base on Stephen Drew's liner to second base.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - With two outs Orioles put two on. Teagarden singled and Markakis walked, but the O's couldn't score again.

Top 5th; Red Sox 3 Orioles 0 - Shane Victorino walked and then got caught stealing when Jason Hammel was having trouble finding the plate. After a walk to Pedroia and an Ortiz single - his third hit - Napoli knocked into a 5-4-3 double-play.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - The Orioles had two men on base vs. Lester, a two-out single by Adam Jones and a walk to Matt Wieters, but Lester got Hardy to pop out to first base.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - Hammel allows a pair of walks, but Sox couldn't do anything with them.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - Lester has retired nine straight batters since Nick Markakis' leadoff single in the first.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Orioles 0 - David Ortiz belted a two-out, two-run homer to left off Hammel. Orioles announcers continue to rip him on the air for his dugout outburst. Ortiz playfully took a bat after his homer and pretended as if he was swinging for the phone box.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - Lester seems to have good zip on his fastball today. He retired the Orioles on two ground balls and a strikeout (Hardy).

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - The Red Sox went down in order. Stephen Drew, who had five RBI Saturday night, struck out on a questionable pitch that was below the knees and had Drew shaking his head..

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - Nick Markakis led off with a single and moved to second on Manny Machado's ground out. Chris Davis, who hasn't hit a homer since Home Run derby, struck out as did Adam Jones..

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - David Ortiz was booed as he stepped to the plate. With Shane Victorino on first base after he singled off Orioles starter Jason Hammel, Ortiz singled to right field sending Victorino to third. Adam Jones had saved the day for the Orioles tracking down a long fly ball to deep center by Dustin Pedroia that he made an exceptional catch on. Mike Napoli knocked in the run with a double to right field. Mike Carp struck out to end the threat.

Ortiz still upset over umpiring but has moved on

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 12:04 PM

BALTIMORE - David Ortiz was still upset by the ball/strikes called by umpire Tim Timmons which led to a dugout tirade, but said "that's in the past now."

Ortiz said he did not plan to say anything to Timmons before the game, but welcomes any dialogue Timmons might have with him especially an "I missed the call" statement, but Ortiz said he didn't expect it.

Ortiz said if Timmons had done what he did with Ryan Dempster and admitted he blew a pitch, then none of this would have happened. Ortiz got angrier when Timmons allegedly told him he did not miss the 3-0 pitch that was head-high that he called a strike. Ortiz also thought the second pitch was out of the zone, and then he struck out.

"They (Orioles) were trying to walk me," Ortiz said. "Why didn't the umpire know that?"

Ortiz did not address the tantrum he took on the dugout phone, which was replaced this morning. Ryan Demspter and Jonny Gomes actually had some fun with the situation. As the casing on the phone was being replaced, Dempster and Gomes hooked up a couple of soup cans with strings and started dialogue.

"Can you hear me now?" Dempster said through the tin can. "Think we have it under control now. Let's go to the bullpen and fix that one."

Ortiz thought the team was picking up the tab for the damaged phone, but he didn't know for sure.

Major League Baseball was reviewing the incident today. John Farrell didn't think there would be a suspension.

Farrell doesn't expect Ortiz to be punished

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 11:55 AM

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BALTIMORE -- In case there were still any issues with the dugout phones after David Ortiz smashed one of them with his bat in an angry frenzy Saturday night, Jonny Gomes took it upon himself to fix them.

He sat a can of string beans on top of the phone with a piece of string attached to it.

The Red Sox shouldn't have to resort to using it at any point in their series finale with the Orioles. Just as Sox manager John Farrell got ready to meet with reporters in the dugout, the phone rang.

It wasn't Major League Baseball (it was actually a few Camden Yards ushers playing a joke), but with the possibility of Ortiz being disciplined by the league after his 10th career ejection and his ensuing blow-up, Farrell said he hasn't heard from the league and doesn't expect to.

After the Red Sox's 7-3 win over the Orioles Saturday night, Farrell said he didn't think the incident warranted a suspension.

In the hours that have passed since the game, Farrell was able to look at it again and he said, "Even after watching the highlights or the replay of it, probably even more so than last night."

Ortiz's outburst came in the seventh inning when what he thought was a high fastball from Orioles reliever Jairo Asencio for ball four was ruled a strike by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Ortiz eventually struck out and had harsh words words and cold stares for Timmons on his way to the dugout.

Once he got there, Ortiz grabbed a bat and took three vicious hacks at the dugout phones. He was then thrown out by Timmons and had to be restrained by coaches and teammates, including Farrell and Dustin Pedroia.

"He saw the flight of the ball and he assumed it would be a ball and I think everybody in the ball park assumed that as well," Farrell said. "I think he's been in situations, particularly with right-handed pitchers on the mound, where they've chosen not to pitch to him and pitch around. We've seen it time and time again. That wasn't the case last night -- or Asencio wasn't allowed to."

Game 106: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 28, 2013 10:30 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (62-43)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: Jon Lester (9-6, 4.50).

ORIOLES (58-47)
Markakis RF
Machado 3B
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Wieters DH
Hardy SS
Roberts 2B
Hoes LF
Teagarden C
Pitching: Jason Hammel (7-7, 5.20).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, TBS / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Hammel: Drew 3-17, Ortiz 6-14, Victorino 5-12, Pedroia 4-9, Gomes 2-5, Nava 1-5, Ellsbury 2-3, Napoli 0-3.

Orioles vs. Lester:Markakis 13-58, Jones 12-45, Roberts 9-38, Wieters 14-37, Hardy 6-18, Davis 2-16, Casilla 0-8, Machado 2-6, McLouth 0-4, Teagarden 0-4.

Stat of the Day: The Sox’s 7-3 win at Camden Yards on Saturday was just there second in their past nine games there.

Notes: With a win, the Red Sox will avoid losing the fourth of their past nine series … Having won six of nine games in the season series so far, the Orioles are the only team in the AL East with a winning record against the Sox … The two teams have nine more games remaining after Sunday’s game … Despite being 14-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 career starts against the Orioles and 7-1 in 11 career starts at Camden Yards, Lester has lost his past two decisions to the Orioles … He gave up five runs in five innings in his last meeting with the Os on June 16 … Hammel is 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA in 11 career games against the Sox.

Final: Red Sox 7, Orioles 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 07:34 PM

Game over, Red Sox 7, Orioles 3 - The Red Sox kept pace with the Tampa Bay Rays by knocking off the Orioles tonight. They hit three homers, two by Stephen Drew, who knocked in five runs. Very good outing by Ryan Dempster who was yanked early with one out in the sixth, but he definitely quieted the Orioles' offensive swagger. The game started with a 27-minute rain delay. It was played in 3:21 before a sellout crowd of 44,765 at Camden Yards.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 3 - The Orioles scored off Junichi Tazawa. A one-out single by Adam Jones followed by a walk to Chris Davis allowed Hardy's infield hit to score the third Oriole run. But that was all.

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 0 - Mike Carp stroked his third hit - a double to right - but nothing came of it.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 2 - McLouth was hit with a pitch, but the Orioles couldn't muster much against Breslow.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 2 - A terrible display of anger by David Ortiz, who went a little crazy after he destroyed the cover of the phone casing in the dugout with his bat. Ortiz was upset that home plate umpire Tim Timmons called a strike on a high pitch on 3-0, on which Ortiz had thrown the bat and was heading toward first. Ortiz eventually struck out and went after Timmons, informing him that the pitch he called was up around his helmet. Ortiz bickered with Timmons and then went to the dugout where he destroyed the telephone case and almost hit Dustin Pedroia with the bat on the backswing as Pedroia was sitting in the dugout right behind his temper tantrum. Pedroia then tried to to settle Ortiz down and seemed angry at Ortiz' rant. Ortiz came back out and started going after Timmons and had to be restrained after Timmons threw him out of the game. Earlier in the inning, Shane Victorino homered on the first pitch by Jairo Asencio. Victorino's fifth homer of the season and third of the game for the Red Sox.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 2 - The Orioles chipped away with another run. A pair of singles by Markakis and Davis with one out brought Farrell out to take Dempster out. Dempster wasn't happy about the early hook, especially with 84 pitches. Craig Breslow came on and got the final two outs. The run scored on a fielder's choice.

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 1 - Stephen Drew is having a night. He stroked a two-run homer off lefty Troy Patton, his second. He has five RBI. The ball was originally called a non-homer and Drew stopped at third but umpires reviewed and saw the ball hit atop the roof of the grounds crew office in right which was a homer.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Orioles 1 - Great job by Dempster limiting damage here. He allowed three straight singles to Hardy, Urrutia and Roberts singled to produce the run. But Dempster struck out McLouth and got Machado to knock into a 6-4-3 double-play.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0 - A two-out walk by David Ortiz was all the Sox could muster. JJ Hardy made a nice diving grab of Mike Napoli's liner to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0 - Great catch by Victorino against the right field wall to rob Adam Jones. Dempster gets next two outs.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0 - Big two-out rally by Sox capped off by a three-run homer by Stephen Drew on a 1-0 pitch. Just what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox. With two outs, Feldman allowed back-to-back singles to Carp and Saltalamacchia before Drew, who had singled in the third, came through with his sixth homer. Iglesias beat out an infield hit to third to continue things but Ellsbury lined out to first base.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - With two outs, Nate McLouth singled to right, the Orioles' first hit. Manny Machado drew a walk, but Dempster got Markakis to fly out to center.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 - Stephen Drew stroked a line drive single to right and thought better of testing Markakis arm in right to extend to a double. Jose Iglesias grounded out to first sending Drew to second. Ellsbury singled sending Drew to third. On the swing, Ellsbury hit the catcher's glove and the Red Sox had the choice between taking the interference or taking the hit (Rule 3.08) and took the hit which sent Drew to third. Victorino's ground ball out got the run in.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 - The Orioles went down in order vs. Dempster.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 - David Ortiz led off with a walk, but the Sox offense was unable to capitalize as the next three batters went down vs. Feldman.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 - Ryan Dempster needs to keep the ball down against this lineup. Dempster has allowed 20 homers and has won only once in his last seven starts. Got out of the first with a walk to Nick Markakis.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 - Scott Feldman, the pitcher Dan Duquette obtained from the Chicago Cubs, started tonight's game which was delayed 27 minutes at the start due to rain. He threw three ground ball outs.

Game 105: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 03:00 PM

Here are tonight's lineups.

RED SOX (61-43)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Salty C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28).

ORIOLES (58-46)
McLouth LF
Machado 3B
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Davis 1B
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Urrutia DH
Roberts 2B
Pitching: Scott Feldman (9-7 2.75).

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Feldman: Napoli 11-23, Pedroia 5-9, Carp 2-7, Ortiz 2-6, Drew 1-6, Ellsbury 2-5, Saltalamacchia 2-4, Gomes 0-1.

Orioles vs. Dempster: Hardy 2-30, McLouth 6-26, Machado 3-10, Markakis 2-10, Jones 4-9, Davis 1-8, Wieters 1-8, Flaherty 0-5.

Stat of the Day: As a team, the Red Sox are averaging 2.6 runs and hitting .216/.268/.593 in their past nine games.

Notes: The Sox have lost three of their last seven and have fallen out of first place in the AL East after spending 60 straight days atop the division … The Orioles are 6-2 against the Sox this season and 20-7 going back to 2011 … As a team, the Sox have hit .187 against the Orioles this season, their lowest average against any opponent … Between Jose Iglesias (3 for his last 24), Stephen Drew (1-15), Dustin Pedroia (3-27) and Jacoby Ellsbury (2-14), Sox hitters are in a funk … Dempster will take the mound for the Sox looking for his first win since June 25. He’s gone four straight starts without factoring into the decision. In his past two starts, Dempster has allowed 12 runs (seven earned) in 8.2 innings … Feldman is making his fifth start for the Orioles this season. He’s made eight appearances against the Sox in his nine-year career, going 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA.

Song of the day: Quik's Groove III" by DJ Quik.

Red Sox were close on Gonzalez but lost to Phillies

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 12:13 PM

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox indicated from the beginning they never wanted to break the bank on Miguel Gonzalez. Why? For one there were red flags on the Cuban righthander's medicals. He's had elbow issues.

Secondly, the Red Sox, who according to a major league source were indeed the runner-up, have plenty of good pitching prospects, some of whom project better than Gonzalez.

In the end, the Phillies had the greatest need and signed him to a 6-year, $48 million deal that included a vesting option of $11 million first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The Red Sox would never have gone to a potential fifth year having already been burned on the Daisuke Matsuzaka contract where they bid $51 million and handed out $52 million over six years.

The Red Sox also didn't feel that Gonzalez could have helped the team this season during their pennant drive.

The money saved, however, could now be spent on acquiring a major pitcher like Cliff Lee or Jake Peavy. The Red Sox also appear to be in need of some offense and may also be seeking a righthanded hitter like Michael Young, Hunter Pence or Alex Rios.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 10:30 AM

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• Mustering just two hits off Orioles starter Chris Tillman and four hits on the night, the Red Sox's offense was shutout for the third time in nine games after a 6-0 loss to the Orioles, which knocked them out of first place.

• As Nick Cafardo writes, the Orioles are 6-2 against the Sox this season and 20-7 against them going back to 2011, leading outfielder Adam Jones to tell David Ortiz on Friday, "This isn’t Fenway South anymore."

• In the notebook, Franklin Morales and Alex Wilson will begin rehab assignments in Pawtucket next week.

Orioles still an obstacle for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 09:45 AM

The Red Sox are 2-6 against the Orioles this season and have been outscored by 13 runs. It's part of a long trend.

The Orioles have won 24 of the last 33 meetings between the teams going back to September of 2011. They have outscored the Sox 176-136 in those games and won nine of the last 10 series between the teams.

In Baltimore, the Orioles have won nine of the last 11 games against the Sox. Since he became manager of the Orioles, Buck Showalter is 30-20 against the Red Sox.

This is a problem the Red Sox have to solve. Of the 58 games remaining this season, 11 are against Baltimore. They are 24-13 against the other teams in the division.

The Orioles are 18-19 against the other teams in the division.

Sox's struggles start with offense

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 27, 2013 12:53 AM

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BALTIMORE – With their 6-0 loss to the Orioles, the Sox have now dropped four of the seven games so far in this stretch of AL East tests, six of nine overall and 12 of their past 19 road games. After being shut out for the third time in that nine game stretch – again dominated by a pitcher that pounded the strike zone – the Sox offense found itself doing some soul searching.

The most telling numbers over this mini-skid that's seen the Sox fall out of first place after spending 60 straight days perched atop the division are the 2.6 runs the Sox have averaged and the .216 team batting average.

Part of the problem is that the pitchers they’ve faced – from Tampa’s terrifying lefties Matt Moore and David Price earlier this week to Baltimore’s Chris Tillman Saturday night – have controlled at-bats, gotten ahead in counts and gone deep into games, taking the Sox's hitters out of their approach at the plate.

“We've got to adjust to the pitcher on the mound,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “In those games, they've attacked the strike zone early. They've pitched ahead in the count for the most part."

Price threw strikes on 78 percent of his 97 pitches. Sixty-eight percent of Moore's 109 pitches were strikes. Of the 115 pitches Tillman threw on Saturday, 72 went for strikes and after a 22-pitch first inning, Tillman settled in and gave up just two hits over seven frames.

The Sox rarely got themselves into the kinds of counts on which they typically feast.

“I think we really need to get more back to what makes us good: Grinding out at-bats,” said Dustin Pedroia. “I think a lot of guys are trying too hard right now. We've got to let the game come to us.

“If a starter's got great stuff, find a way to get him out of there. We haven't done that last week or something. So we'll get back to that tomorrow and start being a better team offensively.”

There are slumps up and down the Sox’s lineup. Jose Iglesias is 3 for his last 24. Stephen Drew is 1 for his last 15. Pedroia is 3 for his last 27. Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2 for 4 day at the plate against the O's snapped an 0-for-10 skid.

Pedroia said he can sense people pressing.

“There's times when two or three guys will go in funks and other guys step up,” Pedroia said. “Seems like right now, everybody's trying to be the guy that gets us out of it. That makes it tough, because then you try to hard and you're coming out of what makes you good. You've got to kind of take a step back and have quality at-bats and pass it to the next guy.”

Final: Orioles 6, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 26, 2013 07:23 PM

Game over: The Red Sox are out of first place for the first time since May 27th. The loss coupled with a Tampa Bay win over the Yankees put the Red Sox a half-game back. John Lackey allowed three homers, the Sox allowed four in all as Chris Tillman shut out the Red Sox for seven innings and the Orioles bullpen did the rest. The game was played in 2:35 before 39.063 at Camden Yards.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 0 - Manny Machado smacks the third homer vs. Lackey on the night, a liner to left field that got out in a hurry. Lackey leaves after the homer and gives way to Drake Britton, who retires Markakis and Jones to get out of the inning..

Top 7th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 0 - Tillman continues to deal, a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 0 - with two outs, John LAckey was charged with a throwing error on Urrutia's grounder an d threw it away. John Farrell came out and argued that Urrutia was out of the baseline, but umpire Laz Diaz wasn't having it even though it was a legitimate beef. Lackey could have avoided it with a good throw. No harm, no foul though as Lackey got out of the inning.

Top 6th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 0 - Tillman has has had an exceptional fastball with late life. He retired the heart of the Boston order and struck out David Ortiz with a 95 mph fastball that he couldn't reach and then struck out Mike Napoli as well.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 0 - Adam Jones with his second opposite field homer of the night, extends Baltimore's lead.

Top 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 - With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury' grounder down the first base line hit the bag and bounded into short left. Ellsbury stopped at second base with a double. Tillman went 3-2 to Shane Victorino before retiring him with a fly ball to center.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 - One of those regrettable innings for the Orioles who had an excellent chance to build on their lead but didn't. Lackey walked Hardy and stumbled and fell off the mound prior to that sending the trainer out. Lackey said he was OK. He allowed singles to Henry Urrutia before Brian Roberts singled to right. Victorino field the ball and came up firing and nailed Hardy at the plate. McLouth flew out to end the threat.

Top 4th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox broke Chris Tillman's momentum a tad when Daniel Nava walked with two outs, forcing Tillman into the stretch. But the disruption was minimal as he battled Saltalamacchia to 3-2 before the big catcher struck out.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 - Nate McLouth launched a long drive to the rightcenter gap. Shane Victorino ran hard for it from right and Jacoby Ellsbury from center. Ellsbury seemed to get there but he reached for it with his glove and couldn't grasp it. McLouth reached with a triple. Machado, up next, ran the count to 3-0 but got the green light and swung and missed. At 3-2, Machado sent a single up the middle for a basehit, scoring the McLouth. Nick Markakis grounded to first base where Mike Napoli stepped on the bag, but his throw to second to knock off the lead was a little high and runner was safe. Adam Jones grounded out to shortstop and Chris Davis flew out to center stranding the runner at second base.

Top 3rd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 - The top of the Red Sox order can't do anything vs. Tillman.

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 - Lackey rebounds from the shaky first with a 1-2-3 ininng

Top 2nd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew lined to left and Jose Iglesias to right in a 1-2-3 inning for Tillman..

Bottom 1st: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 - It started so well for John Lackey. He struck out lead-off man Nate McLouth and got Manny Machado to pop out to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. But Nick Markakis laced a single to left and he scored on Adam Jones' homer to right field, his 21st of the season. Chris Davis, who has not hit a home run since the All-Star break and is stuck at 37, singled to right to continue the inning. Matt Wieters flew out to deep left to end the threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 - Greetings from Camden Yards. Can't remember when it was this cool in July here. It's usually smoking hot, but a great summer night here. The Red Sox loaded the bases off 12-game winner and All-Star Chris Tillman, but couldn't score. With two outs, Dustin Pedroia singled, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli walked and Daniel Nava struck out on an 0-2 pitch.

Wilson, Morales to begin rehab next week

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 26, 2013 06:09 PM

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BALTIMORE -- With the Red Sox bullpen gradually thinning out, relievers Alex Wilson and Franklin Morales are set to begin rehab assignments in Triple A Pawtucket next week.

Wilson, who went on the disabled list July 9 with a right thumb sprain, will begin his assignment on Monday and will likely pitch one inning. Morales will pitch an inning on Tuesday.

"Franklin's situation is going to be different from Alex's, just for the simple fact of the amount of time missed," said Sox manager John Farrell.

Morales has spent two different stints on the DL. He missed the first 52 games of the season because of a low back strain, and he's sat the past 26 games with a left pectoral strain.

Farrell said it was difficult to gauge how many innings of rehab Morales might need.

"It's hard to say right now," Farrell said. "We'll see how he comes out of the first one. From a physical standpoint we're just going to evaluate where stuff is."

A few more notes:

• Clay Buchholz threw about 40 pitches from varying distances around 100 feet earlier today.

"Probably consistent with what he went through two days ago," Farrell said. "Continued progression in terms of intensity and volume."

Farrell said that he hoped to see increased intensity with each throwing session.

"I think until he feels like he's cut the ball loose from those distances without any restrictions or holding anything back that's the main goal of that phase," Farrell said. "At that point that's when we'd look to get on the mound.

• Five days after wathcing him treat the strike zone like a dart board, the Sox will get another dose of Rays starter David Price on Monday.

"I think the thing that stands out is you've got familiarity," Farrell said. "He executed tremendously a couple nights ago. We know that he's a damn good pitcher and we're looking forward to the challenge on Monday."

• The Orioles have won 14 of the last 19 and 24 of the last 34 against the Sox, and Farrell is more than aware of the Os recent dominance in the series.

"This is a team that I think over the last couple of years had its way with us," Farrell said of the Orioles, who currently lead the season series 5-2. "We need to play better and find ways to win games more regularly that we have. This is a team that plays a very sound style of game. They're built around power offensively. Very good defensive team. Their bullpen is outstanding and with the addition of [Francisco] Rodriguez, strengthens it even further. So tonight's an important game."

Game 104: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 26, 2013 02:48 PM

Here are today's lineups:

RED SOX (61-42)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: John Lackey (7-7, 2.95).

ORIOLES (57-46)
McLouth LF
Machado 3B
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Davis 1B
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Urrutia DH
Roberts 2B
Pitching: Chris Tillman (12-3, 3.84).

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Tillman: Pedroia 5-17, Ellsbury 2-12, Nava 2-9, Saltalamacchia 1-10, Iglesias 2-7, Ortiz 0-5, Carp 1-5, Napoli 3-6, Victorino 2-5, Lavarnway 0-3.

Orioles vs. Lackey: Markakis 16-45, Roberts 9-35, Jones 7-32, Davis 8-20, Wieters 5-21, Hardy 2-10, Casilla 1-11, Teagarden 2-9, Flaherty 0-3, Machado 2-3, McLouth 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox’s half-game lead in the AL East is their smallest since taking over first on May 27.

Notes: The Red Sox begin a three-game series with the Orioles at Camden Yards, part of a run of 10 straight games against AL East rivals … The Sox have lost five of their past eight … Coming off a rainout in their series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays, their lead in the division is a half-game … The Sox are 2-5 against the Orioles this season, 1-3 at Camden Yards … After winning four straight and eight of nine, the Orioles were swept in their three games series against the Royals in Kansas City. They averaged 5.6 runs over that nine-game hot stretch and just two in the series with the Royals … The Orioles are one of just two teams with three players with more 17 or more home runs (Toronto is the other). They have six players with more than 44 RBIs … John Lackey is facing the Orioles for the second time this season. He went seven innings and earned the win in the Sox' 5-2 victory in Baltimore last month … Lackey’s 2.95 ERA is the seventh-best in the American League … He has allowed two runs or less in six of his past seven starts … Chris Tillman has won eight of his past nine starts and is looking to become the first Orioles starter to win 13 games in a season since Erik Bedard in 2007. In two starts against the Sox this season, he is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and eight strikeouts … Mike Napoli is hitting .407 (11 for 27) with three homers, seven extra-base hits and five RBIs in his past eight games … David Ortiz is one homer shy of his 12th 20-homer season. It would be his 11th with the Red Sox, which would tie him for second-most behind Ted Williams’s 16 … The Orioles lead the majors with a .992 fielding percentage and are on pace to commit 51 errors this season. The record for fewest errors in a 162-game season is 65, set by the Seattle Mariners in 2003.

Song of the Day: ”It's Your Thing” by Cold Grits.

Pitching matchups for the Orioles series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 26, 2013 09:00 AM

Friday: RHP John Lackey (7-7, 2.95) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (12-3, 3.84), 7:05 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (9-7, 3.75), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Sunday: LHP Jon Lester (9-6, 4.50) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (7-7, 5.20), 1:35 p.m., NESN, TBS.

Red Sox eyeing Cuban pitcher

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 10:01 PM

Team president Larry Lucchino said on WEEI on Thursday that the Red Sox are looking “pretty hard” at Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, 26, has been pitching for scouts for several weeks and is expected to arrive at a decision within the next week. Sox general manager Ben Cherington has seen Gonzalez pitch in person.

Gonzalez has not pitched in two seasons in Cuba and it’s uncertain how quickly he would be ready for a major league game. Signing Gonzalez also would likely require a multi-year deal worth in the ballpark of $50 million, likely more.

The upside for the Red Sox would be acquiring pitching depth without shedding prospects in a trade.

“Reaching into your pocket for your wallet is much easier. We have some really talented young players in our minor league system, and Ben Cherington guards them like his first-born child. He really does want to grow this team internally,” Lucchino said.

Gonzalez briefly played in Cuba with Red Sox infielder Jose Iglesias.

Rays-Red Sox game postponed until Monday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 07:39 PM

Thursday night's game has been postponed. It will now be on Monday at 6:10 p.m. at Fenway Park. That was a mutual off day for both teams.

The Red Sox have changed up their rotation a bit.

John Lackey (Friday), Ryan Dempster (Saturday) and Jon Lester (Sunday) will face the Orioles this weekend. Felix Doubront will pitch in the makeup game on Monday.

Rookie Brandon Workman was pushed back until Tuesday against Seattle.

The Rays have not announced a starter for Monday's game. Joe Maddon said it would be David Price or Roberto Hernandez. Given Price's dominant performance against the Sox on Wednesday, hard to imagine it would not be him.

Rain delay at Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 06:52 PM

Thursday night's game has officially been delayed. Because this is Tampa Bay's final series at Fenway Park this season, the umpires determine whether the game is played.

The teams have four mutual off days including this Monday. The Red Sox are in Baltimore on Sunday and the Ray are in New York.

We will keep you posted.

Red Sox find success with defensive shifts

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 05:47 PM

The analysts at Baseball Info Solutions revealed an interesting statistic. The Red Sox have used an infield shift for 291 plate appearances this season and it has saved eight runs.

The Orioles lead the majors with 344 shifts and 10 runs saved. The Rays have saved nine runs.

The statistic takes into account runs that scored because of the shift. The Yankees, for instance, have shifted 302 times and have a sum total of zero runs saved.

The American League East is progressive defensively with the Orioles, Yankees, Rays and Red Sox in the top five in terms of shifts employed. The Dodgers, with 38, have the fewest.

Go to Acta Sports for more on this.

David Ross rejoins Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 04:33 PM

It's pouring at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have not announced any plans on tonight's game. We will keep you posted.

The Rays are at Fenway for the last time this season, so any makeup would have to be worked into the schedule. That usually means the teams will wait a while.

Meanwhile:

• David Ross, who has been on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a concussion, rejoined the team today. He is not eligible to be activated until mid-August.

Ross has been free of symptoms for three days now and on Tuesday was checked out by brain trauma specialist Dr. Michael Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Ross has not started baseball-type activities yet. He will work his way up to that.

• RHP Andrew Bailey underwent shoulder surgery in New York on Wednesday. He had a torn labrum and capsule repaired and is expected to miss a minimum of 12 months.

Unlike elbow surgery, which is fairly routine, shoulder surgery offers less guarantee of success.

• White Sox RHP Jake Peavy went seven innings against the Tigers this afternoon with Red Sox scouts on hand. He allowed four runs on four hits (three of them homers) with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Peavy, who is 32, has a 4.28 ERA this season through 13 starts. He is under contract for 2014 (at $14.5 million).

Peavy certainly would be a helpful player for the Red Sox to have right now. But where would he fit in 2014? The Sox have Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster all under contract for next season and hold an option on Jon Lester. They also have Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Anthiny Ranaudo and Matt Barnes knocking on the door to various degrees.

• White Sox reliever Jesse Crain, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, was not able to throw his scheduled bullpen session today. He will not be coming off the DL before the trade deadline.

• Jose Contreras has appeared in two games for Triple A Pawtucket, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings with three walks and seven strikeouts. He has not allowed a hit.

The 41-year-old righthander was signed to a minor league contract last week. John Farrell said the reports were positive about his velocity and the quality of his pitches.

Given that the likes of Pedro Beato and Jose De La Torre are on the roster now, the Red Sox may soon be taking a look at Contreras in the majors.

Game 104: Rays At Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 25, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (61-42)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-7, 2.95)

RAYS (60-42)
Jennings CF
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Myers RF
Loney 1B
Scott DH
Joyce LF
Lobaton C
Escobar SS
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Hellickson: Pedroia 5-28, Ortiz 8-22, Salty 7-23, Ellsbury 6-23, Napoli 2-11, Nava 1-10, Carp 2-7, Drew 3-7, Gomes 3-7, Iglesias 0-3, Victorino 0-3, Lavarnway 0-1.

Rays vs. Lackey: Longoria 10-31, Zobrist 11-27, Scott 7-21, Joyce 6-18, Escobar 8-15, Loney 4-16, Johnson 3-15, Molina 2-13, Jennings 1-11, Rodriguez 2-5, Fuld 0-3, Lobaton 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have not been in second place since May 25.

Notes: The Rays have taken two of the first three games of this four-game series. ... The Red Sox are a half game up on Tampa Bay in the division. ... The Sox have lost five of their last eight games for a simple reason: they've stopped hitting. The team is .225 with a .617 OPS in the last eight games and averaging 2.87 runs. ... The Rays have won seven of eight, 15 of 17 and 19 of 22. They have a 2.17 ERA in the last 22 games. ... Napoli is heating up, going 11 for 28 in his last eight games with seven extra-base hits and five RBIs. ... Matt Thornton in six appearances for the Red Sox since being acquired from the White Sox: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Opponents are 6 for 16 against him. ... Iglesias is 11 of his last 60 (.183) with 11 strikeouts. His batting average has dropped from .411 to .343 and his OPS from .990 to .819. ... Hellickson is 5-0, 2.19 in his last six starts. He has faced the Sox twice this season and allowed four earned runs over 13 innings. He is 4-2, 4.14 in 12 career appearances against the Sox. ... Lackey has been terrific much of the season not not so hot against the Rays in two starts, giving up nine runs on 19 hits over 10 innings. He is 12-7, 4.39 in 21 career starts against the Rays. Lackey has suffered from a lack of run support. He has a 2.95 ERA but the Sox are 8-9 in games he has started. ... The Sox are 10-5 against the Rays. After tonight, the teams have one series left this season.

Song of the Day: "The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff.

Ask Nick: What will Red Sox do at trade deadline?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 25, 2013 08:00 AM
There's a lot of discussion over what the Red Sox should do at the trading deadline. For me it’s simple – stick to the White Sox.

Try to work out a package for starter Jake Peavy and reliever Jesse Crain, solving both a rotation issue and a bullpen problem.

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Obviously, you have to see if Crain is healthy. He could start pitching again as soon as this weekend and the Red Sox will have scouts watching both pitchers. Peavy is ideal because he’s got that bulldog mentality and can handle postseason.

The biggest positive is that both pitchers have worked with Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, who speaks highly of both of them. Matt Thornton has already come over from the White Sox per Nieves’s recommendation. For a pitcher to be able to have familiarity with a pitching coach when you change teams, I think is huge.

Yes, you have to give up someone you don’t want to lose to make a deal like this happen, but you have to do it. This is Boston’s chance to win the AL East and really, to win it all. You don’t have this chance very often so when it’s there and you have the chips in your farm system to obtain veteran talent, I think you need to go for it.

This isn’t the time to hold back. The one advantage Boston has over Tampa Bay is the resources to make something big happen, to acquire players that can make an impact. If you have that advantage and don’t use it because of being afraid to trade prospects, that could backfire.

Here’s this week’s mailbag:

With the bullpen crumbling due to injury and with the uncertainty in the starting rotation, it seems the Sox have no choice but to part with some young talent. They don't have young arms to spare, so they'll have to deal from areas of depth like the left side of the infield. If the Sox could get Matt Thornton for Brandon Jacobs, what impact arms could they expect to get in return for Will Middlebrooks, Iglesias, and Jackie Bradley?
Peter, South Hamilton
Don’t think they’ll deal Bradley (for Ellsbury protection) or Iglesias (their future SS). I think Middlebrooks could be in play, but not one of the guys other teams are knocking the door down for at the moment. I agree, if they want a good veteran starter they have to give up somebody they don’t want to give up. That’s all there is to it. When you have a chance to win like they do this year, I think you have to go for it.

If you were to make one trade right now who would you go for? If it was me, I would trade for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Rene, Lawrence
That’s a good one Rene, but right now I’d trade for a starting pitcher (Peavy) and a reliever (Jesse Crain).

After Monday's start, Brandon Workman is only about 24 innings shy of his career high in innings pitched for a season (138). What do you think Farrell and the front office have in mind for his innings limit this season? Do you think they'll eventually shut him down or will they try and get everything they can out of him by sticking him in the pen?
Wade, Brighton
If the Red Sox acquire another starting pitcher, he’ll go back down to the minors and they’ll do whatever they need to do. But I haven’t heard a thing about limiting his innings. If he’s a viable starter for them I don’t think you’ll see any restrictions.

Tom Verducci's recent article on the Braun suspension suggests that MLB investigators may soon be looking into "young ballplayers from South Florida who were connected to [Alex] Rodriguez as something of a mentor." I remember reading a few years ago that Jose Iglesias trained with Rodriguez during the winters in Miami. Any indications that he'll be involved in the Biogenesis scandal?
Daniel, Providence
He trained with him briefly one winter two years ago. Haven’t heard Iglesias’s name implicated.

For more Q&A, click the full entry button.

FULL ENTRY

Farrell not concerned with hitting

Posted by Staff July 24, 2013 11:24 PM

The Red Sox have been in first place in the AL East since May 27 - a span of 97 days.

But over the last nine games, Boston is 4-5. The Sox are batting .221 with a .272 on-base percentage in that stretch.

Manager John Farrell doesn't sound concerned.

He attributed the slump to one thing: The Sox have run into good pitchers.

"Two lefties in this series [Matt Moore and David Price], [Hiroki] Kuroda in the previous series, we've gotten the best that this division offers," Farrell said. "They've thrown the ball extremely well. The biggest thing is that they've pitched ahead in the count. Those three starters, particularly."

Farrell was especially impressed with Price, who tossed his seventh career complete game -- and third of the season.

"He was throwing strikes all night," Farrell said. "In about the sixth inning, he was throwing 80 percent strikes, which is just unheard of ... Tip your hat. He pitched one heck of a game against us."

With Moore -- who also pitched a complete game against the Sox Monday -- and Price leading the Rays' staff, Farrell sees Tampa Bay as a legitimate threat coming down the stretch.

"For years, they've rode the strength of their rotation," Farrell said. "That's no different now. They've got two lefthanders that are pitching as well as anyone in the game."

Final: Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Posted by Staff July 24, 2013 06:40 PM

Final: Rays 5, Red Sox 1:For the second time in three games, a Tampa Bay lefty shut down the Sox and pitched a complete game. On Monday, it was Matt More. Tonight it was David Price, who surrendered only five hits on 97 pitches. Boston's only offense came in the seventh -- a solo homer from the suddenly hot Mike Napoli. The series finale is tomorrow night and the Rays will have a chance to jump ahead in the AL East standings.

Top of the 9th, Rays 5, Red Sox 1:Drake Britton came in for the ninth, facing Tampa Bay's 2, 3 and 4 hitters. He surrendered a single to Zobrist, but escaped unscathed.

Bottom of the 8th, Rays 5, Red Sox 1: Saltalamacchia grounded out, Iglesias struck out and Ellsbury popped out. Price's pitch count has only reached 87. He will probably close out the game and it appears the Rays have found Boston's achilles heel: Overpowering left-handed starters. (Matt Moore pitched a complete game shutout on Monday).

Top of the 8th, Rays 5, Red Sox 1: The Rays tacked on another two runs. One was charged to Beato, the other to Matt Thornton who pitched the final two outs of the inning.

Bottom of the 7th, Rays 3, Red Sox 1: Ortiz grounded out, but finally something for the Sox offense: Napoli homers on a 1-0 count, his 14th home run of the season. Napoli has now hit five home runs over his last 14 games. Price retired Gomes and Drew to end the inning.

Top of the 7th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0:Doubront registered back-to-back groundouts. But after issuing a two-out walk to Jennings, Farrell and Co. came to the mound, meaning Doubront's night was done. Doubront has now recorded a 2.71 ERA over his last 13 starts -- a big improvement over how he began the season (a 6.40 ERA through his first six appearances). Tonight, Doubront was really only guilty of one bad inning. Otherwise a pretty solid start, which included five strikeouts.

Pedro Beato got the call from the bullpen. He retired Longoria on four pitches.

Bottom of the 6th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0: Remarkable that Price entered this inning with a pitch count of 47. He needed 13 pitches to escape the sixth, which included a bunt single from Victorino.

Top of the 6th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0Doubront surrendered a single but no runs. Inning ended as Loney struck out swinging on a 93 mile per hour fastball. Doubront has only used 90 pitches, so expect him back out for the seventh.

Bottom of the 5th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0: Napoli led off with a double, becoming the first Sox player to have a plate appearance of more than five pitches. Price has been incredibly economical. The double came on his 40th pitch. But Napoli was stranded as inning ends with three straight fly outs.

Top of the 5th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0:A 1-2-3 inning for Doubront, including a strikeout. He's at 79 pitches through five.

Bottom of the 4th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0:Infield single by Victorino kicked off the inning but Pedroia grounded into a double play. Missed the last play because an Ortiz fly ball shot through the open window of the press box and whizzed about an inch past my head. I was lame and ducked. Colleague tells me Ortiz retired by a fly out.

Top of the 4th, Rays 3, Red Sox 0:Doubront surrendered a leadoff single, but recovered as Molina hit into a 1-6-3 double play and Escobar grounded out because of a very nice defensive effort by Iglesias.

Bottom of the 3rd, Rays 3, Red Sox 0: Saltalamacchia, Iglesias and Ellsbury all ground out. Price -- who came in tonight averaging 11 pitcher per inning over his last four starts -- is pitching extremely effectively. Just 27 pitches through three innings.

Top of the 3rd, Rays 3, Red Sox 0:Yunel Escobar grounded out to bring up the top of the lineup. Jennings singled on a hit to left field (misplaced by Gomes), then advanced to second on a throwing error by Doubront. That brought up Longoria, who has hit three home runs in his last five games (he hit only one home run in the previous 18 contests). Longoria singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Zobrist reached first on a fielder's choice then Myers, working another long at-bat, cashed in on the bases loaded situation. His bloop single scored two runs.

A double steal put runners on second and third. A sac fly from Scott scored Zobrist. Inning ends on a strikeout. Not a good inning for Doubront, charged with three runs on 23 pitches.

Bottom of the 2nd, Rays 0, Red Sox 0: David Oriz led off by ripping a single to left field. Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes both struck out looking. Stephen Drew, who entered tonight hitting .338 over his last 19 games at Fenway, grounded out to Price to end the inning.

Top of the 2nd, Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Three up, three down -- all groundouts. All 4-3s (to Pedroia).

Bottom of the 1st, Rays 0, Red Sox 0:Ellsbury, back in the leadoff spot after a night off, grounded out. Shane Victorino grounded out, too. That brought up Dustin Pedroia and his brand new $110 million contract. Fitting that "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," played as he walked up to plate. Pedroia uncharacteristically struck out to end the inning. A solid nine pitch inning for Price. Of those nine pitches, eight were strikes.

Top of the 1st, Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Doubront got things going early by registering back-to-back strikeouts on a combined nine pitches. The victims? Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria. Ben Zobrist singled on a 74 mile per hour curveball. Then came Wil Myers, the only rookie this season to homer at both Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Myers worked a nine-pitch at bat and walked. Inning ends after Luke Scott grounded out.

Pregame: Hey everyone. Emily Kaplan here once again to blog tonight's game between the Red Sox and Rays. Boston leads Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games in the AL East standings. Big news this afternoon was the official announcement of Dustin Pedroia's new contract (see below post). Gist of it? He's the highest-paid second baseman in baseball.

On the mound tonight it's Felix Doubront (7-3, 3.76 ERA) vs David Price (4-5, 4.03).

Sox starters have allowed three earned runs or less in 16 of the team's last 20 games. Doubront, specifically, has pitched extremely well of late. In his last 12 starts, Doubront has a 2.59 ERA.

Jacoby Ellsbury is back to the leadoff spot tonight. He's hit safely in 22 of his last 26 games, hitting .370 with eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in that span. And six steals, too.

Boston will need to crack Price, who has been sensational since returning from a stint on the DL. In his last four starts, Price is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA. Batters are hitting .213 off him in that span, where he's averaging just 11 pitches per inning.

Should be a good one. Stay tuned for updates and, as always, comment below.

Another Buchholz update

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 24, 2013 05:38 PM

Clay Buchholz threw well on flat ground from 90 feet "with increasing intensity" Wednesday according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Farrell said Buchholz felt good after the session.

Buchholz reiterated that Buchholz will throw three bullpen sessions, a simulated game and then at least one minor-league rehab start.

Farrell said Buchholz is "moving in the right direction."

But ask for a possible date of return and whether the "4 for 5" starts in the regular season is plausible as Dr. Andrews told Buchholz, "I haven't gotten to the point of a date," Farrell said. "I look at it is as those three phases along the way and whatever date that brings us to. Clay will be on the mound when he's ready. I think it's premature to start to forecast any kind of time range."….

Red Sox make Dustin Pedroia baseball's highest-paid second baseman

Posted by Staff July 24, 2013 03:59 PM
Dustin Pedroia is the highest-paid second baseman in baseball.

The Red Sox announced an eight-year extension for Pedroia on Wednesday. The deal takes Pedroia through the 2021 season, when he will be 38.

"If we're going to bet on someone at 37 or 38 years old, we're not sure there's a better guy to bet on," said general manager Ben Cherington.

The deal is worth $110 million, per a source, and includes some trade protection – although not a full no-trade clause.

Pedroia joins Manny Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford as Red Sox players to receive $100 million-plus deals.

“This contract does represent an exception for us,” Cherington said. “As we told Dustin in spring training, he’s absolutely the right person to make an exception for.”

According to a source, the structure of the deal is as follows:

$1 million signing bonus
2014: $12.5 million
2015: $12.5 million
2016: $13 million
2017: $15 million
2018: $16 million
2019: $15 million
2020: $13 million
2021: $12 million

Pedroia's said the deal was a "no-brainer" and never considered testing the market.

"I'm not here to set markets," Pedroia said. "I'm here to win more games than the other second basemen."

The deal is on a bell curve, meaning the salary becomes manageable for a player who will be older and theoretically less productive toward the end.

"This place is the only place I've known since I started playing professional baseball," said Pedroia, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2004. "It's my home. I love every part of being a Red Sox."

The deal was announced at Fenway Park, about four hours before the AL East-leading Sox face the Rays in the third of a four-game series.

A blue table was set up in the middle of the field, where Cherington, Pedroia and manager John Farrell addressed the media – and select fans who filtered into the park.

A group of people in the 100 level chanted, "Dust-in! Dust-in!" as Pedroia took his seat.

Pedroia's wife and two sons sat to the side. Pedroia's oldest, son, Dylan, played around in the dirt and had dirty pants by the end of the conference – just like his father, who is known for his athletic, diving plays at second base.

"Always in my heart, I always thought I'd play every game for the Red Sox," Pedroia said. "So just being here right now, and this happening, it's a great feeling."

Most of the Sox players sat in the dugout and watched. Toward the end, designated hitter David Ortiz walked to the infield and picked up the second base. He brought it over to Pedroia, interrupting Pedroia mid-sentence.

Ortiz then stole the mic and glanced at Cherington.

"By the way, you got the time wrong buddy," Ortiz said. "When we play a night game, this [guy] is here by noon."

Globe reporter Peter Abraham contributed to this report.

Game 103: Rays At Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 24, 2013 02:50 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (61-41)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (7-3, 3.76).

RAYS (59-42)
Jennings CF
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Myers RF
Scott DH
Rodriguez LF
Loney 1B
Molina C
Escobar SS
Pitching: LHP David Price (4-5, 4.03).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, ESPN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroia 12-35, Ortiz 6-27, Ellsbury 7-27, Napoli 6-21, Nava 1-18, Gomes 3-11, Victorino 2-10, Salty 1-9, Lavarnway 2-7, Iglesias 2-6, Snyder 1-4, Drew 0-2.

Rays vs. Doubront: Zobrist 3-16, Escobar 4-15, Longoria 3-11, Johnson 4-13, Rodrguez 3-14, Jennings 3-11, Scott 3-11, Loney 1-5, Joyce 1-3, Lobaton 0-4, Myers 1-3, Molina 0-0 (HBP).

Stat of the Day: Red Sox pitchers have a 2.98 ERA in 14 games against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay is hitting .234/.307/.373 against the Sox.

Notes: The teams have split the first two games of the four-game series. The Sox are 1.5 games up on the Rays in the division. ... Doubront is 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in his last 12 starts. He is 3-0, 2.05 in the last four. Doubront has faced the Rays twice this season and allowed two earned runs over 13 innings. ... Doubront is 2-1, 3.05 in nine career appearances against the Rays, six of them starts. ... Price is 3-1, 1.97 since coming off the disabled list on July 2. In two starts against the Sox this season, he has allowed five earned runs over 8.1 innings. Price strained his triceps facing the Sox on May 15, which landed him on the DL. ... Price is 8-5, 3.27 in 17 career starts against the Sox, 4-1, 2.13 in eight games at Fenway. ... Iglesias is 9 of his last 49 (.184) and hasn't had an extra-base hit since July 4. ... The Sox are 26-17 against the AL East. ... Ortiz is 8 of 18 since the All-Star break but doesn't have an RBI since July 10.

Song of the Day: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

The risks and rewards of signing Pedroia now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 24, 2013 02:05 PM

Dustin Pedroia has the lowest slugging percentage of his career for a very simple reason. On Opening Day, with the Red Sox up by six runs in the ninth inning, he decided it was an excellent idea to dive into first base.

Pedroia was out, as he deserved to be. Diving into first base is almost always a bad idea because it slows you down.

In this case it was a terrible idea because Pedroia tore a ligament in his thumb that only recently has fully healed. As a result, he has 32 extra-base hits.

That makes signing Pedroia to a seven-year, $100 million extension [which will be announced today] a risky proposition. While Pedroia is to be commended for playing every minute of every game with passion, that takes a toll on his body.

Will Pedroia physically be able to play second base at a high level as he gets into his mid to late 30s? If he can't, where will he play? He really doesn't profile at another position.

Those are valid questions. The Red Sox have Pedroia under their control through the end of the 2015 season under his present contract. They could have waited until then, assessed his viability and paid him accordingly for five seasons.

But the $100 million he will instead receive is based on much more than whether he will be a good second baseman in six or seven years.

As the Yankees did with Derek Jeter and the Mets with David Wright, the Red Sox recognize the need to strengthen their brand. Once David Ortiz retires, Pedroia will be the player who embodies their franchise. In times good and bad, he'll be the player who stands up and represents their investment to the public.

He will be the player prospects like Jose Iglesias, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Garin Cecchini and Blake Swihart will emulate. Whatever the 2016 Red Sox are like, his stamp will be on that team. His personality will be the dominant one in that clubhouse.

Long-term contracts and seniority are status in a clubhouse. For the next eight seasons, Pedroia is the sheriff.

No formula can determine the worth of that. But there is a worth. That stuff matters when you're trying to run a business. The Red Sox put their faith in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford a few years ago and the whole thing went up in flames. In Pedroia, John Henry and Tom Werner have a player in that room they can trust to do the right thing.

The money will come out to $14.23 million a season on the average. That's a lot, but that's not close to outrageous in 2013 terms. There are 46 players who will make more than that this season. That's right, 46.

Waiting also could cost the Red Sox more. Robinson Cano will be a free agent after this season and figures to command a deal worth close to $20 million a year. Pedroia's agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, would have welcomed that news. That could have gone to the Red Sox and offered to cut them a break at $17 million a year.

Pedroia also has been one of baseball best bargains for years now. Will some of that $14.23 million in 2016 and 2017 be for past serviced rendered? Perhaps. But so what? He was paid $457,000 the year he won the MVP.

Baseball's salaries are only going to go up with the television money being funneled into the game. This deal makes financial sense for the Red Sox.

Here's some advice for the Sox: Insert a clause telling the guy not to dive into first base.

Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 24, 2013 12:52 AM

Shane Victorino, a dedicated fan of the late Bob Marley, always comes to the plate to one of his songs. It's usually "Buffalo Soldier." But in this homestand, Victorino switched to "Three Little Birds."

The crowd has picked up on it and started to swing along.

"Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be all right," was wafting through the lower section of Fenway on Tuesday and Victorino was smiling as he walked to the plate.

"They did that in Philly, too," he said. "It's cool. I really love it."

What better sentiment on a night Jon Lester pitched so well? The big lefty pitched into the seventh inning in a 6-2 win. Lester allowed two runs over 6.1 innings and matched his season high with eight strikeouts. Of equal significance was that Lester didn’t issue a walk.

“This was a big game for us,” manager John Farrell said. “For him to come out and respond and take control of the game as he did — very encouraging."

“He looked like himself,” teammate David Ortiz said. “That’s the guy we need. He’s huge for us.”

In his last two starts, Lester has changed the distribution of his pitches. In two-strike counts, he has gone away from his cutter and more to the other pitches.

The cutter, while has been an effective pitch for Lester in recent years, had become predictable in its use.

“If you talk to anybody that's going to face me, I think that’s always in the back of their mind as far as a pitch that I’m going to try to get you out with," Lester said. "If you're able to maybe show it a little earlier and show some pitches that you normally don't throw later in the count you can get some mis-hits and swing-and-misses. It's a game of adjustments. You always have to constantly make adjustments and we’re doing that right now.”

Lester got three strikeouts with his four-seam fastball against the Rays, two with his curveball, two with his sinker, and one with a changeup.

If Lester can build on that performance, it would be a big lift for the Sox, especially with Clay Buchholz not coming back any time soon.

Also:

• The Sox scored three runs in the eighth inning off Kyle Farnsworth to wrap the game up.

Mike Napoli doubled with one out and took third on a single by Jonny Gomes.

Stephen Drew’s single — his first hit since coming off the disabled list on Saturday — scored Napoli. Gomes took third. After Drew stole second, Jose Iglesias then bounced a ball into the hole on the left side, the ball sneaking through onto the outfield grass. Gomes scored and Drew tore around the bases to beat the throw to the plate.

It was a rare two-run infield single and the Sox were in control.

• The Sox are 34-18 at Fenway with wins in 11 of their last 14. They won 34 games at home all last season.

• The Sox are 20-1 when they score first at home.

• Mike Napoli (2 for 4) is 9 of his last 24 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and four RBIs.

• Koji Uehara, who pitched a perfect ninth, has allowed one earned run in his last 21 innings since June 10. Only two of the last 24 batters he has faced have reached base. His ERA is down to 1.59 and he has 65 strikeouts in 45.1 innings.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia has 25 doubles, matching Dustin Pedroia and Napoli for the team lead.

• Sox pitchers struck out 13 without a walk.

Final: Red Sox 6, Rays 2

Posted by Staff July 23, 2013 06:12 PM

Final: Red Sox 6, Rays 2: The Sox rebounded from a poor offensive showing on Monday night to defeat the Rays in Game 2 of this four-game set. With the win, Boston builds its AL East lead back up to 1.5 games.

The big story was pitching as Jon Lester produced a solid, eight-strikeout outing and relievers pitched a shutout from there. Thanks for following along and be sure to check tomorrow's Globe for full coverage.

Bottom of the 8th, Red Sox 6, Rays 2:The Sox offense breaks out. A two-out RBI single by Drew gives the Sox an insurance run and then Iglesias breaks out of his personal slump with -- what else? -- an infield hit. That accounts for two RBIs as Koji Uehara will get a four run lead as he enters in the ninth.

Drew aggressively went from second to the plate on Iggy's hit.

Top of the 8th, Red Sox 3, Rays 2:Jonny Gomes replaces Carp in left field to begin the inning. On the mound, Tazawa retires the Rays in order, including back-to-back strikeouts (Zobrist and Longoria) and a groundout from Myers.

Bottom of the 7th, Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Victorino pops out, Nava flies out, Pedroia grounds out and the Sox offense remains stagnant.

Top of the 7th, Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Lester gets Loney to line out before surrendering a double to Molina. That will be Lester's final batter of the evening as Matt Thornton is called in from the bullpen. Lester gets a loud applause as he walks to the dugout. A very solid outing -- his best in a while. His final line: 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 0 BB and 8 K. The eight strikeouts match a season-high.

Thonton comes in for just one batter, gets him to groundout, and Farrell brings in Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa is extremely effective -- a three-pitch strikeout to Jennings to end the inning.

Bottom of the 6th, Red Sox 3, Rays 2: Hernandez's night is done. Lefty Alex Torres comes in from the bullpen, and opens up the inning by striking out Carp. Satalamacchia singles, but is stranded on first after Drew strikes out and Iglesias flies out.

Top of the 6th, Red Sox 3, Rays 2:Just as Lester looked like he was finding his groove, he let up another leadoff home run. This one to Longoria, on a 1-0 pitch. Lester escapes the rest of the inning unscathed. He's at only 90 pitches through six, so should be good for the seventh.

Bottom of the 5th, Red Sox 3, Rays 1: Just as Hernandez's pitch count reaches 80, it appears there is some activity in the Rays' bullpen. That happens sometime in Victorino's at bat, which culminates in a ground out. Up next, Nava doubles off the Green Monster, then steals third on a wild pitch. Pedroia scores Nava on a sac fly. Ortiz singles but Napoli grounds out to end the inning. Hernandez finished the inning, but not sure if he'll make it out for the sixth.

Top of the 5th, Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Another strikeout for Lester. The latest victim is Molina to open the fifth. Rodriguez singles. Jennings works a long at bat (eight pitches) before striking out swinging on a 94 mile per hour fastball. Zobrist falls behind 0-2 in the count and flies out to end the inning.

Bottom of the 4th, Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Carp strikes out. Saltalamacchia doubles but the next two batters retire to keep the Sox off the board.

Top of the 4th, Red Sox 2, Rays 1:Lester surrenders a leadoff double to Myers, offensive star of the game (so far). Joyce strikes out. Escobar flies out, allowing Myers to tag up at third. With two outs, Loney strikes out by checking his swing on a 79 mile per hour curve ball. That ups Lester's strikeout total to six and his pitch count to 59 through four.

Bottom of the 3rd, Red Sox 2, Rays 1:Leadoff double for Victorino, who has now hit in 18 of his last 24 games. Nava flies out to deep center field, allowing Victorino to tag up at third. Pedroia takes a nasty pitch to his back -- not pretty -- prompting a team visit to the mound to talk to Hernandez. Pedroia's injury doesn't seem serious.

With Ortiz at the plate, Pedoria steals second. An errant throw by Molina allows Victorino to score. Ortiz grounds out, moving Pedroia to third. Inning ends as Napoli grounds out, too. Hernandez's pitch count has reached 65.

Top of the 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 1:Sean Rodriguez grounds out and Desmond Jennings singles. Then Ben Zobrist, who tallied three hits last night, strikes out swinging -- the fourth strikeout for Lester tonight. Evan Longoria grounds out to end the inning.

Bottom of the 2nd, Rays 1, Red Sox 1:A leadoff single for David Ortiz. Napoli follows it up by ripping a hit to left field. The courageous Ortiz tries to take two bases -- he is not very close, tagged out at third by at least two steps. Mike Carp singles to right field, which scores Napoli and ties the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia walks, but Stephen Drew flies out and Jose Iglesias grounds out to end the inning.

Four batters on base, yet only one run. Hernandez's pitch count is up to 47.

Top of the 2nd, Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Hotshot rookie Wil Myers, who made his Major League debut here at Fenway a few weeks ago, took the first pitch he saw to lead off the second. Home run into the Monster seats. Lester has now allowed 12 homers in his last 67 innings.

The lefty retires Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar before James Loney singles. Jose Molina strikes out to end the inning. Myers' homer is the only damage.

Bottom of the 1st, Rays 0, Red Sox 0:Shane Victorino leads off as Jacoby Ellsbury is taking the night off. Victorino works an 11 pitch at-bat, but flies out. Daniel Nava takes eight pitches before grounding out. Then comes Dustin Pedroia, whose first-inning cheers sound extra loud tonight -- maybe some pregame news had something to do with that? The second baseman grounds out, too. In total, Hernandez threw 22 pitches. No hits for either team.

Top of the 1st, Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Lester is trying to get back on track and this is a pretty big start. It won't be easy against the Rays. A good stat of note: Tampa Bay is 20-10 this season against when the opposition starts a lefty. The Rays are hitting a Major League-best .288 against left-handed pitchers. The next best average? The Giants at .265.

But Lester is off to a good start. A 1-2-3 first inning, including two strikeouts. Only needed 14 pitches -- nine were strikes.

Pregame: The tarp came on, the tarp came off, the tarp came on again. With ominous clouds -- and occasional thunderstorms -- the status of this game seemed dubious all day. But nearing first pitch (scheduled for 7:10 p.m.), looks like things have cleared up. We should be good to go for game two of this critical series between the AL East's top two teams.

Emily Kaplan here and I'll be providing updates throughout the game. The Rays won the opener, 3-0, last night to climb within 1/2 games of the Red Sox for first place. Tampa Bay has won 18 of its last 20 games, including the last six straight. The 182 run is the best 20-game stretch by an AL team since 2006.

It's up to Jon Lester (8-6, 4.58 ERA) to stop the scorching Rays. Lester, whose start was pushed back for some extra rest following the All Star break, is 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA in his last 11 starts. Remember, he began the season 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA over nine starts.

Righty Roberto Hernandez (5-10, 4.90 ERA) will start for the Rays.

Stay tuned and, as always, comment below.

Clay Buchholz has 'no timeline' on return

Posted by Staff July 23, 2013 04:09 PM

Clay Buchholz received positive news about the health of his shoulder when he visited the esteemed Dr. James Andrews on Monday. But how positive depends on who you ask.

Buchholz indicated on Tuesday that he may not be ready to pitch in a major league game until late August or early September.

"I definitely have a strain in there," Buchholz said. "The strength of my shoulder was as good as it's ever been. It's all in the throwing motion."

After speaking with Andrews, Buchholz believes the problem stems from his trying to push through the initial injury that occurred in June.

"It's probably partly my fault because I want to come back more than probably anybody wants me to be back. Probably been pushing myself a little bit too much," he said. "That was the problem we were running into. I'd feel really good for a day or two or three and then try and get off a mound and it'd be like a re-strain and start from square one again. That's what I've been doing for a month and a half and it's been miserable."

Buchholz said the injury — a strained bursa sac — should heal fairly soon and that his shoulder is otherwise structurally sound. Andrews, in fact, told Buchholz that his shoulder was better than he might have expected for a 28-year-old major league pitcher.

But Andrews also counseled patience. According to Buchholz, Andrews told him not to try pitching off a mound until he could throw from 90 feet at full intensity and not feel any pain.

"That's when the light comes on and I can start throwing off the mound," Buchholz said.

Because Buchholz has not pitched in a game since June 8, he would need time to get in game shape. At a minimum, that would involve three bullpen sessions, a simulated game and then a minor league rehabilitation game.

On Monday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Buchholz would have "more readiness on his part to push through" any pain he felt.

Buchholz doesn't necessarily agree with that.

"That's another thing. If I do this too quick then I'm going to be dealing with it for the rest of the year," he said. "I think that's a risk for me because I wouldn't be able to pitch right now. ... Knowing that if I don't do this right, [Andrews] said you can either pitch four or five starts in the last half of the season and hopefully we're lucky enough to go to the playoffs and pitch in the playoffs. Or you can do it wrong and not pitch at all."

Getting back for four or five starts would suggest Buchholz may not come off the disabled list for another month.

"There's no timeline on it," Buchholz said. "I'm gong to go as quick as I can at the comfort level that he told me to go at."

Said Farrell: "Whatever time is needed, Clay is going to return to us when he's ready."

Buchholz said trying to pitch now would be fruitless.

"The last couple of bullpens that I've tried, it wouldn't be fun for me to go out and pitch the way it felt. And that was going at 70 percent in the bullpen. I don't want to imagine what it would feel like at 100 percent," he said.

Buchholz said Andrew told him to be careful. "His exact words were, 'This could turn into something if you allow it to. If you go out there and throw 100 percent it won't be good,' " he said.

Farrell said the Red Sox will approach Buchholz's return in phases.

"The reconditioning and the strength gains from a throwing standpoint to then incorporating the mound," he said. "This will all be determined on Clay's tolerance and how he responds to the increase in intensity."

Buchholz was asked how confident he was about being able to start again this season.

"I said I was pretty confident I was going to pitch a month and a half ago. But I feel good about it knowing the steps that I have to take to get back and not pushing myself over the edge," he said. "I feel pretty good about it."

Said Farrell: "I think we're still very optimistic he's going to pitch for us. To be determined on the date."

Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 earned run average before he went on the disabled list.

"I was having the best season that I ever thought that I could have in this game. And I promise you I definitely want to be out there pitching. I feel like I wouldn't give the team the best chance to win if I go out there at 60 percent," he said.

Game 102: Rays At Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 02:48 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (60-41)
Victorino CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-6, 4.58).

RAYS (59-41)
Jennings CF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Myers RF
Joyce DH
Escobar SS
Loney 1B
Molina C
Rodriguez LF
Pitching: RHP Roberto Hernandez (5-10, 4.90).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Hernandez: Ortiz 10-24, Pedroia 3-18, Napoli 6-22, Ellsbury 4-17, Salty 3-10, Gomes 0-8, Victorino 1-6, Drew 1-3, Nava 2-4, Carp 0-2, Iglesias -3.

Rays vs. Lester: Longoria 12-52, Zobrist 9-45, Escobar 9-30, Rodriguez 4-22, Molina 8-23, Jennings 8-22, Johnson 0-12, Scott 0-11, Joyce 4-8, Lobaton 0-7, Fuld 1-6, Loney 1-5.

Stat of the Day: The Rays are only the fourth team in the last 10 years to go 18-2 or better in a 20-game span.

Notes: Tampa Bay is a half-game behind the Red Sox after winning six straight, 14 of 15 and 18 of 20. ... The Sox have lost four of six. ... The Sox are 9-4 against the Rays this season. ... Lester is 2-6, 6.27 in his last 11 starts. He has had nine days off and the Red Sox are hopeful the extra rest will benefit him. Lester is 11-9, 4.36 in 25 career starts against the Rays. In three starts this season he has allowed 10 earned runs over 18.2 innings. ... Hernandez (once known as Fausto Carmona) is 3-4, 3.66 in 10 career appearances against the Sox. He faced them on June 11 and allowed three earned runs over seven innings.

Song of the Day: "Bag of Money" by Wale (featuring Rick Ross, Meek Mill & T-Pain).

Red Sox agree on contract extension with Pedroia

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 02:31 PM

Dustin Pedroia is likely to end his career as a member of the Red Sox.

The second baseman, a senior team official said, has agreed to terms on a 7-year, $100 million contract extension that would take him through the 2021 season, at which point he would be 38 years old.

Other than to say he was pleased with the developments, Pedroia preferred the team to make the announcement.

"It's not official or anything," Pedroia said. "The club will announce that. But it's not going to change who I am or my role with this team. My job is to go out there and try to help us win a game every day and try to do all I can to make that happen."

Pedroia is signed through the 2014 season. The Red Sox held a team option worth $11 million for 2015 but will forfeit that under the terms of the new contract. Starting in 2015, Pedroia will receive an average of $14.28 million a season through the end of the deal.

Pedroia also has full no-trade protection. It is the first $100-million deal for a second baseman.

Since spring training, when the sides first began talking, Pedroia told agents Seth and Sam Levinson that his goal was to stay with the Red Sox for the remainder of his career.

"It's really important," he said. "The Red Sox drafted me and a lot of teams passed on me because of my size and stuff like that. It's pretty important. That's why I want to work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the right choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career."

The Red Sox had dual motivations to sign Pedroia now rather than waiting for his current deal to expire. From owner John Henry down throughout the organization, Pedroia is regarded as a model player both for his performance and personality. He has become the de facto captain of the team and, along with designated hitter David Ortiz, the face of the franchise.

"He sets the tone for us. He embodies everything that we value as far as a player," manager John Farrell said.

The Red Sox also should benefit financially by signing Pedroia before Robinson Cano of the Yankees becomes a free agent after the season and sets a new standard for second basemen.

Although Pedroia compares favorably to Cano statistically and is 10 months younger, Cano could realize an average annual value of close to $20 million. If Pedroia had waited for Cano to set the market, his extension could have been worth more.

"I don’t look at it like that," he said. "I try and and look at I want to be in a place that's special to me and this place has been that."

A television reporter breathlessly asked Pedroia if his teammates would look differently at him.

"Not really," he cracked. "They still have to look down at me."

News of Pedroia's extension first came from WEEI.com.

Red Sox wives host Can and Cash Drive

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 09:15 AM

The Red Sox wives are teaming up with The Greater Boston Food Bank to host their 22nd annual Can & Cash Drive on Wednesday and Thursday at Fenway Park.

Beginning at 5 p.m., fans can make a cash donation at any of the Fenway gates. For every $10 donation, GBFB can 30 provide meals to those in need. Those who give will receive an autographed photo of a Red Sox player.

Last year’s event raised $16,655 and 2,224 pounds of food, enough to provide 40,116 meals to those in need.

Matt Moore dominates Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 12:07 AM

The Red Sox staggered out of Fenway Park in the early hours of Monday morning after an 11-inning victory against the Yankees.

The Rays were watching from their hotel rooms, having arrived in Boston around the time the third inning started.

But don't blame the schedule for Monday's 3-0 loss against the Rays. A restful night probably wasn't going to help against Matt Moore.

The 24-year-old lefthander dominated the Red Sox, giving up two hits and a walk in his first career shutout. The Sox advanced only one runner beyond first base and never came close to scoring.

“I think that’s probably the best game I’ve thrown taking into consideration the Red Sox are playing pretty well right now and we're on the road,” Moore said.

Welcome to the pennant race. The Rays have won six straight, 14 of 15, and 18 of their last 20 games. They now sit only a half-game behind the Red Sox with three games left in the series.

“We knew what kind of team they had,” Sox right fielder Shane Victorino said. “A night like this, you tip your cap to the pitcher. He was great.”

Moore (14-3) was never really challenged. Of the 24 balls the Red Sox put in play, 11 were ground outs and five were popups. Moore threw only 65 pitches through the first six innings and finished the game with 109, 74 for strikes.

Monday was the first time in 52 career starts Moore pitched beyond the eighth inning.

“You saw him at his absolute best tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Moore joined Steve Trachsel as the only Tampa Bay pitchers to throw a shutout at Fenway. Trachsel beat the Sox and Pedro Martinez, 1-0, on May 6, 2000. Martinez struck out 17 in the loss.

Rookie Brandon Workman (1-0) took the loss this time. In his first appearance at Fenway since the Cape Cod League All-Star Game in 2009, Workman allowed two runs over six innings. He walked two and struck out four.

“He keeps the games under control and he shows some maturity on the mound for just three appearances at the big league level,” John Farrell said.

Workman, a second-round draft pick in 2010, has been developed as a starting pitcher. But the Sox called him up from Triple A Pawtucket on July 9 with the intent of making him a reliever, at least temporarily.

Workman ended up in the rotation when fellow rookie Allen Webster was demoted following a rough start against the Seattle Mariners.

In two starts since, Workman has allowed four earned runs on nine hits over 12.1 innings. With Clay Buchholz still weeks away from returning, Workman’s spot in the rotation seems secure for now.

No-hit innings pile up for Salem's Henry Owens

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 23, 2013 12:00 AM

Henry Owens, who turned 21 on Sunday, may be the best pitcher in the minor leagues at the moment. The tall lefthander has thrown 15 consecutive no-hit innings for Single A Salem since July 11.

His latest gem came Monday night at Potomac when Owens threw five shutout innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. In his last two starts, Owens has thrown 11 shutout innings with nine walks and 19 strikeouts. During that time, only three balls have left the infield.

Owens (8-4) has dropped his ERA to 2.78. Opponents have just 62 hits in 97 innings against him this year.

(Thanks to Evan Lepler, Salem's director of broadcasting and media relations, for some of this information).

Victorino: Braun suspension 'very unfortunate'

Posted by Staff July 23, 2013 12:00 AM

On Monday, Major League Baseball suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun without pay for the remainder of the season, citing multiple violations of the sport's drug program.

Braun, 29, accepted the penalty. He will lose $3.25 million and miss the final 65 games of the Brewers’ season — plus any potential postseason games.

Baseball’s biggest story broke just as batting practice wrapped up at Fenway Park. Because of the timing, many players said they saw the headline but didn't yet know details.

Shane Victorino, who played with Braun in two World Baseball Classics, commented at length about the suspension.

"I've known Brauny. I've known him personally," Victorino said. "It's a sad situation. The first time it happened I put my support behind him. Now, looking back on it, it's kind of like, well ... But you support your guys that you play with, support the guys that you know.

“It's individuals that have to take care of the situation and understand the consequences that come with that when they do things like that."

Victorino continuously referred to the suspension as “a very unfortunate situation.”

“I don’t sit and worry about what’s going on there,” he said. “I have to worry about myself and worry about what the Red Sox are doing.”

Still, Victorino said it was tough to see someone he knows well connected.

“But he obviously got caught,” Victorino said. “He'll face the consequences. But the game of baseball will still go on."

Final: Rays 3, Red Sox 0

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 07:00 PM

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Matt Moore was dominant, throwing a two-hit complete-game shutout that pushed the Rays to a 3-0 win over the Red Sox at Fenway. The Rays have won 18 of their past 25 and cut the Sox's lead in the American League East to just a half-game.

Moore faced just 29 batters, two over the minimum, striking out four to win his major-league leading 14th game of the season.

Rookie right-hander Brandon Workman did his best to duel with the hot-handed lefty, bouncing back from a 33-pitch first inning to throw six solid frames, giving up just two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts of his own.

But the Rays were able to piece together run support with James Loney going 1 for 4 with 2 RBIs The only Sox that managed to muster hits off Moore were David Ortiz (1 for 3) and Mike Napoli (1 for 2).

FULL ENTRY

Franklin Morales returns to the mound

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 06:13 PM

Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales, who has been on the disabled list since June 25 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw in the bullpen at Fenway Park today and said he hopes to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.

Morales said the plan was to throw in the bullpen again on Wednesday and Friday to build up arm strength ahead of that rehab assignment.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "Everything is fine now."

Morales said the strain is on the upper part of his chest near the armpit and shoulder. He first experienced the issue in April then re-aggravated it in June. Morales has appeared in only six games this season.

If he can get — and stay — healthy, the hard-throwing Morales could become a valuable piece of the bullpen.

Also:

• Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a concussion, is expected to rejoin the team before the end of the homestand. He has been working out near his home in Florida but is not yet ready to play in games.

"He's been progressing in all activities," manager John Farrell said. "It'll be good to get him back in our clubhouse."

Ross is not eligible to come off the DL until Aug 18.

• Farrell mentioned giving Jacoby Ellsbury a day off during the Rays series. Mike Napoli will get another day off, too.

• Jon Lester will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday after nine days of rest, the result of the All-Star break and an adjustment in the rotation.

The Sox believe the time off will help Lester rally from what has been a trying few months on the mound. The lefthander was 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA through nine starts. But Lester is 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA in 11 starts since May 20.

“It’s going to be beneficial just from the sheer physical standpoint,” Farrell said. “It’s still going to come back to executing pitches inside a given game. … We’re gong to need his performance.”

• Rookie lefthander Drake Britton has appeared in two games and thrown two scoreless innings. He entered Sunday night's game against the Yankees in the 10th inning and got through the top of the order without allowing a run.

“He’s come in in some pretty tight spots in his first two appearances in the big leagues. Where he was in spring training, there’s much more consistent command, he’s down hill better,” Farrell said.

Britton was arrested on DUI and vehicular charges during spring training, a matter still pending in the Florida courts.

“I’m sure he’s humbled by it. He’s regretful,” Farrell said. “He certainly has shown a lot of remorse given the situation.”

MLB suspends Ryan Braun for remainder of season

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 06:00 PM

Major League Baseball has suspended Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers for 65 games without pay due to his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs scandal.

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," Braun said in a statement released by MLB.

"This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

Said MLB Players Association director Michael Weiner: "I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."

Braun, 29, won 2011 Natonal Lague MVP when he hit .332 with with 33 home runs. After the season, he was suspended for a failed drug test, reportedly for excessive testosterone, and appealed. Braun alleged improper handling of his urine sample and had his suspension overturned by a neutral arbiter.

The next shoe to drop is likely on Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who could get an even longer suspension for interfering with the investigation into the Miami clinic that allegedly supplied the drugs too Braun and other players.

Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and others could also go down shortly. Last week, MLB and the Players Association indicated that only players who accept their punishment would be announced. If appeals are made, they could drag on for months.

Dr. Andrews clears Buchholz to start throwing

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 04:40 PM

Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz was in Gulf Breeze, Fla., today to meet with Dr. James Andrews. The verdict? Dr. Andrews agrees with the Red Sox that Buchholz has only inflammation in the bursa sac of his shoulder and can pitch without fear of further injury.

"Clay comes back, I think, with a little bit more peace of mind and he'll continue on the throwing program that's been already put in place," Farrell said.

Buchholz threw from 100 feet on Sunday with some intensity and will throw again on Wednesday once he returns to Boston. But Farrell offered no timetable as to when Buchholz will pitch in a minor league game.

Buchholz has not pitched since June 8 because of assorted pain. The issue started out as a soreness in his AC joint in late May then become a strained trapezius muscle when Buchholz took a tumble when covering first.

In time, the Red Sox decided Buchholz has bursitis, or inflammation of a bursa sac. Buchholz threw in the bullpen several times but experienced discomfort when throwing off the mound and never advanced to pitching in a minor league game, or even throwing batting practice.

Buchholz told the team last week that did not want to pitch until he was completely pain free because he feared greater injury.

According to Farrell, Andrews told Buchholz that any discomfort he feels is nothing to be alarmed about.

"From my understanding of the exam and what Dr. Andrews relayed to [Buchholz] is that he's going to feel some, at times, some little stiffness or discomfort just by virtue of getting back in pitching shape," Farrell said. "[Andrews] felt that as [Buchholz] ramps back up, he;s going to experience some of those but the root of it is not because of an injury. It's more just reconditioning and getting the throwing arm back in shape.

"I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that."

Now the question is when Buchholz can return to the rotation. It will not be any time soon, however.

"I don't have a date," Farrell said. "We feel like he's going to have to continue to progress in some further distance in long toss before getting on the mound. He's going to need probably three bullpens before we get into a simulated game situation before going out on a rehab start. That's the best I can outline right now."

Given the days off needed between those points on the schedule, Buchholz may not pitch for the Red Sox until sometime in mid-August — and that's assuming there aren't more setbacks.

Farrell was asked why the Red Sox waited so long to have Buchholz examined by Dr. Andrews.

"We felt like he had really turned the corner, as did Clay," the manger said. "That was most recently in Seattle [earlier this month]. Then when we got to Oakland, he experienced that one bullpen where he had to shut down."

Game 101: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 03:10 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (60-40)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Lavarnway C
Snyder 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Brandon Workman (0-0, 5.40).

RAYS (58-41)
Jennings CF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Scott DH
Johnson LF
Joyce RF
Lobaton C
Escobar SS
Pitching: LHP Matt Moore (13-3, 3.44)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Moore: Pedroia 2-11, Ortiz 5-10, Gomes 2-9, Napoli 0-7, Drew 2-5, Ellsbury 0-2, Nava 0-3, Victorino 0-3, Lavarnway 0-2, Salty 0-1.

Rays vs. Workman: No history.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 33-17 at home. They won 34 games at home all last season.

Notes: It's a showdown series as the first-place Sox leads the second-place Rays by 1.5 games in the East. The Sox have the second-best record in baseball and the Rays the fourth. ... The Rays have won five straight, 13 of 14 and 17 of 19. Those 17 wins came against the Astros (5), Twins (4), White Sox (3), Blue Jays (3) and Tigers (2). Of those five teams, only the Tigers have a winning record. ... Workman, a 24-year-old rookie, is starting his first game at Fenway. He made his first career start on July 14 in Oakland and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a single and a home run. ... The Sox are 9-3 against the Ray this season, outscoring them 51-38. ... Moore is 1-2, 5.48 in four career appearances against the Sox. He faced them on May 14 and allowed three runs on three hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out eight. ... The Rays probably won't have closer Fernando Rodney. He pitched on Saturday and Sunday, throwing 56 pitches. ... The Sox have won 10 of their last 12 games at Fenway. ...The Sox are 8-1 in their last nine starts against lefthanders. ... The Sox are 25-16 against the AL East. ... The Sox are 19-1 when they score first at Fenway and 42-9 overall when they score first. That's the best percentage in the majors.

Song of the Day: "Four Strong Winds" by Johnny Cash.

Pitching matchups for the Rays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 09:30 AM

Monday: LHP Matt Moore (13-3, 3.44) vs. RHP Brandon Workman (0-0, 5.40), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Tuesday: RHP Roberto Hernandez (5-10, 4.90) vs. LHP Jon Lester (8-6, 4.58), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: LHP David Price (4-5, 4.03) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (7-3, 3.76), 7:10 p.m., NESN, ESPN.

Thursday: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-7, 2.95), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Mike Napoli: the good, the bad and the walk-off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 22, 2013 01:58 AM




Here's how tonight's game went for Mike Napoli:

• Strikeout to start the second inning.

• Three-run homer to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead in the third inning.

• Strikeout to end the fourth inning to leave two runners stranded.

• Strikeout to end the sixth inning to leave two runners stranded.

• Double-play with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning.

• Walk-off home run in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox an 8-7 victory.

It's hard to find righthanded power in baseball and sometimes the price you pay comes in the form of excruciating outs. But sometimes you walk off into the early morning hours with a big win against the Yankees, too.

"It's a snapshot of his career path," Sox manager John Farrell said. "We know and live with some swing and miss. The ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark to all fields is present every time he steps into the batter's box."

Napoli takes a balanced view of his ups and downs.

“That’s what great about this game, you always get another chance,” he said. “I was glad I got the opportunity to go up there and make up for it.”

Napoli admitted he was trying to hit a home run when he came up with two outs and nobody on against Adam Warren in the 11th. He got ahead 2-and-0, swung and missed twice then took ball three. After fouling off a cutter, he got one up over the plate and crushed it.

"At least try and hit a double or drive the ball somewhere,” Napoli said. “You’re trying to make good contact and I got a pitch I could do it on.”

Also:

• CC Sabathia, who turned 33 on Sunday, lasted five innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. In his last 10 starts against the Red Sox, the big lefty has a 6.06 earned run average and only three wins.

"It's kind of strange. He's been so good for so long and to see him struggle a little bit is kind of strange,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It's not something we're used to seeing."

Sabathia has a 4.37 ERA this season and the Yankees are 12-9 in the games he has started.

"It's embarrassing but I have to try and work through it. Figure something out and stop hurting this team and helping it," he said.

• Winning pitcher Pedro Beato, a native New Yorker, said some friends who are Yankees fans texted him after the game to say they were rooting for him.

"I was just trying to give the offense a chance," said Beato, who got through the top of the 11th inning.

The inning ended when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out stealing second. Replays showed he was safe but Dustin Pedroia made a quick tag and sold it to umpire Mike Everitt.

• The Sox maintained a 1½-game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays, who arrive at Fenway on Monday night for a four-game series. Tampa Bay has won 17 of its last 19 games. In taking two of three from the Yankees, the 60-40 Sox have won 20 series. That matches what they had all last season. The Yankees leave seven games out of first.

• The Sox are 6-3 against the Yankees this season.

• Lost in the hubbub was Matt Thornton's perfect eighth inning. ... Along with Drake Britton pitching in consecutive games for the first time in his life.

• The Yankees haven't hit a home run in their last six games against the Red Sox. That last happened in 1967.

• Jonny Gomes has five home runs in his last 19 games and has hit safely in his last 11 starts.

Back at it tomorrow ... well tonight. Thanks for reading.

Final: Red Sox 8, Yankees 7 (11 innings)

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 21, 2013 07:52 PM

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Every swing Mike Napoli took was huge. The one that finally connected gave the Sox a 8-7 walk of win in their series finale with the Yankees.

Napoli launched a solo shot to straight away center field to give him two for the night and give the Sox their ninth walkoff win of the season.

The homer, Napoli's second career walkoff, capped a 2-for-6, four-RBI day for the slugging first baseman. He came to the late in the eight with the bases loaded and a chance to give the Sox the lead with closer Koji Uehara warming up for the ninth, but grounded into an inning-ending double play.

With starter Ryan Demspter going just 5.1 innings, the=Sox bullpen combined to throw 4.2 innings of two-run ball. Pedro Beato pitched a scoreless 11th to earn the win, his first of the season.

With the win, the Sox lead in the AL East remains at 1.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays, who come to Fenway Monday.

FULL ENTRY

Surgery for Andrew Bailey; Clay Buchholz to see Dr. Andrews

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 21, 2013 05:25 PM

There is, as usual, news on the medical front with the Red Sox.

Righthanded reliever Andrew Bailey has made the decision to have surgery on his shoulder. Mets team physician David Altchek will do the procedure on Wednesday in New York.

Bailey has a torn labrum and a torn capsule at the very least. The surgery will keep him out at least 12 months. Because Bailey is eligible for arbitration [for the last time], the Red Sox will have to decide whether to offer him a contract after the season.

Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, will be in Gulf Breeze, Fla., on Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews.

The Red Sox hope that Andrews will give Buchholz a clean bill of health and the assurance that pitching off the mound will not result in further injury. Buchholz has not pitched since June 8 because of shoulder and neck soreness.

"More than anything to get some verification and clarification through Dr. Andrews to put his mind at ease is probably as important as anything that he's dealing with from a physical standpoint," manager John Farrell said. "I think this is just a chance to get in front of him, for Andrews to examine him physically rather than just viewing MRI images. Until that exam takes place, that's where things are."

Buchholz seemed to be making progress during the team's West Coast road trip, right up until the last day when a bullpen session didn't go well. He then elected not to throw during the All-Star break

Buchholz has since said several times that he will not pitch until he feels 100 percent. He is concerned with the injury worsening.

When Buchholz was examined by team doctors on Friday, his arm strength and range of motion were normal. Farrell called the matter "puzzling" to the Sox.

"It's just in that repetitive movement he'll feel some restriction at some point through the throwing in the range of motion," Farrell said.

Also:

• RHP Brandon Workman was officially named the starter for Monday.

• LHP Jon Lester had what Farrell termed a "very good" 35-pitch bullpen session. He is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Game 100: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 21, 2013 03:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (59-40)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.24).

YANKEES (52-45)
Gardner CF
Ichiro RF
Cano 2B
Overbay 1B
Wells LF
Hafner DH
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Cruz 3B
Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN / WEEI, WCBS.

Red Sox vs. Sabathia: Ortiz 13-55, Pedroia 15-49, Ellsbury 7-31, Gomes 6-29, Napoli 6-28, Victorino 7-22, Saltalamacchia 4-16, Nava 2-10, Iglesias 4-8, Carp 0-5, Snyder 1-6, Lavarnway 0-3.

Yankees vs. Dempster: Overbay 3-9, Suzuki 2-7, Cano 1-6, Wells 3-9, Gardner 2-6, Cruz 0-5, Nunez 2-5, Hafner 1-4, Lillibridge 0-3, Stewart 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Since May 1, Mike Napoli has 19 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs in 223 at-bats. Mike Carp has 15 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in 112 at-bats.

Notes: The Red Sox won on Friday, the Yankees on Saturday and now the series will decided tonight. The Red Sox are skipping Jon Lester, somewhat suspiciously, to start Dempster. He is 0-5, 7.29 in six career starts against the Yankees. He faced them on April 4 and allowed three runs in five innings. ... Sabathia is 9-10, 4.19 in 24 career starts against the Sox, 7-6, 4.31 with the Yankees and 3-5, 5.49 in nine starts over the last three seasons. Sabathia hasn't pitched at Fenway since Aug. 30, 2011. ... Gomes is 15 of 44 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs in his last 13 games. ... The Sox are 2 of 15 with runners in scoring position in the series. ... Saltalamacchia is 0 for his last 14. ... If the Red Sox win tonight, they'll have 20 series victories. That's as many as they had all last season.

Song of the Day: "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 21, 2013 10:03 AM

An early mistake set the tone as the Red Sox fell to the Yankees on Saturday. Julian Benbow has the story.

Chris Gasper writes that John Lackey deserved a better fate and is pitching like an ace.

Mariano Rivera had a special day at Fenway Park and that was well before he got the save.

The Red Sox were too aggressive on the bases and that cost them. Emily Kaplan has that story.

The notebook has Jon Lester being pushed back in the rotation.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo looks at the season Jeff Locke, a New Hampshire native, has had for the Pirates.

For Mariano Rivera, a special day at Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 21, 2013 01:43 AM

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Mariano Rivera played his first game at Fenway Park on July 16, 1996. He was a setup reliever then and pitched two innings against the Red Sox. Joe Girardi, who manages the Yankees now, was the catcher.

John Basmajian can’t remember for sure, but he probably was at the game that day. The guy everybody at Fenway calls “Baz” has been working at the park for 46 years selling tickets.

In the years since, surely their paths crossed. If you count the postseason, Rivera has walked into Fenway Park more than any ballpark other than Yankee Stadium. Baz? He’s as much a part of Fenway as the Pesky Pole.

On Saturday, the two career baseball men finally met.

“Pretty special,” Basmajian said. “I’ve got tears in my eyes.”

Rivera will retire after this season after 19 record-setting years and wants to leave the game with memories that go beyond wins and losses. So he is holding small, informal meetings with people at every park he visits.

Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo, who consulted with Rivera on the unique farewell tour, works with teams on finding a representative group for Rivera to spend time with. It can be fans, team employees, or some combination of the two.

“Baseball brings people together from all different races and backgrounds and whatever your personal beliefs are,” Zillo said. “This is a chance for us to come together.”

The Red Sox gathered 14 people in a luxury suite three hours before Saturday’s game against the Yankees. The eclectic group included four long-time team employees: Basmajian, usher Ken Greenwood, security man Ed Dalton, and vice president of ticketing Richie Beaton. Together, they’ve worked for the Sox for 135 years.

There were two youth players, Clifford Guerrero of the South End and Brenna Galvin from Dorchester, and two youth coaches, Aaron Barnes and Sandra Santana.

Jimmy Fund patients Fernando Morales and Harry Clark were there along with their fathers.

J.P. and Paul Norden, the brothers from Stoneham who lost legs in the Marathon bombings, were the last to enter the room.

“I’m more of a football fan, but I didn’t want to miss this,” Paul said. “It’s a nice moment.”

The meeting lasted about 40 minutes and caused Rivera to miss some of batting practice, but it was evident this meant far more to him.

After a brief introduction from Zillo, Rivera led a discussion that lasted 40 minutes. He spoke softly at first then a little louder as he encouraged others to join in.

Rivera called all of the participants by name, too. People he had never met before and might never see again were treated with the respect he would show a teammate.

“It’s an honor for me to be here with you guys.” Rivera said. “First of all to say thank you. Thank you for all of you who are a part of baseball. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be able to hear from people that we don’t see on the field. We see the people in the clubhouse and we see the people who work on the field, but we don’t see everybody who works behind the scenes who make baseball what it is.”

Rivera encouraged Clark, a 13-year-old from Wellesley who is visually impaired by an inoperable brain tumor, to share his story with the room. He did the same with Morales, a 19-year-old from Norwood who had to give up his sport, soccer, because of Ewing’s sarcoma.

In both cases, the room applauded the courage of the two young men.

“He told me to always have perseverance and never to give up.” Clark said. “I’ll use that to keep going. I’ll cheer him from now on. Well, at least a little one if I’m at Fenway.”

Greenwood was curious about how Rivera stays so calm on the mound, saying it was something he had admired from the stands over the years.

“The higher you go, the harder you will fall,” Rivera said. “And you can’t get too low. You have to have confidence in yourself and have that trust in yourself.”

Basmajian asked Rivera what role religion played in his career. The two then spoke at length about their shared Christian beliefs. Rivera said he credits his faith for his success and tries to stay humble.

“I wish more [players] had that,” Basmajian said.

“I wish that, too,” Rivera responded.

Rivera would have stayed longer, but Zillo prodded him out of the room to get back to the field. But he lingered, shaking hands and leaning in for whispered conversations.

“The man was humble and genuine,” Basmajian said. “I’ve been here 43 years and never talked to a player like that before. That was so sincere. He didn’t have to do that.”

The Norden brothers, quiet during the meeting, stood to greet Rivera at the end and posed for photographs with him. Rivera also handed out autographed baseballs with the date on them.

Barnes, who had asked Rivera for advice about how to motivate his players, walked out of the suite smiling.

“I’m a Red Sox fan. I’m supposed to hate his guts,” he said. “But that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve got a different view of the man now.”

Later on, while sitting in the dugout, Rivera said he has enjoyed his time at Fenway.

“I’ve been here for so many years. In the beginning no one knew me and I had to earn that respect,” he said. “Over the years, as I’ve become more obvious and notable here, yes, I have received that respect. You definitely appreciate that.”

The fans at Fenway gave Rivera a standing ovation when he came out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning. He picked up the save as the Yankees won, 5-2.

“I appreciate this place,” Rivera said. “To me, there is no rivalry. We all love baseball.”

Base-running errors prove costly in loss

Posted by Staff July 20, 2013 10:09 PM

Base-running blunders plagued Boston in a 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. In a game where they only mustered seven hits, the Sox were tagged out twice at home plate.

Daniel Nava was also tagged out at second base in a critical play in the eighth inning.

With one out and Nava on first, Dustin Pedroia popped the ball up high behind home plate. Yankees catcher Chris Stewart bent over into the stands and grabbed it.

Nava said first base coach Arnie Beyeler gave him instructions one pitch earlier.

"He said, 'Don't think about going anywhere'" Nava recalled. "You're not going anywhere."

But once the ball was in the air, instincts kicked in. Nava said he "stopped thinking."

"That’s a time where, even if you can take the base, I shouldn’t have taken the base," Nava said. "Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it."

Manager John Farrell said, "that was over-aggressiveness on his part."

Final: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 20, 2013 04:20 PM

Game over: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2: Mariano Rivera, who came in to a standing ovation, picked up his 31st save. Game time: 3:12 before 37,601, the largest crowd of the season.

Middle of the 9th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2: Facing Drake Britton in his MLB debut, Cano drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Here comes Mariano Rivera.

Top of the 9th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: Thornton and Pedro Beato handled the Yankees.

Then came some weirdness against David Robertson. Nava singled with one out. Pedroia then fouled out to the catcher, Stewart. He caught the ball at the stands and fell in a bit. Nava tried to tag up and was thrown out at second. With David Ortiz coming up, that's a bad risk.

Top of the 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: No quit in these Sox. Ortiz singled and went to third when Carp doubled. Gomes' sacrifice fly scored Ortiz, who ran through the stop sign of third base coach Brian Butterfield.

Carp went to third when Salty grounded out and scored on a wild pitch. Drew walked to extend the inning but Iggy lined out to second after a six-pitch at-bat.

Middle of the 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0: The wheels have come a bit here. Nunez (3 for 3) doubled to start the inning. With one out, Cruz singled him. When Gardner (3 for 4) singled, Lackey was done for the day.

Matt Thornton came in and for Suzuki to ground into a force at second. But lefties Cano and Overbay had RBI singles.

Thornton is here to match up against lefties in the seventh inning. So, yeah, that's not too good.

Top of the 7th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Ellsbury reached on a one-out error by Cano. He took second on a wild pitch and third when Nava flied to center. But Pedroia grounded to third to end the inning. Kuroda has thrown only 79 pitches.

Middle of the 6th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Overbay doubled again. But Lackey fanned Wells and Hafner to end the inning. Lackey so far: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He has thrown 86 pitches.

Top of the 6th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Carp and Gomes led off with singles. Salty struck out. The runners then moved up when Drew grounded out. With Iggy at the plate, Carp tried to score on a wild pitch and was tagged out by Kuroda as Stewart made a nice play to get the ball back to him.

That's two outs at the plate for the Red Sox today. Kuroda has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings in his last three starts.

Middle of the 5th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Good defense helped Lackey in the 5th. But he could not escape a run.

Nunez singled, stole second and went to third when Stewart bunted. With the infield un, Cruz grounded to shortstop and Drew threw Nunez out at the plate.

But Cruz moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a single to center by Gardner. Lackey then got Ichico to ground out to end the inning.

Top of the 5th: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Kuroda has retired nine straight since Ortiz's single in the first inning.

Middle of the 4th: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Lackey allowed a one-out double by Overbay as the ball got over the head of Nava in right field. But Lackey struck out Wells and got Hafner to fly to center to end the inning.

Lackey is at 57 pitches and cruising right along.

Top of the 4th: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Kuroda retired the side in order, striking out Drew and Iglesias (after a 10-pitch AB) along the way.

Middle of the 3rd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: An easy 1-2-3 inning for Lackey.

Top of the 3rd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Lackey allowed a one-out single by Wells, who went to third when Nunez doubled down the line in right with two outs. Lackey got Stewart to ground to shortstop to end the inning.

The Sox went in order against Kuroda.

Top of the 2nd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Gardner reached on an infield hit before Suzuki lined into a double play. Iglesias, playing third, grabbed the ball and snapped it to first base just in time. Cano then struck out.

The Sox missed a chance to score. Nava was hit by a pitch (for the 11th time, one off the league lead) and went to second on a groundout. Ortiz singled to left and Nava tried to score on Wells. He stumbled going around thing, nearly fell and was thrown out by several feet.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from Fenway Park, where the game is being delayed by a threat of rain and won't start until 4:25 p.m. or so.

It's Game 2 of Yankees-Sox this weekend with two veterans righthanders on the mound in John Lackey and Hiroki Kuroda. Lackey has a 2.78 ERA and Kuroda a 2.65. They could have been All-Stars.

Lester's start pushed back to Tuesday

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 20, 2013 02:28 PM

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In order to give his ace Jon Lester extra rest coming out of the all-star break, Red Sox manager John Farrell shuffled the pitching rotation, pushing Lester back two days to Tuesday, moving Ryan Dempster up to start on Sunday.

The starter for Monday's series opener against Tampa Bay is still to be determined.

"Just coming out of the break, just general wear and tear through the first half of the season," Farrell said. "We have an opportunity to give him a couple of extra days coming out of the break and two, he'll benefit from it."

Through his first 20 starts, Lester has throw a team-high 125.2 innings. He staggered into the All-Star break, going 2-6 over his past 11 starts with a 6.27 ERA.

"When we came back in for the workout Thursday and then just going through the normal throwing program we've done the last couple of days, just felt like two extra days will help him," Farrell said.

A few other notes:

• After undergoing treatment for the hamstring injury that will keep him out of Saturday's game, Shane Victorino is expected to return to the lineup Sunday.

"Shane has responded favorably to treatment today, Farrell said. "We expect him back in the lineup tomorrow. He's been dealing with this issue for quite a while. We fully expect him to have to deal with it, but it's not to the point to disable him."

He tweaked the hamstring chasing down a fly ball in the third inning and aggravated it further running out a ground ball in the bottom half of the inning. He was ultimately replaced by Daniel Nava.

"He's come in today feeling better than I think he even anticipated after coming out last night," Farrell said. "So we're hopeful and expecting him to be in the lineup tomorrow."

• To make room for the return of Stephen Drew, the Red Sox optioned infielder Brock Holt to Triple A Pawtucket.

Farrell had to decided whether he wanted to keep Holt, who hit .290 in 10 games, or Brandon Snyder, who is hitting .231 in 11 games. The decision came down to keeping a right-handed bat on the bench, Farrell said.

"Both guys were playing well," Farrell said. "The fact is with Stephen coming back to us, a left-handed hitter, the right-handed guy on the bench fits a little bit better. That was expressed and explained to Brock.

"But he gave us everything that we could have hoped for in the time that he was here and probably solidifies further why he was so sought after during the trade in the winter time. He's a valuable player and he's got a place here as we go forward."

Game 99: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 20, 2013 12:05 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (59-39)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-6, 2.78).

YANKEES (51-45)
Gardner CF
Suzuki RF
Cano 2B
Overbay 1B
Wells LF
Hafner DH
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Cruz 3B
Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65).

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, WCBS.

Red Sox vs. Kuroda: Victorino 5-19, Pedroia 8-18, Ellsbury 5-16, Nava 4-12, Salty 4-14, Napoli 3-9, Carp 2-9, Gomes 0-8, Lavarnway 1-8, Ortiz 4-6, Iglesias 2-6.

Yankees vs. Lackey: Suzuki 31-102, Cano 14-54, Wells 7-37, Hafner 6-31, Overbay 6-21, Gardner 6-21, Nunez 0-3, Romine 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Lackey has faced Ichiro 108 times in his career. That's the most he has faced any hitter and the most Ichiro has faced any pitcher. Ichiro has hit .304 against Lackey. His career average against other pitchers is .321.

Notes: The Red Sox are 5-2 against the Yankees this season, outscoring them 36-17. ... Lackey is 6-2, 2.32 in his last 11 starts. Twelve of his 16 starts this season have been quality starts and he has allowed two or less runs in 12 starts this season. ... Lackey is 8-9, 4.68 in 23 career starts against the Yankees, 3-2, 4.74 in seven starts against the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox. ... Lackey last faced the Yankees on Sept. 25, 2011, his last start before having Tommy John surgery. Pitching with what doctors later told him was a torn ligament in his elbow, he allowed three earned runs over six innings. ... Kuroda is 2-3, 3.88 in eight career starts against the Red Sox. In two starts this season he has allowed five earned runs on 12 hits over 6.2 innings. ... Kuroda is riding a string of 12 consecutive scoreless innings. ... After going 314 at-bats without a home run, Ellsbury has three in his last 38. ... Cano has a 10-game hit streak. ... The Yankees are 21-27 since May 26. ... Nava has 26 RBIs in the seventh inning or later, tied with Chris Davis (Orioles) for the most in the majors.

Song of the Day: "Back In The High Life Again" by Steve Winwood.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 20, 2013 10:09 AM

Fenway Park was buzzingas the Red Sox returned from the All-Star break and beat the Yankees.

Andrew Bailey is likely out for the season because of a shoulder injury.

The Yankees put Derek Jeter back on the disabled list and trouble is mounting. Emily Kaplan has the story.

Felix Doubront was steady again in another win. Michael Vega has the story.

The notebook has Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox in contract talks.

How can the Red Sox bolster their bullpen?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 11:54 PM

The Red Sox had their scouts fanning out across the country to evaluate relief pitchers even before the news that Andrew Bailey had suffered a significant shoulder injury. Now the need is magnified.

The Red Sox bullpen Friday night had Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Matt Thornton, Drake Britton, Pedro Beato and Jose De La Torre. Brandon Workman, the No. 5 starter, was available, too.

Uehara, Breslow and Thornton are veteran major leaguers who have been through pennant races before. Tazawa has a remarkable 196 ERA+ over the last two seasons (40 appearances and 85.2 innings), but has looked worn down of late.

Britton has yet to pitch in the majors. De La Torre has four games of experience and Beato is a 26-year-old who is with his third organization since 2010.

Uehara has appeared in 45 games this season and thrown 43.1 innings. He was in 37 games last season and 65 in 2011. The Sox are working him hard and he's 38. His continued good health is not a high-percentage bet.

Here are the various avenues GM Ben Cherington can explore:

1. Trade for one or two set-up men: That's the most obvious route. The Sox have a solid farm system with redundancy at some positions. Cherington could make another deal or two similar to the acquisition of Thornton for Double A outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

Among the set-up men likely to be available, Jesse Crain of the White Sox is a candidate if he is deemed healthy. The Sox also have scouted White Sox righthander Matt Lindstrom.

Lefthanders Oliver Perez (Mariners), Mike Dunn (Marlins) and Mike Gonzalez (Brewers) are candidates.

2. Trade for a closer: The Sox could obtain a closer and shift Uehara back to the eighth inning. The cost in terms of prospects would be higher, however.

There have been no indications of interest in bringing Jonathan Papelbon back from Philadelphia. But Francisco Rodriguez (Brewers), Steve Cishek (Marlins) and Kevin Gregg (Cubs) are possibilities.

3. Fill from within: The Sox could use Britton, Brandon Workman and other prospects and see what they can do. Converted minor league starters often make excellent relievers early in their careers.

Rubby De La Rosa, John Farrell said today, is not yet a candidate for that. The Sox like the way he is developing as a starter.

Steven Wright is in Pawtucket. So is Clayton Mortensen. Alex Wilson (out with a thumb injury) started a throwing program on Friday. Franklin Morales is presumably coming back this season.

4. Trade for a starter: If the Sox could obtain a No. 5 starter, that would make it much easier to use their prospects in relief.

The non-waiver trade deadline comes on July 31. Trades can still be made after that [seriously, thanks again Dodgers], but the Sox might prefer to strike now while the market is still developing and they are in first place.

Given the state of the AL East, one or two games could be the difference between playing in October or going home.

Drew goes 1 for 3 in last rehab game

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 11:40 PM

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In the final game of his rehab assignment with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs, Stephen Drew went 1 for 3 in a 4-3 loss Friday night against Reading.

Hitting in the leadoff spot and starting at shortstop after playing as the designated hitter on Thursday, Drew flew out to right in his first at-bat, lined a single to center in his second, and grounded out to short in his final at-bat of the night.

Drew went on the disabled list July 5 (retroactive to June 29) with a right hamstring strain, and has missed 16 games. He is expected to travel to Boston and start Saturday's game against the Yankees.

Victorino questionable after tweaking hamstring

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 11:23 PM

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Shane Victorino passed all his strength tests after leaving the Red Sox's 4-2 win over the Yankees with a tigh hamstring, but manager John Farrell called the right fielder "day-to-day," adding that he would be checked again before making a decision on Saturday’s lineup.

Hamstring issues have nagged the right fielder for much of the season, sending him to the disablde list in May and forcing him to sit out 17 games.

Friday night he tweaked it trying to beat out a double play ball in the third inning. He was replaced by Daniel Nava.

"He didn't feel like it was any popping sensation, nothing like that. He just felt like it was starting to cramp down on him and grab him," Farrell said.

Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 07:00 PM

Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2 The Red Sox got home runs from Jacoby Ellsbury and Johnny Gomes and Felix Doubront outdueled Andy Pettitte as the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees, 4-2, in the opener of this three-game weekend series before a Fenway Park sellout crowd of 38,130.

Koji Uehara entered the game in the top of the ninth and got three quick outs to record his ninth save of the season.

Bottom 8th, Red Sox 4, Yankees 2: The Sox stranded David Ortiz at third after the DH doubled to center and went to third after tagging up on Mike Napoli's fly ball out to right. Koji Uehara entered the game in the top of the ninth in relief of Breslow.

Top 8th, Red Sox 4, Yankees 2: Craig Breslow got some sterling defense to escape a jam with one out in the top of the 8th when he gave up a pair of back-to-back hits to Ichiro Suzuki (single to left) and Robinson Cano (double to center). Iglesias came to Breslow's rescue by fielding Vernon Wells' pop fly and then handling Luis Cruz's sharply-struck ball to the hole, and throwing out the runner at first, where Mike Napoli applied the tag.

Bottom 7th, 2 out: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2: Shawn Kelley was summoned to relieve Pettite in the bottom half of the seventh after the Yankees' lefthanded starter went 6.1 innings, allowing Johnny Gomes to reach on a ground-rule double down the first base line that hopped into the stands.

Pettite got Saltalamacchia to ground to third before turning it over to Kelley, who induced pinch-hitter Brock Holt to ground to the mound. After Gomes advanced to third on a wild pitch, Jose Iglesias sent Kelley packing when he hit a soft fly to right for an RBI single that scored Gomes to make it 4-2. LHP Boone Logan relieved Kelley with two out in the seventh and issued a walk to Ellsbury, putting two men aboard for Daniel Nava, who grounded to third for the unassisted force out on Iglesias.

Top 7th, Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: Doubront departed the game after getting Overbay to ground to second. He handed the baton to Junichi Tazawa after going 6.1 innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits (including a pair of doubles) and three walks while striking out five. He threw 93 pitches (59 strikes).

With two out and Brent Lillibridge (walk) representing the tying run at first, Chris Stewart came up and battled back from an 0-2 count to work it full against Tazawa, who wound up getting out of the innning when Stewart flew to right.

Bottom 6th, Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: Doubront came bounding out of the Sox dugout to pitch the seventh after Pettitte got Ortiz and Napoli to hit into groundball force outs to end the inning. It was the fourth consecutive shutout inning Pettitte twirled against the Sox, who managed just after allowing one run in the first and two in the second on a pair of homers.

Top 6th, Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: Doubront responded in kind with a strong inning to preserve Boston's one-run lead. After allowing Vernon Wells to reach on a two-out single to left, Doubront induced Luiz Cruz to pop up to Saltalamacchia to end the inning. Through six innings, Doubront has thrown 91 pitches (57 strikes). He looked like he still had one more inning left in him. That was, of course, before Junichi Tazawa began warming up in the Sox bullpen.

Bottom 5th, Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: Pettitte retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion after the Yankees made two defensive substituions and a pair of defensive switches. Update on Shane Victorino: The Red Sox reported the right fielder left the game in the third inning with left hamstring tightness.

Top 5th, Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: After giving up a lead-off double to Lyle Overbay, Doubront struck out Brent Lillibridge (swinging) and got Eduardo Nunez to ground to third before Chris Stewart drove in Overbay with an RBI double to left. It was Stewart's third double of the season.

Doubront got out of the inning with an eventful called third strike on Brett Gardner, who did a two-handed spike of his helmet in disgust and got immediately ejected for his reaction by home plate umpire Mike Everitt. Luis Cruz replaced Gardner in the lineup and was inserted at third base.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: David Ortiz led off the inning by ripping his 23d double of the season off The Wall. Big Papi wound up getting stranded at second after Pettitte struck out Mike Napoli (swinging) and Johnny Gomes (looking) before inducing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop up to the mound.

Aside to NASCAR fans in Red Sox Nation: Jack Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, stopped by NESN's TV booth to visit with Don and Jerry in the Red Sox half of the fourth.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: The Yankees pushed across a classic unearned run when Brett Gardner reached on a lead-off walk, stole second, then stole third, which drew an errant throw from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia that got past third baseman Brandon Snyder. Saltalamacchia's throw bounded down the line to left, enabling Gardner to score New York's first run of the game. It spoiled Doubront's bid for a shutout.

Bottom 3d, Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: Ellsbury led off with a single to center, but got doubled up at second when Shane Victorino hit into a 4-6-3 double play and appeared to injure himself running to first. Victorino walked to the dugout and headed straight for the clubhouse accompanied by the team's medical staff. After Dustin Pedroia popped to first to end the inning, Daniel Nava was summoned as a defensive replacement for Victorino in right field at the top of the fourth.

Top 3d, Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Doubront, who needed 10 pitches to retire the side. Doubront has now thrown 29 pitches through three innings. Nice efficient outing so far.

Bottom 2d, Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: After Pettitte issued a lead-off walk to Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes came up and drilled a 2-2 offering into the Monster seats for a 2-run homer (his seventh of the season), giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Top 2d: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: After issuing a lead-off walk to Vernon Wells, Doubront got some outstanding support from his defense, which turned a 6-4-3 double play when Doubront induced Zoilo Almonte to ground to short and when Lyle Overbay grounded to second to end the inning. Doubront has thrown 19 pitches (12 strikes) through two innings.

Bottom of 1st: Red Sox 1, Yankees 0: Even better start for Jacoby Ellsbury, who belted a lead-off solo homer off Andy Pettitte, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. It was Ellsbury's ninth career lead-off homer and second of the season after recording his last July 11 at Seattle. Pettitte got out of the inning by striking out David Ortiz on a called third strike, which looked to be low and inside. Ortiz tried arguing the point with home plate umpire Mike Everitt, but it fell upon deaf ears.

Top of 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0: Nice start by Felix Doubront, who retired the side in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out Robinson Cano.

Pregame The Red Sox (58-39) return from the All-Star break to host the Yankees (51-44) Friday night in the opener of a three-game weekend series against the Bronx Bombers. Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91 ERA) drew the starting assignment for the Red Sox in opposition of New York LHP Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39). Dave Mellor, Fenway's head groundskeeper, is out on the field right now hosing down the infield of the oven-baked ballpark, where pregame temperatures reached triple digits.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here during the game.

Red Sox, Pedroia discuss extension

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 06:57 PM

According to a senior team official, the Red Sox are discussing a multi-year contract extension with Dustin Pedroia that would make him the highest-paid second baseman in the game.

Pedroia, who turns 30 next month, agreed to a six-year contract in 2008. He under contract for $10 million in 2014 with the team holding an $11 million option for 2015.

The new deal is expected to be for five or six seasons with an average annual value of $20 million a season. The Red Sox would prefer the new deal start in 2015 or 2016. Pedroia's agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, are negotiating for the extension to replace the remaining full seasons left on the current contract.

Pedroia is a four-time All-Star. Over eight seasons, he has hit .304 with an .832 OPS. He went into Friday night's game against the Yankee hitting .316 with a .396 OBP. His 59 runs are second on the team.

On Thursday, principal owner John Henry said he was opposed to long-term deals unless they were to retain players developed by the organization.

With Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano headed to free agency and expected to command a deal worth $200 million, the Red Sox could benefit by striking a deal with Pedroia earlier.

News of the negotiations was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

Buchholz could seek second opinion after Friday exam

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 06:15 PM

The examination Clay Buchholz underwent on Friday to address the soreness that resurfaced in his right shoulder during throwing sessions before the All-Star break showed no further damage, said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who described the exam as "benign."

Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 18 (retroactive to June 9), has been trying to work gradually himself back to the mound, throwing long toss on flat ground from different increments over the past month. He didn't pick up a ball over the All-Star break, throwing for the first time Friday as the Red Sox prepared to face the New York Yankees.

"He went out and played catch out to 90 feet today, he felt free and easy," Farrell said. "Didn't feel like he did in Oakland. So that's today's latest on him."

The recovery process, however, has been start-and-stop. Buchholz ran into his most recent setback near the end of the Red Sox West Coast trip before the all-star break, when he felt soreness after throwing consecutive days in Seattle and Oakland.

"It felt better today than it did the other day in Oakland," Buchholz said. "To me, it feels better as the day goes on, my body feels better, the blood's flowing and everything. To be able to throw again tomorrow, probably the same distance maybe a little more intensity and then go from there.

Buchholz said he will throw again from 90 feet tomorrow, and while this most recent exam revealed no new issues, if Buchholz's progress remains stagnant, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Buchholz could seek a second opinion.

"As much as we want him out there, we've just got to continue to be patient and listen to what he's saying," Cherington said. "He may get another opinion just to try to gather any more information we can just to put his mind at ease about what's going on."

Andrew Bailey likely out for the season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 03:31 PM

The Red Sox have placed righthanded reliever Andrew Bailey on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

“Doing my job recently has been satisfying,” Bailey said. “Now to have this. … It’s incredibly frustrating.”

Bailey was injured last Friday on a pitch when he struck out Jed Lowie. He stayed in the game and struck out Yoenis Cespedes on five pitches.

“It didn’t feel good,” Bailey said. “The damage was done on that one pitch. The game’s a funny game. You throw one pitch and now you’ve got a decision to make.”

Bailey has a labrum tear, a tear in his capsule and a strained subscapularis tendon. One of the Red Sox physicians, Dr. Peter Asnis, made the diagnosis on Monday. Mets team doctor David Altchek confirmed it on Wednesday, as did Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad on Thursday.

Bailey said he is “gathering information” about his options. The decision comes down to whether to have surgery or try a course of rest and rehabilitation.

“The only way to fix this is surgery, 100 percent fix it. This isn’t going to heal on it’s own,” he said. “We’re just trying to gather information about how close I can get it to be stable without injuring it further.”

If Bailey decides on rehab, which seems unlikely, there is only a small chance he could return this season.

Bailey is the third late-inning reliever the Red Sox have lost for the season due to injury. Closer Joel Hanrahan had Tommy John elbow surgery in May and will miss 9-12 months.

Lefthander Andrew Miller, a valuable set-up man, tore a ligament in his left foot on July 6 and had surgery on Monday. He will not return until spring training in 2014.

“This is a tough time for us,” manager John Farrell said. “But we have to overcome it.”

If — or more likely when — Bailey has surgery, he would miss at least one full year.

“It’s tough, tough for him more than anything,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “Obviously we were counting on him to be a big part of our bullpen.”

The Red Sox called up righthander Jose De La Torre from Triple A Pawtucket to replace Bailey on the roster. But Cherington is sure to seek external solutions for late-inning relief.

The Red Sox acquired lefthander Matt Thornton from the White Sox on July 12 to replace Miller. Now, with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching on July 31, Cherington is seeking more help.

“As I said when Miller went down, when a guy goes down you have to replace him somehow,” the GM said.

The Sox will evaluate some of their prospects to see whether they offer immediate help. De La Torre and Drake Britton are on the roster now. Brandon Workman, who is in line to start on Tuesday, was initially called up to work in relief and could return to that role.

“We have a number of guys we believe in and this creates opportunity and maybe their time comes a little sooner than we thought,” Cherington said.

But Cherington acknowledged that the team being in first place changes the dynamic of roster building.

“The players and the staff have done a terrific job of putting us in this position, giving us a chance. In the front office we have an obligation to try and help if we can. We’ll try and do that in a way that makes us better but doesn’t alter our long-term course,” he said.

“We set out before this year to accomplish something on the way to something long-term, and that's what we're still going to try to do. But we're in it and so we have to react to that and what's going on today. We'll do that; we'll work as hard as we possibly can to find solutions for this team.”

For Bailey, the injury is the latest in what has been a series of setbacks. The 29-year-old pitched a full season for Oakland in 2009. In the four seasons since, he has been on the disabled list six times with injuries to his elbow, rib cage, forearm, thumb and right bicep.

Over two seasons with the Red Sox, Bailey has pitched in 49 games. He had a 3.77 ERA in 30 appearances this season.

Doctors told Bailey that he injured his shoulder releasing the pitch to Lowrie. But he believes the issues has been building all season.

Bailey is arbitration eligible for one final season and remains under team control for 2014. But the Red Sox are likely to non-tender Bailey rather than offer him arbitration and pay him a salary close to the $4.1 million is making this season.

Game 98: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 02:50 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (58-39)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Snyder 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91).

YANKEES (51-44)
Gardner CF
Suzuki RF
Cano 2B
Wells DH
Almonte LF
Overbay 1B
Lillibridge 3B
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, YES, MLB Network / WEEI-FM, WCBS.

Red Sox vs. Pettitte: Ortiz 22-61, Pedroia 9-42, Ellsbury 8-24, Gomes 8-25, Victorino 7-18, Napoli 7-17, Carp 0-3, Iglesias 2-3, Saltalamacchia 0-3, Nava 1-2.

Yankees vs. Doubront: Cano 1-14, Jeter 2-13, Suzuki 2-8, Gardner 0-5, Nunez 2-4, Wells 1-14, Hafner 1-2, Stewart 0-2, Overbay 0-1, Romine 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have 65 games remaining. Thirteen of them are against the Yankees, nine of them at Fenway Park. That's more than any other opponent.

Notes: The Red Sox return from the All-Star break with a 2.5-game lead in the division. ... The teams have played six times this season with the Sox winning four. All six games were at Yankee Stadium. ... The Sox will play 13 of their next 16 games at Fenway Park. ... The Yankees are 21-26 since May 26. ... Doubront is 2-1, 2.52 in nine career appearances (five starts) against the Yankees. He faced them on June 1 and allowed one run over six innings. ... Pettitte is 19-10, 3.82 in 40 career appearances against the Sox, 38 of them starts. He pitched one of his best games of the season against the Sox on April 4, allowing one run on eight hits over eight innings. ... The Sox lost two of three at Oakland before the break and scored six runs. ... Iglesias is 8 of his last 39 (.205) without an extra-base hit. That has dropped his batting average from .411 to .367. ... Ortiz is 1 of his last 15 with no RBIs. ... Holt is 9 for 30 since being called up with eight RBIs in nine games. ... Since he became closer, Koji Uehara has allowed one earned run on five hits over 12.1 innings with one walk and 18 strikeouts. ... Napoli hit .287/.342/.602 in his first 27 games with 21 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs. In the 60 games since, he has hit .245/.344/.370 with 16 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs. ... The Sox are 31-16 at home. They won 34 games at home all last season.

Song of the Day: "She Loves The Sunset" by Old 97's.

Miller recovering after foot surgery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 02:29 PM

Andrew Miller was making his way slowly up a sidewalk on Boylston Street this afternoon. His left foot was wrapped in a large cast, the result of surgery to repair a torn ligament. Miller will miss the rest of the season.

Miller had his left knee resting on a scooter-like contraption that he was pushing along.

"I can't do much, but I'll be at the game," he said. "It'll be good to see everybody."

Miller, a lefthanded reliever, was injured on July 6 when he came off the mound to cover home plate and planted his foot awkwardly.

Miller's injury prompted the Red Sox to acquire lefty Matt Thornton from the White Sox.

Yankees place Jeter on disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 11:57 AM

The Red Sox will not be facing Derek Jeter this weekend. The Yankees today placed him on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 12) with a right quadriceps strain.

The Yankees purchased the contract of Brent Lillibridge. A corresponding 40-man roster move will be announced later today.

Jeter, 39, was on the disabled list all season recovering from a fracture ankle. He was activated on July 11 and strained his quad in that game.

Lillibridge was one of the players the Red Sox obtained from the White Sox in the trade for Kevin Youkilis on June 24, 2012. He played only 10 games for the Red Sox before being traded to the Indians. He has since played for the Cubs and now the Yankees.

How did readers grade the Red Sox?

Posted by Staff July 19, 2013 10:10 AM

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After the four-day All-Star break, the Red Sox get back into action tonight when they open up a three-game set with the Yankees at Fenway Park. The Sox are 58-39, have the best record in the American League and are in first place in the AL East.

Naturally, some players have performed better than others in leading the Red Sox to their highest win total at the All-Star break in team history. The break is always a time to reflect on the first portion of the season, so we asked Boston.com readers for their take on how individual players are playing this season and let them give their own grades. Here are the results as of this morning:

Designated Hitter:

David Ortiz: A (93.04%, 86 points higher than the next answer of B)

Infielders:

Stephen Drew: C (55.12%, 23 points higher than next answer of D)

Brock Holt: B (62.50%, 40 points higher than next answer of C)

Jose Iglesias: A (85.69%, 72 points higher than next answer of B)

Will Middlebrooks: D (55.61%, 15 points higher than next answer of F)

Mike Napoli: B (54.94%, 18 points higher than next answer of C)

Dustin Pedroia: A (95.72%, best grade on the team, 92 points higher than B)

Brandon Snyder: C (63.09%, 39 points higher than next answer of B)

Outfielders:

Jackie Bradley Jr.: C (56.38%, 32 points higher than next answer of D)

Mike Carp: B (59.06%, 23 points higher than next answer of A)

Jacoby Ellsbury: B (51.90%, just 8 points higher than next answer of A)

Jonny Gomes: B (56.21%, 30 points higher than next answer of C)

Daniel Nava: A (68.48%, 38 points higher than next answer of B)

Shane Victorino: B (70.12%, 55 points higher than next answer of A)

Catchers:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: B (72.23%, 56 points higher than next answer of C)

Ryan Lavarnway: C (65.20%, 43 points higher than next answer of B)

Starting Pitchers:

Alfredo Aceves: C (35.86%, just 7 points higher than next answer of D)

Clay Buchholz: B (45.58%, the closest race, just 1.54 points higher than A)

Ryan Dempster: C (47.46%, just 1.58 points higher than next answer of B)

Felix Doubront: B (79.83%, 69 points higher than next answer of A)

John Lackey: A (77.41%, 56 points higher than next answer of B)

Jon Lester: C (59.11%, 36 points higher than next answer of D)

Relief Pitchers:

Andrew Bailey: C (42.84%, a mere 3 points higher than next answer of D)

Craig Breslow: B (69.24%, 49 points higher than next answer of C)

Junichi Tazawa: B (69.20%, 50 points higher than next answer of A)

Koji Uehara: A (89.59%, 80 points higher than next answer of B)

Management:

John Farrell: A (89.75%, 80 points higher than next answer of B)

Ben Cherington: A (66.09%, 34 points higher than next answer of B)

TOP 5 GRADES:
Dustin Pedroia: A (95.72%)
David Ortiz: A (93.04%)
John Farrell: A (89.72%)
Koji Uehara: A (89.59%)
Jose Iglesias: A (85.69%)

Pitching matchups for the Yankees series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 19, 2013 08:30 AM

Friday: LHP Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91), 7:10 p.m., NESN, YES, MLB Network.

Saturday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-6, 2.78), 4:05 p.m., FOX.

Sunday: LHP CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07) vs. LHP Jon Lester (8-6, 4.58), 8:05 p.m., ESPN.

Drew starts rehab assignment tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 18, 2013 02:15 PM

A few Red Sox notes:

• Stephen Drew will start a rehab assignment with Double A Portland tonight when the Sea Dogs host Reading at 7 p.m. at Hadlock Field.

Drew will DH tonight, play shortstop on Friday and rejoin the Red Sox on Saturday. At least that's the plan. He has not played since June 28 because of a hamstring strain.

• Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, teams cannot hold workouts today or even optional workouts. All they can do is say that the park is open for anybody who wants to come in. Presumably some players will show up.

• John Farrell sent an e-mail to season ticket holders. It said:

As we take a moment here at the All-Star Break, I wanted to send a brief note of thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm.

When I returned to Boston last fall, I knew that I was coming back to a special franchise, a special fan base, and a special city. But the experience so far has been even better than I expected, with a passion and energy in this town unlike anything else in baseball.

There’s a responsibility that comes with wearing this uniform; an electricity at this park each time we take the field. I know that our players feed off this atmosphere and take pride in the opportunity to represent Boston each day. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

We still have a long road in front of us, and a second half of baseball left before we can start talking about October. Championships aren’t won in July. But we pledge to bring it, night in and night out … to match the intensity of the crowd that makes this such a rewarding and special place to play.

Thanks again for everything you do.

Farrell is holding a conference call Q&A with season ticket holders at 6:25 p.m. today.

• Clay and Lindsay Buchholz will host the inaugural Buchholz Bowl at Lucky Strike Lanes/Jillians across from Fenway tonight.

The sold-out event includes a bowling tournament, silent and live auctions, food and beverage service. All proceeds from the event benefit the Clay Buchholz Foundation.

Local charities chosen by the foundation to benefit from the event include Christopher’s Haven, which provides comfortable, supportive living spaces for children and their families while they are going through treatment for cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital and Pitching in for Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing specifically earmarked grants designed to improve the lives of children across the New England region.

“Lindsay and I are honored to be able to help children facing their incredibly tough battle with cancer. We wanted to start our foundation here in Boston because of the incredible support my family and I have received from this community. We are overwhelmed by the support for our first event,” Buchholz said.

Teammates scheduled to join Buchholz to date include Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, Ryan Dempster, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Lavarnway, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Franklin Morales, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Brandon Snyder.

Shawn Thornton, Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice and Jason Varitek are also scheduled to participate.

Henry: Red Sox would like to keep Ellsbury

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 18, 2013 01:16 PM

Red Sox owner John Henry, who has been sparse in his media availability since spring training, went on the team's flagship radio station this afternoon.

Henry told WEEI that the Red Sox "would very much like to retain" pending free agent Jacoby Ellsbury.

Henry also spoke about free agency, saying that long-term contracts are probably best saved for retaining their own players. But in relation to Dustin Pedroia, who is under team control through 2015, Henry said there was no urgency to get a deal done.

Henry said that if Clay Buchholz comes back healthy, "it will be a heck of a pennant race."

Henry also complained again about Terry Francona's book not being fair to team chairman Tom Werner and team president Larry Lucchino. He blamed co-author Dan Shaughnessy.

Derek Lowe has retired

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 18, 2013 12:36 PM

Derek Lowe, one of the heroes of the 2004 Red Sox, tells USA Today he has retired.

The 40-year-old Lowe told the Globe's Nick Cafardo essentially the same thing back in June. But this time he's leaving not even a percentage of doubt.

"I'm officially no longer going to play the game," Lowe said. "It's still enjoyable, but the role I was having wasn't fulfilling."

Lowe won the clinching game of all three postseason series in 2004. That despite a 5.42 ERA in 33 starts during the regular season.

The Red Sox let him go after the 2004 season. Lowe played for the Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Yankees and Rangers from there. His last game was May 19 with Texas.

Lowe was 176-157 in his career with a 4.03 ERA and 86 saves over 681 games.

With Lowe retiring, the only 2004 Red Sox still active as players are Bronson Arroyo, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez (minors) and Kevin Youkilis.

Owens throws six no-hit innings for Single A Salem

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 17, 2013 09:03 PM

Henry Owens, a 20-year-old lefthander for high Single A Salem, threw six no-hit innings at Frederick Wednesday night before leaving the game after 89 pitches.

Owens walked four and struck out 10. Only two balls left the infield.

Owens now has a 2.93 earned run average on the season. Over 92 innings, he has allowed 62 hits and struck out 107. Owens was a supplemental first-round draft pick in 2011.

UPDATE, 10:05 p.m.: Matty Ott (2 innngs) and Matt Price (1 inning) finished the no-hitter. The Salem trio fanned 14.

Baseball coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 17, 2013 09:12 AM

Mariano Rivera was named the MVP as the American League beat the National League, 3-0, in the All-Star Game.

Nick Cafardo writes that it was an emotional moment for Rivera.

MLB and the Players Association are working on the Biogenesis scandal. Nick has that story, too.

The notebook has Clay Buchholz hoping to actually pitch in the All-Star Game someday.

Q&A with Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 17, 2013 08:23 AM

Ben Crockett, the Red Sox' director of player development, joined Boston.com readers to talk about the Red Sox' farm system, the recent draft, the All-Star break and the upcoming Futures at Fenway game on July 27 that showcases the Red Sox' Double A team.

Tickets for Futures at Fenway, which also includes children's activities and entertainment in addition to a Portland Sea Dogs vs. Harrisburg Senators game, are now available online.

Review the Q&A with Crockett in the window below.

Rivera gets star treatment in AL victory

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 17, 2013 12:54 AM

NEW YORK — When Mariano Rivera came out of the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning of the 84th All-Star Game on Tuesday night, his American League teammates stayed next to the dugout applauding.

They waited, leaving the great Yankees pitcher on the field alone to soak up the applause from the crowd of 45,186. Rivera is set to retire after 19 seasons in the game, universally respected for his accomplishments on the field and elegant comportment off it.

“I was standing right there watching,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “It was pretty cool. I had goosebumps the whole time. I’m sure a lot of people did.”

Rivera tipped his cap to all sides of Citi Field then started his warm-up tosses. Only then did the rest of the players take the field.

Rivera pitched a perfect inning, throwing 16 cutters. Catcher Salvador Perez threw an arm across Rivera’s shoulders as they walked of the field and first baseman Prince Fielder handed him the ball.

Perez was born in 1990, the same year the Yankees signed Rivera out of Panama.

The historic moment was part of a nearly flawless performance by 10 American League pitchers in a 3-0 victory against the National League.

The National League was held to three hits and a walk.

American League manager Jim Leyland used Joe Nathan to close the game instead of Rivera. After promising on Monday that Rivera would pitch, Leyland used him in the eighth inning to make sure.

“I don’t really have any words to describe how I felt,” said Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz. “It was definitely something special.”

Rivera won the Ted Williams Award as the game’s most valuable player, the first pitcher to be so honored since Pedro Martinez in 1999. At 43, he also is the oldest player to win.

“I wanted to come to the game and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy and be able to pitch for the last time in the All-Star Game,” Rivera said. “The rest was indescribable.”

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was 0 for 2 in the game. He flied to center field in the second inning and grounded into a double play to end the fourth inning. Pedroia was 0 for 2. He popped up to right field and struck out looking.

The Red Sox players had little impact on the game. But the Sox could benefit from the result of the game. The American League champions will now have home field advantage in the World Series.

“It’s pretty important to the team that’s going to be in the World Series. Hopefully it’s our team. It’s good to win that game,” Pedroia said.

Final: AL 3, NL 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 16, 2013 08:11 PM

Game over: American League 3, National League 0: Joe Nathan closed it out. Rivera was named the MVP.

If the Sox win the AL, Game 1 of the Series will be at Fenway Park.

Rivera in the game: When Mariano Rivera came out of the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning his American League teammates stayed next to the dugout applauding.

They waited, leaving the great Yankees pitcher on the field alone to soak up the applause from the crowd of 45,186. Rivera will retire after 19 seasons in the game, universally respected.

Rivera tipped his cap to all sides of Citi Field then started his warm-up tosses. Only then did the rest of the players take the field.

Rivera pitched a perfect inning, throwing 15 cutters. Catcher Salvador Perez threw an arm across Rivera’s shoulders as they walked of the field.

Perez was born in 1990, the same year the Yankees signed Rivera in Panama.

3-0 to the ninth.

American League goes up, 3-0: Sal Perez and Jhonny Peralta singled in the eighth inning off Craig Kimbrel. Torii Hunter grounded into a double play before Jason Kipnis doubled in a run.

AL holds lead: The American League is up, 2-0, going into the bottom of the seventh. The NL has one hit and has two runners on base. Everything is pointing to a save situation for Mariano Rivera.

Pedroia strikes out: Facing 20-year-old Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez, Pedroia struck out looking at a fastball in the sixth inning. He and Ortiz are 0 for 4.

AL goes up, 2-0: Adam Jones doubled to start the fifth inning against Cliff Lee. Joe Mauer singled him to third. When J.J. Hardy grounded into a force at second, Jones scored. So it was a Baltimore-produced run.

NL has one hit so far.

Ortiz grounds into a double play: David Ortiz grounded into a double play to end the fourth inning. But the AL scored when Cabrera doubled, Davis singled and Bautista had a sac fly to center.

Pedroia pops out: Still no score in the game. Pedroia ended the top of the 3rd by popping out to right. ... X-rays on Cano's right knee were negative. That's good, you'd hate to see a player get hurt in an All-Star Game.

Ortiz flies out: The NL infield shifted to the right on Ortiz. He flied out to
center field. No score in the top of the second.

Pedroia already in: Robbie Cano was drilled in the right knee by a 96-mph fastball from Matt Harvey. He went to first base and then came out after a batter. Dustin Pedroia replaced him.

The AL has two other backup second basemen (Jason Kipnis and Ben Zobrist), but Pedroia should get 4-5 innings at least.

Pre-game: Good evening from Citi Field and our live All-Star Game blog. Unlike Red Sox games, we won't have inning-by-inning updates. But we will fill you in with what is going at the game, especially with how the Sox players are doing.

Tom Seaver just threw out the first pitch to David Wright.

Neat little fact: Matt Harvey, who will throw the actual first pitch, was born in 1989. Mariano Rivera, who could throw the last pitch, signed with the Yankees a year later.

Mo and Torii Hunter addressed the American League players before the game, as did Jim Leyland.

Clay Buchholz eager to return to the All-Star Game and pitch

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 16, 2013 06:11 PM

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball affixes little stars on the back of each player's cap, one for each year he has been in the All-Star Game.

Clay Buchholz will have two stars on his cap Tuesday night, a nice accomplishment for the 28-year-old. He made the All-Star team in 2010 and again this season.

"There are a lot of guys who have long careers and never get here. It's special," Buchholz said Tuesday. "I really appreciate being here. You have to treat it with respect because it doesn't happen very often."

Now the idea is to actually pitch in the game. Buchholz was unable to pitch in 2010 because of a hamstring injury and is out this season because of a sore shoulder.

"It would be awesome to pitch in the game. That's the whole point of making the team, to get a chance to play. It's frustrating in that sense," Buchholz said. "It's cool to be here. You have a good first half of the season and you want to compete against the other guys who did that, too."

Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 8. What started out as a sore AC joint in the front of his shoulder turned into a strained trapezius muscle at the base of his neck and then a bursa sac issue.

Buchholz has told the Red Sox that he will not pitch until the issue is cleared up. Given that he will need time to regain his arm strength, he is not likely to return to the rotation until sometime in August.

The situation has started to resemble the back injury Buchholz had in 2011 that went from a minor situation in June and turned into his missing the rest of the season.

But Buchholz said there is "no doubt" he'll pitch again this season.

"That's how I feel," he said. "It's just a matter of getting completely better. I don't want to get out there and have a setback. I've got be sure about it. It's just something that needs time."

Biogenesis case could be drawn out

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 16, 2013 02:54 PM

NEW YORK — The one thing that came out of today's annual media sessions with MLB commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players Association heads Micheal Weiner and David Prouty is the Biogenesis scandal and sorting out its ramifications is going to be a long process and reports that suspensions may came out as quickly as after the All-Star break may be premature.

In fact, both executive director Weiner and general counsel Prouty indicated they would be discussing matters over the next month and didn't expect much to be out there until September when appeals cases are likely to be heard.

Stories will leak to the media as they already have, but technically the suspensions are not supposed to be announced until the appeals have been heard.

One thing we learned from Prouty is the PED language and the 50-game, 100-game and lifetime bans, applies to a positive test. But the agreement also indicates that the commissioner has the power to impose disciplinary penalties, though the language is vague. The sides would have to agree on fairness of the penalties and each case will be taken individually.

The arbiter, and he's the only one who will handle all the appeals that are brought, has 25 days after he hears the case to rule and then five days after that to explain his decision.

Weiner said that MLB has been forthcoming with some of the evidence and not forthcoming with some other things.

Selig said his investigative team has been aggressive and thorough and that his office has not leaked any information to the media. He also said that once the investigations are completed, the information will be made public.

Boras: Return to health led to Ellsbury's surge

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 15, 2013 07:23 PM

NEW YORK — Scott Boras, the agent for Jacoby Ellsbury, said Monday that he expects big things from the Red Sox center fielder over the rest of the season.

Ellsbury, Boras said, was still getting over a shoulder injury when the season started and that caused him to get off to a slow start.

Ellsbury partially dislocated his right shoulder early in the 2012 season when he slid into second base and Tampa Bay’s Reid Brignac landed on him. He was on the disabled list for three months.

“Last year he came back early and played. But his shoulder strength was not there,” Boras said.

Ellsbury did not play well after returning in 2012 and that continued into this season. He hit .241 with a .303 on-base percentage over the first 44 games of the season with 12 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases.

In the 44 games since, Ellsbury has hit .371 with a .433 on-base percentage, 19 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases.

"I’m starting to see where this is starting to turn and he’s starting to drive the ball with authority to the gap, the opposite way. That shoulder’s getting stronger as we go,” Boras said.

Ellsbury did not make the American League All-Star team. But Boras, who was at Citi Field tending to some other clients, was happy to discuss his progress.

“He’s always been a tremendously strong, elite athlete as far as running, quick twitch, first step in the outfield. He’s just a rare player,” Boras said. “With each month of this season, his batting averages are going up, his numbers are there. His on-base percentage is really high.

“It’s no secret why the Red Sox are where they are that Jacoby’s has a big part of it.”

Boras said the early season struggles were related to Ellsbury still refining his swing.

“As the strength started coming, he’s now made the adjustment to understand more about that he does have that strength. Now he’s starting to certainly let the ball get deeper. I can see more power and lift coming to him,” Boras said. “He understands the mental side of it, too. He’s now back to being healthy.”

Ellsbury will be a free agent at the end of the season and has steadfastly refused any attempt by the Red Sox to sign an extension. The sides have agreed not to talk until after the season.

"[Sox general manager] Ben [Cherington] and I work together very well," Boras said. "He wants to focus on finishing the season and so do we."

Boras outlined what his major selling points will be. They center on Ellsbury being able to impact a team’s run differential offensively and defensively.

That kind of athletic player, Boras said, will be desirable given the lack of sluggers in the free agent class.

“It’s very hard to have those kind of players that can get on base and score runs and advance themselves on base. That value is, I think, is going to really, really go up in this game because of the lack of power,” Boras said.

Versatility aside, Ellsbury’s diminished power is an issue. He hit 32 home runs in 2011 but has hit only seven in 680 at-bats since.

But Boras believes he can sell the possibility of power.

“The main issue is that most players who are of Jacoby’s type, it’s never there. They’re four or five home run guys. With Jacoby, you know it’s there. There may be years that he hits 20 home runs. There may be another year that he hits 30. There may be years when he hits 10,” he said.

“But what you’re really paying him for is the ability to score runs and the ability to get on base and the ability to drive up the run difference.”

Boras also represents Red Sox outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. He mocked the idea that Bradley and Ellsbury couldn’t play together.

“I’m sure in the Red Sox board room Ben is sitting there going, ‘Wow, We just can’t have Jackie and Jacoby and [Shane] Victorino in that outfield. They would just be too good defensively. They would just provide us too much production and speed. That would be such a horrible problem for us.’ ”

Boras reminded reporters that Ellsbury’s only problem has been on-field collisions with other players that led to injury.

Ellsbury fractured several ribs in 2010 when he tumbled over Adrian Beltre then had the incident with Brignac.

“Remember, Jacoby Ellsbury is a very durable player,” Boras said. “He just has to make sure that people don’t run into him.”

Clay Buchholz still in limbo

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 15, 2013 06:02 PM

NEW YORK — The frustrating season of Clay Buchholz still has no clarity as he prepares for a couple of days of All-Star fun.

Buchholz said he will attempt a bullpen session in Boston during a workout on Thursday at Fenway and if he comes out of that OK, he may attempt a simulated game a couple of days later. Still nothing planned for a rehab assignment until he gives himself the OK.

And that’s what it’s come to.

Buchholz told the Red Sox and the medical staff that he wants to tell them when he’s finally void of the stiffness and soreness in his neck area. The team nor the medical staff have put restrictions on him after a series of MRI’s, CT scans and X-Rays revealed inflammation in the neck region.

“The first day I feel I’m pretty much normal, I’ll be out there,” said Buchholz, who was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his first 12 starts. He was named to the All-Star team but will not participate.

Buchholz was supposed to throw a bullpen session while here on Tuesday, but now that’s been changed to Thursday so he can throw in front of pitching coach Juan Nieves and the trainers.

“I’m just gonna play long toss here,” Buchholz said.

“It’s been frustrating for sure,” the righty said. “I’ve said it all along that all the other guys [Red Sox starters] are out there doing their jobs. It would be tougher if things weren’t going as we wanted and guys weren’t throwing the ball well. It would be tougher to sit back and watch but everyone’s pitching well so that’s why I’m gonna make sure I’m 100 percent before I go back out there.”

Buchholz said he’s been feeling the soreness and stiffness in his neck when he follows through on his delivery.

“It’s muscular where that inflammation is,” Buchholz said. “There was nothing there except inflammation and there’s only two places to go one is up your neck or down your arm. [The soreness] is the after-effects of throwing before I should have picked up a ball.”

Buchholz explained that, “It’s not something that kills me to do. I don’t know what it would lead to if I kept throwing, throwing throwing on it. It’s like picking a scab. I don’t want to keep messing with this forever. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, but regardless of how long it takes, I want it to be done and not going out there for a couple of starts and then have a setback. That’s my mindset.”

Buchholz said that if the team was in a situation where they were desperate for him, he’d pitch.

“If I thought it was a do or die situation in September and we were pushing for the pennant, if it came to that, absolutely I’d be out there. There’s no risk right now, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it,” he said.

Lineups for the All-Star Game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 15, 2013 02:09 PM

NEW YORK — Here are the lineups for the All-Star Game, just announced at Citi Field by managers Jim Leyland and Bruce Bochy.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Mike Trout (Angels) LF
Robinson Cano (Yankees) 2B
Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 3B
Chris Davis (Orioles) 1B
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) RF
David Ortiz (Red Sox) DH
Adam Jones (Orioles) CF
Joe Mauer (Twins) C
J.J. Hardy (Orioles) SS
Pitching: Max Scherzer (Tigers) RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Brandon Phillips (Reds) 2B
Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) RF
Joey Votto (Reds) 1B
David Wright (Mets) 3B
Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) LF
Yadier Molina (Cardinals) C
Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) SS
Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) DH
Bryce Harper (Nationals) RF
Pitching: Matt Harvey (Mets) RHP

The curious case of Alfredo Aceves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 15, 2013 10:07 AM

The news came via Twitter at 9:47 p.m. on Sunday night. "RHP Alfredo Aceves has been outrighted to Triple A Pawtucket."

That was it. No press release, no explanation. Just a sentence.

Of course there is more to it that. Being outrighted means Aceves was passed through waivers and taken off the 40-man roster. Every team passed on him.

The Red Sox could bring him back any time. But this is a sign they aren't much interested in doing that. He was expendable and now they have a roster spot they can use on somebody else.

You know the story with Aceves. He has pitched pretty well in his career (30-14, 3.69 in 194 games for the Yankees and Red Sox), but never really fit in. The Yankees cut him loose after the 2010 season, feeling he was unreliable.

The Red Sox picked him up and Aceves pitched very well in 2011. It has been a mess since. Aceves bickered with Bobby Valentine last season, to the point of suspension. He also challenged John Farrell's authority in spring training, earning a lecture. Catchers complained about how he shook off their calls and other teammates look askance at his odd behavior.

(Odd as in quirky. Aceves once made a bed out of towels in spring training and tried to sleep on the floor in front of his locker. Stuff like that.)

The Sox shipped him to the minors then brought him back for a series of spot starts that went well. But Aceves still operated outside the margins. He showed up when he felt like it, even before starts, and was difficult to communicate with.

Something happened in Seattle on Tuesday that was the last straw. Aceves threw 13 pitches in relief of Allen Webster in the third inning and didn't come out for the fourth.

Farrell said the pitcher wasn't hurt, but Aceves claimed he was to at least one reporter. It also was clear that Craig Breslow was kind of rushed into that game.

Aceves was optioned on Wednesday and now he's off the 40-man, too. It should be some sort of wake-up call that every team in baseball passed on him. But Aceves probably doesn't see it that way. He's landed on his feet before and probably will again.

But if he pitches again for the Red Sox, it'll be a surprise.

UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: Aceves is no longer with his agent, Tom O'Connell. According to the MLBPA, Aceves does not have an agent representing him as of today.

Reviewing the Red Sox at the break

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 15, 2013 09:31 AM

NEW YORK — The Red Sox season is 60 percent complete, so this is certainly not a review of the first half. But the All-Star break is a good time to look back ... and take a few guesses at what is to come.

BREAK MVP
1. Dustin Pedroia: This won't be another MVP season. But in many ways, this could be Pedroia's best season. His OPS+ is the third-best of his career (and close to his best) and his defense has been extraordinary. He's not the team captain but his leadership is unquestioned.

2. David Ortiz: Still wondering whether that two-year deal was smart? Big Papi shook off his Achilles' injury and has a 1.008 OPS. Only Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis are higher. On a team lacking home run power, Ortiz is a critical player.

3. Clay Buchholz: He hasn't pitched since June 8. But when he did, Buchholz was one of the game's best. His return to health will determine the course of the season.

BREAK CY YOUNG
1. Buchholz: The Sox were 11-1 in the games he started. Had he not gone on the disabled list, Buchholz might be starting the All-Star game on Tuesday.

2. John Lackey: He has given the Red Sox 16 starts and a 2.78 ERA. His bounce-back season is one of the best stories in baseball.

3. Koji Uehara: In what has been an unsettled bullpen, the 38-year-old has been a rock in any role. An 0.75 WHIP and 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings attest to his dominance.

BREAK ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Jose Iglesias: The defensive maestro has hit .367 in 52 games and forced his way into the lineup. Common sense tells you his offensive numbers will dip, but your eyes tell you he's become a better hitter.

Five pleasant surprises: Daniel Nava emerging as a productive everyday player. ... Felix Doubront recovering from early season woes to become a reliable starter. ... Mike Napoli plays first base better than just OK. ... Mike Carp has been a helpful bench player. ... The amount of help full-in players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Ryan Lavarnway, Alex Wilson and others provided.

Five disappointments: Will Middlebrooks being sent back to the minors. ... Jon Lester regressing after a strong first nine starts. ... Andrew Miller getting injured after a breakout first few months. ... The lack of home run power from the outfielders. ... Stephen Drew's sub-par season.

Five observations: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is putting himself in line for a nice contract as a free agent and it should be with the Red Sox. ... The front office was exactly right about Shane Victorino being a good fit in right field. ... Napoli's ability to tear up Fenway Park was wildly overstated. ... John Farrell has struck the right balance between being candid about performance but not being overly critical of his players. ... Junichi Tazawa looks worn down and may not be an effective set-up man down the stretch.

Five keys to the second half: Buchholz being Buchholz. ... Lester being Lester. ... Putting the puzzle together in the bullpen. Perhaps Andrew Bailey fits best as closer but there is no denying how well Uehera has handled the role. ... Managing Ortiz's playing time to keep him fresh. ... Napoli, a good second-half hitter, getting hot.

Five questions: In the 65 games remaining, is there a role for young players like Middlebrooks, Allen Webster, Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Workman, and Drake Britton? ... If Drew doesn't pick it up, would the Red Sox be bold enough to play Iglesias at shortstop and use Bogaerts at third? ... Is Ellsbury playing out the string in Boston? ... Will Ben Cherington make another trade or two before the deadline? ... Can Victorino, Drew and some of the other battered players stay on the field?

Five predictions: The Sox win 93 games and the division by one game over the Rays and two over the Orioles. ... Drew returns, but Iglesias ends up back at shortstop before the season ends. ... Lester goes 8-3, 3.39 in his last 13 starts, picking up for Buchholz. ... Bailey ends up leading the team in saves. ... Farrell is named AL Manager of the Year.

Check back later for coverage from Citi Field and the All-Star festivities.

Red Sox set rotation for next week

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 10:03 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Red Sox are dropping Opening Day starter Jon Lester back in their rotation once they return from the All-Star break.

Manager John Farrell said Sunday that his rotation for the Yankees series that starts Friday at Fenway Park would be Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and then Lester.

Ryan Dempster would start the fourth game after the break. The Red Sox haven’t named their fifth starter. But rookie righthander Brandon Workman likely earned another shot after carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 3-2, 11-inning loss against Oakland on Sunday.

Farrell wanted to use his two lefthanded starters against the Yankees with a righthander in the middle. Lester is 2-6 with a 6.27 earned run average in his last 11 starts. Doubront is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in his last 11 starts.

The Yankees will start Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and CC Sabathia in the series.

Also:

• The Red Sox passed righthander Alfredo Aceves through waivers and outrighted him to Triple A Pawtucket. He is now off the 40-man roster. Aceves is 4-1 with a 4.86 ERA in 11 major league appearances.

That means the 29 other teams passed on him. Something fishy happened in Seattle on Tuesday when Aceves threw 13 pitches and didn't come out for the inning. Farrell said Aceves was not hurt but had some pain in his side.

Bottom line: The Sox felt him expendable.

• Just an observation: Farrell didn't have too much to say about Clay Buchholz's bullpen session other than to say he completed it. This process is not going remotely like the Sox originally thought. If he pitches before the end of the month, it will be a surprise at this point.

• The Red Sox are off for four days before facing the Yankees on Friday. Under the terms if the collective bargaining agreement, the Sox cannot hold a mandatory workout on Thursday. But the park will be open late in the afternoon for any players who want to work out.

• Stephen Drew, out since June 29 with a right hamstring strain, will start a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Double A Portland on Thursday. He will DH the first game then play shortstop on Friday. Barring something unexpected, Drew would rejoin the Red Sox on Saturday. Farrell has said that Drew will return to shortstop once he is activated and Jose Iglesias will move back to third base.

• Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor ejected Jonny Gomes in the ninth inning. Gomes was at the plate when he asked for time. It was not granted and he struck out swinging at a pitch from Grant Balfour. Gomes argued the decision and was ejected for the first time since June 5, 2008.

• In recognition of his setting the record for most hits by a designated hitter last week, the Red Sox players presented David Ortiz with a six-liter bottle of 2008 Orin Swift "Mercury Head" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. All of the players signed the bottle, which has a Mercury Head dime imbedded in it. Gomes, who is a wine connoisseur, had the bottle delivered from Napa Valley to Oakland Coliseum.

• The Sox finished 3-3 against the Athletics this season. Wonder if they'll see them again?

• Jose Iglesias was 8 for 39 (.205) on the road trip.

• Koji Uehara, who pitched two scoreless innings, has been dominant since being named the closer in late June. In 12 games and 12.1 innings, he has allowed one earned run on five hits with one walk and 18 strikeouts.

Red Sox fall, but Workman leaves a good impression

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 09:57 PM

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AP Photo/Ben Margot

OAKLAND, Calif. — Red Sox righthander Brandon Workman admitted he was nervous when he made his major league debut against the Seattle Mariners last week.

It showed, too. The first batter hit a home run. Three doubles followed from there as he gave up three runs in a relief appearance.

The Red Sox, undeterred, gave Workman a chance to start against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon. This time, the quiet 24-year-old from Texas showed he could be a major player in the pennant race.

Workman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before an infield hit cost him a chance at history. The Sox went on to lose the game, 3-2 in 11 innings.

If Workman is able to help the Red Sox return to the postseason, the loss will quickly be forgotten. In what has been a season full of surprises, he was the latest player to step forward.

“He gave us an outstanding effort,” manager John Farrell said. “He didn’t show any kind of fear for the situation. He was poised. Very good mound presence. Good composure. Definitely had very good stuff.”

Workman allowed two runs on two hits over his 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five. That came without having much of a curveball, a pitch he usually relies heavily on.

“I was able to locate my fastball to both sides of the plate early and kind of worked off that as the game went on,” he said.

Workman knew he had a no-hitter. But his bigger concern was the game. The Sox didn’t score until the sixth inning and led 2-0 into the bottom of the seventh.

“That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to work deep into the game and pitch as long as I could,” Workman said. “Not giving up any hits was great while it lasted.”

Workman’s parents were in the Oakland Coliseum crowd of 31,417 as he came to the mound in the seventh. He was trying to become the first rookie to throw a no-hitter since teammate Clay Buchholz in 2007.

Workman lost the no-hitter when Coco Crisp hit a groundball up the middle destined for center field. Dustin Pedroia dove for the ball like a swimmer leaving the starting blocks and stopped it.

Pedroia got his feet in a flash, but his throw was too late to catch the speedy Crisp.

“Thought I had a chance,” Pedroia said. “But Coco, he’s too fast.”

Said Workman: “I thought it was a base hit up the middle. I can’t believe he got to that ball. I thought it was going all the way to center field for sure. That was unbelievable.”

After Crisp’s single, Workman got an out. Josh Donaldson was going to be his last hitter regardless.

Workman left a 3-and-2 fastball, his 103rd pitch, over the plate and Donaldson hit the mammoth home run to center, the ball striking the facing of the football luxury suites.

“He hit it pretty well,” said Workman, who had not thrown more than 100 pitches in a game this season.

Donaldson later won the game with a bloop single in the 11th inning off Matt Thornton.

Farrell was tempted to take Workman out after Crisp’s hit. But he felt the rookie could handle Donaldson, who had struck out in his previous at-bat.

“In retrospect, there’s no second-guessing on my part as far as the matchup in that situation,” Farrell said.

Workman retired the first 18 batters in order. The only blemish was a walk to John Jaso in the fourth inning. But Workman struck out Donaldson and catcher Ryan Lavarnway threw out Jaso stealing second.

Lavarnway, who caught Workman once in the minors, marveled at the righthander’s approach.

“It was beautiful to catch him,” Lavarnway said. “He did a great job. He did everything we asked him to.”

See the Globe tomorrow for more on Workman and the Sox game.

Final: Athletics 3, Red Sox 2 (11)

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 03:52 PM

Game over: Athletics 3, Red Sox 2 (11 innings): Red Sox rookie Brandon Workman flirted with a no-hitter in his first major league start on Sunday afternoon. But the Red Sox left Oakland Coliseum with a disappointing loss.

Josh Donaldson drove in a run with a bloop single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Athletics came back to beat the Sox, 3-2, before a crowd of 31,417.

Matt Thornton, acquired from the White Sox on Friday, took the loss in his Red Sox debut. Oakland had only five hits in the game.

Pinch hitter Chris Young drew a walk to start the inning. Eric Sogard bunted him to second. With two outs, pinch hitter Derek Norris walked.

Donaldson, who earlier in the game hit a two-run homer, hit a soft single into right field. The Sox had no time to make a play.

Middle of the 11th: Red Sox 2, A's 2: The Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the inning. But Ryan Cook struck out Brock Holt looking. Matt Thornton in for his Red Sox debut.

Top of the 11th: Red Sox 2, A's 2: We're going extras the day before the All-Star break.

Sean Doolittle held the Sox scoreless for 1.2 innings. Grant Balfour, who was named a replacement on the All-Star team earlier in the day, then struck out the side in the ninth.

Breslow pitched 1 2/3 scoreless for the Sox. Koji Uehara then retired the side in order in the ninth and escaped a jam in the 10th. Yoenis Cespedes reached second on a single and a throwing error by Jose Iglesias but was out stealing third.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 2, A's 2: The game is in the hands of the bullpens now. Breslow kept the A's off the board, as did Sean Doolittle for Oakland.

Gomes was ejected after he asked for time, was refused and struck out.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 2, A's 2: Workman got one out before Donaldson hit a titanic home run to center field. Donaldson crushed a 3-and-2 cutter that stayed up and over the inner half of the plate.

Craig Breslow finished the inning from there.

Bottom of the 7th: Red Sox 2, A's 0: What a shame, Workman lost his no-hitter on an infield single. Crisp grounded a ball up the middle. Pedroia dove for the ball like Michael Phelps starting the 100 freestyle in the Olympics. He came up throwing but Crisp was too fast to get.

Now can the Sox hold the lead?

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 2, A's 0: Carp doubled, advanced on a groundout by Lavarnway and scored on a single by Holt, who has driven in eight runs in nine games. That was it for Colon.

Now back to the Workman watch.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 1, A's 0: Interesting times here in Oakland. Rookie Brandon Workman has faced 18 hitters in six innings. Just a walk. He's at 88 pitches.

Here's how the Sox scored: Ellsbury singled and went to third on a Nava single. Pedroia then ripped a two-strike changeup to left to score Ellsbury. Ortiz flied deep to left (a homer at Fenway for sure) before Gomes fanned looking.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Colon has set down 12 in a row. Workman, meanwhile, is dealing. His line: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. He is at 79 pitches and his high this season is 100. Be pretty surprising if the Red Sox let him go beyond 115.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 0, A's 0: That's nine in a row retired by Colon. MLB should drug test him between innings at this point.

Workman allowed his first base runner when Jaso worked a walk with one out in the fourth inning. But he struck out Donaldson looking and Lavarnway threw out Jason stealing to end the inning. Pedroia picked the short hop at the bag.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 0, A's 0: The Sox went in order against Colon. Workman, meanwhile, has retired all nine batters he has faced and is at a tidy 41 pitches (25 strikes).

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Gomes led off the second with a double and that was that. Carp lined to short, Lavarnway grounded to third and Holt flied to center.

Workman then set down the A's in order, fanning Lowrie and Reddick along the way.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Ellsbury singled before Nava grounded into a double play. Pedroia doubled but Ortiz fanned. He is 7 for 49 against Colon with 16 strikeouts. Workman then retired the A's in order. A solid first inning should allow him to get his feet underneath him. Especially given his last outing.

Pre-game: Good afternoon. It's the final game before the All-Star break for the Sox, who send rookie Brandon Workman against old workhorse Bartolo Colon. Should be interesting.

Stick around for updates and feel free to leave your comments.

Britton called up; Bradley optioned

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 02:26 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Lefthander Drake Britton was called up from Triple A Pawtucket and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned. The Red Sox were carrying an extra position player.

Britton, 24, was 7-7 with a 3.77 earned run average as a starter in Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket. Britton pitched one game in Pawtucket before being promoted.

"We felt like we needed to add another arm for the bullpen," manager John Farrell said.

Britton said it was "big surprise" when the Red Sox called him on Saturday.

"I didn't know what to think at first," he said. "My mind was going a million miles an hour. I was really excited."

Britton was a 23rd round draft pick in 2007 out of Tomball, Texas, HS. He had Tommy John surgery after the 2008 season and appeared in only seven games in 2009. Britton was 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA for High A Salem in 2011. But the Sox stuck with him and now he's getting a shot in the majors.

"It's awesome. I had the biggest smile on my face. Nobody could knock it off," he said.

Britton was arrested during spring training for driving under the influence, among other vehicular charges. The matter is still moving through the Florida court system.

Farrell indicated that Britton would be with the team beyond today.

"For now, yes. How long that is, barring any other changes internally or externally, he'll be here for now."

Britton can work as a long reliever.

• Just days off [day game after a night game] for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli.

The Napoli situation bears watching. The first baseman and the Red Sox have said there is no issue with his hips. But Napoli, John Farrell and head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson were on the field on Saturday for 10 minutes. Napoli then started doing to hip-related agility drills

Today will be the 10th time since June 10 that Napoli is not in the starting lineup. Three of those days were because he was ill. But Napoli has not been in the lineup for five of the last 25 games.

• The Red Sox did not yet announce their post-break rotation. That could come later today.

• Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen with Farrell, Jameyson and pitching coach Juan Nieves all watching closely. The tentative plan was for him to repeat that process in NBew York on Tuesday before the All-Star Game.

• Stephen Drew could play a rehab game on Thursday and join the Red Sox as soon as Friday.

Ranaudo roughed up in Futures Game

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 02:05 PM

NEW YORK — Anthony Ranaudo has had a very good season, just not in all-star games.

On July 10, he started the Eastern League All-Star game and allowed two walks before a three-run homer by Giants prospect Javier Herrera.

Today, on a hot, humid day at Citi Field, Ranaudo, one of Boston's top pitching prospects, allowed an upper-deck homer to Arismendy Alcanatara, then allowed a single to his former Portland teammate, Xander Bogaerts, upon entering the game for USA (4-2 winners over the World) in the fourth inning.

In all, the Freehold, N.J., native gave up two runs on two hits with two walks and a wild pitch. He got only two outs in the fourth inning before being yanked.

The good news is that Bogaerts, hitting third in the World lineup and playing shortstop, is 2 for 3. He was caught stealing in the first inning. He also scored World's second run. He struck out on three pitches from nasty righty Eddie Butler, but then walked after he was moved from shortstop to DH.

Third baseman Garin Cecchini, the third Red Sox prospect chosen, came into play third base in the fifth inning. In his first at-bat, flied out deep to the warning track in left center and then.

“It’s an honor to be selected to this game,” said Ranaudo, a 6-foot-7 righthander, before the game. “Just want to go out and pitch a good inning and represent my team well. It’s been a good year so far. I’ve had good command of my fastball and curve ball and my change up is a pitch that I can use when I need it. I haven’t had to throw it that much.”

Ranaudo is 8-2 with a 2.67 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 91 innings. He’s likely to move up to Pawtucket later this month or in early August.

Cecchini, a third baseman, was a late add [on Thursday] to the USA team because of an injury on the USA team. The third baseman has been tearing up Double A since his promotion. He went 1-for-2 and knocked ina run with linedrive double in the 9th.

Bogaerts is a phone call away from the major leagues now that he’s at Triple-A. The only question is what position will he ultimately play?

“Right now I’m a shortstop,” Bogaerts said, “and that’s what I enjoy playing.”

Asked about a move to third, he laughed. “That’s easy. I played one game and no chances," Bogaerts said.

Overall, Bogaerts is hitting .294 with 13 homers and 54 RBI between Portland and Pawtucket.

Cecchini was scheduled to come off the USA bench. He’s hit a combined .353 with eight homers and 57 RBIs between Portland and Salem.

Game 97: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 12:30 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (58-38)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Carp 1B
Lavarnway C
Holt 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Brandon Workman (0-0, 13.50).

ATHLETICS (55-29)
Crisp CF
Jaso C
Donaldson 3B
Lowrie SS
Cespedes LF
Reddick RF
Moss 1B
Smith DH
Sogard 2B
Pitching: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.69).

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Colon: Ortiz 7-48, Gomes 6-15, Salty 4-15, Pedroia 2-13, Ellsbury 2-9, Napoli 3-11, Nava 1-5, Victorino 1-5.

Athletics vs. Workman: No history.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have been in first place at the All-Streak in five of the last seven years (2007, '08, 09, '11 and '13). They finished in first place in 2007.

Notes: The Red Sox will split up for the four-day All-Star break after the game. They start the day with a 3.5-game lead in the division. ... Workman, a 24-year-old rookie, pitched two innings of relief against Seattle in his major league debut on Wednesday, giving up three runs. Workman was 8-2, 3.21 in 17 games (16 starts) with Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket. ... Colon, 40, faced the Sox in a rain-shortened game at Fenway on April 23 and threw a seven-inning shutout. He is 9-11, 3.82 in 27 career appearances against the Red Sox. ... The Sox are 19-9 in day games, the best record in the majors. ... Victorino is 8 of 27 on the trip and 26 of his last 82. He has reached safely in 16 of his last 20 games. ... Since he became closer, Koji Uehera's line is impressive: 10.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 16 K. ... Holt, a rookie, has a six-game hit streak. ... Iglesias is 8 of 35 (.229) on the road trip. ... The Sox are 27-22 on the road.

Song of the Day: "Breakaway" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 10:27 AM

Here's a look at Dustin Pedroia and the pre-game routine that brings him closer to the game he loves.

The Sox were beaten 3-0 by Oakland on Saturday night. But Jon Lester showed some improvement.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that these Red Sox are making us forget about 2012.

The notebook has Matt Thornton arriving just in time.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo writes that baseball is gearing up for a memorable second half.

A loss, but improvement for Jon Lester

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 14, 2013 02:07 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Jon Lester did not pitch poorly against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night, giving up three runs on six hits over 6.1 innings. Statistically, that’s a quality start and by that measure it represents progress.

But A.J.Griffin dominated the Sox, throwing eight innings in a game the Athletics won, 3-0. So Lester was tagged with another loss, his second on this road trip.

“I thought tonight was a very solid performance for him,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “You know, on a night when we score our typical amount of runs we’re probably having a completely different conversation after the game with the way he’s pitched.”

Lester is 2-6 with a 6.27 earned run average in his last 11 starts. As the Red Sox evaluate their rotation for after the break, Lester is still a question mark. After a terrific first nine games of the season (6-0, 2.72), he is searching for some kind of consistency.

“Stuff’s the same. Mindset’s the same. Bad execution,” Lester said. “When it comes down to those times in the game where you need to execute pitches and not allow runs to come across the plate, I just didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Lester felt he commanded his pitches better against the Athletics, moved his fastball around and had a good change up.

“Just keep plugging away. Work hasn’t stopped. Come back out in my next go round and come back with the same stuff I had [Saturday] both on the mound and in my head. I feel like I’m real close,” he said.

Lester said the All-Star break would allow him to return next week feeling like it’s a new season. The Sox have to hope he pitches that way, too. Lester’s first start is likely to be against the Yankees.

The Red Sox will pitch rookie Brandon Workman against All-Star Bartolo Colon in the series finale. The Sox are 5-4 on their West Coast road trip.

Final: Athletics 3, Red Sox 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 09:55 PM

Game over: A's 3, Red Sox 0: The Sox were held to seven hits by Griffin and Brant Balfour, wh0 chalked up his 43rd consecutive save. The game was a pleasant two hours and 45 minutes.

The Sox are 5-4 on their road trip with one game left.

Top of the 9th: A's 3, Red Sox 0: Griffin went eight innings. Lester allowed another run in the seventh. He wasn't terrible but nowhere near good enough.

Top of the 7th: A's 2, Red Sox 0: The put two runners on as Ortiz reached on an error and Nava singled with two outs. Salty then flied to left.

The A's took a 2-0 lead. Lowrie walked with one out. Singles by Donaldson and Cespedes scored him.

Top of the 6th: A's 1, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox got a single from Holt but nothing else. Norris them homered with two outs in the bottom of the inning, hammering an 0-and-2 pitch to left. No. 5 on the year for him.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Napoli roped a double off the wall in center with one out. But Nava flied deep to left and Salty deep to center.

Lester has retired seven straight. He got some help that inning when Ellsbury made a diving catch to steal a hit from Cespedes.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Victorino singled and stole second (guess his legs feel fine) but that was it for the Sox. Lester then retired the A's in order. Victorino made a nice running catch on Lowrie to end the inning.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: The Sox went in order. Lester survived a rocky inning. Cespedes walked before Wellesley's own Nate Freiman grounded into a double play. Young and Reddick singled before Norris grounded to first.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: The Sox got a one-out single from Victorino and a two-out single from Ortiz. But Griffin, who has a big old-fashioned curveball, struck out Napoli.

Lester handled the Athletics in order. This is not a critical game for the Sox. But Lester could sure use a strong start to end a disappointing first half.

Pre-game: Good evening from Oakland Coliseum and tonight's game between the Red Sox and Athletics.

Can Jon Lester go into the All-Star break on a good note? Will Matt Thornton pitch? Can David Ortiz hit one out of Oakland Coliseum? We'll have updates all game long.

Hang around and feel free to leave your comments.

Thornton 'excited' to join contending Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 09:35 PM

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Thornton spent eight seasons with the White Sox and set a franchise for appearances by a relief pitcher. He was part of the fabric there.

When general manager Rich Hahn called Thornton on Friday night and told him he had been traded to the Red Sox, the conversation was a tough one.

“I had a good relationship with everyone over there. But at the same time, I had heard about the rumors to Boston,” Thornton said Saturday after joining the Red Sox during batting practice. “The opportunity to come over here was great for me.

“I've been smiling pretty much all day, knowing that I'm going to be on a first-place team in a pennant race."

The Red Sox needed a lefthanded reliever once Andrew Miller was lost for the season with an injury. The upcoming schedule also played a role in the team’s acquisition of Thornton, who had a 3.86 earned run average in 40 appearances for Chicago.

The Red Sox play 10 consecutive games against American League East foes after the All-Star break. Thornton has considerable experience against those teams and their lefthanded hitters.

“Staying in the league that I know, I’ve faced most lefties in the league 10, 12, 15 times,” Thornton said.

Thornton said his transition would be eased by his familiarity with Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, the former White Sox bullpen coach.

“Juan and I were together for a long time,” he said. “He’s a good friend of mine. Love the guy to death and looking forward to working with him again. ... I'm excited about all of this."

Trade for Thornton comes at a good time

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 07:54 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Red Sox needed a lefthanded reliever once Andrew Miller was lost for the season with an injury. But the upcoming schedule also played a role in the team’s acquisition of Matt Thornton from the White Sox on Friday night.

The Red Sox play 10 consecutive games against American League East foes after the All-Star break. Thornton has considerable experience against those teams and their lefthanded hitters.

The Yankees arrive at Fenway Park on Friday for a three-game series. Their best player, Robinson Cano, is 1 for 12 against Thornton. Ichiro Suzuki is 5 of 19 and Travis Hafner 5 of 24.

Having Thornton around will allow Red Sox manager John Farrell to match up against those hitters in the sixth or seventh inning and save Craig Breslow for later in the game.

“I don’t know that it was driven by the lefthanded hitters we’re going to face,” Farrell said Saturday. “But it gives us that second lefty and it definitely helps. It was clear when Andrew went down, the desire to strike early. The sense of urgency became a little bit greater.”

Thornton, who was scheduled to join the team during batting practice in Saturday, was given No. 38, the first Red Sox player to get that number since Curt Schilling retired. He wore 37 in Chicago but Mike Carp has that number with the Sox.

The Red Sox were interested in Thornton before Miller was lost for the season with a torn ligament in his left foot. But that interest picked up in recent days.

The Sox had several scouts in Detroit on Thursday and saw Thornton throw a perfect inning against the Tigers. That led to the Sox sending Chicago Double A outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

The White Sox have high hopes for Jacobs, a 22-year-old with many physical tools. General manager Rich Hahn believes he will become a corner outfielder in the majors.

But Jacobs was blocked by several outfielders in the Red Sox system — Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz in particular. The Red Sox would have had to place Jacobs on the 40-man roster after the season or risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft.

Trading him eased a roster crunch.

The Red Sox may not be finished adding to their relief depth.

“Additional changes that might take place remain to be seen,” Farrell said. “I know that [general manager Ben Cherington] is still finding way possible to improve this team,” Farrell said.

Also:

• Farrell has not announced the rotation out of the break. But he did say the Sox would use lefties Jon Lester and Felix Doubront against the Yankees with John Lackey in the middle. Ryan Dempster would start the fourth game against Tampa Bay with the fifth starter to be determined.

• Shane Victorino was back in the lineup after taking a fastball off the base of his right thumb on Friday.

• Stephen Drew, out since June 29 with a strained right hamstring, went through a full workout before the game that including running the bases. Drew is eligible to be activated off the disabled list on Sunday but that will wait until next weekend. “Like to get him some at-bats on a very, very brief [minor league rehabilitation assignment]. He’s going to be rejoining us shortly after the All-Star break.”

• Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes practiced for Monday’s Home Run Derby before the game and sent baseballs deep into the stands in left field. Several Red Sox players and coaches watched the show.

• Xander Bogaerts will hit third for the World Team in the Futures Game at Citi Field in New York on Sunday. Righthander Anthony Ranaudo is scheduled to pitch an inning of relief for the United States team and infielder Garin Cecchini will play off the bench.

• Double A Portland beat Binghamton 8-5 in 15 innings on Friday. Infielder Ryan Dent pitched two scoreless innings to get the win. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out one. Dent, 24, is a former supplemental first-round pick who has hit .223 over seven seasons.

Game 96: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 05:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (58-37)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-5, 4.60).

ATHLETICS (54-39)
Crisp DH
Lowrie SS
Donaldson 3B
Cespedes LF,
Freiman 1B
Young CF
Reddick RF
Norris C
Green 2B
Pitching: RHP A.J. Griffin (7-6, 3.94).

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Griffin: Salty 2-8, Napoli 2-6, Ellsbury 1-6, Nava 1-6, Ortiz 2-4, Pedroia 1-6, Victorino 1-3, Lavarnway 1-2.

Athletics vs. Lester: Crisp 2-7, Young 2-4, Cespedes 0-3, Donaldson 1-3, Freiman 0-1, Lowrie 2-3, Moss 1-3, Norris 0-2, Reddick 0-3, Smith 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have the most wins in baseball. But their winning percentage (.611) is just slightly behind the 56-35 Cardinals (.615).

Notes: The Sox are 3-1 against the A's this season after going 1-8 last year. ... The Sox have won four straight and nine of 12. They start the day with a 4.5-game lead in the East. ... Lester is 2-5, 6.49 in his last 10 starts. He is 4-3, 4.21 in 11 career starts against Oakland. That includes a rocky start on April 24 (5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K). ... Griffin is 1-1, 5.29 in three starts against the Sox. He faced them on April 22 at Fenway and allowed seven earned runs over five innings. ... The A's have scored six runs in their last four games. ... Pedroia has reached base safely in 17 of the last 18 games, hitting 27 of 43 (.370) with six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. ... Ortiz has 19 homers. Ted Williams had 16 seasons with 20 home runs for the Sox. Big Papi would join Dwight Evans and Jim Rice as Sox players with 11 20-home run seasons.

Song of the Day: "Once Upon A Time In The West" by Ennio Morricone.

The lucky flowers improve to 4-0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 05:21 PM

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With the bouquet of flowers seen at far left in this photo from Wednesday's game in the dugout, the Red Sox are 4-0. (Associated Press photo)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes went to Seattle’s Pike Place Market on Tuesday for lunch and picked up a bouquet of wildflowers on their way out to give to third base coach Brian Butterfield as a joke.

Butterfield put the flowers in the dugout and the Sox won that night. The same thing happened on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rather than risk angering the baseball gods, the players decided to bring the flowers with them to Oakland. Rookie Jose Iglesias was put in charge of keeping the flowers in water and transporting them on the bus and to the team charter.

Iglesias then had to keep the flowers in his room and bring them to Oakland Coliseum. The Sox won again on Friday, giving the flowers a 4-0 record.

The flowers are now in an empty bubblegum canister and still very much alive thanks to Iglesias, whose quick hands apparently include a green thumb.

It's the latest example of the Red Sox having some fun as a group, a running story since the start of spring training.

But there's also some subtle team building being done, too. Iglesias is having a wildly successful season and putting him in charge of a bouquet of flowers is a way to remind him that he's still a rookie and has to keep earning his way.

Don't forget, Iglesias was benched in Pawtucket earlier this season after he was demoted and sulked about it. But since he returned to the Red Sox, any traces of a bad attitude have vanished.

Is because of something like having to carry some flowers around? Probably not directly. But little things like that help make a team. No metric can tell you how many wins that's worth. But the Red Sox certainly believe it has more than a little to do with them being 58-37.

Wrapping up the night in Oakland

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 13, 2013 02:30 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — A few late-night notes after the Sox moved to a season-best 21 games over .500:

• Andrew Bailey continued to pitch well, throwing a scoreless eighth inning. He has pitched 5.1 scoreless innings in his last four outings, allowing two hits and striking out seven.

• John Lackey on the double play Dustin Pedroia started in the fifth inning when Josh Donaldson crushed a ball up the middle on a hop: "It was either make the play or die. That ball was smoked."

Said Pedroia: “It was self defense. ... Thank God it landed in my glove or it would have made a hole in my chest."

• Brock Holt in seven games since being called up: 7 of 22 (.318), 3 runs, 7 RBIs, 3 walks, 2 sacrifices, 2 sacrifice flies.

"He’s a smart player. He understands the situations to which he's asked to execute differently in," John Farrell said. "He gives himself a chance. He’s not a dead pull hitter. He stays inside the baseball well."

• Shane Victorino was smoked on the base of the right thumb by a 96-mph fastball from Sean Doolittle in the eighth inning. He had his hand iced afterward but said it was just a bruise.

Victorino must have had, no kidding, 15 pounds of ice wrapped around various parts of his body after the game.

• Pedroia on Matt Thornton: "I think it's great. He's got great stuff from having faced him over the years. That's a power arm. Hopefully he'll help us out a ton."

• The Red Sox (58-37) have the best record in the AL. Only the Cardinals (56-35) have a better record overall.

Red Sox obtain LHP Thornton from White Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 10:39 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Red Sox did not wait until closer to the trade deadline to improve their bullpen. On Friday night they obtained lefthander Matt Thornton from the White Sox in exchange for Double A outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

The White Sox, sources said, also included $750,000 in the deal to cover some of the $3.47 million Thornton has remaining on his contract. He is owed $2.47 million for this season. There is a team option for 2014 or a $1 million buyout.

The Sox needed relief help, specifically a lefthander, when Andrew Miller suffered a foot injury in a game against the Angels last Saturday and was lost for the season. That left Craig Breslow as the only lefthander in the bullpen.

“We’ve recognized we had some attrition in the pen this season,” general manager Ben Cherington said during a conference call. “When Andrew went down that sort of added to the issue. We picked up our efforts at that point and had a lot of conversations the last few days to see if there was a fit that made sense earlier in July.”

Miller will soon have surgery and was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Thornton on the 40-man roster. Thornton is expected to join the Red Sox on Saturday.

"Proven lefthanded reliever. Guy with some power. He's had a number of good years with Chicago," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I think he'll fit in very well in our bullpen."

The 36-year-old Thornton has appeared in 40 games for Chicago. He has a 3.86 earned run average and a 1.25 WHIP. Over 28 innings, Thornton has allowed 25 hits and struck out 21.

Lefthanded batters are hitting .173 (9 for 52) with a .617 OPS against Thornton. He has been primarily a specialist for Chicago. Only 18 of Thornton's appearances have lasted an inning or more.

The Red Sox play 10 consecutive games against division opponents after the All-Star break and wanted to get a second lefthander before then.

“Trying to stabilize and fortify the pen was important,” Cherington said. “He’s had success against lefthanders we’re going to face.”

Farrell envisions using Thornton in the sixth or seventh inning to match up against lefthanders.

"Similar to what he's been doing for the White Sox," Farrell said.

Thornton averaged 12 strikeouts per nine innings in 2010, when he was an All-Star. That has dipped steadily since, to 6.8 this season. But he still averages 94-95 mph with his fastball and has hit 97 in recent games.

Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves was the bullpen coach of the White Sox for five years and has a lot of familiarity with Thornton.

“There is a certain comfort level there,” Cherington said. “The number one thing is the track record. He is a proven lefthanded relief pitcher and has been effective in the American League for a long time.”

Thornton has three games of playoff experience with the White Sox, those coming in the 2008 American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.

A 10-year veteran, Thornton has a career 3.35 ERA and holds the White Sox record with 512 relief appearances.

Since 2008, Thornton leads all major league lefthanded relievers in strikeouts with 382. Since the start of the 2006 season, Thornton leads all American League relievers in games (512) and innings pitched (463.1) and is second in strikeouts with 486.

Jacobs, 22, was a 10th round pick in the 2009 draft. The athletic outfielder hit .244 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs for Single A Salem before a recent promotion to Double A Portland.

"He was the most impactful player available to us,” White Sox general manager Rich Hahn said.

Hahn told Chicago reporters that seven or eight teams were interested in Thornton.

Cherington said there is “no specific target” in terms of further trade talks before the July 31 deadline.

“We have some time to see what’s out there,” he said.

Final: Red Sox 4, Athletics 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 09:55 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Athletics 2: John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and Dustin Pedroia had the key hit as the Sox beat the Athletics before an energetic crowd of 27,084.

Koji struck out the side for his save. High-fives all around.

That’s four wins in a row for the Red Sox, who extended their lead on Tampa Bay in the American League East to 4½ games.

The Sox are 5-3 on a West Coast road trip that has two games remaining. They also obtained lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton from the Chicago White Sox.

Lackey (7-6) has had what amounts to a season of success in his career against Oakland. He improved to 19-6 against them in 34 career starts.

Lackey has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last six starts and not allowed more than two earned runs. It’s hard to say where the Red Sox would be without him but it likely would not be first place.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 4, A's 2: Napoli led off with a triple. Bradley ran for him. Nava grounded to short and Bradley stayed put with the infield in. Salty walked. Iggy then tried a safety squeeze bunt. It was too hard and Moss came in from first and threw Bradley out. Holt then grounded to short.

Koji in to try to close it out.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 4, A's 2: Bailey replaced Lackey and walked Jaso before setting down the side. Bailey has thrown 5.1 scoreless innings in his last four outings, allowing two hits and striking out seven.

Lackey has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last six starts and not allowed more than two earned runs. It’s hard to say where the Red Sox would be without him but it likely would not be first place. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

Lackey has a 2.32 earned run average over his last 10 starts and a 2.78 on the season.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, A's 2: Lefthander Sean Doolittle replaced Parker, who retired the final 16 batters he faced. Iglesias greeted him with a single down the line in right. Holt then bunted Iglesias to second base.

Ellsbury grounded to second and Iglesias took third. Parker then hit Victorino on his right wrist with a 96-mph fastball. It was the first time Doolittle has hit a batter in 85 career appearances.

Victorino stayed in the game, but Parker didn’t. Oakland brought in righthander Ryan Cook to face Pedroia.

After Victorino stole second, Pedroia slapped a hanging slider into left field for a two-run single.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 2, A's 2: Jed Lowrie homered to right field to start the inning. Why can't the Red Sox . . . oh forget it.

Meanwhile Parker has retired 13 Red Sox in order since Holt's two-run single in the second inning.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, A's 1: Lackey allowed his first hit, a double off the wall by Smith to start the inning. He then walked Crisp with one out before Jason singled in a run. Victorino booted the ball and Crisp went to third.

Donaldson hit a smash up the middle that Pedroia gloved from his knees and flipped to Iggy to start a double play that ended the inning and saved a run.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, A's 0: Parker has set down the last seven Sox in a row. Lackey walked Cespedes and Moss with two outs before fanning Reddick to end the inning.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, A's 0: Both pitchers retired the side in order. Oakland still looking for a hit.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, A's 0: It was an eventful top of the second inning.

Napoli led off with a single and went to third on a throwing error by Donaldson at third. Nava was then hit by a pitch that glanced off his helmet and hit umpire C.B. Bucknor square in the mask. Bucknor left the game and there was a delay of several minutes so second base umpire Bill Miller could suit up and get behind the plate.

When play started up again, Saltalamacchia flied deep to center and the runners advanced. Iglesias flied to right and Napoli retreated to third after breaking down the line.

With two outs, Holt singled to left field and two runs scored. Holt took second on the throw and third on an error. Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.

Lackey walked two in the bottom of the inning but escaped trouble.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Pedroia, the pride of Woodland, Calif., (about 90 minutes away) singled with two outs before Ortiz flied to center.

Lackey then retired the side in order. He has pitched what amounts to an entire season of his career against the A's and knows this mound well.

Pre-game: Good evening from Oakland Coliseum, which is quite a dump. The Red Sox and Athletics are the two best teams in the American League and two good pitchers are on the mound in John Lackey and Jarrod Parker.

Stay up for the game and follow along here for updates.

Larry Lucchino cowboys up

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 09:48 PM

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Photo from @RedSox Twitter account

Here's something you never expected to see. It's Red Sox president Larry Lucchino in a cowboy hat and earrings with country star Jason Aldean.

Luchhino is at Fenway Park tonight for Aldean's sold-out show. It's been a big week at America's Most Beloved Concert Venue with Paul McCartney putting on a great show on Tuesday.

Workman gets the call for Sunday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 07:35 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Red Sox will start 24-year-old rookie righthander Brandon Workman on Sunday against Oakland All-Star Bartolo Colon.

Workman pitched two innings in relief in Seattle on Wednesday, throwing 47 pitches. He allowed three runs on four hits in his debut but also struck out four.

Workman was 8-2 with a 3.21 earned run average in 17 appearances (16 starts) for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz threw 35 pitches bullpen on Friday afternoon. But he will not make a minor league rehab start on Sunday.

Buchholz will instead throw in the bullpen again on Sunday and possibly on Tuesday in New York before the All-Star game. He would then throw a three-inning simulated game later in the week or stay in the bullpen.

“He threw the ball well. He continues to gain strength,” manager John Farrell said. “In talking to him, that’s probably the thing right now he’s feeling, the continued building back of arm strength.”

Under this latest plan, Buchholz would pitch one minor league game before being activated off the disabled list. According to Farrell, Buchholz is free of the shoulder pain that has kept him out since June 8.

“He’s just in the basically reconditioning phase and getting closer to game shape,” Farrell said.

Based on the schedule the Red Sox laid out, the earliest Buchholz would pitch in a major league game is July 26 or 27. But given the setbacks and delays Buchholz has had along the way, that’s a best-case scenario.

Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts before going on the DL.

“That, to me, is the biggest key for us in the second half. Getting him back to us and taking the necessary steps to rebuild the arm strength,” Farrell said.

• Red Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione will miss tonight's game for a family matter. He will be back on Saturday. Former big leaguer Dave McCarty will call the game with Dave O'Brien tonight.

Game 95: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 05:45 PM

Greetings from Oakland. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (57-37)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (6-6, 2.80).

ATHLETICS (54-38)
Crisp CF
Jaso C
Donaldson 3B
Lowrie SS
Cespedes LF
Moss 1B
Reddick RF
Smith DH
Sogard 2B
Pitching: RHP Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.04).

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Parker: Napoli 1-6, Ortiz 1-6, Pedroia 3-6, Salty 1-5, Nava 1-3.

Athletics vs. Lackey: Crisp 5-32, Jaso 5-12, Lowrie 1-5, Young 1-4, Smith 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox were 1-8 against the Athletics last season, getting outscored 60-26. They were 0-6 at Oakland Coliseum, getting outscored 45-10.

Notes: The Sox make the third stop on their West Coast trip. They were 4-3 against the Anglels and Mariners and now play three games against the Athletics. ... The Sox have the best record in the AL with the A's second. ... Lackey is 18-6, 2.91 in 33 career starts (and 213.2 innings) against Oakland. He is 8-5, 2.85 in 17 starts here. In his last 10 starts this season, Lackey is 5-2, 2.30. ... Parker is 2-0, 1.35 in two starts against the Sox, both coming last season. ... Ellsbury takes a 19-gamehit streak into the game. He is 33 of 80 (.413) in the streak with 11 RBIs and 16 runs scored. ... The Sox have scored 47 runs and had 78 hits in the first seven games of the trip. ... The Sox are 14-9 against the AL West. ... Former A's closer Andrew Bailey has been sharp of late for the Sox (4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) in three appearances. ... Old friend Jed Lowrie is hitting .302/.370/.426 for the A's.

Song of the Day: "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash.

Pitching matchups for the Athletics series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 12, 2013 09:30 AM

Friday: RHP John Lackey (6-6, 2.80) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.04), 10:05 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: LHP Jon Lester (8-5, 4.60) vs. RHP A.J Griffin (7-6, 3.94), 10:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.69), 4:05 p.m., NESN.

Uehara upbeat after All-Star final vote

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 11:12 PM

SEATTLE — Koji Uehara finished a distant fourth in the on-line voting for the final spot on the American League All-Star team. He didn’t get the news until after picking his latest save for the Red Sox.

Uehara needed only 13 pitchers to retire the Mariners in order in the bottom of the 10th inning of an 8-7 victory. He celebrated with his usual exuberance and that didn’t dim when he got the clubhouse and heard about the All-Star team.

Toronto righthander Steve Delabar won the voting with David Robertson of the Yankees second. According to Major League Baseball 79.2 million votes were cast.

Many of the Red Sox player campaigned for Uehara through social media. But he fell short.

“I wish I was able to become an All-Star. But I really appreciate my teammates getting behind me,” Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto.

Uehara has converted five of seven save chances since replacing Andrew Bailey as the closer. Over 10 games and 9.1 innings, he has allowed one earned run on four hits. Uehara as walked one and struck out 13.

Uehara has an earned run average of 1.83 on the season and has struck out 55 in 39.1 innings.

“He’s an All-Star for us,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “Regardless of what the outward acknowledgements are, he’s extremely important to us.”

Uehara now plans to play some golf during the All-Star break. He joked that that he should be able to get his tee times back.

“I’m going to do that right away,” he said.

Middlebrooks using time with PawSox to refocus

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 06:12 PM

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In the two weeks since Will Middlebrooks was optioned to the Triple A Pawtucket, the third baseman has gone through all the emotional stages.

“I saw a frustrated Will, a humbled Will, and now he’s adjusting to being one of the guys down here,” said PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina. "He’s here. He’s not going anywhere.”

What started as early season struggles stretched deeper into the season, eventually leading the Red Sox to send the 24-year-old down June 25. Unlike when he went to Pawtucket on a rehab assignment earlier that month, there is no timetable for his return. He was told he would be there for as long as it took for him to rediscover some consistency at the plate.

“It was really tough to get optioned because you worked so hard to get there to that point,” Middlebrooks said. “You kind of lose it like that.”

He sensed it, he said, especially with Jose Iglesias's success making it hard for Sox manager John Farrell to keep him out of the lineup. But it didn’t make it easier.

“When it happened, that's hard to swallow,” Middlebrooks said. “I pretty much had a feeling it was coming, especially with Iggy doing so well. And I need to play. I don't want to sit on the bench and just watch every day. I'm not going to get any better there. If anything, I'm going to get worse. So this was a good thing for me, a good thing for my career and hopefully we'll look back at this in a couple years and laugh about it.''

Although he hit eight homers and drove in 21 runs in his first 46 games, he never found any consistency at the plate. His was hitting .192 when he was sent down with 60 strikeouts in 203 at-bats.

“Frustrated is the word,” Middlebrooks said. “Because you know you're a good player and you're just not doing it for whatever reason. So I was very frustrated and I let that carry over and it just snowballed.”

He acknowledged he sometimes would try to break out of the slump with one swing.

“There were times where I got too big and you try to get 10 hits in one at-bat or try to hit a five-run homer with nobody on,” Middlebrooks said. “It's tough man.”

He’s hit .256 with 6 homers and 22 RBIs for Pawtucket, including a 4-for-5, eight-RBI performance July 3 against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Rail Raiders. But more than mechanics, he said, he’s made it a priority to clear his head and cut out as many distractions as possible.

“Honestly, they didn't say, 'Do this, Do that,’” Middlebrooks said. “A lot of people said, 'Have they said to work on strikeouts because you haven't been striking out very much?' No. I'm just working on my focus, man. What they said was we want you to just be yourself again -- in whatever way that is.

“They didn't say, 'Work on hitting the ball to right or work on hitting the ball to left or whatever.' It was nothing like that. It was just be yourself again because you're frustrated, you're getting down about it. You're just not yourself.

“I feel relaxed now and I feel like when I get my opportunity to go back, my mind-set's different,” he said. “I feel like I just have blinders on now, to be honest … I had a lot going on, but I just tried to quiet my life down. I had a lot of noise and I just tried to simplify everything. The more simple everything is, the easier it is, I guess.”

Final: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 03:50 PM

Game over: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Koji Uehara finished off Stephen Wright's superb relief work with a save in the 10th retiring the Mariners in order. The Red Sox won three out of four in 4:04 before 25,367 at Safeco.

Top 10th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Wilhelmsen was throwing 98-99 mph but the Red Sox created a difficult inning for him. He walked Ryan Lavarnway on a tremendous at-bat where he fouled off several high-velocity pitches. Holt moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt that looked like he might have beat out. After Igelsias struck out, Ellsbury was walked intentionally. Nava then came through with s single up the middle to score pinch-runner Jackie Bradley with the go-ahead run.

Bottom 9th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - Wright allowed a single to Smoak with one out but then threw a 6-4-3 double-play grounder to Mike Zunino to record his sixth shutout inning.

Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - Perez retired Pedroia and Ortiz (on a long fly to deep center), but walked Jonny Gomes. Perez was replaced by closer Tom Wilhellmsen who struck out PH Shane Victorino.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - Wright has given the Red Sox five innings of shutout relief in one of the best relief outings by a Red Sox pitcher this season..

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - If lefty Oliver Perez is not on Boston's radar to acquire for their bullpen, he should be. Perez retired the side with three K's and overall has had an excellent year.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - Mike Carp Bucknered Michael Saunders' grounder for a two-base error with two outs, but that didn't deter Wright who got a ground ball out to retire the side.error at first.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - Ryan Lavarnway showed some stroke with a two-out double against Furbush, but Brick Holt couldn't get him in.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - The middle of the Red Sox infield - Iglesias and Pedroia is pretty fun to watch. They converted another doubple-play on a nice fielding play by Iglesias who was off-balance as he fielded Morales' grounder and tossed to Pedroia who made a nice turn.

Top 6th: Red Sox 7, Mariners 7 - A 1-2-3 inning for M's.

Koji Uehara quipped that he wasn't that popular in Japan. He might be right. He finished fourth in the final online vote for the All-Star team.

Bottom 5th: Mariners 7, Red Sox 7 - Wright has a strong inning with a walk. Jose Iglesias makes an outstanding play on a low liner to force the runner at second base.

Top 5th: Mariners 7, Red Sox 7 - The Red Sox loaded the bases when Pedroia singled, Ortiz walked and Gomes singled off Ramirez. Carp lofted a fly ball to left which scored a run. Lavarnway flew out to left. That was it for Ramirez. Charlie Furbush came on and he allowed RBI singles to Brock Holt and Jose Iglesias. Ellsbury struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Mariners 7, Red Sox 4 - Kendrys Morales stroked an RBI single scoring Brad Miller, who led off the inning vs. Dempster with a single to right. After Endy Chavez reached on a bunt single, Dempster struck out the tough Ibanez., but Morales followed with the RBI. That was the end for Dempster. Knuckleballer Steven Wright came on. Kyle Seager singled to right scoring the second run. Wright got out of it after that stranding runners at second and third after a wild piutch. He retired the next two batters with Pedroia saving him with a tremendous reactionary play on a hard-hit ball by Smoak. Pedroia managed to scoop the hard-hit ball and throw him out. Wright struck out Zunino to strand the runners.

Top 4th: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4 - The Sox chipped away at Erasmo Ramirez scoring three runs with two outs. Ortiz led things off with a walk and Mike Carp was hit with a pitch with one out. After Ryan Lavarnway became Ramirez' second strikeout victim of the inning, Holt and Iglesias hit successive ground balls just out of the reach of 2B Brad Miller to score two runs. Ellsbury lined a single to right-center driving in the third run of the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Mariners 5, Red Sox 1 - M's add to their lead vs. Dempster, who retired the first two batters, then had some two-out issues when he walked Smoak, hit Zunino with a pitch and allowed an RBI single to Saunders.

Top 3rd: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1 - Ellsbury walked with one out, but Nava and Pedroia made outs to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1 - Kyle Seager hammered a home run to rightfield off Dempster. Justin Smoak followed with a long smash to left on which Jonny Gomes made a nice leaping catch at the wall. Mike Zunino singled to left and Michael Saunders flew out to left. After a wild pitch advanced Zunino to second base, Brendan Ryan reached on an error at third by Brock Holt, who couldn't get a handle on the grounder. Brad Miller stroked a ground-rule double to the gap in right-center which turned out to be a break for the Red Sox as it only scored one run.The break didn't last long. On a 3-2 pitch, Endy Chavez lined a single up the middle scoring both runners.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0 - Mike Carp carved out a walk in an otherwise routine inning for Erasmo Ramirez.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0 - M's hit the ball hard against Ryan Dempster, but do not score. With two outs, Raul Ibanez hit a single off the right field wall, but Kendrys Morales hit a hard liner to right on which Nava ranged toward center to make the catch.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0 - Who says he's not hitting for power? Jacoby Ellsbury belted his third homer to right field to lead off the game against Erasmo Ramirez.

Red Sox still need a starter for Sunday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 01:48 PM

SEATTLE — Greetings from Seattle, where it's 61 degrees on July 11. It's actually refreshing.

It was a quiet morning for the Red Sox unless you count Jarrod Saltalamacchia hooking up his iPad to the clubhouse stereo and playing a bunch of Notorious B.I.G. songs.

As for the notes:

• The Red Sox have not named a starter for Sunday. The candidates are Steven Wright, Brandon Workman and lefty Drake Britton, who would be on turn at Pawtucket.

Britton is 7-7, 3.77 in 18 appearances for Portland and Pawtucket this season. His Triple A debut did not go well (5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER).

• Clay Buchholz will throw in the bullpen in Oakland on Friday and remains lined up for a minor league rehab start on Sunday. John Farrell said no location has been determined.

Buchholz would throw 45-50 pitches in that game. He would need at least two minor league starts before rejoining the major league rotation.

• It's just a day off for Mike Napoli, Farrell said. Worth noting, however: Napoli played in 63 of the first 64 games and started 62 of them. Today would be the ninth time in 30 games he is out of the lineup.

• The final spot on the All-Star Game rosters will be announced this afternoon. Koji Uehara is a candidate for the AL squad.

• The deadline to sign draft picks is Friday. The highest pick the Red Sox have not signed is fourth-rounder Myles Smith, a righthanded pitcher.

• The Red Sox are contemplating having Stephen Drew go on a rehab assignment this weekend. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday. Farrell said he intends to play Drew at shortstop and return Jose Iglesias to third base once Drew is activated.

Game 94: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 11, 2013 11:45 AM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (56-37)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Carp 1B
Lavarnway C
Holt 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.04).

MARINERS (40-51)
Miller 2B
Chavez RF
Ibanez LF
Morales DH
Seamer 3B
Smoak 1B
Zunino C
Saunders CF
Ryan SS
Pitching: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (season debut).

Game time: 3:40 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Ramirez: Napoli 0-2, Nava 0-1, Ortiz 0-1, Pedroia 0-1, Salty 0-1.

Mariners vs. Dempster: Bay 2-16, Ryan 7-18, Ibanez 4-15, Morales 2-7, Blanco 0-6, Chavez 3-4, Saunders 2-6, Seager 0-3, Smoak 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have had at least one double in 26 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the majors this season. The Sox had a 27-game streak last season and a 35-game streak in 2010. The team record (live-ball era) is 41 consecutive games in 2004.

Notes: The Sox, who have won seven of 10, have taken two of three games in the series, scoring 22 runs in the last two games. ... The Sox are 3-3 on their 10-game West Coast road trip and leave for Oakland after the game. ... The Sox start the day 3.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay in the East. ... Dempster is 1-1, 2.16 in four career appearances against Seattle. He started against them last Sept. 23 and allowed two runs over 6.2 innings. Dempster is 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA in his last eight starts this season. ... The 23-year-old Ramirez is getting called up from Triple A Tacoma for the game. He was 1-3, 3.36 in 16 appearances (eight starts) last season. He started against the Sox on June 30, 2012 and threw 2.2 scoreless innings. ... The Sox are 13-9 against the AL West. ... The Sox have scored 39 runs in the first six games of the trip.

Sox on a hit streak: Ellsbury 18 straight (31 of 76 with 15 runs, 8 extra-base hits and 9 RBIs). ... Nava 6 straight (11 of 26, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 walks), Victorino 6 straight (9 of 27 with 10 runs, 4 extra-base hits and 2 RBIs). ... Salty 6 straight (9 of 23, 5 runs, 5 doubles, 6 RBIs, 4 walks). ... Ortiz 18 of 21 (31 of 75 with 9 doubles, 5 home runs, 18 RBIs, 13 runs and 12 walks).

Song of the Day: "Gravity Rides Everything" by Modest Mouse.

Final: Red Sox 11, Mariners 4

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 10:48 PM

Game over: Red Sox 11, Mariners 4: - Superb job by Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, who has put together 11 straight starts where he's given up three or fewer runs. He improved to 6-3 and his ERA has dropped to 3.91 with seven innings, allowing just one run. Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup and stroked three hits and an RBI. David Ortiz hit his 19th home run. The game was played in 3:23 before 20,480.

Top 9th: Red Sox 11, Mariners 4: The Sox tack on a pair of runs. After Nava and Salty walked, Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen threw a wild pitch scoring a run. Mike Carp singled to knock in the second run.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 4: Tough debut for Brandon Workman. The Sox prospect was greeted with a solo homer by Brandan Ryan. He also allowed three doubles accounting for three total runs. He was throwing 95-96 mph, but suffered from Allen Webster disease - leaving balls over the plate.

Top 8th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 1: The Red Sox go down in order. Brandon Snyder (liner to left), Ryan Lavarnway (pinch-hitting for Ortiz) grounded out and Napoli struck out for only the first time.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 1: The highlight: A Jason Bay double to leftcenter and with two outs, a Henry Blanco RBI single which drew a mock cheer from the crowd. The attendance was announced at 20,480. This has become a spring training game. The Red Sox have made a host of substitutions. Victorino, Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are out of the game. Mike Carp, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brandon Snyder are in.

Top 7th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 0: Red Sox load the bases on a pair of walks to Nava and Holt and a hit batter (Iglesias). But do the Red Sox really need any more runs? No.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 0 - The M's went down 1-2-3 against buzzsaw Doubront.

Top 6th: Red Sox 9, Mariners 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled and Jose Iglesias reached on an infield hit. Straight singles by Jacoby Ellsbury (his third hit) and Shane Victorino accounted for a pair of runs.

Dustin Pedroia then grounded to shortstop. Never mind the possibility of an inning-ending double play because shortstop Brad Miller threw wide of Nick Franklin at second base, scoring the 8th Sox run. David Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly the fourth run of the inning.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: The Mariners got a one-out double by Michael Saunders and walk by Brad Miller, but Doubront didn't give in and held the M's scoreless.

Top 5th: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: Ortiz, Napoli and Nava went down in Harang's best inning yet.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: After a Raul Ibanez leadoff walk, Doubront retired the next three batters.

Top 4th: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled and Shane Victorino singled him home. Harang has nothing.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 4, Mariners 0 - Doubront on the mark tonight - a broken bat bloop single by Brad Miller was the extent of the offense.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Mariners 0 - David Ortiz is smoking hot. Just launched his 19th homer to deep right-center with Dustin Pedroia aboard.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Mariners 0 - David Ortiz breaks the all-time DH record for hits (1,689) double to left. After Mike Napoli walked, Daniel Nava was hit with a pitch by Seattle starter Aaron Harang. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias followed with back-to-back sacrifice fly's.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 - Felix Doubront starts strong with a pair of K's to Nick Franklin and Raul Ibanez in a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off, but was erased on a 6-4-3 double-play. Pedroia also grounded out.

Red Sox roster roulette continues

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 09:30 PM

SEATTLE — The Red Sox optioned rookie righthander Allen Webster back to Pawtucket a day after he allowed seven runs over 2.1 innings. Righthander Alfredo Aceves also was sent back to Pawtucket.

Righthanders Pedro Beato and Steven Wright were recalled from Pawtucket.

Webster had been scheduled to start on Sunday at Oakland.

“To be determined,” said Farrell when asked who will face the Athletics.

Webster had a 9.57 earned run average in six starts. He has given up 11 runs in the first inning alone.

“As much as we felt like Allen was making solid progress and solid strides over the last couple of starts, that first inning has been a challenge for him,” Farrell said. “To break it down further, the consistency of his fastball usage to both sides of the plate and executing that pitch is a fundamental area that has to be improved upon.”

Farrell mentioned Wright or Brandon Workman as candidates to start on Sunday. The Red Sox also could make another roster move. They are carrying an extra position player, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley may soon be headed back to Pawtucket Jacoby Ellsbury was back in the lineup Wednesday after missing two games with a sore left wrist.

The move to drop Aceves was odd given that he threw only 13 pitches on Tuesday.

“By all accounts that we have, he is not injured,” Farrell said. “I will say this: he felt some soreness in his left side before he came up here. But he was available to pitch and he was available to continue to pitch [Tuesday] night.”

Also:

• Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 8 because of a sore neck and shoulder, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen and had no setbacks. He is scheduled for another bullpen session on Friday, likely a longer one. If that goes well, he would start for Pawtucket on Sunday afternoon. Buchholz would probably need at least two minor league starts before rejoining the Red Sox rotation.

• Lefthander Andrew Miller received a second opinion on his injured left foot and it was confirmed that season-ending surgery is required. Miller tore a ligament against the Angels on Saturday. The surgery is expected to be in Boston in the coming days.

• Righthanded reliever Alex Wilson, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with a sprained right thumb, has only inflammation and will be shut down for four or five days. The Sox initially feared he had a more serious injury.

• Backup catcher David Ross, out with a concussion since June 18, saw a specialist on Tuesday. He continues to improve and could return to the team by the end of the month. The Sox do expect Ross to play again this season but he is not eligible to come off the disabled list until mid-August.

• Shane Victorino started again in right field. But he is expected to get a day off on Thursday as the Red Sox play a day game to end the series.

• Koji Uehara dropped in fourth place in the voting for the final spot on the American League All-Star team. On-line fan voting ends at 4 p.m. (ET) on Thursday. Toronto reliever Steve Delabar leads the voting.

• Fenway Park’s Mike Walsh was selected by Aramark as an “All-Star Vendor” for the All-Star Game. Walsh is a 25-year-old from Allston.

• Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo started in the Eastern League All-Star game in New Britain, Conn. The righthander walked three and allowed a three-run homer in his one inning. Catcher Christian Vazquez and third baseman Michael Almanzar also started the game.

Game 93: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 05:58 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (55-37)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (5-3, 4.11).

MARINERS (40-50)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Ibanez LF
Morales DH
Seager 3B
Bay RF
Smoak 1B
Sanders CF
Blanco C
Pitching: RHP Aaron Harang (4-7, 4.92).

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Harang: Victorino 8-24, Ortiz 3-6, Ellsbury 1-3, Pedroia 0-3, Saltalamacchia 1-3, Caro 0-1, Gomes 1-1.

Mariners vs. Doubront: Seager 0-3, Ackley 0-2, Ryan 2-2, Smoak 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Nava is hitting .344/.371/.500 in seven games batting leadoff with seven runs scored.

Notes: The Sox are 2-3 on a 10-game road trip that has five games left. ... The Sox start the day 3.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay in the division. ... Doubront has faced the Mariners twice in his career, starting once. That was last July 1. He allowed one run on three hits over 4.1 innings (and 103 pitches). He walked five. Doubront has a 2.80 ERA in his last nine starts but only a 2-2 record to show for it. ... Harang, 35, is facing the Sox for the first time since June 13, 2008 when he was with the Reds. He has pitched well in recent weeks for the Mariners, going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last five starts. ... Ellsbury, back after a two-game absence with a sore left wrist, is riding a 17-game hit streak. ... Napoli has struck out 117 times, Mark Bellhorn set the team record of 177 in 2004. ... Saltalamacchia is 7 of 16 on the trip with four doubles and four RBIs. He is hitting .271/.343/.466. ... In his last eight games with the Sox, Bradley is 6 of 25 with two doubles, two homers and four RBIs. ... Junichi Tazawa's last seven appearances: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. ... The Sox are 12-9 against the AL West. ... Ortiz has hit safely in 17 of his lay 20 games at .403 (29 of 72) with 12 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. ... Victorino has hit safely in five straight at 7 of 23 with four extra-base hits.

Song of the Day: "Live to Rise" by Soundgarden.

Ask Nick: Should Red Sox trade Jon Lester?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2013 02:15 PM
Despite being in first place in the AL East, there’s concern about the Red Sox among mailbag readers.

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
They wonder:

1. Should the Red Sox trade Jon Lester?

2. Is Will Middlebrooks ready to come back up and take his place at third?

3. Why are the Red Sox getting injured so much? More concerns about the medical staff?

4. Is Mike Napoli bringing the offense down?

5. Should the team trade Stephen Drew?

The Red Sox are definitely in a state of need at the moment. Their bullpen is falling apart with a key season-ending injury to Andrew Miller and there is now a need for Ben Cherington to make a deal for a reliever. Cherington may have to give up something he doesn’t want to give up to make a deal for someone like lefty Matt Thornton of the White Sox or Steve Cishek of the Miami Marlins or even a stop-gap like Kevin Gregg with the Cubs. Someone will likely have to be added soon.

The Red Sox are also keeping their interest alive in Michael Young as they also feel the need for a consistent righthanded hitter.

It appears that a deal or two will be in Boston’s future.

Here’s the mailbag:

Should the Red Sox part ways with Jon Lester while he still has some value?
Mark, Cambridge

Only if it’s part of a package where you’re getting a comparable pitcher back. Not sure that type of deal exists. There would be no shortage of teams lined up for him. Lester is very popular among scouts of other teams.

It's a new year but it seems like the medical issues from the past few years are still around. Fans were told Clay Buchholz was only supposed to miss a start and he hasn't pitched in a month. Drew was day to day with a hamstring and ends up on the DL. David Ross comes back from the concussion DL and has to go right back on. And now Jacoby Ellsbury jammed his wrist and is day to day. Would not be surprised if he ends up on the DL. I thought the front office changed the medical team this past offseason. Seems the same to me.
Chris, Brighton
Medical teams always get too much blame for players being injured and then taking too long to come back. It’s out of their hands. The “old” medical team was terrific in my eyes. It was headed by Dr. Thomas Gill, who is currently the Patriots team physician and had both roles for a long time. The problem has been the injuries have been tweeners. Maybe the Red Sox should have been more decisive in just putting the player on the DL, but they hoped in the case of Drew, Victorino, and Buchholz that the injuries were minor enough to hold off. Cherington addressed this the other day. He said he acknowledges that the team has had these types of injuries, but that he doesn’t believe he would have handled it any differently.

The Sox have a glaring hole at third and need a middle of the order hitter to protect Ortiz and stop the intentional walks. The Mets are tanking again and I think David Wright would be a perfect fit for this team. He hates hitting at Citi Field and he is still young enough to justify trading two great prospects for him. Any chance the Sox are interested and can pry him away from the Mets?
Steve, Branford, Conn.
David Wright is the face of their team so I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Red Sox have good options at third base in the future. While they may seek a stop-gap like Michael Young, they have Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, and Garin Cecchini who can play third and all have promise as hitters. Don’t think Citi Field is an issue with him anymore. He signed a big contract to play there, so it can’t be that bad.

For more Q&A, click the full entry button.

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Ben Cherington explains why Will Middlebrooks remains in AAA

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 11:26 AM

SEATTLE — When Stephen Drew strained his right hamstring on June 28, the Red Sox shifted Jose Iglesias from third base to shortstop.

Jonathan Diaz, Brandon Snyder and now Brock Holt have played third base since. Diaz and Holt are rookies and Snyder a 26-year-old who is now in his third organization in as many years.

The Red Sox elected to keep the more experienced Will Middlebrooks in Triple A Pawtucket.

General manager Ben Cherington was asked why the team has gone that route.

“When we sent Will down, we had a long conversation with him and followed up a few days later in Pawtucket,” he said. “We felt like the best thing for Will and the best thing for the Red Sox long term was for him to spend a period of time in Pawtucket and really get back to doing things consistently that he was doing before he got called up last year and the things he did for most of the year last year.

“He agreed with that ultimately. So we just felt like rather than shorten that time period up because of a need, we committed to a plan [and] let’s carry it out."

Middlebrooks is 15 of 57 (.263) in 14 games since being sent back with four home runs and 16 RBIs. For the moment, there are no plans as to when he would return.

"There was no exact time on it. But the plan was more than a few days," Cherington said. "Give him a chance to get his feet back underneath him again. Rather than yank him back up to fill an injury need, we just felt what was best for him and best for the team was to let him keep working on things that he needed to work on. He’s done that.”

The players who have manned third base since Drew went on the DL are 9 for 34 (.265) with nine RBIs in 10 games. Holt has the job at the moment and has handled it well. He made two nice defensive plays on Tuesday night.

Holt had never played third base until spring training and saw only seven games there at Pawtucket before the Sox called him up.

"It takes some getting used to the angles. But it gets more comfortable every day," he said. "The coaches have been great in terms of getting me ready and telling me what to expect."

Drew should be back after the All-Star break. John Farrell mentioned Tuesday that he's close to being ready for a rehab assignment. Presumably the Red Sox will play Drew at shortstop and move Iglesias back to third base.

Ortiz Children’s Fund Gala is Sept. 16

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 11:22 AM

The inaugural David Ortiz Children’s Fund Gala will be Sept. 16 at the Four Seasons Ballroom in Boston.

The evening of dinner, dancing, and cocktails will benefit the Fund, which was founded in 2006 to provide pediatric care in the Dominican Republic and the greater Boston area through Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.

Ticket packages include an open bar, a Dominican-style dinner, and a seat in the ballroom for the festivities. VIP tickets will include a special cocktail hour with Ortiz and other celebrities. Standard and VIP tables are also available.

For more information, VIP packages, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities, contact Alexis Walberg at (212) 727-2142.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 10:17 AM

The Red Sox came back to beat the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night behind the bullpen.

Nick Cafardo writes that rookie Brandon Workman will get a chance to bolster the relief corps.

The notebook has the latest roster moves including the return of Jackie Bradley Jr.

A very happy birthday for D'Angelo Ortiz

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 03:38 AM

fd6b7eae0e942417370f6a7067004bf5.jpg

SEATTLE — David Ortiz did something special for his son's birthday.

D'Angelo Ortiz, who turns 9 on Wednesday, joined the Red Sox in Anaheim and for the first two games in Seattle. He took batting practice in the cage, stretched with the team and even swiped a t-shirt he liked out of Shane Victorino's locker.

Today, between the third and fourth innings, Big Papi emerged from the dugout with a birthday cake and presented it to his son.

The Red Sox, like most teams these days, are fine with the players having their kids around the clubhouse. The Sox have a family room next to the clubhouse at Fenway and many of the players often bring their sons to their lockers after a win.

Ortiz gets a few more perks because he's the senior member of the team. In this case, it was to create a memory his son is sure to treasure.

"Why do you think I stole that base?" Ortiz said with a big laugh. "I wanted to show him I was still fast."

Ortiz's big night helps push Red Sox past Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 10, 2013 03:02 AM

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AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE — On the night that David Ortiz tied the major league record for most hits by a designated hitter, he showed that he isn't necessarily a one-dimensional player.

Ortiz's steal of second base in the eighth inning on Tuesday night was a pivotal play for the Red Sox in their 11-8 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

The Sox were up 9-7 when Ortiz singled in the eighth inning. Seattle lefthander Charlie Furbush didn't bother to hold Ortiz on and he stole second as Mike Napoli struck out.

The Mariners intentionally walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But Jose Iglesias and Brock Holt followed with RBI singles and the Sox finally had a comfortable lead in what was a wild game.

"You play to win. Any chance that you've got, you've got to take advantage of it," Ortiz said.

Ortiz has three stolen bases, matching his career high. That's fourth on the team. Only Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino have more.

Ortiz was 4 for 5 with a home run and two doubles. He now has 1,688 hits as a DH, tying the record set by Harold Baines. Ortiz already has the most runs (1,016), doubles (431), home runs (369), extra-base hits (817) and RBIs (1,206) as a DH.

Ortiz remembered watching Baines from across the field when he was a young player. He also mentioned the respect he had for Edgar Martinez, the great DH of the Mariners.

"Those guys did it all in the game," Ortiz said.

Ortiz was asked whether DHs belong in the Hall of Fame.

"I think they did what people asked for to be a Hall of Famer," Ortiz said. "Look at the numbers. They're good. So why not?"

Also:

• Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino also homered. The five homers matched the most ever at Safeco Field by the Sox.

• The Red Sox bullpen allowed one run over 62 innings. Craig Breslow (3-2) got the win and Koji Uehara his sixth save. Breslow and Andrew Bailey combined for four scoreless innings, giving the Sox a chance to come back.

“Those four innings in the middle of the game were the key to stabilizing it for us,” manager John Farrell said.

Breslow’s 2.1 innings were a season high. Bailey replaced him with a runner on second in the sixth inning and got two quick outs before taking care of Seattle in the seventh. Bailey has thrown 4.1 scoreless innings in his last three outings and appears to be back in form.

• Rookie Allen Webster may be headed back to Triple A Pawtucket after giving up seven runs on six hits over 2.1 innings. Kendrys Morales had two home runs off Webster, a two-run shot in the first inning and a solo blast to center in the third.

In the second inning, Webster loaded the bases when he walked Dustin Ackley, a .202 hitter. Brad Miller followed with a three-run double down the line in right field.

Webster has a 9.57 earned run average in six starts and has given up seven home runs over 26.1 innings. He is scheduled to start Sunday in Oakland but that seems unlikely.

The Red Sox could swap Webster out for a fresh bullpen arm.

"We've got some conversations to take place," Farrell said.

• Alfredo Aceves left the game after facing only three batters. Farrell said the righthander had some soreness in his side. Aceves could be a candidate to start on Sunday if he is healthy.

• Rookie third baseman Brock Holt is 3 for 11 with two walks and three RBIs in four games. He also has played well defensively, especially given his limited experience at third base.

Final: Red Sox 11, Mariners 8

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 9, 2013 10:18 PM

Game over: Red Sox 11, Mariners 8: Big win for the Red Sox on a night when both starting pitchers - Allen Webster and Hisashi Iwakuma were awful. The Red Sox stroked five homers (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Shane Victorino) to lead the way.

Ortiz had four of Boston's 16 hits. The game was played before 21,072 in 3:44. Koji Uehara earned the save, his sixth. Craig Breslow (3-2) got the win in relief.

Top 9th: Red Sox 11, Mariners 8: Daniel Nava singled, his first hit in five at-bats, but after an out, Pedroia knocked into a 4-6-3 double play.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 11, Mariners 8 - Mariners chip away against Junichi Tazawa. Saunders and Ackley singled and the run came in on Brad Miller's grounder to first base.

Top 8th: Red Sox 11, Mariners 7 - Shane Victorino hits the fifth homer of the night for Boston. Ortiz stroked his fourth hit to give him 1,688 as a DH tying him with Harold Baines for the most all-time. Ortiz stole second base, his third of the season as Mike Napoili struck out for the third time. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia was walked intentionally, Jose Iglesias popped a single to leftc enter to drive in the 10th run. Brock Holt followed with a single to right.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Another effective inning for Bailey. He allowed a single to Kyle Seager, but then got Smoak to ground into a 3-6-1 double-play.

Top 7th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - The Red Sox didn't much here. They got a Jackie Bradley walk against lefty Charlie Furbush, but Furbush struck out Daniel Nava to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Andrew Bailey came on to do some good work in relief of Breslow, who allowed a double to Brad Miller with one out. Bailey came on and struck out Nick Franklin and got Raul Ibanez to ground out to second base.

Top 6th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - The Red Sox squandered a chance to extend their lead. They had runners at second and third with one out after Pedroia walked and David Ortiz stroked an opposite field double, his third hit. But Danny Farquhar struck out Napoli and Saltalamacchia to get out of the jam.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Strong inning for Breslow with two strikeouts. Must admit being a,little confused as to why Alfredo Aceves didn't pitch longer.

Top 5th: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 - Jackie Bradley Jr. homered to left center to give Boston the lead back.

Bottom 4th: Mariners 7, Red Sox 7 - The Mariners put two runners on vs. Craig Breslow but couldn't score.

Top 4th: Mariners 7, Red Sox 7 - The Red Sox tied it when Daniel Nava was hit with a pitch and Shane Victorino walked to set the stage for Dustin Pedroia's RBI single to right..

Bottom 3rd: Mariners 7, Red Sox 6 - One pitch, tie game. Kendrys Morales hit his second home run to deep center - a 421-foot shot. Next pitch - single to right by Kyle Seager. Webster was gone after Justin Smoak's liner to right was caught by Victorino. The new pitcher is Alfredo Aceves. Michael Saunders greeted him with a triple to right center scoring Seager as Seattle re-took the lead. Two ground balls to Jose Iglesias, who made nice plays on both, kept the Red Sox out of further trouble.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 6, Mariners 5 - All-Star Iwakuma not on top of his game either tonight. Dustion Pedroia clubbed a two-run homer to left center with Shane Victorino (single) aboard.

David Ortiz doubled to the right center gap before Mike Napoli tied things with a two-run blast to rigtht center on a pitch that almost hit the dirt. The assault continued with a double to left by Saltalamacchia. Iwakuma then struck out Iglesias, but the ball went to the backstop and Iglesias reached. Brock Holt lined a sacrifice fly to right to score the go-ahead run.

Bottom 2nd: Mariners 5, Red Sox 1 - Allen Webster just not ready for prime time. Brad Miller stroked a double to the rightfield corner to score three runs after Webster loaded them up with two walks and a single by Justin Smoak.

Top 2nd: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 - Red Sox got one back on David Ortiz' 18th homer - a low liner into the right field bleachers. The Red Sox made Iwakuma work. Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked a single to rightfield after the count was full, Jose Iglesias lined a single to right.

After Brock Holt grounded out to third as the runners advanced to scoring position, Jackie Bradley Jr., playing center field for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, struck out in a 10-pitch at-bat. Iwakuma has already thrown 40 pitches.

strong>Bottom 1st: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0 - Allen Webster's home run woes continue. After he allowed a single to Nick Franklin, who was erased at second on a fielder's choice by Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales homered to the opposite field (left) to give the M's a quick lead. Webster has allowed six homers in six major league starts.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 - Hisashi Iwakuma leads the AL in ERA (2.60) so he'll be a tough task for the Sox lineup. He retired the side in order in the first, striking out leadoff man Daniel Nava.

Red Sox add Bradley and Workman

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 9, 2013 07:49 PM

SEATTLE — The Red Sox Tuesday recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and purchased the contract of righthander Brandon Workman. Both were at Triple A Pawtucket.

Righthander Jose De La Torre was optioned back to Pawtucket and righthander Alex Wilson was placed on 15-day disabled list with what the team said was a right thumb injury.

Jacoby Ellsbury remains at least a few days away from playing because of a sore left wrist. Shane Victorino was cleared to play, but the Red Sox wanted another outfielder on the roster who could play center.

Bradley is starting in center field and batting ninth. Workman will pitch out of the bullpen.

Workman, 24, was a second-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2010. He was 8-2 with a 3.21 earned run average in 17 games for Double A Portland and Pawtucket this season. Over 101 innings he allowed 90 hits and struck out 108.

Workman has not worked in relief since his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas.

In the last 32 days, the Red Sox have made 38 roster moves involving 21 different players. They have not gone more than four consecutive games with the same 25-man roster since May 29 to June 8.

“It’s not what you expect but that’s the nature of the game,” Bradley said. “You try and make the best of the opportunities you get. You learn something every time you go on the field.”

Bradley started the season with the Sox before being optioned on April 20. He was recalled May 29, optioned on June 7 and is now back for what could be just a few days.

The Red Sox needed a center fielder with Jacoby Ellsbury out of the lineup for a second straight game because of a sore left wrist. Shane Victorino was back in right field after missing two games with a left hamstring strain.

The Red Sox started Daniel Nava in center field on Monday in an 11-4 loss against the Mariners. He had never played the position before in the majors and misjudged several balls. Nava also had a throwing error that led to a run.

“We’ve got a few tentative situations with Victorino and with Ellsbury. We needed another center fielder in Jackie,” manager John Farrell said.

Ellsbury took some swings in the batting cage before the game.

“He felt like he was ready to go even though there’s still some soreness there,” Farrell said. “With what he’s still experiencing, didn’t want to risk it.”

Workman was an intriguing addition. The 24-year-old was a second-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2010 and has moved steadily through the system since. He was 8-2 with a 3.21 earned run average in 17 games for Double A Portland and Pawtucket. Over 101 innings he allowed 90 hits and struck out 108.

“So many people talk highly of the ability to keep the game under control. A very competitive guy. Looking forward to seeing that power arm in our pen,” Farrell said.

Workman has not worked in relief since his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas and the two seasons in the Cape Cod League that followed. But the Red Sox believe he has the skills and temperament to pitch well out of the bullpen.

The Red Sox are curious to see whether his velocity and the crispness of his pitches improves over shorter stints.

As the team investigates the trade market, Workman will get a chance to contribute in that role.

“He’s here. He’s got an opportunity to be that,” Farrell said. “How it unfolds, we’ll see. But we like a lot about him. Not just from the mental side, but the physical side. … We wanted to look at all internal options first before we aggressively pursue anything else.
“I’m sure that time will come. But right we’ve got a chance to take a look at one of our own guys.”

Said Workman: “It was definitely a surprise. I haven’t done it since college, so it wasn’t something I was expecting at all. But I’m really excited about it.”

De La Torre pitched 1.2 innings and threw 50 pitches in Monday’s 11-4 loss against Seattle. That left him unavailable for a few days and expendable.

Wilson, after a promising start to his rookie season, was starting to get hit hard. He gave up three runs on three hits on Monday — two of them doubles

In his last six appearances, Wilson had allowed eight runs on nine hits over five innings.

According to Farrell, Wilson felt a “popping sensation” in his thumb while on the mound on Monday. He was sent back to Boston to be examined. There are indications the injury could require surgery.

“This might require some down time for him,” Farrell said.

Game 92: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 9, 2013 05:40 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (54-37)
Nava LF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Holt 3B
Bradley Jr. CF
Pitching: RHP Allen Webster (1-2, 7.88).

MARINERS (40-49)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Ibanez LF
Morales DH
Seager 3B
Smoak 1B
Saunders RF
Zunino C
Ackley 2B
Pitching: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4, 2.60).

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Iwakuma: Snyder 0-1.

Mariners vs. Webster: No history.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have had at least one double in 24 consecutive games dating bak to June 12. They lead the majors with 205 doubles. The Orioles are second with 186.

Notes: The Sox will be facing the 32-year-old Iwakuma for the first time. He made the All-Star team this season and is a stellar 16-9, 2.88 in two seasons with the Mariners since coming over from Japan. ... The 23-year-old Webster will be making his sixth start. He allowed six earned runs over 12 innings in his last two starts. ... The Sox are 6 of their last 38 (.158) with runners in scoring position. ...Iglesias is 2 of his last 14 and 8 for 31 (.258) in his last nine games. ... The Sox are 23-21 on the road with losses in nine of their last 12 games. ... Seattle has won five of seven.

Song of the Day: "Once" by Pearl Jam.

It's time for Jon Lester to make his case

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 9, 2013 09:30 AM

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SEATTLE — Being named the Opening Day starter doesn't make a pitcher an ace. A cursory glance at a few box scores will tell you that.

There are only a handful of ace pitchers in baseball. Guys like Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Clayton Kershaw fit the definition. Matt Harvey looks like one, too. Maybe there are a few others.

Jon Lester had a chance to move into that category in 2010 when he won 19 games, pitched to a 3.25 earned run average and struck out 225 batters over 208 innings. The big lefty was a force and the Red Sox were poised to build their rotation around him.

The five-year, $30 million deal Lester was signed to before the 2009 season looked like an incredible bargain.

In the three seasons since, his ERA has climbed and his strikeout rate has dropped. A once imposing fastball has lost some power and Lester is now a pitcher who relies heavily — perhaps too much so — on his secondary pitches. Given that he's only 29, such a transition seems a bit premature.

The Red Sox have accorded Lester the respect of starting on Opening Day in recent years. But that doesn't make him an ace. It just makes him the guy who pitched the first game. Clay Buchholz was a better starter for the first two months of the season and now John Lackey is.

Lester is capable of good stretches (6-0 with 2.72 ERA in his first nine starts this season) and bad ones (2-5 with a 6.49 ERA in the 10 starts since). Add it up and he has a 4.60 ERA on the season.

Before you judge that harshly, realize it is comparable to Mark Buehrle, Tim Lincecum, R.A. Dickey, Yovani Gallardo, and Matt Cain. Those guys were all considered aces — or close to it — at some point, too. Pitching is capricious for all but a precious few.

Lester has fallen into a category that is difficult to define. He's not one of the best, but he should be better than most. He's a talented pitcher with a track record of success who is still healthy and relatively young.

"He's a very good pitcher," said manager John Farrell, a man qualified to make such judgments. "He's evolving over time as he's dealing with the number of innings he's compiled. The velocity might not be that mid upper 90s that he was known for for a number of years. But, still, he's got very good secondary stuff and he's still a very, very good pitcher."

That's what made Monday night's game against Seattle so troubling because it seemed the perfect stage for Lester to be at his best.

Lester was pitching in Seattle, a short distance from where he grew up, and was facing Hernandez. More importantly, he was starting for a battered team that had lost two straight.

The Red Sox needed Lester to solve their problems, if just for a night. Instead he exacerbated them by lasting only five innings. Farrell had the bullpen going in the fourth when Lester labored through a 39-pitch inning.

Lester didn't get an out in the sixth inning. He ended up being charged with five runs and took the loss in an 11-4 setback.

Afterward, Lester complained that he pitched better than the box score indicated. It's something he has said several times this season. He also mentioned that the Mariners fouled off what he thought were good pitches. That's a sign of a pitcher who can't put hitters away, something that has been dogging Lester for weeks now.

Perhaps the most telling moment of the game for Lester came in the fifth inning.

The Sox scored two runs in the top of the inning against Hernandez to tie the game at 2-2. But 41-year-old Raul Ibanez led off the bottom of the inning by clubbing an 0-and-2 cutter over the fence in right field.

Seattle had the lead back in an instant and never gave it up.

"I felt like I executed that pitch fairly well enough not to have that result," Lester said. "Obviously he was sitting on it. It's frustrating because it's 0-2. But at the same time that's the pitch I wanted to go to."

Lester is scheduled to start again on Saturday at Oakland. From there, he should get another 12 or 13 starts before the regular season ends. That is ample time to prove what he's still capable of.

There's more at stake than just a playoff berth. The Red Sox hold a $13 million option on Lester for 2014. Barring injury, they'll probably pick it up. That's actually an acceptable rate for a mid-rotation starter and the Sox have a soft spot for players they draft and develop. They'll trust in the idea Farrell can get Lester to pitch adequately.

But it's not a lock. Lester is 17-19 with a 4.74 ERA over 52 starts since the start of the 2012 season. Maybe that $13 million would be better spent elsewhere if those numbers somehow get worse.

It has become popular to complain about Lester not being an ace. But that's fruitlessly stating the obvious at this point. The question is whether he can do his part to get the Sox through this road trip and beyond.

It's not about labels any more. It's about figuring what kind of pitcher he is now and making that work.

Roster moves coming for the Red Sox?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 9, 2013 02:35 AM

SEATTLE — The first-place Red Sox have lost three straight and are wobbling. Manager John Farrell acknowledged that the team is "a little beat up" following an 11-4 loss against the Mariners.

Farrell met with reporters after the game then huddled with general manager Ben Cherington to discuss the roster. He indicated that moves will be made.

"We've got some discussions to take place here tonight. Any pending changes will come out of that meeting with Ben," Farrell said. "We'll see where that takes us."

The first order of business may be to start an actual center fielder in center field on Tuesday night. Jackie Bradley Jr. did not play in either game of Pawtucket's doubleheader on Monday and may be on his way here.

With Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino out with injuries, the Red Sox were forced to use Daniel Nava in center on Monday. His play didn't cost them the game, but Nava committed a throwing error and misjudged several balls.

Given his limited experience — 13 innings in the minors — it was borderline unfair to send Nava out there, especially in a big park like Safeco Field.

The Sox could place Ellsbury or Victorino on the disabled list and get through the rest of this week with Bradley in center.

The Sox also may need to make yet another pitching move. Jose De La Torre went 1.2 innings and 50 pitches. That would put him out of action for at least a day, if not two. He could be optioned out for a fresh arm.

Alex Wilson, after a promising start to his rookie season, is starting to get hit hard. He gave up three runs on three hits tonight — two of them doubles. In his last six appearances, Wilson has allowed eight runs on nine hits over five innings. He, too, could be demoted.

There are several pitchers available on the 40-man roster. The Sox also have a spot open on the 40-man roster, so they could purchase the contract of a player.

Final: Mariners 11, Red Sox 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 10:10 PM

Game over: Mariners 11, Red Sox 4: The Red Sox hung in against Felix Hernandez for three innings but the Mariners took advantage of a less-than-stellar outing by Jon Lester.

The Red Sox were missing Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, both down with injuries. The Red Sox have now lost three out of four on this West Coast swing. There were 21,830 at Safeco Field in a game that took 3:21.

Bottom of the 8th: Mariners 11, Red Sox 4: Tough outing for Jose De La Torre. He hit a batter, walked two and allowed a run on a Mike Zunino's ground ball out.

Top of the 8th: Mariners 10, Red Sox 4: Righthanded hitters had hit just .153 vs, Seattle lefty Oliver Perez, but Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had RBI doubles after a Pedroia single.

Bottom of the 7th: Mariners 10, Red Sox 2: Facing Wilson, Kyle Seager walked. After a wild pitch, Smoak delivered a double. The M's weren't through. With Jose De La Torre in the game, Michael Saunders doubled to to right-center gap scoring the eighth run. Brad Miller struck for a single between the 3-4 hole scoring Saunders. Nick Franklin doubled to the left-center gap scoring making it 10-2.

Top 7th: Mariners 6, Red Sox 2: The Red Sox went down 1-2-3.

Bottom 6th: Mariners 6, Red Sox 2: Brutal inning for the Red Sox. Smoak reached on an infield single before Zunino singled to left. That was it for Lester.

Facing Alex Wilson, Saunders then doubled over the head of Nava. It was a play a more experienced center fielder probably makes.

Smoak scored and then so did Zunino when Nava overthrew the cutoff man and the ball rolled past Iglesias and Pedroia. With two outs, Ibanez singled in Saunders.

The bottom three Seattle hitters — Smoak, Zunino and Saunders — are 5 of 7 with two RBIs, two walks and three runs. When the bottom three hitters of a weak lineup beat you up, that's bad.

Top of the 6th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 2: The remarkable Raul Ibanez started the inning with a homer.

He has 22 on the season and now a 13-game hit streak. Of his 22 homers, 12 have either tied the game or given Seattle the lead. At 41, Ibanez is having one of the best seasons of his life. He has 50 RBIs.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Mariners 2: The Red Sox came right back against Hernandez and tied the game. Hernandez hit Iglesias with a curveball before Holt singled to right. Iglesias took third and scored on a single by Nava. Gomes struck out on a sinker but the ball got past Zunino and Holt scored.

Ortiz walked with two outs before Hernandez struck out Mike Napoli.

Top of the 5th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0: Ortiz singled to start the inning and the Sox went in order from there. The leadoff hitter has reached in the last three innings and the Sox haven't scored.

Morales started the bottom of the inning with a single to left. Seager followed with a hard groundball to the right side. Pedroia made a diving attempt to stop the ball but it ticked off his glove and veered toward the foul line.

That enabled Morales to take third. Lester struck out the Ghost of Jason Bay and got ahead of Smoak 1-and-2. But he left a cutter up in the strike zone that Smoak pulled down the line in left for an RBI double.

Lester walked Zunino and Saunders to force in a run. Based on Lester’s body language, he thought three of the pitches to Saunders were strikes that umpire Ed Hickox missed. But nevertheless, you can't walk the 8th and 9th hitters to force in a run. Zunino came in hitting .200 and Saunders .207.

Lester squirmed out of trouble from there. Franklin gave the Sox a scare with a deep fly ball to center but Nava tracked it down.

Lester threw 39 pitches in the inning and is at 93 for the game. He won't be around much longer.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0: Holt drew a leadoff walk in the third inning but Hernandez retired the side from there.

Lester allowed a leadoff infield single by Zunino, who was nearly robbed of a hit by Iggy but the throw was wide. Miller then singled with one out. But Lester fanned Franklin before Ibanez flied deep to left. Carp, who is familiar with left field here, ran it down.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0: The Sox are getting some good swings off Hernandez. But no runs to show for it yet. Ortiz singled in the second inning as did Carp with one out.

Carp, a former Mariner, has been looking forward to this series all season. Salty hit the ball hard but on a line to Ibanez in right. Iglesias then struck out swinging.

Lester allowed a leadoff double by Morales. But Seager lined to center, Bay lined to left and Smoak popped to short.

End of 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0: Nava hit the ball to the wall in left but Raul Ibanez chased it down despite being 41-years-old. Gomes then singled to left before Pedroia grounded into a double play.

Lester set down the Mariners in order, fanning Miller and Ibanez along the way. Beautiful night at the park.

Pre-game: Greetings from beautiful Safeco Field and tonight's game between the Sox and Mariners. It'll be Jon Lester against King Felix Hernandez.

We'll have updates all game long, so stick around and feel free to leave comments.

Injuries force Red Sox to use Nava in center

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 10:02 PM

SEATTLE — The Red Sox did not have Jacoby Ellsbury or Shane Victorino available on Monday night against Seattle and were forced to use a makeshift outfield against the Mariners.

Ellsbury sprained his left wrist during Sunday night’s game against the Angels when he took a swing in the fifth inning. Victorino was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game with a sore left hamstring.

Daniel Nava started in center field for the first time in his career. His professional experience at the position consisted of four games (one start) and 13 innings in the minors.

The oft-injured Ellsbury was not available for comment. Farrell said he is day-to-day and no x-rays are planned.

“He was able to get through [Sunday] night. He was sore afterward and reported today with similar feelings,” Farrell said. “Rather than risk anything, we’ll give him a day out to receive treatment. We’re hopeful this is something that will respond to treatment.”

Victorino came out of Friday night’s game with his injury. He has been dealing with lower back and hamstring injuries for much of the season.

“It’s improving,” he said. “But it’s probably better to wait another day.”

Nava has improved defensively over the last two years. But playing center was not something the Red Sox ever expected.

“That’s the alignment,” Farrell said.

Farrell said the team would wait another day or so before deciding whether a roster move is needed. Neither player is expected to land on the disabled list at this point.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz is scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Wednesday and Friday in advance of a minor league rehabilitation start on Sunday. The righthander has been out since June 8 with a shoulder injury.

• The Red Sox passed infielder Jonathan Diaz through waivers and outrighted him to Pawtucket. GM Ben Cherington said the team expected to need a spot on the 40-man roster and decided to be proactive.

• Righthanded reliever Daniel Bard, who has not pitched since May 15, is making progress to returning to the mound with Double A Portland. Bard has struggled to throw strikes all season and has been out with what the team claims is an abdominal strain.

• Righthander Jeremy Bonderman, who was scheduled to start for Seattle on Thursday, was designated for assignment. Erasmo Ramirez, a 23-year-old righthander, is expected to be called up from Triple A Tacoma to make the start. He is 3-2 with a 2.09 ERA in the Pacific Coast League.

• The deadline to sign players selected in the amateur draft is Friday. The Red Sox have signed all but three of their top 20 selections. The highest unsigned player is fourth rounder Myles Smith, a righthanded pitcher from Lee University in Tennessee. Cherington said the Sox are working on several of their picks.

Andrew Miller expected to miss rest of season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 07:29 PM

SEATTLE — Lefthander Andrew Miller, a key member of the Red Sox bullpen, was told Monday he needs season-ending surgery on his left foot.

Dr. George Theodore, a foot specialist, examined Miller and found what is known as a Lisfranc injury. Miller has a torn ligament between bones in the middle of his foot.

Miller will get a second opinion before scheduling surgery. But the Red Sox are not optimistic the diagnosis will change. Miller was injured on Friday when he planted his foot on the mound en route to backing up home plate.

“Very,” said manager John Farrell when asked how significant loss it was for the Sox. “Given the way he’s pitched and the importance of that power lefthander in the bullpen, it is.”

Miller was third on the team with 37 appearances. He had a 2.64 earned run average and a 1.37 WHIP. Over 30 2/3 innings he had struck out 48.

Once a first-round pick of the Tigers, Miller struggled with command early in his career and was traded twice.

The Red Sox showed patience with the hard-throwing 6-foot-7 pitcher, trying him first as a starter before putting him in the bullpen and changing his mechanics.

This season was the best of his career as Miller proved reliable in late-inning situations.

“Obviously on a personal level, it’s disappointing and from a team perspective we’ll miss him,” said Craig Breslow, who is now the only lefthander in the bullpen.

“This team has showed we’re pretty resilient and we’ve had to overcome some key injuries. This is another one. We have no option but to keep on moving forward.

“Andrew been trending upward the last couple of years at a pretty rapid pace. His potential has been documented and he was finally realizing. It’s got to be a tough blow for him.”

Said Farrell: “He was well on his way to becoming a dominant lefthanded reliever.”

The loss of Miller greatly increases the odds of the Red Sox making a trade to improve their bullpen. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.

“We’ll just have to see. We’ve had guys step up all year when the opportunity was there. We need that to continue,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “We’ll see what other opportunities come our way later in the month.

“But when you lose a guy you have to replace him some way. We weren’t planning on losing a guy like Miller and so we have to fill that.”

With so many teams in contention, the market for relief pitchers will be active. But relievers are inconsistent by nature and determining which ones can stand up to the pressure of a pennant race is difficult.

“It’s tough,” Cherington said. “The most efficient way to do it is to ignore completely. But then you run the risk of not having enough guys out there. We can’t say never to a trade for a reliever just because it’s hard to predict. We have to evaluate each possibility for what it is. If you find something internally, that’s always a better way to go.”

The internal options for lefthanders are scant.

Franklin Morales has appeared in only six games this season and is on the disabled list for the second time with a strained pectoral muscle. He is at least a 3-5 weeks away from returning.

Lefthander Drake Britton was recently promoted to Triple A Pawtucket. Cherington said there are no plans at the moment to try him in the bullpen.

Ryan Rowland-Smith, who pitched in the majors for Seattle from 2007-10, pitched well for Triple A Pawtucket before needing surgery to remove his appendix. He is not expected to pitch again until the end of the month.

“We’ll look at every internal option. If there’s something that makes sense, I’m sure that we’re open-minded to it,” Farrell said.

Game 91: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 06:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (54-36)
Nava CF
Gomes RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-4, 4.41).

MARINERS (39-49)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Ibanez LF
Morales DH
Seager 3B
Bay RF
Smoak 1B
Zunino C
Saunders CF
Pitching: RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.69).

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Hernandez: Napoli 6-33, Pedroia 10-32, Ortiz 7-27, Saltalamacchia 5-22, Ellsbury 6-21 (2 HR), Gomes 2-10, Nava 1-7, Victorino 2-3.

Mariners vs. Lester: Ibanez 4-12, Smoak 3-10, Ryan 3-9, Ackley 2-7, eager 1-7, Chavez 2-6, Morales 0-6, Saunders 3-6, Blanco 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 23-20 on the road but have lost eight of their last 11.

Notes: The Sox lost the final two games of their series against the Angels and now open a four-game set against the Mariners at Safeco Field. ... Lester, a native of Tacoma, Wash., is 4-2, 3.58 in nine career starts against Seattle, 3-2, 4.43 in seven starts against the Mariners at Safeco. Lester has allowed eight earned runs over 21.2 innings in his last three starts at Safeco. ... Hernandez is 6-2, 3.18 in 12 career starts against the Sox. That includes a five-hit shutout in his last game against the Sox on June 28, 2012. ... Ellsbury takes a 17-game hit streak into the game. ... The Sox have had at least one double in 23 consecutive games. ... The Sox are 4 of 26 with runners in scoring position the last two nights.

Song of the Day: "All Along The Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix.

UPDATE, 6:26 p.m.: The Red Sox just posted their lineup and it's a doozy. Nava would be in center field for the first time in the majors. He has 13 innings (and one start) of experience there in the minors.

Shane Victorino (left hamstring) did not play Sunday. Presumably Jacoby Ellsbury is injured. We'll learn more shortly.

Diaz outrighted to Pawtucket; Uehara second in voting

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 02:40 PM

SEATTLE — The Red Sox today outrighted infielder Jonathan Diaz to Triple A Pawtucket, which takes him off the 40-man roster.

That does not necessarily portend another move. But the Sox now have an open spot on the 40-man roster should they obtain a player through trade or want to promote a prospect.

Meanwhile:

• Koji Uehara is second in the Final Vote totals for the last spot on the All-Star team. Toronto's Steve Delabar is leading with Uehara, David Robertson (Yankees), Joaquin Benoit (Tigers) and Tanner Scheppers (Rangers) following.

If you want to vote, go to MLB.com.

You also can vote via text message. Text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, text your choice using the codes below to 89269. For Uehara, it's A5.

• Over at the On Deck minor league blog, Craig Forde has news on two Red Sox being named Pitcher of the Week in their respective leagues.

• Red Sox play tonight in Seattle. Check back later for the lineups and game preview.

Pitching matchups for the Mariners series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 09:50 AM

Monday: LHP Jon Lester (8-4, 4.41) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.69), 10:10 p.m., NESN.

Tuesday: RHP Allen Webster (1-2, 7.88) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4, 2.60), 10:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: LHP Felix Doubront (5-3, 4.11) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (4-7, 4.92), 10:10 p.m., NESN.

Thursday: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.04) vs. RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-3, 4.93), 3:40 p.m., NESN.

Lackey sharp, but Angels blank Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 8, 2013 01:10 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox have scored the most runs in the majors, so when one of their starters goes seven innings and allows two runs, that's an easy win.

Not for John Lackey on Sunday night. Jered Weaver and three relievers combined on a five-hit shutout in a 3-0 Los Angeles victory.

Weaver went 6.1 innings, giving up five hits. He walked two and struck out six. Lackey went seven innings and also gave up five hits — but two were solo home runs by Mike Trout and Hank Conger.

Lackey walked one, struck out nine and threw 116 pitches, his most this season.

“Just one of those deals. Weave pitched really good. It’s tough.” Lackey said.

The Red Sox lost two of three games in the series. They have lost eight of their last 11 games on the road and start a four-game series at Seattle on Monday night.

Jon Lester, who flew ahead of the team, opposes Felix Hernandez on Monday night at Safeco Field.

Facing King Felix will not help an offense that has gone 12 innings without scoring. The Sox were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and left seven men on base.

Lackey has pitched far better than his 6-6 record would indicate. He has a 2.80 earned run average and 88 strikeouts over 93.1 innings.

Lackey has gone at least seven innings in his last five starts. He also has a 2.29 ERA in his last 10 along with a 1.02 WHIP. After starting the season as the fifth starter, Lackey is now the most reliable member of the rotation.

“John’s pitching as well as he has, I think, than any point in time in his career,” Sox manger John Farrell said. “Not to shortchange anything he’s done early on, but he’s in a very good place right now.”

Lackey agreed with that assessment.

“Probably the best first half I’ve had,” he said. “Some things have been frustrating. But it is what it is.”

Also:

• Jose Iglesias was 2 for 11 in the series and is hitting .395. Remarkably, it’s his first time under .400 in 45 games this season.

• Shane Victorino is feeling better. But he said only "I hope" when asked if his hamstring would allow him to play on Monday.

• In three starts against the Angels at Angel Stadium, Lackey has allowed four earned runs on 18 hits over 22.1 innings and struck out 19. He won the first two games but could not overcome Weaver.

“There’s no animosity or anything like that,” Lackey said. “I had a great time here when I played here. Just trying to win a ball game.”

Final: Angels 3, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 08:13 PM

Game over: Angels 3, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox dropped two out of three to the Angels after winning the opener here.

Jered Weaver outdueled John Lackey, who surrendered solo homers to Mike Trout and Hank Conger. The Angels scored an insurance run in the eighth off Junichi Tazawa. The Red Sox managed only five hits. David Ortiz reached second base on an error by Mark Trumbo in the ninth, but Ernesto Frieri earned the save and preserved the shutout. The game was played in before 39,018.

Bottom 8th: Angels 3, Red Sox 0: An opening triple by Aybar and Mark Trumbo's sacrifice fly accounted for the Angels' insurance run against Junichi Tazawa.

Top 8th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - Lefty Scott Downs came on and retired the Red Sox in order.

Bottom 7th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - Lackey finishes off seven in style - a 1-2-3 inning. It appears he is done for the night.

Top 7th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - Mike Napoli dropped a single to right field to lead off the inning, Mike Carp then struck out for the third time and Ryan Lavarnway sent a deep drive to center, but was caught. Weaver exited after 6-2/3 innings when Holt singed to center. Dean De La Rosa came on. Jose Iglesias, who has dipped below .400 for the first time

Bottom 6th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - Two-out problems got Lackey pitch count up. Pujols singled and Hamilton walked with two outs, Hamilton stole second. On the Hamilton walk, Pujols not only went to second, but when he noticed there was nobody covering third, he went to third. Iglesias ran frantically over to third from shortstop to cover the bag, but too late. No matter, though, as Kendrick grounded out to Iglesias on a nice play on a hard hit ball toward the bag, to end the threat.

Top 6th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - The one hope the Red Sox have is that Weaver won't be in the game much longer. He ended a 1-2-3 sixth inning with 99 pitches, so he's likely to go out for one more and that will be it.

Bottom 5th: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 - Hank Conger got one of Lackey's poorly located pitches and slammed a solo homer to right field to extend LA's lead.

Top 5th: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Brock Holt drew a lead-off walk, but Weaver, despite being squeezed on a couple of pitches by home plate umpire Mike Winters, managed to induce an inning-ending double-play by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Bottom 4th: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Lackey throws a 1-2-3 inning. A lot of movement on his pitches and good fastball location. Mike Scioscia commented yesterday that he's never seen Lackey throw better and that includes his early years in Anaheim.

Top 4th: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - A Mike Napoli walk was about as good as it could get for the Red Sox against Weaver, who struck out two. He has five Ks.

Bottom 3rd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Shuck singled to right and stole second base, but Lackey, who continues to have good stuff tonight once again got out of the inning.

Top 3rd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Ellsbury, Nava and Pedroia go down quickly vs. Weaver.

Bottom 2nd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Lackey made a nice fielding play on Kendrick's bunt attempt for a hit. Callaspo singled to center, but was caught stealing while Brad Hawpe struck out.

Top 2nd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - Ryan Lavarnway reached on an infield single, but Weaver got Holt and Iglesias with grounders, Kendrick making an excellent diving play on Holt.

Bottom 1st: Angels 1, Red Sox 0 - John Lackey struck out three, but one of them wasn't Mike Trout, who bashed his 15th homer to right field to give the Angels the early lead.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Angels 0 -J.B. Shuck continued the amateur hour Angels defense when he misjudged Jacoby Ellsbury's liner to left off Jered Weaver which went as a double to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Daniel Nava singled to left but Ellsbury had to hold up at third. Dustin Pedroia lined out to third, David Ortiz struck out and Mike Napoli ran the count to 3-2 before striking out on a breaking ball.

Victorino day-to-day; Buchholz lined up for game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 08:07 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Right fielder Shane Victorino is out of the Red Sox lineup because of a sore left hamstring, an injury he has been dealing with since mid-May. He left Saturday’s game in the ninth inning. John Farrell said Victorino is day-to-day.

Also:

• There is now an outline for Clay Buchholz that would lead to the start of a minor league rehabilitation assignment. He is scheduled to throw in the bullpen twice this week then start a minor league game on Sunday.

Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 8 because of a sore shoulder, is expected to need at least two minor league starts. So the earliest he would rejoin the Red Sox is July 24.

• Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a concussion, has an appointment in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a follow-up examination with Dr. Michael Collins, a specialist. Ross has been away from the team while recovering and hopes to be cleared soon to start baseball-type activities.

• Alfredo Aceves had an early morning flight and arrived at Angel Stadium well in advance of Sunday night’s game. Farrell envisions using Aceves as a middle reliever, at least through the end of the road trip. “We all know he’s durable; he’s resilient. We’ll see how that role evolves,” the manager said.

Aceves gave an interesting answer when asked if he hoped he could stick with the team the rest of the season.

“Man, no, no, no. That’s you. You hope,” he said. “I don’t hope. I don’t hope nothing. You’re the one to hope. But thank you.”

• Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner attended the game.

• Several Red Sox players, including former Angels players John Lackey and Mike Napoli, joined the Angels in wearing patches to honor the late Dr. Lewis Yocum. The long-time Angels team physician and pioneering orthopedic surgeon passed away in May.

• Former Red Sox pitcher Mike Myers, who now works with the MLB Players Association, was in the clubhouse before the game.

Miller optimistic, but further tests await

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 07:22 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox relief pitcher Andrew Miller was trying to stay positive this afternoon, suggesting several times that the injury to his left foot may not be too serious.

“I’m completely optimistic it’s nothing major,” he said.

But Miller was standing in a medical boot at the time and when he finished speaking to reporters, he limped across the clubhouse before lowering himself into a chair.

The lefthanded reliever left Saturday night’s game against the Angels in the seventh inning after an awkward twist on the mound resulted in pain. Miller was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will be examined in Boston on Monday by Dr. George Theodore, a foot specialist.

The initial x-rays taken on Saturday were negative, but the fear is Miller has a Lisfranc injury on the top of his foot. That could involve a bone or ligaments.

“That was one of the things mentioned. It could be a smaller one,” Miller said. “Hopefully it’s not too serious.”

Miller was on crutches before he was fitted for the boot and could not put any weight on his foot.

“That’s a little worrisome,” he said.

Miller came into the game with a runner on first and one out. After throwing a wild pitch, he allowed a single by J.B. Shuck.

“I watched the ball go into center field after making not a very good pitch,” Miller said. “I tried to redirect my momentum, I guess it was too much. … I just landed at a funny angle.”

Miller was intending to back up the plate but went only a few feet before collapsing on the grass.

“I planted on my left foot, as I planted and tried to push off I felt it,” he said. “I felt and tried to get up and go again and realized that probably wasn’t the best idea.”

Miller was taken for x-rays during the game. Dr. Luga Podesta, one of the Angels team physicians, examined him.

“We don’t know a whole lot right now,” Miller said. “The bones look OK, which is good. We’ll find out more. … There’s some sort of sprain or strain in there. Hopefully it’s pretty minimal.”

Miller is third on the team with 37 appearances. Over 30.2 innings, he has allowed only 25 hits while striking out 48.

After being used largely as a specialist last season, Miller has 16 appearances of at least an inning this season and was one of the relievers manager John Farrell trusted in high-leverage situations. Miller has pitched particularly well in recent weeks.

"I'm really disappointed in the whole scheme of things. … For me, I feel like I've been throwing the ball well and settling in. Made it through the first half and trying to do better in the second half. Hopefully this is something that doesn't hold me back."

Game 90: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (54-35)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Lavarnway C
Holt 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (6-5, 2.81).

ANGELS (42-45)
Shuck LF
Trout CF
Pujols DH
Hamilton RF
Kendrick 2B
Callaspo 3B
Hawpe 1B
Conger C
Aybar SS
Pitching: RHP Jered Weaver (2-4, 3.79).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Weaver: Ortiz 11-34 (3 HR); Pedroia 5-31, Napoli 8-25 (2 HR), Ellsbury 7-25, Saltalamacchia 5-15, Carp 3-12, Gomes 2-8, Lavarnway 1-4, Iglesias 0-3, Victorino 0-1.

Angels vs. Lackey: Hamilton 12-27 (4 HR), Kendrick 4-15, Callaspo 5-14, Aybar 3-10, Harris 1-6, Hawpe 2-6, Trumbo 1-5.

Stat of the Day: Lackey is 4-1 with a 4.32 ERA in five career starts against the Angels, his former team. At Angel Stadium, he is 2-0 and has allowed two earned runs over 15.1 innings.

Notes: The Sox have been adept at turning the page after rough losses this season. That quality will be tested after a 9-7 loss on Saturday night that saw them give up four runs in the ninth then two in the 11th. ... The Sox have won five of six and nine of 11 and start the day with a five-game lead in the division. ... The Angels have won 10 of the last 13 meetings between the teams. ... If the Sox win tonight, it will be their 19th series victory of the season. They won 20 series all last season. ... The Sox are 23-19 on the road but have dropped seven of 10. ... Ortiz has 1,682 hits as a DH. Harold Baines holds the record of 1,688. Ortiz already has the most runs, RBIs, doubles and home runs as a DH. ... Ellsbury has a 16-game hit streak. He is 27 of 68 with 13 runs scored in those 16 games. ... Nava is 6 for 10 with three doubles in the series. ... Uehara has pitched on eight of the last 11 days including four of the last five. ... Weaver is 3-5, 4.31 in 13 career starts against the Red Sox.

Song of the Day: "It Was A Good Day" by Ice Cube.

Miller to DL; Aceves recalled from AAA

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 02:41 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox will place lefthander Andrew Miller on the disabled list this afternoon and recall righthander Alfredo Aceves from Triple A Pawtucket, major league sources told the Globe.

Miller injured his left foot in the seventh inning of Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels. Aceves will be in uniform for tonight's game.

The severity of Miller's injury is uncertain. He was taken to a local hospital for x-rays and the Red Sox feared he had suffered a fracture,.

Aceves is 4-1 with a 5.05 earned run average over nine appearances, six of them starts. He has a 4.45 ERA over 30.1 innings as a starter. In three relief appearances (and 5.1 innings) he has allowed five runs on six hits with six strikeouts.

Aceves has been used only as a starter with Pawtucket. He is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA in eight starts there.

Miller is third on the team with 37 appearances. Over 30.2 innings, he has allowed only 25 hits while striking out 48.

He has actually handled righthanded hitters better (.155/.319/.207) better than he has lefthanders (.281/.339/.386).

After being used largely as a specialist last season, Miller has 16 appearances of at least an inning this season and was one of the relievers manager John Farrell trusted in high-leverage situations.

With Miller on the disabled list, Craig Breslow is now the only lefthander in the Red Sox bullpen.

Umpire Artie Gore's life on display during All-Star week

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 11:09 AM

The All-Star game in New York City on July 16 will provide the usual big-name, big-star atmosphere as best players from both the National and American Leagues square off.

But the game this season also has given attention to a person who was involved in some of baseball’s biggest events. And he lived and died in New England.

Artie Gore, a big Red Sox fan, grew up in Belmont, moved to Lexington, and later lived in Wolfeboro, N.H. where he passed away on September 29, 1986.

If you don’t know the name, the story and life is amazing. Three surviving nephews — one of them Richard Flaherty of Falls Church, Va. — not long ago rummaged through their uncles’ belongings and found some interesting items, including a ball dated April 15, 1947.

That was Jackie Robinson’s major league debut at Ebbets Field. It was also the day Gore, a respected umpire of his era, made his debut. Imagine the coincidence of Gore umpiring the same game Robinson broke the color barrier?

Gore went on to call 1,464 games between 1947-56, two World Series and two All-Star games.

The ball and many other items belonging to Gore will be auctioned off by Hunt Auctions at the All-Star FanFest at the Javits Center in New York on July 15 and 16.

As you dig more into Gore, who was a former minor league infielder for the Red Sox, you find he was also a lifetime friend of Ted Williams.

“As far as we could piece together, my uncle had about a 40-year relationship with Ted,” recalled Flaherty, who grew up in Watertown and has fond memories of his uncle. “I remember Ted called my aunt to offer his condolences when Artie passed away and I know they kept in touch when he was alive.”

In fact, the biggest item in the auction other than the Robinson ball is a Williams game jersey. The early online bidding was at $72,000. Bats and balls that once belonged to Williams also will be auctioned.

Gore’s career as an umpire was more significant than that. He was dismissed by National League president Warren Giles for reasons that weren’t clear at the time. It was framed as Gore, who was 49, being replaced by a younger umpire.

But the dismissal coincided with Gore being one of the umpires who were trying to unionize the major league umpires. When Gore was dismissed, he never accepted the official “retirement” idea that Giles offered as an excuse. It wasn’t until many years later that umpires got their union, but Gore was certainly one of the early pioneers.

Gore became a court officer in Middlesex County and a sheriff in Wolfeboro. The family has photos of him sitting with The Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, in the courthouse for his trial.

“As a family we agonized over the selling of the items,” Flaherty said. “There are three of us and it’s hard to split a ball. So we decided to let it go and use the money for some college tuition, which I know our uncle would have approved of.”

For years, Gore also ran the popular Boston Globe baseball clinics.

“He grew up in East Cambridge and was friends with Tip O’Neill. It just seemed he knew everyone – mayors, governors, senators,” Flaherty recalled.

Then one thing Flaherty was never able to retrieve was an All-Star game ring his uncle had given to him as a kid, one of the two All-Star games Gore worked.

“I lost it on a playground in Watertown years ago near the Cunniff School,” Flaherty said. "I remember looking and looking for it and never was able to find it again.”

The blog At Home at Fenway referenced Gore's affection for the neighborhood kids in Belmont. He took a liking to one little boy with polio who had lost a mother to a stroke and over the course of time gave him eight balls, including team balls from the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, one signed by Harry Agganis.

Tuesday’s All-Star game may be all about Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Mariano Rivera, Yadier Molina, David Ortiz and other big stars, but Artie Gore will also get his recognition.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 06:30 AM

The Red Sox bullpen fell apart and the result was a 9-7 loss in 11 innings against the Angels.

Nick Cafardo writes that managing David Ortiz could get tricky because he needs some rest.

The notebook has three Red Sox landing on the All-Star team.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick writes that the Cardinals could be the best team in the game.

Snyder: 'There’s not a worse feeling'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 03:40 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — If you hit the pillow Saturday night confident that the Red Sox would hold on and beat the Angels, here's some news.

The Sox gave up four runs in the ninth inning then lost 9-7 on Josh Hamilton's two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th off Craig Breslow.

“Tough ballgame to lose,” manager John Farrell said.

It was the first time this season the Red Sox lost a game they led by four runs. Their five-game win streak was snapped.

Breslow allowed a one-out single by Brad Hawpe before Hamilton drove a slider out to center for his 12th home run. Dane De La Rosa pitched a perfect inning for the win. The last eight Red Sox went in order. The game lasted four hours and 22 minutes.

The Red Sox took a 7-3 lead into the ninth inning and turned to rookie Alex Wilson for what looked to be mop-up duty. But the Angels scored four runs, all coming with two outs.

With two outs and a runner on first, Wilson allowed a single by J.B. Shuck, then hit Mike Trout with a pitch. Farrell called in closer Koji Uehara for the fifth time in the last seventh days.

He got two strikes on Albert Pujols before giving up a two-run single to center field.

Hamilton followed with an RBI single to right field, cutting the lead to 7-6.

When Howie Kendrick grounded to third base, the game should have been over. But Brandon Snyder, playing his seventh game for the Red Sox, threw the ball way over Dustin Pedroia’s head at second base and the game was tied.

Snyder intended to underhand the ball to Pedroia before looking up and seeing Hamilton getting close to the base.

“I kind rushed and never got a grip,” Snyder said. “One of those plays, I can promise you there’s not a worse feeling obviously.”

Said Farrell: “He had a choice there, continuing and completing the play to first base. Elected to go to second base. His footwork didn’t quite get underneath him.

Snyder came into the game in the seventh inning when he pinch hit for Brock Holt.

Uehara struck out Mark Trumbo swinging to end the inning. But it was his third blown save.

“Koji had no room to maneuver,” Farrell said. “He was painted into a corner.”

It was probably only a matter of time before their roster moves at third base caught up to the Red Sox. They have started three different players at third base in the last week.

When Stephen Drew went down with a hamstring strain, the Red Sox moved Jose Iglesias to shortstop. Instead of recalling Will Middlebrooks, they went with Snyder, then Jonathan Diaz and now Holt.

Snyder had started one major league game at third base before this season. Diaz is a rookie middle infielder who had 47 games at third base in the minors leagues over eight seasons. Holt also is a middle infielder. He played third base for the first time in spring training. Holt played seven games at third for Pawtucket before starting tonight.

Miller taken for x-rays on left foot

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 7, 2013 03:19 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox offered little information on the condition of lefthander Andrew Miller, who left tonight's game in the seventh inning with an injured left foot.

Manager John Farrell said Miller was taken to a local hospital for x-rays and that the injury was on the top of his foot. It was not a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Miller was jogging to back up home plate when the injury occurred. He seemed to slip on the grass or get his spikes caught before he fell to the grass. Miller could not put any weight on his foot and had to be helped off the field and into the clubhouse.

The 28-year-old lefthander is having the best season of his career, posting a 2.64 earned run average over 37 appearances.

Miller has struck out 48 over 30 2/3 innings and allowed 25 hits. He has been one of the team’s most effective set-up men. His loss would leave Craig Breslow as the only healthy lefthanded reliever on the roster.

Franklin Morales (left pectoral muscle strain) has been on the disabled list since June 23 and has yet to do more than play catch from short distances.

The Sox have lefthander Ryan Rowland-Smith, a veteran of 115 major league games with Seattle, on the roster with Triple A Pawtucket. But he has not pitched since June 25 because of a ruptured appendix that required surgery.

Rowland-Smith has pitched well in Pawtucket in 25 appearances. But the 27-year-old has not pitched in the majors since 2010.

The only lefthander on the 40-man roster not in the majors is Drake Britton, a starter recently promoted to Triple A.

Shane Victorino left the game with tightness in his left hamstring, an issue that bothered him at various points throughout the season.

Final: Angels 9, Red Sox 7 (11 innings)

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 10:19 PM

Game over: Angels 9, Red Sox 7 (11 innings): -Josh Hamilton hit a two-run walk-off homer against Craig Breslow as the Angels completed their rally from a four-run deficit.

Breslow allowed a one-out single to Brad Hawpe before Hamilton ended the 4:22 game on the first pitch he saw, his 12th homer. There were 36,112 on hand at Anaheim Stadium.

The Red Sox had major relief issues in this game as Alex Wilson and Koji Uehara allowed four runs in the ninth to tie it.

Top 11: Red Sox 7, Angels 7: Dane De La Rosa, throwing 96 mph, mows down the Red Sox.

Bottom 10th: Red Sox 7, Angels 7 - The Angels took themselves out of another inning. Aybar singled and was thrown out trying to steal for the second out against Craig Breslow who got Shuck to fly out to left after Alberto Callaspo singled.

Top 10th: Red Sox 7, Angels 7 - Ernesto Frieri struck out Ortiz, Napoli and Nava.

Bottom 9th: Red Sox 7, Angels 7 - The Angels scored four runs off Alex Wilson and Koji Uehara to tie and force extra innings. Wilson loaded the bases and Uehara came on and allowed a two-run single to Albert Pujols and an RBI single to Josh Hamilton before Brandon Snyder had a ground ball hit to him by Howie Kendrick and he overthrew second base trying to get the force and end the game. The tying run scored. Uehara was able to strike out Mark Trumbo with runners at first and third.

Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Angels 3 - Jacoby Ellsbury walked and stole second base, his 36th.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Angels 3 - Andrew Bailey threw another impressive frame. He allowed a single to Albert Pujols, but struck out Hamilton and Trumbo to end the inning.

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Angels 3 - Josh Hamilton is really out to lunch. On Nava's hit to right, Hamilton stumbled twice, couldn't pick the ball up as Dustin Pedroia scored. Nava was credited with a double and Hamilton with an error.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Angels 3 - Looks like Andrew Miller hurt his lower leg/foot as he came off the mound following a line drive single by Shuck. Andrew Bailey is on. He threw a double-play ball to get out of the inning.

Top 7th: Red Sox 6, Angels 3 - After Saltalamacchia and pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder struck out, Iglesias walked and Ellsbury reached on a catcher's interference, but the Sox couldn't add to their lead.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 6, Angels 3 - The Angels are retired 1-2-3.

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Angels 3 - Victorino doubled and driven in by Pedroia's single up the middle.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 5, Angels 3 - Shuck doubled to leftcenter, but then made one of those boneheaded Angels plays that have brought this team down. He tried to tag from second after Mike Trout's fly ball to right and tried to go to third challenging Shane Victorino's arm. Shuck lost. After Pujols walked, Hamilton tapped back to the pitcher.

Top 5th: Red Sox 5, Angels 3 - Red Sox messed up a good opportunity to add to their lead. With one out, Nava singled and Salty walked. But Holt and Iglesias were retired on infield grounders.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 5, Angels 3 - There was a two-out double by Iannetta down the rightfield line. Brendan Harris then sent a drive to deep center which Ellsbury tracked down at the wall.

Top 4th: Red Sox 5, Angels 3 - Red Sox score three times to re-take the lead. A walk by Napoli started things off. Nava doubled to left. Salty doubled to left to score both runners. After Holt reached on a fielder's choice when Albert Pujols made as curious choice after he dove to gather a grounder, he elected to go to third and bounced a throw and everyone was safe.

Jose Iglesias singled in the third run of the inning. The Sox had a chance for much more but Ellsbury and Victorino made outs. After Pedoria walked, Ortiz struck out with the bases loaded.

Bottom 3rd: Angels 3, Red Sox 2 - Mike Trout hits a blast to left for a home run to give the Angels a lead off Dempster.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Victorino, Pedroia and Ortiz go down in order against Jerome Williams.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Howie Kendrick homered to lead off the inning. The Angels rallied for another run. Aybar reached on an infield single and error on Dempster who trid to flip the throw to first after fielding the ball and threw it over Napoli's head at first. Iannetta singled up the middle to score the run.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Angels 0 - Nava singled and Saltalamacchia doubled. Brock Holt, in is first at-bat since his call-up from Pawtucket, drove in the run with a sacrifice fly.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Angels 0 - Mike Trout doubled to left against Ryan Dempster with one out, but Dempster got Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to make outs.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Angels 0 - The power of speed. Jacoby Ellsbury singled, went to second after two outs when David Ortiz reached on an infield hit. With Mike Napoli up, Ellsbury put pressure on the defense as he broke for third, stole the bag and scored on catcher Chris Ianetta's throwing error,

A few pregame notes from the Big A

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 08:44 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox called up infielder Brock Holt from Triple A Pawtucket and will start him at third base Saturday night.

Holt does not have any major league experience at third base. But he started playing the position in spring training and has played seven games there for Pawtucket.

Holz hit .262 with 18 RBIs in 60 games for Pawtucket. Holt, who also can play second base and shortstop, would likely have been called up earlier but he was recovering from a strained rib cage muscle.

Holt has played only three games since coming off the disabled list. But the Sox valued his versatility. Holt played 24 games for the Pirates last season, hitting .292.

Jonathan Diaz was optioned to Pawtucket. Diaz played in five games with the big club and was 0 for 4.

Since Stephen Drew was injured and Jose Iglesias moved to shortstop, the Red Sox have used Brandon Snyder, Diaz, and now Holt at third base.

Will Middlebrooks has hit .275 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games for Pawtucket since being sent down.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz played catch today and will throw out to 120 feet on Sunday.

Manager John Farrell has suggested that Buchholz could make a minor league rehabilitation start July 14. But Buchholz did not want to be pinned down to that date.

"Physically, if I feel good enough to do it, yeah I want to get back as quick as I can," he said. "But it's already taken this long, so there's no need to rush it and have a setback."

Buchholz will be in New York for two days as part of the All-Star festivities. With Red Sox head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson on the American League staff, his rehab work won't be interrupted.

• Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have been on the disabled list all season for the Yankees but have started minor league rehabilitation assignments. There is a chance they'll return to the New York lineup for the series at Fenway Park that starts July 19.

Ortiz, Pedroia, Buchholz selected to All-Star team; Uehara on ballot for final spot

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 08:09 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — David Ortiz is going back to the All-Star Game and this time he’s bringing some teammates.

A year after Ortiz was the lone representative for the Red Sox, he was joined by Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz on the American League roster.

Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara was selected as one of five candidates for the final spot on the roster. The winner will be determined by on-line fan voting.

The game is July 16 at Citi Field in New York.

“It was weird last year,” Ortiz said on Saturday. “It’ll be good to have some more Red Sox around.”

Ortiz was the overwhelming winner to start at DH with 6.2 million votes. Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion was second with 2.5 million. Pedroia was selected as a reserve.

Ortiz has been an All-Star in nine of the last 10 seasons, the most of any player.

Ortiz and Bobby Doerr are tied for the third-most All-Star selections in Red Sox history. Only Carl Yastrzemski (18 times) and Ted Williams (17) have more.

Ortiz is hitting .321 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs in 68 games this season. His 1.024 OPS is the third highest in baseball.

Ortiz missed the final 2 1/2 months of last season with a strained Achilles' tendon and started this season on the disabled list.

“When the fans pick you, it’s because they want to see you play,” Ortiz said. “It’s great to be going again.”

Pedroia is now a four-time All-Star after going two years without being selected. He is hitting .323 with a .404 on-base percentage and has started all but one game this season. Pedroia has 30 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases.

“There are a lot of great second basemen in the American League, so it’s pretty special,” Pedroia said. “The game means something, so we have to go win.”

Buchholz is 9-0 with a 1.71 earned-run average. He has not pitched since June 8 because of a shoulder injury. Major League Baseball named Oakland’s Bartolo Colon to replace him on the roster but Buchholz will go to New York to be part of the festivities.

“It’s an honor to be a part of it and be around the guys who are the best in the league,” he said. “I’m excited about. I just wish I was healthy and could pitch..

Buchholz was an All-Star in 2010 but did not pitch because of an injury.

The 38-year-old Uehara was an All-Star in Japan but not since he came to the majors in 2009. He has appeared in 39 games for the Red Sox and is 2-0 with five saves.

Uehara has a 1.95 ERA and an 0.79 WHIP. Over 37 innings he has walked eight and struck out 52.

“If I get actually chosen, [I'll] probably explode with excitement,” Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. “I didn’t think I was in a position to be chosen this year for the All-Star team. I don’t know what to feel.''

In previous years, Japanese players have done well in the final vote with the backing of their homeland. Former Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima made the team via that route in 2007.

Uehara joked that fans in Japan might not support him.

“I’m not sure if that will the case for me,” he said.

Why not?

“I’m not popular,” Uehara said in English before laughing.

Ortiz said he wanted Uehara to be in the game if only to see what would happen if he high-fives the entire dugout.

"He might get into a fight because he might slap somebody in the face," Ortiz said.

Game 89: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 05:30 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (54-34)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Holt 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.11).

ANGELS (41-45)
Shuck LF
Trout CF
Pujols 1B
Hamilton RF
Kendrick 2B
Trumbo DH
Aybar SS
Iannetta C
Harris 3B
Pitching: RHP Jerome Williams (5-4, 3.89).

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Williams: Napoli 6-14, Carp 3-10, Ortiz 3-5, Gomes 0-3, Drew 1-2, Iglesias 2-2, Pedroia 1-2, Victorino 0-2, Nava 0-1, Snyder 0-1.

Angels vs. Dempster: Pujols 21-60, Iannetta 2-13, Trout 4-10, Callaspo 2-8, Kendrick 2-9, Trumbo 5-10, Aybar 2-8, Hawpe 2-5, Hamilton 1-5, Shuck 2-5.

Stat of the Day: Dempster has allowed eight home home runs by Pujols, the most by any hitter against him.

Notes: The Yankees beat the Orioles, so the Sox are presently 5.5 games ahead of the second-place Yankees, who have won six in a row. If the Sox win tonight, they would be six games ahead in the division for the first time since Sept. 7, 2007, when they were 6.5 game ahead. ... Dempster is 1-2, 9.15 in four career starts against the Angels, three of them last season when he was with the Rangers. He had a quality start against the Angels at Fenway on June 9 (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). ... Williams is starting on short rest after leaving his last start in the second inning. He faced the Sox in relief on June 8 and allowed three runs in three innings. ... Napoli is 27 of 67 (.403) against the Angels at Angel Stadium with 10 homers and 15 RBIs in 18 games. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in 15 consecutive games at 26 of 64 (.406) with six extra-base hits and 12 runs scored. ... Iglesias has reached base safely in 40 of the 42 games in which he's had a plate appearance.

Song of the Day: "Desperados Under The Eaves" by Warren Zevon.

Crawford now a platoon player for Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 03:55 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Times wrote today that with the emergence of Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford will split time in the outfield with Andre Ethier.

"Nobody wants to be on the bench," Crawford told the Times. "But at the same time, we've got four good outfielders. Somebody's going to miss out. I understand that part of it."

Crawford came off the disabled list on Friday after being out a month with a strained hamstring. With Matt Kemp out for at least a few days with a shoulder injury, Crawford is back in the lineup. But what happens after that is uncertain.

Since leaving Tampa Bay as a free agent, Crawford has hit .268/.308/.429 and played in 213 of a possible 409 games. He has nine home runs and 32 stolen bases.

Starting in 2014, Crawford has four years and $82.5 million remaining on his contract.

The trade the Red Sox made with the Dodgers was brilliant the day it happened and it keeps getting better somehow. It really is amazing.

Ortiz comes through in a pinch for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 02:58 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Star players aren't usually good pinch hitters for a simple reason: they don't get much practice at it.

David Ortiz was 15 of 85 (.176) as a pinch hitter in his career when Red Sox manager John Farrell sent him to the plate in the eighth inning — 4 for 32 in the last 10 years.

Ortiz took a strike from Dane De La Rosa then lined a home run over the fence in right field to give the Sox a 5-2 lead in a game they went on to win, 6-2.

It was Ortiz's first pinch-hit homer since May 29, 2011 in Detroit and the fifth of his career.

“Swing and hit it. I got lucky," Ortiz said.

Farrell has been adept at picking his spots this season. Red Sox pinch hitters are 12 of 40 (.300) with eight extra-base hits (5 HRs) and 11 RBIs. Of course, having Ortiz available makes it an easy call.

“It's a luxury to have that guy available to you to come off the bench and do what he does," Farrell said.

The surprise was that the Angels pitched to Ortiz. Daniel Nava had just doubled and first base was open. When Ortiz replaced Brandon Snyder, walking him seemed preferable. But Mike Scioscia took a chance and it cost him.

Ortiz now has 418 career home runs.

“Just another homer,” he said “I’m used to it. Are you? Enjoy it. This ain’t forever.”

Ortiz, by the way, was wearing a black t-shirt with No. 21 on the back and "retire RC." It was for Roberto Clemente. Many Latin American players would like to see baseball retire 21 for Clemente as 42 was for Jackie Robinson.

Also:

• If Mike Napoli starts swinging the bat well again, look back on his home run in the ninth inning. He hit a 95-mph fastball from Michael Kohn halfway up the grassy hill in center field. It was a 440-foot shot.

It was Napoli's first home run since June 1.

"The thing is getting my foot down. It's a timing thing," Napoli said. "If I'm short to the ball and on time ... When I'm late, my swing might look long because I'm trying to rush to get to the ball. I'm working on my leg kick and being on time with the pitcher."

Sometimes one good swing can get a hitter going.

"It's something I can build off of," Napoli said. "I'm just going at-bat to at-bat. Trying to grind out at-bats and feel good in the box with my timing and seeing the ball. If my foot is down and my hands are in a certain position where I can fire and not be rushed, I'm a better hitter."

• Two runners (Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino) scored from first base on two-out errors made in the outfield. The Red Sox have run into a few outs in recent games. But running aggressively paid off tonight.

• The Sox have won five straight and nine of 10.

• Jacoby Ellsbury has hit safely in 15 straight games at 26 of 64 (.406).

• Jonny Gomes is 8 of his last 18, raising his batting average from .211 to .238.

• The Sox have at least one double in 21 consecutive games. Their 198 doubles leads the majors.

• Angels pitcher Jered Weaver and his wife Kristen had their first child on Friday, a healthy son they named Aden after Nick Adenhart, the Angels pitcher who was killed by a drunk driver four years ago.

Weaver and Adenhart were close friends.

Doubront continues his progress

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 6, 2013 02:05 AM

ANAHEIM — The Red Sox didn't give up on Felix Doubront in early May. But they certainly shoved him to the side.

Doubront was taken out of the rotation after his first six starts produced a 6.40 earned run average. Then came a terrible relief outing against Minnesota that saw Doubront allow six runs on 11 hits over 5.1 innings in a game the Sox lost, 15-8.

Doubront went back on the bench for a week. The only thing keeping the 25-year-old lefthander on the roster at that point were the memories of his success last season.

Pitching coach Juan Nieves went to work on Doubront, changing his routine to include more long toss to improve his arm strength and an extra bullpen session designed to refine his command.

The results since have been impressive. Doubront has a 2.87 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 10 starts since returning to the rotation while averaging 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

In Friday night's 6-2 victory against the Angels, Doubront allowed two runs on five hits over 6.2 innings. He kept the Sox in the game long enough to get the win as they scored four runs in the final three innings.

"He was outstanding tonight," manager John Farrell said. "Once again he works deep in the ballgame. ... He had good stuff. He was on the plate with his fastball much more consistently tonight. Very good changeup. Really put us in a position to get into that seventh inning and we got some timely hits late."

Doubront hasn't regained the velocity he had last season. But there is enough in his fastball to get the ball by hitters when he has to.

"His assortment of pitches, he has weapons to keep guys off stride. He's kind of flown under the radar given the years by other guys," Farrell said. "But he's logging quality innings for us."

Since Clay Buchholz last pitched on June 8, Doubront, Ryan Dempster and John Lackey have made 15 starts and have a 2.81 ERA.

"Pretty consistently they're going out there for at least six [innings]. Any time they're walking out there for the seventh or beyond, you're in bonus territory," Farrell said.

Doubront feels the difference has been good health.

"That's the best part. My arm feels good now. Working with Juan and the bullpens, just pitching," he said.

When the Red Sox temporarily demoted Doubront, it was a kick in the pants.

"That was a situation, I have to do it for the team," he said. "I've tried to keep that pace and help the team win."

Final: Red Sox 6, Angels 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 5, 2013 10:32 PM

Game over, Red Sox 6, Angels 2 -Koji Uehara took care of the Angels in the ninth in a non-save situation. The Sox beat the angels in 3:14 before 37,092 at Anaheim Stadium.

Top 9th: Red Sox 6, Angels 2 - Mike Napoli homered vs. Michael Kohn on a 2-0 count. It was Napoli's 10th homer, his first since June 1.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Angels 2 - A two-out Albert Pujols single was all the Angels could muster.

Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Angels 2 - David Ortiz smacked a pinch-hit two-run homer - his 17th - with Daniel Nava (double) aboard to extend Boston's lead. Ortiz now has 61 RBI.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Angels 2 - Angels wasted a one-out double by by Alberto Callaspo as Ianetta and struck out vs. Doubront and Aybar flew out to center vs. reliever Craig Breslow.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Angels 2 - Josh Hamilton had to come a long way for Jonny Gomes fly ball to right toward the line, but when he got there he dropped it and Shane Victorino scored the go-ahead run. It should have been the third out and CJ Wilson should have gotten out of the inning with a tie game. Instead he left trailing on a night when he threw 121 pitches. Victorino had singled, but Wilson battled Pedroia and Napoli (struck out) before the Hamilton error. Jonny Gomes got picked off first to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Pujols, Trumbo and kendrick go down against Doubront, who is pitching himself a fine game.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs, but Jacoby Ellsbury, who had been 6 for 8 with 12 RBI with the bases loaded this season, tapped back to the pitcher. Snyder, Salty and Iglesias all reached with base hits bringing up Ellsbury.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Doubront strikes out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 15 games and also stole his 34th base with one out, but Pedroia grounded out and Napoli struck out.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Angels 2 - Howie Kendrick goes yard off Doubie to tie it up.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Angels 1: Gomes started the inning by reaching on an infield hit. He's 8 of his last 15. Snyder singled with two outs. But Salty flied to right field before Iglesias struck out looking.

Sox have left four runners on in four innings, two in scoring position. Nick will take over the updates from here. Enjoy the game.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Angels 1: Shuck started the inning with a triple off the wall in right, the ball evading the leap of Victorino. Trout then walked. Pujols grounded into a double play as Pedroia made a great turn with Trout bearing down on him. Trumbo then bounced to short.

All things considered, one run there was a good escape.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Angels 0: Doubront left two runners stranded in the second when he got Aybar to ground into a force. The Sox got a one-out single by Pedroia before Napoli grounded into a double play.

It's a beautiful night in Orange County. Hard to believe there are so many empty seats for a weekend game.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 2, Angels 0: Gomes walked with one out before Nava singled, With two outs, Salty singled to left field and the ball hopped over the head of Shuck. Two runs scored and Salty was credited with one RBI.

Iggy walked to extend the inning before Ellsbury grounded to second.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Angels 0: Greetings from Angel Stadium, where plenty of good seats are available. Lots of Red Sox fans here, too.

Technical difficulties delayed the updates. The Sox went in order in the first inning. Doubront then worked around a one-out double by Mike Trout in the bottom of the inning.

Red Sox place Drew on disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 5, 2013 08:59 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew was on the field at Angel Stadium early Friday afternoon, going through a series of running and agility drills under the supervision of two trainers.

It was a test to determine whether Drew’s strained right hamstring had healed enough for him to play sometime this weekend.

There was improvement, but not enough and Drew was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 29.

Drew could return July 14, the final day of the road trip and the last game before the All-Star break. Righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.

“[Drew's] making progress. But yet where we are with the day-to-day status and going a man short in the bullpen, we felt like it was time to get back to that 12-man staff,” manager John Farrell said.

Jose Iglesias has been playing shortstop in Drew’s absence with Brandon Snyder starting at third base. The Red Sox are keeping rookie Jonathan Diaz on the roster as a backup shortstop.

This is De La Torre’s third stint with the Red Sox this season. He has appeared in three games, allowing three runs over 5 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old has been dominant with Pawtucket, allowing 20 hits over 38 1/3 innings and striking out 45.

Also:

• David Ortiz is out of the lineup for the second time in five games.

“I’m fine. They’re just giving me a break,” Ortiz said. “Long flight out here and we have a long [road] trip.”

With the Red Sox expected to face six righthanded starting pitchers beginning Saturday, Farrell wanted to give his designated hitter a day off.

• Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 8 because of a sore shoulder, could make a minor league rehab start before the All-Star break. Buchholz is scheduled to throw from 105 feet on Saturday and throw some pitches from flat ground. He could throw in the bullpen in Seattle on Monday.

Barring a setback, Buchholz could make a minor league start on July 14. Because he has been out so long, Buchholz would need at least two starts before being activated off the disabled list.

• Major League Baseball will announce the All-Star rosters early Saturday evening. Ortiz had a commanding lead in the fan vote for designated hitter when the last totals were announced. Dustin Pedroia is likely to make the team as a reserve.

Outfielder Daniel Nava and righthanded reliever Koji Uehara merit consideration for the team. Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, was in line to potentially start the game before he was injured. He could be named to the team then replaced.

Farrell made a case for Nava and Uehara during a recent conversation with Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will manage the American League team.

Farrell dropped a hint that Nava or Uehara could be one of the five players on the “Final Vote” list.

• The Red Sox promoted 24-year-old lefthander Drake Britton to Triple A Pawtucket, where he will join the rotation. Britton was 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA for Double A Portland.

• Farrell was pleased righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket. Although Mortensen was passed over by 29 other teams, the Sox feel he has value. “Any time you can keep major league experienced arms in your control, it’s a good thing,” Farrell said. “He’s a known commodity to us.” Farrell was surprised Mortensen wasn’t claimed.

• Lefthander Franklin Morales, out since June 25 with a strained pectoral muscle, is playing catch but won’t be back any time soon. Morales had the same injury in April and this time the Sox want to make sure he heals.

• The Angels will start Jerome Williams on Saturday. The righthander started against the Cardinals on Wednesday and lasted only 1 2/3 innings [and 55 pitches]. He allowed seven runs on four hits and four walks.

Game 88: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 5, 2013 05:10 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (53-34)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli DH
Gomes LF
Nava 1B
Snyder 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.22).

ANGELS (41-44)
Shuck LF
Trout CF
Pujols DH
Trumbo 1B
Kendrick 2B
Hamilton RF
Callaspo 3B
Iannetta C
Aybar SS
Pitching: LHP C.J. Wilson (8-5, 3.63).

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Wilson: Napoli 6-25, Pedroia 8-17, Gomes 5-15, Ortiz 2-16, Ellsbury 3-10, Lavarnway 0-8, Saltalamacchia 0-6, Drew 2-6, Nava 1-3, Iglesias 0-5, Carp 1-4, Victorino 1-3, Snyder 1-2.

Angels vs. Doubront: Hamilton 4-9, Aybar 1-4, Callaspo 1-4, Iannetta 0-3, Kendrick 1-3, Pujols 1-2, Trout 1-3, Trumbo 0-3, Sheck 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Iglesias is now a career a career .316 hitter with a .792 OPS.

Notes: The Sox have won eight of nine, as have the Angels. ... The Sox have won four straight and start the day with a 4.5 game lead in the East. This is the first game of a 10-day road trip. The Sox go from here to Seattle and Oakland. ... The Sox took two of three from the Angels at Fenway in early June. ... Doubront faced the Angels on June 8 and allowed three runs over six innings in a loss. This will be his first time pitching at Angel Stadium. ... Wilson had a rough start against the Sox on June 8, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits over five innings. He is 4-0, 2.42 in four starts since. Wilson is 5-2, 2.85 in 20 career appearances against the Sox, eight of them starts. ... Sox pitching allowed three earned runs over 27 innings against the Padres in their sweep. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in 14 straight games at 25 of 59 (.424) with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs. ... Pedroia is 18 of his last 38 with eight RBIs. That has boosted his batting average from .305 to .325. ... Lavarnway is 5 of 14 since getting called up. ... Gomes is 7 of his last 14 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs. ... The Angels are 296-275 the last four seasons and haven't made the playoffs since 2009. The Sox are 301-272 in that same span and also haven't made the playoffs since 2009.

Song of the Day: "The Only Place" by Best Coast.

How the schedule breaks for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 5, 2013 12:45 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox have 75 games remaining. Here's a look at their schedule:

Home games: 34

Road games: 41

Division games remaining: 38 (22 home, 16 road).

Interleague games remaining: 11 (3 home, 8 road).

Games remaining against teams with winning records: 41.

What breaks well for the Sox is the division schedule. They play 22 of their final 38 games at Fenway Park, including nine of the 13 games against the Yankees.

Starting tonight, the Sox also have 16 games to play on the West Coast and a weird two-game trip to Colorado on Sept. 24-25.

In all, 25 of the remaining 75 games are outside the Eastern time zone.

Pitching matchups for the Angels series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 5, 2013 10:00 AM

Friday: LHP Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.22) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (8-5, 3.63), 10:05 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.11) vs. TBA, 10:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Sunday: RHP John Lackey (6-5, 2.81) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (2-4, 3.79), 8:05 p.m., ESPN.

Final: Red Sox 8, Padres 2.

Posted by Staff July 4, 2013 01:02 PM

Game over: Red Sox 8, Padres 2: Craig Breslow entered the game to get the remaining two outs. After giving up a double to Forsythe, he induced back-to-back line outs to Jonny Gomes to end the game.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 8, Padres 2 – Ellsbury led off the inning with a towering shot into right field on the second pitch he faced. It was only his second home run of the year, but it was deep into right field bleachers.

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Padres 2 – Alexi Amarista grounded out to Iglesias at short to end the inning with runners stranded at the corners. The Padres, who have just six hits, are 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Padres 2 – Jonny Gomes led off with a ground-rule double, but Smith got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Padres 2 – In a low-pressure situation, Andrew Bailey makes quick work of the Padres. He struck out Forsythe and Venable, then got Quentin to fly out to right field.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, Padres 2 – A 2-run single from David Ortiz gives the Sox a comfortable lead. With the bases loaded, Ortiz worked a nine-pitch at-bat. Andrew Bailey now in to pitch for the top of the 7th.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Padres 2 – With a runner on first, former Red Sox infielder Pedro Ciriaco ripped one to third base. Snyder made a nice play to grab the liner fired to first to get a 5-3 double play and end the inning.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 5, Padres 2 – Mike Napoli displayed his power and smashed a double into the center field triangle and into the bleachers for a ground rule double. Jonny Gomes' single scored Napoli. After getting Ortiz to fly out, Tyson Ross replaced Stults. Stults pitched 4.1, gave up 9 hits and 4 runs (all earned).

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Padres 2 – With runners on first and second, Jesus Guzman hits a long single off the top of the Monster. Venable, who hit a double, scored and Headley was held up at third. Mark Kotsay flied out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 – With runners on first and second, Jose Iglesias looped one down the right field line. It bounced up and hit Pesky's Pole, and was ruled a ground rule double. Napoli scored, but Lavarnway was forced to return to third. Stults hit Ellsbury to load the bases, but Victorino flied out to end the inning. Stults up to 84 pitches.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Padres 1 – Webster settled in after a rocky third inning, using 11 pitches to retire the Padres 1-2-3.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 3, Padres 1 – Stults gives up a 1-out single to Shane Victorino, but gets Pedroia and Ortiz to line out to left and right field, respectively, to end the inning.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Padres 1 – Webster's pace slowed down noticeably as he got into a bit of trouble and climbed to 50 pitches. After giving up a walk to Pedro Ciriaco, he hit Logan Forsythe and allowed a single to Will Venable. With 1 out, Chase Headley's sacrifice fly to center field brought Ciriaco across the plate.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Padres 0 – Brandon Snyder continues his hot start with the Sox. On a 1-2 count, he drives Stults' curveball opposite field and into the Sox bullpen for his first home run wit the club.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Padres 0 – Jesus Guzman poked a leadoff single to left field, then Webster cruised through the inning with a pair of flyouts and an unassisted putout. He only needed nine pitches to get through the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Padres 0 – After a leadoff single from Jacoby Ellsbury and a double from Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia lined a 2-run double down the left field line. Stults made a nice play to glove a comebacker from Napoli and doubled up Pedroia at third to end the inning.

Top 1st: Padres 0, Red Sox 0 – Allen Webster gets through the top of the Padres order with little trouble. After surrendering a 1-out walk to Will Venable, he struck out Carlos Quentin with a 96 m.p.h. fastball and got Chase Headley to fly out to Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning.

Welcome from Fenway Park. It's certainly a beautiful day for baseball on the Fourth of July. Wally is dressed in his best patriotic tux, the flag is draped over the Green Monster, and the Sox are just a few minutes from first pitch.

Red Sox look to carry momentum into 10-game road trip

Posted by Staff July 4, 2013 12:16 PM

After Thursday’s Fourth of July matinee at Fenway Park against the San Diego Padres, which will wrap up a nine-game home stand, the Red Sox will conclude the first half of the season with a 10-game West Coast trip before the All-Star break.

The Red Sox, who are 7-1 during the home stand, will face the Los Angeles Angels (three games), Seattle Mariners (four games), and the Oakland Athletics (three games) before the four-day break.

“This will be another good test for us,” manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game. “I think it’s important to have that momentum going into the break. You never want to go into a stretch where you start to slide back from the confidence that has been built or the wins we’ve been able to amass.”

Jonny Gomes delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Padres Wednesday night and extend their win streak to three.

Entering Thursday with a 52-34 record, the Red Sox lead the AL East with a 3.5 game lead over Baltimore, but will be tested on the trip. Oakland (49-36) is jockeying for first place with the Texas Rangers (48-36), and Los Angeles is 7-3 in its last 10.

“We’re going to be challenged,” Farrell said. “Not only in terms of the teams we’re playing, obviously the Angels are playing better now than when they were in town last. Oakland is having a very strong year in their own right, and the fact that we go out west, which presents its own set of challenges, this will be a tough trip.”

Farrell also said that shortstop Stephen Drew, who hasn’t played since June 28 after injuring his right hamstring, may return Saturday against Los Angeles.

“Stephen will run again today,” Farrell said. “We’re getting closer to hopefully staying away from the DL with Stephen. We’re thinking Saturday might be a day in which he’s back in the lineup if he continues to progress as he has the last couple of days. He’s moving in the right direction.”

Farrell and the Red Sox are also keeping a close eye on pitcher Clay Buchholz, who hasn’t pitched since June 8.

On Wednesday, Buchholz threw from 75 feet on flat ground, and prior to Thursday’s game, will throw from 90 feet, according to Farrell. After an off-day or light workout Friday, the next step is to have the righthander throw from 105 feet.

“We expect the same type of intensity today with a little bit more distance,” Farrell said. “[Friday] is a planned no-throw day or a real light catch day. Most importantly is how he is feeling this morning after a good work day yesterday.”

Game 87: Padres at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 4, 2013 10:00 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (52-34)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Snyder 3B
Lavarnway C
Iglesias SS
Pitching: Allen Webster (0-2, 9.50).

PADRES (40-45)
Forsythe 2B
Venable RF
Quentin LF
Headley 3B
Guzman 1B
Kotsay DH
Hundley C
Amarista CF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: Eric Stults (6-6, 3.51).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Stults: Victorino 1-4, Drew, 1-2, Saltalamacchia 1-2, Dempster 1-1.

Padres vs. Webster: None.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are coming off their eighth walk-off win of the season. The last time they had eight before the all-star break was 1953.

Notes: The Sox wrap up a nine-game home stand before heading on a 10-game West Coast trip … They have won seven of their past eight games and sit 18 games above .500 … The Sox are 6-2 in interleague play this season and have won 14 of their last 19 against the National League … Allen Webster is making his first interleague start. He went six innings in his last outing, giving up six hits, striking out three and not playing into the decision in the Red Sox' win over the Blue Jays … Stults is making his first start against the Sox and his first at Fenway. It will be the 11th road start this season. In 11 starts since May 7, he’s gone 4-4 with a 2.80 ERA, but went just 3.2 innings in his last outing against Miami, giving up 6 runs (5 earned) … Koji Uehara, who earned the win Wednesday night, pitched consecutive days for the ninth time … Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 13 games with a single Wednesday, his longest since 2011 … David Ortiz was intentionally walked for the 12th and 13th times Wednesday night, tying him with Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Joey Votto for the major league lead.

Do you believe in the Red Sox yet?

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 3, 2013 10:43 PM

It's beginning to get to that point now where you have to start to believe that the Red Sox are for real.

There's a some special stuff going on. Jonny Gomes's pinch-hit homer, the eighth walk-off win for the Red Sox this season, is certainly proof of that. Jon Lester has straightened himself out once again, too. While we all need to see whether Clay Buchholz can continue his 9-0, 1.71 ERA season when he returns from a neck injury, that will then be the telltale sign that this team is ready for postseason play in October.

Gomes got off to a slow start, but he's finally providing the righthanded pop this team needs to balance the lineup. It was good, sound managing by John Farrell to bring Gomes up to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder for two reasons: Gomes's flair for the dramatic and his experience with Luke Gregerson against whom he had hit a walk-off homer while he played in the National League.

"When we get into these National League teams we have a limited history against their bullpens," Farrell said. "In this case Gomes had faced Gregerson twice and had hit a walk-off against him previously. Snyder is clearly better against lefthanded pitching. I thought this was a case of picking a spot to use Gomes and a flair for the dramatic, call it what you want. He got a slider over the plate and walked it off.

"I think his [Gomes's] career shows that midseason on is when things start to click for him. When we went our interleague trip to Philly we saw better swings from him. He's got a lot of experience in his role and flair for the dramatic.

Gomes said of his success against Gregerson: "I wouldn’t call it too much success, just two at-bats. But that guy throws some good sliders like he did the inning before and he did to me. The first three pitches, no one’s going to hit it. So all I do is get one of those sliders up, the count was 1-2 and I let the slider go by, kind of set my sights to getting one up, and then got some good wood on the last one."

Asked if he liked those situations, Gomes said, "You definitely got to be ready but you don’t really want to be tied in the ninth, if you will. With that being said, we just needed one run in the ninth. That says a lot about our pitching staff. Jon Lester, an amazing job tonight. Taz coming in, clean inning. So I just had three swings tonight, those guys did a lot of work."

On late game heroics: "Whether it’s me or someone else, I’ll tell you what, winning’s fun and stuff like that is contagious. It seems like it’s someone new nightly. Granted Jon and Taz didn’t bat tonight, but they did a heck of a job just giving us the opportunity."

Did he know it was gone: "I did. I knew I hit it far enough but that green wall can be tricky sometimes. So I just hoped I had enough air under it to get out. You might be able to argue I always go for the fences, me just swinging hard a lot. But with the guys coming up behind me, if we can just get the lead-off guy on, drawing a walk right there is just as successful with these guys coming up behind me."

On his fake punt of his helmet as he approached home: "The fake punt, yeah, you got to keep everyone on their toes, right? I think I’m all out of tricks now to tell you the truth."

Lester had an excellent changeup Wednesday night. He went seven innings and allowed six hits and one run with five strikeouts but didn't get the win. Junichi Tazawa came on to strike out the side in the eighth and Koji Uehara pitched a strong ninth to gain the win. He's now 2-0.

Mike Carp had two hits to raise his average to .316.

"In his second at-bat, he got the base hit between the 3-4 hole and made an excellent read to score from first on the ball hit off the wall. Much like we talked about Gomes's preparation, Carp is much in the same sentence. They stay ready, they know what to do when called upon. In a spot start he's given us a great contribution," Farrell said.

Dustin Pedroia also had two hits and stole his 13th base and is now hitting .323.

Final: Red Sox 2, Padres 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 3, 2013 07:31 PM

Game over: Red Sox 2, Padres 1: Exciting walkoff homer by Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitting for Brandon Snyder against Luke Gregerson. It was the third walkoff homer for the Red Sox, second for Gomes who last did it June 18 vs. the Rays. The game was played in 3:05 before 36,911.

Top 9th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - Koji Uehara in a tie game. Padres can't break him.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - Promising inning for the Red Sox when Dustin Pedroia led off with a double and Ortiz was walked intentionally. Nava struck out against reliever Luke Gregerson and Mike Carp flew out to center. Salty struck out swinging after taking a couple of low strikes and stranded two men.

Top 8th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - Tazawa comes on for Boston. He struck out the side.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - The Red Sox can't seem to mount much of anything. They go down in order.

Top 7th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - Lester retired the bottom of the order in his final inning. Lester allowed six hits, one run, walked one and struck out five in a very good outing.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - With one Mike Carp doubled, his second hit, but both Saltalamacchia and Snyder struck out.

Top 6th: Red Sox 1, Padres 1 - Carlos Quentin led off with a single and Chase Headley walked in what started out as a promising inning for the Padres. But Lester bore down and served a double-play grounder to Kyle Banks and struck out Jesus Guzman.

Bottom 5th: Padres 1, Red Sox 1 - Victorino, Pedroia and Ortiz go down in order vs. Volquez.

Top 5th: Padres 1, Red Sox 1 - Lester has a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 4th: Padres 1, Red Sox 1 - A single by Mike Carp and double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game.

Top 4th: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - More two outs hits against Lester. Yasmani Grandal doubled with two outs.

Bottom 3rd: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - A hit batter by Volquez (on Igelsias) brought warnings to both benches. Ellsbury singled and after Victorino bounced back to Volquez, there were runners at second and third and one out. But the Sox rally fizzled.

Top 3rd: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - A two-out double by Carlos Quentin, but Headley's ground out to third.

Bottom 2nd: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - A single by Daniel Nava, but then three straight K's by Volquez.

Top 2nd: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - Lester retired the Padres in order.

Bottom 1st: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox threaten but do not score. Victorino hit a ground-rule double to right that kicked into the stands. After Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single and stole second base, Ortiz lined out into a double-play. Pedroia caught off the bag..

Top 1st: Padres 1, Red Sox 0 - A less than efficient start for Lester. He allowed an infield hit to Carlos Quentin with two outs and a single off the wall by Chase Headley before Kyle Blanks knocked in the run with a single to center. Jesus Guzman lined out to first to end the inning.

Clay Buchholz hopes to throw from mound soon

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 3, 2013 05:26 PM

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After throwing from 75-80 feet on flat ground Wednesday, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz said he his intensity level was high and hoped to throw off the mound within the next couple days.

He threw for the second time since being shutdown last Thursday, increasing the distance from the 60 feet he tossed from on Tuesday. The goal remains to throw from 120 feet before moving to the mound.

“Took a couple days off, then easy toss yesterday and then today more intense -- probably the most intense I've been regardless of being flat-ground or on the mound,” said Buchholz, who was placed on the disabled list June 18 (retroactive to June 9) with a neck strain. “So given that, it feels fine. I'm getting off that uphill slope and moving down hill.”

“It's going to be still day-to-day. See how I feel tomorrow, treat it and probably throw again, I would say. Once I get out to 120 feet and letting it go from that distance then I can move and get off the mound. So it could be tomorrow or it could be a couple days.”

Buchholz hasn’t pitched since June eight after when he sustained the injury fielding a comebacker.

The concern was that he could feel lingering pain in his followthrough when he pitched off the mound with any intensity.

“Throwing on flat ground, I think, if I'm throwing with the same intensity on flat ground and on the mound, then I have to do a little bit more flat-ground stuff to feel where I was feeling off the mound,” Buchholz said. “That's sort of what I went at today, to go with a little more intensity, and there was never a thought in my head like 'OK, I can't go that far.' That's what I was feeling before. That's a good step for me in the right direction to clear my mind and move on with this process.”

While initially Buchholz had previously gone on feel to gauge how much he could throw, Red Sox manager John Farrell has taken a more structured approach to judge signs of progress.

“Today was another step, another good work day for him,” Farrell said. “He was out to 75 to 80 feet with pretty good intensity for that session. But the fact is there's no restrictions. There's no feelings of any kind of discomfort all the way through the arm stroke and that's first and foremost.

“We still have to get out to 120 feet before we do get him out to the mound, but just talking with Clay, there's -- I don't want to say a little bit of relief in there -- but there's certainly a better outlook than maybe seven, 10 days ago."

Farrell initially said he expected Buchholz would possibly have to make two rehab starts once he’s fully-healthy. Buchholz said he might only need one.

“If I felt like I was fine to throw in one rehab start, I don't think I would need two unless I didn't have a feel for my pitches or anything,” Buchholz. “I don't think that's a problem right now.”

With Buchholz still in the early stages of returning to the mound, Farrell said its something he and Buchholz hadn’t discussed.

“That's something that once we get to the mound in his bullpen sessions and when he's eligible or capable and from a physical standpoint safe to go out and make that start, then I think we have to look at the calendar and really start to backtrack how many days,” Farrell said. “We're a month away from his last start. So without sitting and talking to Clay a little more candidly or specifically on what he's experienced, we'll map that plan out a little more clear in due time.”

Jose Iglesias named rookie of month

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2013 03:32 PM
Infielder Jose Iglesias was named the American League rookie of the month for June, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Iglesias, who was called up from Triple A Pawtucket on May 24, hit .395 in June, including four doubles, two triples, one home run and six RBIs. He also had an 18-game hitting streak.

Iglesias has played both third base and shortstop. It was the first time a Red Sox rookie has won the award since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007.

David Lough of the Royals, Nick Franklin of the Mariners, Alex Torres and Wil Myers of the Rays, Oswaldo Arcia of the Twins and Jose Cisnero of the Astros were the other rookies to receive votes for the award.

Game 86: Padres at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2013 02:48 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (51-34)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Carp 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Snyder 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-4, 4.61)

PADRES (40-44)
Forsythe 2B
Denorfia RF
Quentin DH
Headley 3B
Blanks LF
Guzman 1B
Grandal C
Ciriaco SS
Amarista CF
Pitching: RHP Edinson Volquez (6-6, 5.50)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Padres vs. Lester: Quentin 0-11, Denorfia 1-4, Kotsay 2-2.

Red Sox vs. Volquez: Victorino 7-14, Drew 4-9, Ellsbury 2-4, Napoli 0-3, Pedroia 1-4.

Stat of the Day: The Padres have not won a road series since sweeping a two-game series from the Orioles May 14-15. Since then, they are 0-4-2 in series away from Petco Park.

Notes: The Boston Police Department advises fans heading to tonight's game to use public transportation because Storrow Drive will be closed and the July 4 concert rehearsal on the Esplanade will create heavy Back Bay-area traffic ... Volquez, who turns 30 today, was sharp in his last outing on Friday, allowing seven hits and two earned runs in six innings while striking out eight and walking one ... After he starts tonight, there will be only three MLB teams Lester has not pitched against – the Dodgers, Reds and Red Sox ... The Padres have batted .220 during a 2-8 stretch ... The Red Sox are averaging 5.9 runs and 11.7 hits over their last seven contests ... Jacoby Ellsbury's hitting streak is at 12 games ... The Red Sox lead the majors in runs with 435 and RBIs with 424 and are tied for the lead in extra-base hits with Baltimore with 296.

Material from Stats Inc. was used in this report.

A few things to ponder after another Red Sox win

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 11:44 PM
The Red Sox did their due diligence in the Scott Feldman trade talks with the Chicago Cubs, but didn’t pull the trigger because they didn’t feel they had to.

Three games up on Baltimore in the loss column, they’re waiting for Clay Buchholz to get healthy to truly assess what their starting pitching needs might be.

The Orioles struck quickly Tuesday because they had to. They needed a stabilizing force in their rotation and so they gave up on Jake Arrieta, whom they’ve been waiting for for some time. The Red Sox already feel they have Feldman types in Ryan Dempster and John Lackey, and if they’re going to upgrade probably have bigger fish to pursue – a Cliff Lee or perhaps Matt Garza. But for now they’re standing pat because they can.

Feldman, 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA for the Cubs, has been both a reliever (for the Rangers) and a starter. In 2009 he was a 17-game winner for Texas, and he was 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in nine postseason appearances in 2011 when the Rangers went to the World Series. Feldman has also pitched very well at Camden Yards — 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in seven career games.

The Orioles got themselves a hot pitcher. He's had nine quality starts in 15 outings this season and has gone at least six innings in 10 of his past 12 starts. Feldman will make his Orioles debut Wednesday at the White Sox.

“He’s a proven veteran starting pitcher, and he’s pitched very well in this ballpark [Camden Yards],” Orioles GM Dan Duquette said. “He’s pitched in the postseason, he won 17 games once, and he is on his way to having a good year this season.”

• Meanwhile, how about John Lackey?

He went eight innings, allowed one run, a solo homer by Jesus Guzman in the seventh. He lowered his ERA from 2.99 to 2.81. He’s now 6-5 on the season. He hadn’t been over .500 in any season since falling to .500 Sept. 4, 2011.

Lackey was asked whether he had any regrets about not having his Tommy John surgery earlier and said, “We were having a great year the last year I pitched, for most of it. I thought we had a chance of doing something special so I wanted to be a part of that.”

Early in the game, Lackey was throwing 95 and 96 miles per hour. He leveled off at 93 m.p.h., more than enough velocity and certainly better than the 86-87 he was throwing before his surgery.

“There's been a lot of hard work . . . 18-months of rehab and then work in-between starts. My arm's feeling pretty good right now and it's fun to let it loose a little bit and not feel anything,” Lackey said.

• We move to Brandon Snyder. This guy wants to stay in the bigs, doesn’t he?

He’s got five RBIs in his last two games. He hit a bases-loaded double in the fourth inning to give Boston a 3-0 lead.

“In that situation, just trying to battle, not trying to do too much,” Snyder said. “Just trying to get something in the air to get a run home, hit a sac fly or at least get one run in. The best-case scenario is to get a ball you can drive and do a little more with and that’s what happened. At that point I hoped he would make a mistake after throwing a lot of good pitches.

"It was a battle. After I hit one down the left field line, I figured he’s gonna try to beat me with his best stuff. He‘s not gonna try to beat me with his breaking stuff. He commanded his fastball pretty well all night, he (Padres starter Robbie Erlin) was throwing it 88-90, but locating it really well.”

Snyder said so far the ride has been fun.

“It’s been amazing. Just a blessing leaving spring training and not knowing where I was gonna be. Signing with the Red Sox, such a great organization, going to Pawtucket, great guys like Gary DiSarcina. It’s just an awesome feeling to have that trust in me. Big shoes to fill in up here. Just trying to do my part.”

The ball was hit high to the left-center field fence.

Did he think he might have had a grand slam?

“I hit that one pretty good. I was watching it to see if it might go. (Jon) Lester told me that wasn’t very smart hitting, hitting it where I did. I need to practice not hitting it to that part,” Snyder quipped.

Snyder doesn’t get upset about why he hasn’t stuck in the majors as a former 13th overall pick of the Orioles in the 2005 draft.

“It used to bother me, but I don’t care, I’m just gonna keep doing what I keep doing whether it's Baltimore, Texas, or here. If they like it they like it, if they don’t they don’t,” Snyder said.

• Other stuff: David Ortiz hit his 500th career double. He became, along with Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez, the only active players with at least 500 doubles and 400 homers…Jacoby Ellsbury has hit in 12 straight, hitting .412 during that stretch. He also stole his major league leading 33d base…Koji Uehara said he felt more relaxed with the three-run lead than he did Sunday when he blew a one-run lead....Dustin Pedroia drew three walks, tying a career high...The Red Sox had three more runners thrown out on the basepaths... Rookie pitchers are now 1-8 with an 8.13 ERA against the Red Sox in 13 starts....Pedro Ciriaco stole two bases for the Padres, his seventh and eighth of the season...Lackey's biggest conquest: taming Carlos Quentin, who went 0 for 4. Quentin started the game 8 for 13 (.615) with four homers and seven RBIs against Lackey.

Final: Red Sox 4, Padres 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 07:14 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 - Koji Uehara saved the game for John Lackey with a 1-2-3 ninth. Lackey was superb again - one run over eight innings, six strikeouts, and 106 pitches. The game was played in 2:48 before 36,498 at Fenway.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 - Salty walks with two outs. Mike Carp, pinch hitting for Brandon Snyder, struck out.

Top 8th: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 - Only a Chris Denorfia walk. Lackey appears to be done after another strong outing.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 - A Dustin Pedroia steal - his 12th - highlighted the inning.

Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Padres 1 - Jesus Guzman hit a Fenway homer that was originally called a ball hit off the wall. Angel Hernandez needed help making the cal and after umpires huddled they ruled home run without looking at replay. They got the call right, however.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Padres 0 - Jose Iglesias singled to center scoring Jonny Gomes and then, I know, it's hard to believe, gets thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Padres 0 - Lackey sets the side down in order.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Padres 0 - Dustin Pedroia walked, but was caught stealing as Mike Napoli struck out to end the inning.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Padres 0 - Nice Houdini by Lackey who had the first two Padres reach but got out of it.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Padres 0 - Brandon Snyder is making some nice memories in a hurry. His double high atop the left-center field wall, drove in three. He was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple. That was the end of Erlin. On came Tim Stauffer.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Another two-out double against Lackey, this one by Kyle Blanks, results in nothing as Lackey fanned Guzman to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He also tried to make things happen. He stole second, his 33d of the season, and then tagged and went to third on Victorino's fly ball to right. The ball got away from third baseman Chase Headley, but was backed up by the pitcher. Pedroia went 2 for 2 against Erlin, but flew to right.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Pedro Ciriaco reached on an infield single to shortstop, but Lackey struck out Forsythe for the second time and got Denorfia to fly to left field.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Jonny Gomes singled to the base of the Monster with one out, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Brandon Snyder flew out to end the threat.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Lackey allowed a two-out double to left to Jesus Guzman, but was able to get Nick Hundley to fly to center for the final out.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino made quick outs against Padres starter Robbie Erlin. Dustin Pedroia walked. David Ortiz then doubled to right, but the epidemic of thrown out runners continued as Carlos Quentin fired a strike to the plate where it appeared Nick Hundley missed the tag, but got the call.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Padres 0 - Don't know where the velocity is coming from, but John Lackey is throwing 95-96 miles per hour. He struck out Logan Forsythe and Chris Denorfia and got Carlos Quentin to ground out to short. Quentin entered the game 8 for 13 (.615) with four homers and eight RBIs vs. Lackey.

Buchholz throws from 60 feet, Drew day-to-day

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 05:13 PM

Buchholz 070213.jpg

Clay Buchholz took another step in the throwing program the Red Sox have mapped out for him as he recovers from the shoulder injury that’s had him sidelined since June 8.

After being shut down last Thursday, Buchholz threw from 60 feet on Tuesday with no issues.

“The throwing program will be outlined to 60, 90, 120 at varying number of throws or progressive number of throws before we get him on the mound,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We don't have a specific date that right now he would get back on the mound.”

Buchholz will travel with the team to Los Angeles this weekend when it starts its 10-game swing through the West Coast leading up to the All-Star break.

Farrell said Buchholz will be able to throw on consecutive days.

“The days off will be more light, just get your arm moving type of catch rather than a complete down day of not putting a ball in your hand," Farrell said.

Meanwhile, Stephen Drew is still day-to-day with a tightness in his right hamstring, and it’s unlikely he’ll return before the road trip, Farrell said.

“He's improving,” Farrell said. “[He] was able to get out and do some running today. Light jogging. But he's been responding favorably to treatment. Still day-to-day. Don't have a projected date this week when he'd get back on the field."

With Drew down, the Sox are carrying an extra position player, Brandon Snyder, and have just six arms in the bullpen.

“We'll respond to that daily,” Farrell said. “If there needs to be a change then we'll certainly make that.”

Game 85: Padres at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 02:50 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (50-34)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Snyder 3B
Iglesias SS,
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (5-5, 2.99).

PADRES (40-43)
Forsythe 2B
Denorfia RF
Quentin DH
Headley 3B
Blanks LF
Guzman 1B
Hundley C
Amarista CF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: LHP Robbie Erlin (1-0, 3.60).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Erlin: No history.

Padres vs. Lackey: Kotsay 10-40, Quentin 8-13, Headley 1-3, Venable 1-2, Guzman 0-2, Hundley 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox’ 63 stolen bases put them second in the majors behind the Padres' 69. Jacoby Ellsbury has accounted for more than half of them with 32.

Notes: The Sox close out a nine-game home stand with this three-game set with the Padres … They’ve won five of their past six and nine of their past 11 … Since May 24, they’re 15-5 at Fenway …. Lackey is making his second career appearance against the Padres … He is 16-8 with a 3.18 ERA in 34 career interleague appearances … Padres rookie Robbie Erlin will make his third start of the season … The lefthander is the No. 8 prospect in San Diego’s farm system … He’s notched 12 strikeouts in 15.0 innings with a 1-0 record … Jacoby Ellsbury is riding an 11-game hit streak over which he is hitting .404 (19 for 47) with five doubles, seven RBIs and nine runs … Coming off two days of rest, David Ortiz is one double shy of 500 for his career. He would become the 58th major leaguer to reach the milestone.

Song of the Day: “Outstanding” by The Gap Band.

Orioles obtain Feldman from Cubs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 02:45 PM

And so it begins . . .

The Baltimore Orioles, who started the day two and a half games behind the Red Sox, have obtained righthander Scott Feldman and backup catcher Steve Clevenger from the Cubs.

Baltimore gave up righthander Jake Arrieta and righthanded reliever Pedro Strop. The Orioles also parted with two international bonus slots worth $388,100.

Feldman was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA for the Cubs and will move into the Baltimore rotation.

Strop has a career 1.84 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 14 appearances against the Red Sox. Sox hitters on the roster now are 2 for 20 against him with eight strikeouts.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (0 for 6, 5 Ks) will be happy to see him go.

Arrieta was a well-regarded prospect who never worked out in the majors for Baltimore, posting a 5.46 ERA over four seasons and 69 appearances.

Red Sox active in international market

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 2, 2013 02:29 PM

The Red Sox signed third baseman Rafael Devers from the Dominican Republic and lefthander Emmanuel DeJesus of Venezuela on Tuesday, the first day of the international signing period.

Devers received $1.5 million and DeJesus a bonus of $780,000, according to reports from
ESPN Deportes and MLB.com, respectively.

The 16-year-old Devers is a lefthanded hitter who was generally ranked as one of the top five prospects in this international class.

The Red Sox have a cap of $3.17 million for international players. Under new rules, teams can trade international "bonus slots." So theoretically, the Sox could obtain more money.

Ask Nick: Is Middlebrooks trade bait?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff July 2, 2013 11:55 AM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Welcome to this week’s mailbag. Lots of questions about the trade deadline, Andrew Bailey’s future, and rumors about Michael Young and the Red Sox.

On Bailey, I point out in one of my answers that the Red Sox want to carve out a niche for him somewhere in the bullpen. They need him to fill a role, even if it’s not the closer role, just to take the pressure off some of the other relievers. So they’ll be patient. He does have minor league options left, so if it gets to the point where they feel he’s a lost cause, who knows, maybe they send him down.

Young is veteran righthanded presence. He’s good for any team because of his attitude and makeup. The Red Sox need another righthanded hitter. Not that it’s hurt them terribly, but there’s a void there without Will Middlebrooks in the middle of the order.

And it’s obvious, given the workload of some of the relievers, they’re going to need a veteran late-inning reliever soon and that’s one of the things the Red Sox have their scouts watching for right now. They have people watching the White Sox, Brewers, Twins, and Cubs. Of course, every other contender is looking for the same thing.

Right now it’s looking like Red Sox/Orioles. Remember the big three – health, pitching and in-season moves. We’ll see which of the two teams comes out on top in those areas.

Is Will Middlebrooks going to be used as trade bait?
Jackson, Falls Church, Va.
Love this question. Given the rise of Xander Bogaerts, he could very well be.

Do you see the Sox making a trade before the deadline to acquire pitching depth? Jake Peavy is a player I thought would be nice if the price was right, or perhaps Jesse Crain?
Jake, Sheridan, Wyo.
I would definitely look toward the White Sox for pitching help because of the familiarity Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves has with that pitching staff. Sure, if healthy, Peavy would be a nice addition. Crain is a very effective reliever who could solidify the back-end of the bullpen. I can see there being interest. But I think the Red Sox will look everywhere for another reliever, another starter and perhaps another righthanded bat who can play third (Michael Young).

Do you think that if Evan Gattis is fully healthy, the Red Sox will make a run at Brian McCann? Also, are there any other starting pitchers the Sox should target besides breaking the bank (and future) with Lee?
Ryan, Sharon
I don’t think the Red Sox will be in the market for a catcher. They seem happy with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and believe they need to get a good look at Lavarnway to determine his future here. I think the Red Sox will look into Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Bud Norris, and Lee.

The Philly media is blowing up with "Red Sox desperate for Michael Young" chatter. Why? Jose Iglesias is proving he belongs, and are the Sox crazy enough to ship off a top prospect for an aging rental?
Jack, Washington, DC
It makes sense in that the Red Sox need a righthanded bat and protection at third. Stephen Drew has a long medical history, so Iglesias would fill at shortstop. If the team isn’t sold on Will Middlebrooks being able to get back and provide solid righthanded hitting, might as well try to add a proven veteran like Young. And it’s not “crazy.” If you have a chance to win with this team, go for it.

Click the full entry button for more Q&A.

FULL ENTRY

Some summertime random Red Sox thoughts

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 1, 2013 05:05 PM

The Red Sox are off today and enjoying the view from atop the American League. They have the best record in the league and the highest run differential (+80) after 84 games.

Seems like a good time for some random thoughts:

• The Sox have 78 games remaining and a whopping nine of them are against the Yankees at home. The Yankees play their first game at Fenway this season on July 19.

Alex Rodriguez starts a rehab assignment on Tuesday, by the way.

• The schedule makers have a sense of humor. The Sox play the Dodgers in Los Angeles Aug. 23-25, the one-year anniversary of the big trade. The Dodgers are 56-61 since the trade, the Red Sox 59-61.

• David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia deserve to be All-Stars. But that may be it. Clay Buchholz went from being in line to start the game to probably not even making the team because of injury. Koji Uehara deserves a look, but middle relievers rarely get selected.

It speaks well of the team's depth that they have played so well without necessarily having a lot of standout players.

• The Red Sox have a long list of prospects that other teams would be interested in: Xander Bogaerts, Bryce Brentz, Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes, Garin Cecchini, Rubby De La Rosa, Will Middlebrooks, Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, Allen Webster and Brandon Workman.

Outside of Owens and Swihart, all are at Double A or above and therefore close to being major-league ready.

Obviously some of these guys are untouchable. But all 13 aren't going to be productive major leaguers, either. It's a matter of figuring out who is expendable.

The Red Sox need pitching help and and Ben Cherington has the chips to make some interesting offers. But it's important to remember that the long-term success of the franchise has to be rooted in player development. The Red Sox ended up in last place because they relied too heavily on free agency.

• Outside of Bogaerts, is there anybody you absolutely would not trade?

• Things are really looking up for John Lackey. He won a year's supply of gum — seriously — from 5 Gum because he struck out five batters in a row in his last start. According to the company, that's a case of gum or 120 packs.

• The international signing period starts on Tuesday. According to Baseball America, the Red Sox are expected to land Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers. He would command at least $1 million.

• It's a down year for rookies in the American League. It very well could be Jose Iglesias or Wil Myers for Rookie of the Year.

• Mike Napoli had big numbers at Fenway Park (.306, .710 slugging percentage) in 19 games before he signed with the Red Sox. But he has hit a modest .250/.343/.408 at Fenway this season.

Napoli never really put much stock in those 19 games or thought he was a lock to mash at Fenway.

"That's not many games," he said the other day. "Plus I was facing their pitchers and I had success against some of those guys. It's not like I'm up there trying to hit the wall every time."

Napoli had 27 RBIs in April and has 27 since. But he has been a better hitter in his career in the second half of the season. His second half career OPS is .909.

• A few readers have mentioned they would like to see an infield of Iglesias (SS), Bogaerts (3B), Pedroia (2B) and Middlebrooks (1B) next season. That's very intriguing. Now that Iglesias is proving he can hit in the majors, Bogaerts needs to play somewhere and third base makes sense given his athletic ability. But how about left field?

• Ortiz is third in the AL in OPS at 1.008. That two-year contract is working out pretty well so far. He has been a rock in the middle of the order.

• In case you missed it, Josh Beckett is done for the season because he needs surgery to take pressure off a nerve that caused him to lose feeling in his right hand.

Backett has two World Series rings, 132 victories and 1,794 strikeouts. But it's a mixed legacy. Did you know he received Cy Young Votes only twice in his career?

• Some in the Toronto media were yucking it up on Saturday when the Red Sox had two runners thrown out at the plate. They didn't get along with John Farrell and enjoy taking shots at him.

Farrell had a contentious relationship with the media there and it got worse when he left for the Red Sox. But it has been smooth sailing in Boston in that regard. Farrell has been accessible, accountable and candid with the media.

So much of that stuff is timing. Farrell was seen as an outsider in Toronto but at Fenway Park he's the ultimate insider and some relationships were already in place.

If you don't think media relations matters, consider the atmosphere around the team this year when compared to last.

• Much rather have Scott Feldman from the Cubs as a starter than Matt Garza, who has been just a little above average the last two seasons.

• Sleeper closer acquisition: Francisco Rodriguez of the Brewers. He could give the Sox three good months.

• The Aaron Hernandez situation is terrible in every way. But if the fourth or fifth best Red Sox player was arrested and accused of cold-blooded, execution-style murder, it would be twice the story and team officials would be badgered into explaining how they didn't see it coming.

The NFL skates on issues like PEDs and crime, even violent crime, because we accept pro football as having a certain amount of thugs. The Patriots have gotten away with issuing a self-congratulatory statement about releasing Hernandez. Not one team official has spoken on the record about it. That's inconceivable in baseball.

• According to fangraphs.com, Shane Victorino has a 10.8 UZR in right field, which would be first in the majors at that position if he had enough games to qualify. His defense has been every bit what the Red Sox hoped. The offensive numbers will get there, too.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia's marked improvement behind the plate this season suggests that Gary Tuck, who resigned on the eve of the season, as been ably replaced by Dana LeVangie and others on the coaching staff.

• It's fair to be cynical about the Red Sox. There are issues with the pitching and you wonder if the offense will hold up. But this team won 69 games last season and was in complete chaos at the end.

So a 50-34 record on July 1 can't be dismissed. The Red Sox have a team that's fun to watch, a coaching staff that is professional and a farm system set to bear fruit. It's hard to ask for much more that that.

When Jonny Gomes was at the plate on Friday night in the seventh inning, the crowd was on every pitch and the noise kept rising, reaching a crescendo when he singled in the go-ahead run.

Those who are cynical probably aren't watching very closely. There's a lot to like about the way this team plays.

Pitching matchups for the Padres series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 1, 2013 12:55 PM

Tuesday: LHP Robbie Erlin (1-0, 3.60) vs.RHP John Lackey (5-5, 2.99), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: RHP Edinson Volquez (6-6, 5.50) vs. LHP Jon Lester (8-4, 4.61), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Thursday: LHP Eric Stults (6-6, 3.51) vs. RHP Allen Webster (0-2, 9.50), 1:35 p.m., NESN.

Ortiz has commanding lead at DH for All-Star Game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff July 1, 2013 12:27 PM

Fan voting for the All-Star Game ends on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. It seems safe to say that David Ortiz will be the designated hitter for the American League.

Ortiz has received 4,398,197 votes and is well ahead of Lance Berkman. who has 2,004,388. It would be the ninth All-Star selection for Ortiz and seventh time voted in as a starter.

Ortiz ranks fourth in the majors with 57 RBIs since his season debut on April 20. He is hitting .317 with a 1.008 OPS.

Dustin Pedroia is in second place at second base. He has 2,838,129 votes, well behind Robinson Cano of the Yankees (3,974,322).

Pedroia (.322/.401/.443) is having a very comparable season to Cano (.287/.364/.502.).

Mike Napoli is fourth at first base; Jarrod Saltalamacchia is fifth among the catchers and Jacoby Ellsbury is eighth in the outfield.

The All-Star Game rosters will be revealed on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Fox.

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