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Red Sox obtain IF McDonald from Phillies

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2013 08:33 PM

The Red Sox made a minor trade to improve their infield depth on Saturday night, obtaining 38-year-old John McDonald from the Phillies for pitching prospect Nefi Ogando.

McDonald is a native of East Lyme, Conn., who played at Providence College and now lives in Scituate. This is the fourth time he has been traded since March 20.

McDonald offers defensive versatility off the bench given his extensive experience at shortstop, second base and third base. He has spent 15 years in the majors with six teams.

Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield worked with McDonald when both were with Toronto. McDonald also played for John Farrell for 65 games in 2011.

Offensively, McDonald is 6 for 61 (.098) this season with two extra-base hits and four RBIs. He is a career .235 hitter.

McDonald started this season with Arizona. He was traded to the Pirates in spring training then went to the Indians (June 10) and Phillies (June 27). He has played 45 games in all.

McDonald is expected to join the Red Sox on Sunday. The team will have top open a spot on the 40-man roster for him.

Ogando is a 24-year-old righthander with Single A Salem. He had a 4.09 earned run average in 33 relief appearances this season.

Final: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 31, 2013 07:16 PM

Game over: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2: - A sellout crowd of 37,363 watched the Red Sox pound the White Sox at Fenway. Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 5 with an RBI to pace the Sox attack which produced 15 hits.

David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, David Ross and Xander Bogaerts all had two hits. Playing against his old teammates, Jake Peavy pitched seven innings and allowed two runs to improve to 11-5 on the season. The game was played in 3:11 before the 21st sellout crowd of the season.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2: Three up, three down.

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2 - Peavy went seven innings allowed three hits, two runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2 - Sox can't add to their lead.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2 - Jordan Danks singed off Peavy but that was all.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, White Sox 2 - Singles by Shane Victorino and David Ortiz and walk to MIke Napoli set up a wild pitch (Jake Petricka) that scored Boston's seventh run.

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, White Sox 2 - Three up and down for Peavy.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 6, White Sox 2 - We're seeing Xander Bogaerts' bat on display here tonight. An RBI single to left, his second hit of the game. he's also walked.

Top 5th: Red Sox 5, White Sox 2 - Peavy shuts them down, 1-2-3.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 5, White Sox 2 - It all started with a David Ross bunt single. He was advanced by Xander Bogaerts' single to left and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's ground-rule double. Dustin Pedroia's grounder produced the second run and David Ortiz' RBI single to left gave Boston a three-run cushion.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 2 - Alexei Ramirez singled to center and stole second base. After Dunn and Konerko struck out, Avisail Garcia singled the run in.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Back to back doubles by Mike napoli and Jonny Gomes produced a run. Actually, poor defense by the White Sox contributed. Napoli, who hoit the base of the left field wall, should have been thrown out by three feet at second base, but second baseman Gordon Beckham muffed the relay throw.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, White Sox 1 - White Sox scored when Conor Gillespie and Josh Phigley reached on singles to put runners at the corners and one out. Alejandro De Aza got the run in on a fielder's choice.

The Red Sox have announced a deal that sends veteran infielder John McDonald from the Phillies to the Red Sox for righthanded minor league pitcher Nefi Ogando. McDonald is from East Lyme, Conn., and lives in Scituate. He played at Providence College and played for John Farrell in Toronto.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0 David Ross doubled with one out and Xander Bogaerts drew a walk from Danks. After Ellsbury grounded out to advance runners into scoring position, Victorino took a called third strike.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0 - Peavy has now retired six straight.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury started the inning by beating out an infield hit to shortstop. Ellsbury entered the game hitting .297 and .249 against lefties with John Danks on the mound. He advanced to third when Paul Konerko had David Ortiz' hard-hit grounder go off his glove and into foul territory. Konerko was charged with an error. Mike Napoli followed with an RBI single to left field. Napoli entered the at-bat 4-for-24 against Danks. Jonny Gomes popped out to shortstop,stranding two.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Welcome everyone. Jake Peavy started the game against his old team by retiring the side. Peavy is coming off a complete-game 8-1 three-hit win over the Dodgers last Sunday. he threw 111 pitches in that game and was masterful.

Red Sox not expecting external help

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2013 04:38 PM

A few pre-game Red Sox notes:

• A team source indicated this afternoon that the Red Sox are unlikely to make a significant acquisition before midnight tonight. That's the deadline to obtain a player who would be eligible for the postseason roster.

• John Farrell said to expect three or four call-ups on Sunday when rosters are expanded then more once Pawtucket is finished with the postseason.

A third catcher (Ryan Lavanway) is certain along with new pinch runner Quintin Berry, who will have to be added to the 40-man roster. Farrell also said a pitcher and an infielder would be added.

The Red Sox seem enamored with Brandon Snyder, who is on the disabled list with an elbow injury. As for the pitcher, Rubby De La Rosa or Jose De La Torre would seem like possibilities.

• Daniel Bard has been assigned to Lowell, which has five regular-season games remaining.

• Mike Carp (left shoulder) is available off the bench after being out a few days.

Game 137: White Sox at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2013 02:28 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (80-56)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Ross C
Bogaerts SS
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (10-5, 3.99).

WHITE SOX (56-77)
De Aza LF
Beckham 2B
Ramirez SS
Dunn DH
Konerko 1B
Garcia CF
Gillaspie 3B
J. Danks RF
Phegley C
Pitching: LHP Jon Danks (4-10, 4.15).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Danks: Napoli 4-24, Pedroia 2-14, Ortiz 4-14, Ellsbury 4-7, Gomes 1-8, Salty 2-8, Carp 0-4, Drew 1-3, Victorino 1-2.

White Sox vs. Peavy: Dunn 5-28, Keppinger 2-10.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have allowed three or less runs in 10 consecutive games for the first time since an 11-game streak that ran from April 12-25, 1988. Opponents have hit .174 in those 10 games and struck out 61 times over 88.2 innings.

Notes: The Sox have won five of six, six of eight and eight of their last 12 games. They start the day with a 3.5-game lead in the division. ... Peavy, obtained from the White Sox on July 30, is facing his former teammates for the first time. He is 2-1, 3.31 in five starts with the Sox. In his last three starts, Peavy has allowed four earned runs over 20.2 innings. ... Danks is 3-5, 4.98 in seven career starts against the Sox, 2-1, 3.32 in three starts at Fenway. ... Victorino is 21 of 48 with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in his last 12 games. He has 11 RBIs in the last five games alone. ... Garcia is 9 of his last 17 with two home runs for Chicago. He was obtained from Detroit in the three-team deal than sent Peavy to the Sox. ... Despite the loss on Friday, Chicago has won 10 of its last 13.

Song of the Day: "Always A Friend" by Alejandro Escovedo.

Big hit for Ortiz and another win for the Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2013 12:33 AM

David Ortiz drew two walks and grounded a two-run single into right field in the fourth inning.

"I never left," he said with a hearty chuckle when asked if that meant he was back.

Ortiz was 0 for 23 when he grounded into a force play in the first inning. But he reached base three times after that in a 4-3 victory against the White Sox.

“Don’t worry about me,” Ortiz said. “It’s time to worry about me when I go to the plate with no bat.”

That John Farrell stayed with Ortiz was no surprise. He has showed faith in players with far less status during the course of the season. Invariably, he has been rewarded, too.

“What else can he do? Just because I struggled for a week, he’s not going to sit me down or something like that,” said Ortiz, who also drew two walks. “He should have that faith. I’ve been in this for a long time.”

Also:

• The Sox were held to six hits but generated enough offense for Ryan Dempster (7-9) to win after an 11-day absence from the rotation.

Dempster pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since hitting controversial Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. Major League Baseball suspended Dempster for five games.

Dempster was charged with three runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five. For a pitcher who had a 6.81 earned run average in his previous seven starts, it was a significant improvement.

“When you’re not playing and you’re not injured, it’s not a fun thing,” Dempster said. “I was glad I was able to get out there and just pitch a little bit better and give us a chance to win a ball game.

• Shane Victorino, who was 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and two more runs scored. He is 21 of his last 48 with 10 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs, and 14 runs scored. He leads the Sox with 22 RBIs this month.

• Junichi Tazawa, Franklin Morales, and Koji Uehara each got an out in the eighth inning as Farrell used a well-rested bullpen to manage the one-run lead.

Uehara got his second four-out save of the season, setting down the side in order in the ninth. Uehara has not allowed a run since July 6, a stretch of 23 innings. That’s the best streak of his career and the second-longest active streak in the majors. Opposing hitters are 6 for 73 in those 20 games.

• The Sox have allowed only 20 runs in their last 10 games, their starters posting a 2.11 ERA.

Final: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2013 07:26 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3: Koji Uehara recorded a four-out save to hold on to a one-run lead and preserve the win.

Uehara struck out two in the ninth to record his 15th save. He threw 17 pitches, 14 for strikes. Boston scored three in the fourth, the big hit a two-run single by David Ortiz, who broke out of his slump. The game was played in 3:09 before 36,063 at Fenway.

Bottom of the eighth: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3: The Red Sox are unable to give Uehara some breathing room. So we head into the ninth with Uehara needing to preserve a one-run lead.

Top of the eighth: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3: Three pitchers, three outs. John Farrell mixed and matched with Tazawa on Alexei Ramirez, Franklin Morales on Adam Dunn and Koji Uehara on Paul Konerko. Three up and three down.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3: The Red Sox went down in order

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3: Garcia homered to start the inning. After one out, Dayan Viciedo singled off the wall and scored on De Aza's triple to right. Dempster came out after Viciedo's wall ball and gave way to Tazawa, who surrendered the triple.

Bottom of the sixth: Red Sox 4, White Sox 1: Facing David Purcey, the Red Sox missed a chance to bury the White Sox. Middlebrooks singled to start the inning and took second on a wild pitch when Ellsbury struck out. After Victorino struck out, Pedroia was intentionally walked to get to Ortiz. He also walked to load the bases.

Gomes, who has hit well with two outs and runners in scoring position, struck out to end an eight-pitch at-bat.

Nick Cafardo will take over the updates from here. Thanks for reading.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 4, White Sox 1: The White Sox scored a run on three hits as the fllirtation with a no-hitter ended. Viciedo had an RBI single. Dempster stranded two runners to keep the game under control. The Sox then went in order.

Top of the fifth: Red Sox 4, White Sox 0: The slump is over.

Middlebrooks walked and stole second with one out and went to third when Ellsbury grounded out. The red-hot Victorino singled to center. Pedroia, another hot hitter, doubled to left and Victorino stopped at third.

Ortiz 0 for his last 23, ripped a full-count sinker to center to drive in two runs. The hit was his first since Aug. 18. That finished the night for Santiago.

Middle of the fourth: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0: The Sox sent seven batters to the plate and Santiago threw 30 pitches. But only one run was scored.

Victorino (single) was on first with two outs when Ortiz walked, Gomes was hit by a pitch (the ball is now in intensive care at Mass General) and Napoli walked to force in a run. That's 75 RBIs for Napoli, matching his career best for a season.

Salty had a chance too make it hurt and popped up.

Dempster, meanwhile, has set down 11 straight and not allowed a hit. He has walked two and struck out four.

Middle of the third: White Sox 0, Red Sox 0: Drew reached on a pop-up single that fell between three fielders with two outs in the second. Middlebrooks then grounded into a force. Dempster, meanwhile, has retired eight straight and has thrown 45 pitches through three innings.

Middle of the 2nd: White Sox 0, Red Sox 0: Quick, easy, 1-2-3 inning for Dempster, who has retired five straight.

Top of the 2nd: White Sox 0, Red Sox 0: Dempster walked the first two batters before Ramirez inexplicably swung at the first pitch and grounded into a double play. Dempster then struck out Dunn swinging.

Victorino walked with one out and stole second despite the throw beating him. Pedroia then walked to cap a nine-pitch at-bat. Ortiz broke his bat and hit a low-liner to second. The runners froze but the ball hopped to Beckham, who forced Victorino at third. Gomes then popped to short.

Clay Buchholz update, II: Buchholz is done after 3.1 innings and 53 pitches (34 of them strikes). He allowed one run on seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks.

He is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday in a minor league game (likely for Pawtucket) and should be able to get to 70 pitches. From there, he would rejoin the Red Sox.

Clay Buchholz update: Through three innings and 47 pitches, Buchholz has allowed one run on six hits for Triple A Pawtucket against Syracuse. He has struck out two without a walk and will at least start the fourth inning.

Pre-game: Good evening from Fenway Park. It's a beautiful night to start the series and Labor Day weekend as Ryan Dempster returns to the mound. We'll have updates all game and please feel free to leave your comments.

Clay Buchholz feels good after rehab start in Pawtucket

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff August 30, 2013 07:25 PM
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- In his second rehab appearance since coming off a bursa-sac shoulder injury, Clay Buchholz threw 53 pitches (34 for strikes) in 3.1 innings of work, giving up seven hits and one earned run to go along with two strikeouts for Pawtucket Friday night at McCoy Stadium

Starting for the PawSox against the Syracuse Chiefs, Buchholz gave up three straight singles to start the game in a 23-pitch first inning, hitting 92 m.p.h. on his fastball. He gave up a hit and had a strikeout in a 12-pitch second inning, followed by another 12-pitch inning with another strikeout in the third inning. Buchholz came out for the fourth inning and got through two batters, giving up a hard double to the Chiefs' Chris Rahl before being lifted.

“Tonight I was much more impressed with the velocity that I was able to sustain over the period I was out there and getting over that hump of not really worrying about anything whenever I’m trying to get a fastball down and away to a righty and have something on it,” Buchholz said.

“I was able to throw all my pitches it felt like with the same effort level, same arm angle, so that’s basically the final hump I had to get over as far as not having a second thought in the back of my head. Now it’s just getting that release point down on each of my pitches and obviously not having a long first inning."

Buchholz talked about the mental part of getting back on the mound to face batters in a game situation and reinjuring himself while on the comeback trail.

“If I wouldn’t have had to go through three phases of it, I felt good there for a number of days a couple weeks ago and then felt like it was time to go off the mound and actually reinjured myself doing that so, I did that twice throughout this whole thing,” Buchholz said. “That’s been the frustrating part about it but this is the hardest I’ve tried to throw throughout all this stuff, so definitely a good thing for me.”

In his first rehab start, Aug. 25 with the Lowell Spinners, Buchholz struggled, recording only two outs while giving up three runs (one earned) and walking three batters.

Buchholz hasn’t pitched for the major league club since June 8. He is expected to make one more rehab start Wednesday for playoff-bound Pawtucket, to get to the 65-70 pitch level, before potentially returning to the Red Sox rotation Sept. 10 to face the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. That would put Buchholz on a pace to make four more starts before postseason play begins.

Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the season for Boston before going down with the shoulder injury.

The PawSox – winners of 16 of their last 19 games – look to clinch their second International League North Division championship in the last three years with a win over Syracuse tonight.

A few pregame notes from Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2013 04:34 PM

Quiet afternoon at Fenway Park so far. But a few notes for you . . .

• Mike Carp (left shoulder) is day-to-day. The soreness appears to be just that and not any kind of significant injury.

• Daniel Bard, who had a rough outing in the Gulf Coast League Thursday, told the Red Sox he wants to keep pitching. John Farrell indicated that Bard would be assigned to Lowell.

• Jake Peavy faces the White Sox Saturday night and is excited about the idea of seeing his old teammates from 60 feet, 6 inches away. Peavy was with Chicago from midway through the 2009 season to this past July when the Red Sox acquired him.

More on Peavy later.

• Shane Victorino is hitting .306/.393/.531 in 56 plate appearances righthanded facing a righthanded pitcher. He's physically capable of hitting lefty but feels so good hitting righthanded that he's sticking with it for now, with the team's blessing.

Victorino has hit .277/.320/.393 lefthanded against righthanders in 227 plate appearances.

More on Victorino later on, too.

Game 136: White Sox at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2013 02:16 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (79-56)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-9, 4.77).

WHITE SOX (56-76)
De Aza CF
Beckham 2B
Ramirez SS
Dunn DH
Konerko 1B
Garcia RF
Keppinger 3B
Viciedo LF
Phegley C
Pitching: LHP Hector Santiago (4-7, 3.25).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Santiago: Ellsbury 1-3, Napoli 0-2, Nava 0-4, Gomes 0-2, Middlebrooks 0-3, Ortiz 1-3, Pedroia 1-2, Drew 0-2, Salty 0-2.

White Sox vs. Dempster: Dunn 5-17, Keppinger 13-29, Ramirez 7-17, Beckham 3-14, Konerko 2-12, De Aza 2-4, Viciedo 2-3, Garcia 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Shane Victorino has a 5.3 WAR. That's first among American League right fielders and third among AL outfielders overall behind Mike Trout and Jacoby Ellsbury. Victorino is 19 of his last 44 with five doubles, five home runs, 13 RBIs, 12 runs scored and four HBPs. He is hitting .294 with a .799 OPS for the season.

Notes: The Sox have won four of five as they continue their homestand against the downtrodden White Sox, who have the second-worst record in the American League ... Dempster is pitching for the first time since Aug. 18, the night he hit Alex Rodriguez. That earned him a five-game suspension from Major League Baseball. The Red Sox then pushed him back a little further. Dempster is 1-1 with a 6.81 ERA in his last seven starts. He is 2-5, 5.03, in 14 career appearances against Chicago, seven of them starts ... Santiago is 0-1, 4.00, in two career appearances against the Sox. He started against them May 22 and allowed two runs on three hits over six innings and struck out nine ... Red Sox hitters are 3 for 23 against Santiago with 10 strikeouts ... David Ortiz is 0 for his last 22 with eight strikeouts, his last hit coming Aug. 18. His batting average and OPS have dropped from .327 and .996 to .310 and .947 ... The Sox have allowed 17 runs in their last nine games and their starters have a 1.90 ERA.

Song of the Day: "Local Hero" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Pitching matchups for the White Sox series

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

Friday: LHP Hector Santiago (4-7, 3.25) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (6-9, 4.77), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: LHP Jon Danks (4-10, 4.15) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (10-5, 3.99), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Sunday: RHP Andre Rienzo (1-0, 4.21) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 3.74), 1:35 p.m., NESN.

For Ortiz, the slump gets deeper

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2013 12:29 AM

There have been times when David Ortiz has refused to talk about slumps or muttered a few words before leaving the clubhouse. Tonight, he accommodated one set of reporters right after the game then a second group who arrived a few minutes later.

It couldn't have been easy. Ortiz was hitless in four trips to the plate in a 3-2 loss against Baltimore. He left three runners on base — two in scoring position — and ended three innings.

The frustrating night was part of a much larger slump. Ortiz is 0 for his last 22, his batting average dropping from a robust .327 to .310.

“I’m just missing pitches. You have to stay aggressive and keep on battling. It happens to everybody,” Ortiz said.

It hasn’t happened to Ortiz much in recent seasons. He started the night fifth in the American League in batting average, third in on-base percentage and 10th in runs batted in.

Yet somehow Ortiz hasn’t had a hit since Aug. 18. He has one RBI in the last six games, that on a sacrifice fly.

“I’m a player just like anyone else,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to put pressure on myself now. I don’t think we have time for that, you know? You’ve just got to keep on playing. That’s the only way you can get out of it.”

Facing lefty Brian Matusz, Ortiz struck out to end the eighth inning. That stranded Jacoby Ellsbury at third base. Ortiz is 1 for 19 against Matusz with 11 strikeouts but John Farrell stayed with him.

It was one of those times for a manager where short-term pain could lead to long-term success.

“He’s obviously working through some things right now. There was no thought of a pinch hit or to try to take away from his strengths are,” Farrell said. “We’ve seen many, many times against lefthanders where he stayed inside with either a groundball up the middle [or] a line drive to right center field. He’s just going through a spell right now where he’s working to get out of it.”

Farrell said Ortiz would be in the lineup on Friday night against White Sox lefty Hector Santiago.

“This happens sometimes,” Ortiz said. “It’s not the end of the world, you know what I’m saying? Papi can struggle, too. I’ll be back.”

Ortiz said that the media better come back when he starts hitting.

"Don't forget about that," he said,.

A few notes:

• Ellsbury was 2 for 4 with his 50th steal a night after leaving the game in the eighth inning after fouling a ball off his left foot. Ellsbury is the first Red Sox player to have three seasons with 50 steals.

• O's starter Chris Tillman is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in nine career starts against the Sox, three of the wins coming this season.

• Daniel Nava has reached base safely in 35 consecutive starts since June 22, the longest such active streak in the majors.

• Righthanded reliever Alex Wilson, out since July 9 with a thumb injury, is set to pitch an inning for Pawtucket on Friday. If healthy, he would be a candidate to rejoin the Red Sox.

• Richard Donohue, the MBTA Transit Police Officer shot and gravely injured while pursuing the alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspects, threw out the first pitch to a loud ovation.

NESN's Remy to miss remainder of season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 11:22 PM

Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy will miss the remainder of the season following the arrest of his son for murder.

Remy has not called a game for the New England Sports Network since Aug. 15. Jared W. Remy was arrested that night and charged with murder and other crimes in the death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel.

“I am full of grief for the Martel family,” Remy said in a statement released by NESN late Thursday night. “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them. My wife and I are sick about this senseless tragedy.

“It’s clear this isn’t the time for me to return to broadcasting Red Sox games. It’s my hope that I can do so in the spring. I thank NESN and the Red Sox for their support through this nightmare.”

NESN did not name a replacement for Remy. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley has worked eight games with play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo in Remy’s absence.

See Friday's Globe for more on this story.

Final: Orioles 3, Red Sox 2

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 07:00 PM

Final: After dropping the first two games of the series, the Orioles avoided being swept by the Sox with a 3-2 win. Jim Johnson came on in the ninth to close the door. The Orioles lead the season series, taking seven of the 16 games so far. Six games still remain between the two teams

End of the eighth, Orioles 3 Red Sox 2: David Ortiz's frustration after another empty at-bat -- this time in a crucial situation with the tying run on third -- was more than evident.

He went down waving at a Brian Matusz fastball, leaving Jacoby Ellsbury stranded (he was standing so far off third with the shift on Ortiz that he was only a few short strides from home.

With an 0 for 4 night, Ortiz is now hitless in his last 22 at-bats.

End of the seventh, Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: All quiet on both sides. Matt Thornton came on for Lester and pitched a scoreless inning. Chris Tillman came out for the seventh and hung another '0'

If there's some light at the end of the tunnel for the Sox, it's that Tillman's day might be done. Tommy Hunter's getting warm in the bullpen.

One staggering set of numbers: The Os have won 13 of Tillman's past 17 starts.

End of the sixth, Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: Shane Victorino keeps flexing his muscles from the right side.

He took Chris Tillman deep to cut the Orioles lead to a single run.

Fun fact: The 66 total bases he'd racked up since July 30 coming into tonight are second in American League to ... Miguel Cabrera.

End of the fifth, Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: When he saw Chris Davis' long fly ball bounce off the Monster, Jon Lester surely knew he dodged a bullet.

It was dangerously close to being Davis' 48th homer of the season. Instead, it ended up being an RBI double, driving in Adam Jones.

Lester hasn't had his best stuff (only 64 of his 104 pitches have gone for strikes and command of his fastball has been inconsistent), but he's hanging in, pitching into the sixth for the fifth straight start.

End of the fourth, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Chris Tillman seems to have settled in, sitting Daniel Nava (strikout looking), Jonny Gomes (ground ball to third) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (strikeout swinging) in order.

In three starts against the Sox this season, he's only given up two extra base hits, including Nava's double in the second.

Still, in his three starts at Fenway, he's never factored into the decision even with a 1.65 ERA.

End of the third, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: In an inning that could have been a lot uglier, Lester gave up three hits and two runs. The biggest was Manny Machado's screamer off the Wall in left-center.

But that probably wasn't the hardest-hit ball that inning. Matt Wieters sent another scorcher to center, this time toward the Red Sox bullpen.

The only thing that stopped it from being a two-run double was Shane Victorino gobbling up grass to chase it down at the track (he actually had to run into the Wall to put on the breaks).

Meanwhile, the Sox are 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position. With a strikeout and a sky out, David Ortiz is 0 for his last 20.

End of the second, Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Daniel Nava's bouncer through the left side of the infield embarrassed the Orioles shift. He was able to stretch it into a leadoff double after it rolled all the way into the left-field corner. The Orioles paid for it two batters later when Stephen Drew roped a single to right to score Nava and give the Sox the early lead.

Drew has either reached base or driven in a run in his last 12 starts.

Even after getting into a nine-pitch stare-down with JJ Hardy, Lester was able to hang a '0' in the second using just 17 pitches. Matt Wieters, who has fared well in his career against Lester, sent a long and loud fly ball to center field but it lost steam near the warning track and Jacoby Ellsbury was able to track it down. For all his fighting, Hardy popped up to second, and Nick Markakis followed up with a tall pop up to third.

End of the first, Red Sox 0, Orioles 0: Save for the six-pitch walk to Manny Machado, Jon Lester looked sharp in the first. He started off three of the four batters he saw with strikes (sinkers and fastballs), getting Nate McLouth to pop up to second then striking out Adam Jones and Chris Davis swinging.

Lester left a few pitches on the fringes of the zone, but on most of them home plate umpire Tim McClelland was friendly to him, giving him the strike.

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Pregame: One win away from sweeping the Orioles for the first time since 2011, the Sox have a chance to quiet a lot of the talk about the Orioles having their number the past two years.

They've won four straight and five of seven against the Os.

Having Jon Lester on the mound doesn't hurt their chances. In his past two starts, he's tossed 15.2 innings, giving up just one run.

The last time he faced Baltimore , he went seven scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and striking out eight.

His success, of course, starts with his fastball. In his past two starts, he's throwing it on the first pitch 80 percent of the time to lefties and 74 percent to righties. On the whole, 57 percent of the pitches he's thrown the past two times have been fastballs.

"It all center around his fastball command," Farrell said. "He's thrown a lot of early strikes. His first-pitch strike percentage has climbed or it's been at the higher end of his range. I think he's used his cutter in better situations to get a strike as opposed to a put-away pitch. I think more than anything strikes to his arm-side, particularly his fastball."

Stick around for updates. Feel free to comment. Enjoy the game.

Red Sox in market for righthanded relief?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 06:20 PM

The Red Sox have until midnight on Saturday to obtain a player who would be eligible for the postseason roster. The biggest area of need would be a righthanded reliever who could get an out or two in the eighth inning.

"If there are ways we can improve, I know that those steps will be taken," manager John Farrell said. "Concern [about the bullpen depth]? No, not really."

At the moment, the Red Sox have Junichi Tazawa and rookie Brandon Workman as righthanded setup guys. Lefty Craig Breslow also handles righthanders well.

When rosters expand, the Sox will add some arms. But there is nobody on the way worthy of a high-leverage situation.

Tazawa is certainly capable. But he was better the first three months of the season than the last two. In his first 37 appearances (through June 27), Tazawa had a 1.08 WHIP and opponents hit .257 against him. He averaged 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

In the 22 appearances since, Tazawa has a 1.26 WHIP with opponents hitting .270. He has averaged 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

It's not an alarming dip, but it's a dip. Tazawa also lacks playoff experience.

"If there's someone out there that makes sense for us to acquire, we might see that," Farrell said.

Then there's Ryan Dempster, who returns to the rotation on Friday. Once Clay Buchholz returns, Dempster is the logical choice to go to the bullpen. He has 225 games of relief experience, but none since 2007.

Lineup change for Red Sox

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

Mike Carp is out for the Red Sox lineup for reasons as yet unexplained. Daniel Nava moves to first and Jonny Gomes takes over in left. The new lineup:

Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B

UPDATE, 5:52 p.m.: Carp is out with a sore left shoulder.

Good day for the Red Sox so far

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 04:45 PM

Is it too early to watch the scoreboard? The Rays lost, 2-0, against the Angels today and are now three games behind the Red Sox in the division pending the result of tonight's game at Fenway Park.

The Rays start a 10-game West Coast road trip on Friday in Oakland. Tampa Bay has dropped four of its last five games.

Given the one-game playoff for wild-card teams, winning the division is much more advantageous than it once was.

Meanwhile, a few pre-game notes:

• To clear up any confusion, John Farrell made it clear that Clay Buchholz has two more minor league rehab games to go. One is Friday for Pawtucket and the third on Sept. 4, quite likely with Pawtucket in an International League playoff game.

So pencil in Buchholz on or around Sept. 9. The Sox are off that day but start a series at Tampa Bay the next day. If that is the schedule, Buchholz could get four starts before the end of the regular season.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup after fouling a ball off his right foot and leaving the game on Wednesday. He is sore but able to play, Farrell said.

• The Red Sox took their annual team photo today. Andrew Miller hobbled out there on crutches. Andrew Bailey was around, too.

• Jonny Gomes carried a cricket bat out to batting practice.

More troubles for Daniel Bard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 03:18 PM

The Daniel Bard story continues to get worse. He pitched in another Gulf Coast League game this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla., and walked five of the six batters he faced, threw two wild pitches and allowed four stolen bases.

Bard came out of the bullpen to start the third inning against the Rays. Here is what followed.

The Gulf Coast League is a rookie league, typically for players who are 17 or 18 and either right out of high school or the Dominican Summer League.

Bard remains on the 40-man roster. The Sox have moves to make when rosters expand on Sunday. They also need to activate Clay Buchholz off the 60-day disabled list later next month. You have to wonder what that means for Bard.

Game 135: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 02:48 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (79-55)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Carp 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (12-7, 3.97).

ORIOLES (70-61)
McLouth LF
Machado 3B
Jones CF
Davis 1B
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Markakis RF
Valencia DH
Roberts 2B
Pitching: RHP Chris Tillman (14-4, 3.66).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Tillman: Pedroia 6-20, Ellsbury 3-15, Nava 2-11, Salty 1-13, Ortiz 0-7, Napoli 3-8, Victorino 2-8, Carp 1-5, Drew 0-3, Middlebrooks 0-5, Ross 0-2.

Orioles vs. Lester: Markakis 14-60, Jones 14-48, Roberts 9-41, Wieters 14-39, Hardy 6-21, Davis 2-19, Valencia 2-11, Casilla 0-8, Machado 2-9, Pearce 0-6, Teagarden 1-7, Betemit 1-5, McLouth 0-4.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have allowed 14 runs in their last eight games. Their starters have a 1.64 earned run average in that stretch.

Notes: The Sox have won four straight and five of their last six. At 24 games over .500, they have matched their high-water mark for the season and they start the day with a 2.5-game lead in the division. The Sox also have the best record in the American League in the chase for home field advantage throughout the postseason. ... Baltimore has lost three of four and is 23-25 since the All-Star break. ... Lester is 15-2, 2.72 in 23 career starts against Baltimore. In two starts this season he has allowed five earned runs over 12 innings. Lester is 4-1, 2.31 in his last seven starts. ... Tillman has owned the Sox this season, giving up two earned runs on 11 hits over 18.1 innings. He is 3-1, 2.08 in his last six starts against the Sox. ... Ortiz is hitless in his last 18 at-bats with six strikeouts. His last hit came on Aug. 18. ... Pedroia has hit in nine straight at 15 of 35 (.429) with seven extra-base hits, six RBIs and seven runs. ... Ellsbury needs one steal for 50 this season. He would become the 24th player since 1901 with at least three 50-steal seasons. ... Salty is 17 of his last 49 (.347) with eight extra-base hits and nine RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Killer Parties" by The Hold Steady.

Uehara brightest star for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 12:21 PM

The key to the Red Sox has been their balance. Before the season ends they could have nine hitters with 50 RBIs but nobody with 100. Outside of third base, every position on the field has provided above-average production (based on OPS+) over the course of the season.

The same is true of the starting pitching. There hasn't necessarily been an ace but there are four starters worthy of trust.

The one big star? Try Koji Uehara.

The closer has an 0.64 WHIP and is striking out 12.2 batters per nine innings. Opponents are hitting .142 with a .442 OPS against him. Of his 850 pitches this season, 73 percent have been strikes. Thirty three of his 59 appearances have been perfect. His ERA + is a comical 348.

Check out these statistics since June 10: 34.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 46 K. He is riding a streak of 21.2 consecutive innings without giving up a run.

Uehara has been so good lately that it's a surprise when somebody gets on base or even hits the ball hard against him.

All this from a player who reported to spring training as a middle reliever and was said to need extra rest because he was getting older.

Who's to say how long this lasts? Uehara is in fact getting older (he's 38) and this is the best run of his career. But the lesson here is that trading for closers (like Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan) isn't very efficient. Sometimes you just need to stumble across them.

Meanwhile, Mark Melancon has an 0.91 ERA, an 0.82 WHIP and an ERA+ of 394.

Carp comes through in a pinch

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 29, 2013 12:49 AM

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Long before he stepped into the batter’s box in the eighth inning, Mike Carp was thinking about his at-bat. His job description was made explicitly clear by the Red Sox when they brought him in. Late-game, pinch-hit, high-pressure situations were all his.

“That's the job that was given to me in the beginning of the spring,” Carp said.

So when Orioles manager Buck Showalter gave righthander Tommy Hunter the sign to intentionally walk Stephen Drew, Carp knew the call was coming.

Sox manager John Farrell didn’t want to send his star rookie Xander Bogaerts to the plate. Not for lack of ability -- Bogaerts hit a home run off Hunter in extended spring training two years ago -- but because of Hunter’s track record against righties.

“Hunter's been dominant against righthanded hitting,” Farrell said. “I just felt like that was the spot for Carp.”

Even though Bogaerts wanted to swing it, he understood the situation.

“He gave me a handshake and he said, 'Go get 'em,’” Carp said. “It's part of the game. This is the way we work as a team. He wasn't upset about it. I'm going in there with all the adrenaline going, trying to get a knock."

Ultimately, Carp delivered on the second pitch he saw, looping a ball to left to plate the go-ahead run in Boston’s 4-3 win.

The soft liner had just enough on it to stretch past the glove of third baseman Manny Machado.

“I knew off the bat, just the trajectory of it, that it was going to have a good chance,” Carp said. “But Machado, as athletic as he is, you never know what kind of play he's going to come out with. I'm just happy it dropped in there.”

It was Carp’s fourth hit in 16 pinch-hit at-bats this season. It was the fourth time this season the Sox have gotten a go-ahead RBI from a pinch hitter.

“He stays prepared and fortunately we had a little luck on our side on that one,” Farrell said.

Part of Carp obviously wants to be on the field more. In 46 games as a starter, he’s hitting .310 with 6 home runs and 25 RBIs. In 22 games off the bench, he was hitting .286 (6 for 21) with 2 homers and 6 RBIs.

But he understands the role the Sox need him to play.

“They told me when I came in, 'Hey, we see you as a bench player,' and that's the way it's played out all year,” Carp said. “I’ve gotten stretches where I've had opportunities to play more than others. But my goal is to come in like tonight, get the big hit and win ball games. I'm just happy that happened tonight and hopefully I can have a few more of those before the end of the year.”

Final: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 28, 2013 07:10 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3 - Koji Uehara preserved the one run lead as the Red Sox scored three of their four runs in the 7th and 8th innings to overtake the Orioles before 31,962 at Fenway. The big hits were a two-run, two-out single by Dustin Pedroia and Mike Carp with the game-winning hit in a pinch-hit role in the 8th. The game was played in an even 3 hours.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3 - After the Orioles got two quick outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia came within a foot or two of hitting one out high atop the left field wall. It was a double. After Stephen Drew Was walked intentionally, pinch-hitter Mike Carp blooped one over Machado at third and it dropped in scoring Salty with the go-ahead run.

Top 8th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 - Jacoby Ellsbury has left the game after fouling a ball off his foot. Victorino has moved from right to center. Jonny Gomes is in left field and Daniel Nava has moved to right field. Lackey started the inning and retired Manny Machado, but after 92 pitches Farrell took him out for Craig Breslow with Chris Davis due up. Lackey left to a nice ovation. Brewslow did his job striking out Davis who is now 0-for-6 with four K's vs. the lefty. Adam Jones lined out to end the inning.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 - Stephen Drew doubled to right to lead off the inning vs. K-Rod. Bogaerts lined out to second base, swinging at the first pitch (he's 0-for-3). Ellsbury fouled a ball off his left foot and was in quite a bit of pain necessitating the trainer and manager John Farrell to come out. Ellsbury stayed in. Ellsbury reached on an infield single up the middle on which shortstop J.J. Hardy made a nice play to stop the ball from heading into the outfield and holding Drew at third base. K-Rod was lifted here for righty sidearmer Darren O'Day. Ellsbury stole his 49th base to create second and third. But Victorino lined to second for the second out leaving it up to Pedroia. He singled to left scoring both runners to tie the game at 3. O'Day gave way to lefty Brian Matusz to pitch to David Ortiz with Pedroia on second base after he advanced on the throw home. Matusz went 3-0. Ortiz got the green light and fouled off the 3-0 pitch. On 3-1 he flew out to center field to end the threat.

Top 7th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 - Lackey is pitching well, once again the victim of run support or lack thereof. He's on his way to his 17th quality start, which leads the team. He's allowed three runs or less in 19 of his 24 starts. Brian Roberst singled in this inning, but that's it.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 - Bud Norris was finally pulled after 5-1/3 innings as his pitch count soared to 105 after he allowed a leadoff single to Daniel Nava and struck out Mike Napoli. Buck Showalter summoned Frankie Rodriguez, who got Saltalamacchia to ground out into a 3-6-3 double-play started by Chris Davis.

Top 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 - Chris Davis launched his 47th home run to rightcenter off Lackey. Lackey hung one right over the plate and Davis didn't miss.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 - If anything, the Red Sox have forced Norris into a high pitch count - 93 after five full innings. He's walked four batters including Pedroia in this inning, but held the game to one run.

Top 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 - Brian Roberts singled ro left with one out, but Nate McLouth and Manny Machado flew out.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 - A Jarrod Saltalamacchia single was all Boston could muster vs. Norris.

Top 4th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 - Nick Markakis doubled with one out, but neither JJ Hardy (K) or Matt Wieters (Lined to left) could get him in.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 - The rally started with a Stephen Drew walk. With one out, singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino produced Boston's first run off Norris. Pedroia walked, but the Sox were unable to tack on as both Ortiz and Nava struck out. .

Top 3rd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 - Manny Machado homered over everything in left on an 0-1 pitch from Lackey, but it should have been a two-run homer. Brian Roberts, who walked and stole second, started getting a little greedy. With Machado up, he tried to steal third and he was gunned down on a pinpoint throw by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Machado followed with the long ball off Lackey.

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 - Bud Norris strikes out Daniel Nava. Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (called).

Top 2nd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 - Lackey mows down Hardy and Wieters with strikeouts and Betemit with a fly to right.

Bottom 1st: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 - Bud Norris started his outing vs. the Red Sox by walking Jacoby Ellsbury, who immediately stole his 48th base. But Norris stopped it right there retiring Shane Victorino (liner to short), Dustin Pedroia (tapper to the left of the mound) on a nice field and throw play by Norris and David Ortiz' fly ball to the warning track in left.

Top 1st: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 - John Lackey allowed an infield single to shortstop to Manny Machado, who beat out the slow roller to Stephen Drew. Chris Davis followed with a double to the rightfield corner scoring Machado. Lackey was able to get Adam Jones (fly to center) and Nick Markakis (foul pop to third) to end the inning.

Buchholz prepares for Friday rehab start in Pawtucket

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 28, 2013 04:36 PM

Clay Buchholz worked a bullpen session today, throwing 15 pitches there, and then 15 pitches to hitters. He'll make his next rehab start Friday in Pawtucket, where manager John Farrell expects him to go "50-55" pitches.

Asked whether Buchholz would make his next start after that at the major league level, Farrell said, "It would be, because we would have an expanded roster to protect additional innings we would need."

Later Farrell clarified that Buchholz would make his third start in the minors next Wednesday.

Presumably, Buchholz would be able to go up to 70-75 pitches by then, provided things go well Friday.

At that point, there might have to be an odd man out of the Sox rotation, unless they go to a six-man rotation temporarily.

Farrell expects about eight or nine callups after Sept. 1 when rosters expand. Among those who may get the call are Jackie Bradley Jr., Quintin Berry, Brandon Snyder (currently on DL), Pedro Beato, Jose De La Torre, Brock Holt, Ryan Lavarnway, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa. It's unknown whether Daniel Bard could get a cameo.

Game 134: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 28, 2013 03:00 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (78-55)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Bogaerts 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (8-11, 3.17).

ORIOLES (70-60)
McLouth LF
Machado 3B
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Hardy SS
Wieters C
Betemit DH
Roberts 2B
Pitching: RHP Bud Norris (9-10, 4.22).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, ESPN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Norris: Drew 6-12, Saltalamacchia 2-6, Gomes 1-5, Victorino 2-5, Ellsbury 0-4, Middlebrooks 1-3, Napoli 1-3, Nava 1-3, Ortiz 1-3, Pedroia 1-3, Ross 2-3, Carp 2-2.

Orioles vs. Lackey:Markakis 17-48, Roberts 10-38, Jones 9-35, Wieters 5-24, Davis 9-23, Hardy 2-12, Casilla 1-11, Teagarden 2-9, Betemit 1-8, Machado 4-7, McLouth 2-7.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have outscored opponents 46-11 in the past seven games. It’s the fewest runs they’ve allowed over a seven-game stretch since 2004.

Notes: The Red Sox have won three in a row and five of their past seven. They can pull to .500 on the season against the Orioles with a win tonight … The Sox have won seven of their past 10 home games … The Orioles have lost eight of their past 13 … Lackey is 12-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 21 career starts against the Orioles. The last time he faced the Orioles was July 26, when he gave up five runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings and took the loss. Over his past four starts, Lackey has given up just nine earned runs but has a 1-3 record to show for it. … On the flip side, despite a 5.27 ERA, Bud Norris is 3-0 in five starts since being traded to Baltimore from Houston at the deadline. The Orioles have won every time he’s taken the mound. In Norris’s only start against the Sox this season, he gave up three runs over six innings. … The Orioles lead the league in home runs (175) and are second in home runs allowed (167) … Pedroia is hitting .424 with seven extra-base hits over his current eight-game hit streak. … Jones saw his 11 game hit streak against the Sox come to an end after going 0 for 3 Tuesday night.

Song of the Day: “I Want To Do Something” by Leon Haywood.

Victorino's 7 RBIs ignite Sox offense

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 28, 2013 12:24 AM

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The last time Shane Victorino smacked two home runs in a game -- in fact, the only other time he had smacked two in a game -- was more than five years ago.

But he had good reason to remember all the details.

“I remember it,” Victorino said, “because it was Randy Johnson.”

At the time, Johnson was 44 years old and a year from finishing a career that will eventually land him in the Hall of Fame.

Victorino was 27, it was just his third full season and they were two of his 14 homers that season.

Five years and two teams later, he got a chance to reminisce after hitting a pair of homers off Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen, the exclamation points on a 3 for 3 night that saw him reach base five times, drive in a career-high seven runs, and score four runs in the Red Sox’ 13-2 win.

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He came in fighting his own body, pushing it through injuries that have nagged him all season -- the result of playing right field like like stuntman. It got to the point that this month he decided to hit exclusively from the right side of the plate.

Exactly how much trouble is his body giving him? He wouldn’t let on.

“That’s for me to know and you not to know,” Victorino said.

The injuries may have seemed to validate some of the offseason chirping from outside observers about whether Victorino could be healthy and productive. But after igniting the Red Sox offense with one of the best games of his career, Victonio admitted it was nice to be able to prove them wrong. He’s hitting .292 with 11 homers, 48 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases. Only David Wright and Alex Rios have hit at least 10 home runs and stolen at least 10 bases in every season since 2007.

"It's very satisfying,” Victorino said. “But for me, I don't look at that. I don't pay attention to those types of people. There are always going to be doubters no matter what. You can't please everybody. But if I can come inside, look myself in the mirror and say I gave 100 percent, that's the only person I need to answer to."

The last Red Sox to drive in seven runs in a game was J.D. Drew in 2007, and they were the most by a Red Sox player at Fenway since Nomar Garciaparra drove in eight in 2002.

“He's been playing great all year,” said Dustin Pedroia, who went 3 for 5 behind Victorino in the order. “The plays he makes in the outfield, I've never seen anything like it and offensively he's driving the ball. Anytime he gets on, he's creating a run. His speed, everything. He's hitting the ball out of the ballpark, and he's playing great for us.”

Final: Red Sox 13, Orioles 2

Posted by Staff August 27, 2013 06:46 PM

Final: Red Sox 13, Orioles 2 – The Red Sox take a big win from Baltimore to kick off their 9-game home stand. Shane Victorino provided the Red Sox with all the offense they needed, going 3 for 3 with 7 RBIs, two home runs, and four runs scored. Victorino, Pedroia and Ellsbury each contributed three hits. They entered the game a combined 22 of 114 (.193). Doubront earned his 10th win of the season, and gave up two runs in 6 2/3 IP. Bogaerts made his debut at Fenway Park in the top of the ninth inning at third base. He recorded the final out of the game.

End of the 7th: Red Sox 13, Orioles 2 – What a night for Shane Victorino. He doubled in the bottom of the seventh to bring in two more runs, giving him a career-high seven RBI. His previous career high was five. He's reached base all five times he's been up, including a walk and a HBP.

End of the 6th: Red Sox 11, Orioles 2 – Another quick inning at Fenway, with both sides going down in order. Doubront has retired 9 of the last 10 battes faced since giving up two runs in the third inning. Four times, he's retired the side in order.

End of the 5th: Red Sox 11, Orioles 2 – And another home run for Victorino. This time, he puts one into the Monster with Drew and Ellsbury on base. It was his second career multi-homer game, and his sixth home run this month. He made Troy Patton pay for leaving his 82-mile-per-hour slider over the plate.

End of the 4th: Red Sox 8, Orioles 2 – After a tough third inning, Doubront silenced the Orioles with a pair of strikeouts and a foul flyout to Will Middlebrooks. In the bottom half of the frame, the Red Sox piled on five runs. Napoli scorched a home run onto Landsdowne Street. Pedroia hit a ground-rule double to right field with the bases loaded to score Ellsbury and Saltalamacchia. Pedroia is now 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and 2 doubles. After Wei-Yin Chen intentionally walked David Ortiz, he was replaced by Miguel Gonzalez. It got worse for Baltimore – Gomes smashed a double off the center field wall to bring in two runs. Chen was charged with all 8 runs, which was his worst this season.

Bottom of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Orioles 2 – Boston regained the lead thanks to a 2-run home run from Shane Victorino. Will Middlebrooks was on first base after a leadoff single. It was the Flyin' Hawaiian's 10th home run this season and 100th of his career.

Top of the 3rd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 – That was a rocky one for Doubront. Hardy led the inning with a ground ball single, and Valencia had a broken-bat blooper to left field. Doubront plunked Steve Pearce, and then walked Brian Roberts on a 3-1 count with the bases loaded. Manny Machado's sacrifice fly scored Valencia for the lead. But for the second time tonight, Doubront struck out Adam Jones to get out of the inning. Entering the game, Jones had hit in 11 straight games against Boston. Doubront needed 28 pitches that inning, bringing his count to 52.

End of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 – Quiet inning from both sides, as both Chen and Doubront send opposing hitters down in 1-2-3 order. Both had two strikeouts in each half of the inning.

Bottom of the 1st: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 – Shane Victorino drew a 1-out walk, and Dustin Pedroia doubled off of the Green Monster to move Victorino to third. David Ortiz's sacrifice fly to right field scored Victorino – his 79th RBI of the season. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking. He has 18 strikeouts in the last 15 games.

Top of the 1st: Orioles 0, Red Sox 0 – Doubront retired the Orioles in order to start the game, needing just 11 pitches to do so. Seven of them came against Baltimore slugger Chris Davis, but Doubront struck him out to end the inning.

Welcome to Fenway Park for the start of a 9-game home stand, starting with a crucial series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox enter just 1.5 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, and 5.5 ahead of Baltimore in the AL East. The Orioles are 6-4 against Boston this season.

Bogaerts excited to be at Fenway Park

Posted by Staff August 27, 2013 06:38 PM

Xander Bogaerts was not in Tuesday's starting lineup against the Baltimore Orioles, but the 20-year-old Red Sox rookie was excited to be at Fenway Park. It was only his third time at the park, and his first time on the field for batting practice.

He took some grounders at shortstop and third base before taking batting practice roughly two hours before first pitch.

His first observation? Fenway Park is nothing like the fields he played on in his native Aruba.

"A lot of rocks in Aruba,” Bogaerts said. “No rocks here. Plain, smooth, a big difference, especially with all the fans. Hopefully I get to see all the fans tonight. Not too many stadiums are big like this in Aruba.”

Against the Dodgers Saturday, Bogaerts collected his first major league hit, a single, after entering the game in the eighth inning. On Sunday, he was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI in an 8-1 win – the team’s fourth on the six-game West Coast trip.

“I’m really enjoying every moment of it,” Bogaerts said. “Thankfully, we won a few games so it made it a lot better. I’m just thankful to be here.”

Buchholz to make next rehab start Friday

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 06:00 PM

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Clay Buchholz will make his second rehab start Friday with either the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox or the Double A Portland Sea Dogs.

In his first action since going on the disabled list June 18 (retroactive to June 9), Buchholz threw 0.2 innings Sunday for the Single A Lowell Spinners.

“He came out of the outing the other day fine physically,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “So he'll go through a normal five-day work cycle.”

While the hope was to have Buchholz throw 40-50 pitches Sunday, he reached just 34 before leaving the mound. Farrell said the target Friday will be “in that 55-pitch range.”

Leading up to his next outing, Buchholz also will throw a bullpen session with hitters standing in.

“He feels like that's the one thing, as opposed to just throwing a normal bullpen, just to see hitters stand in the box,” Farrell said. “But it wouldn't be to the point of keeping him out or [not] being fresh enough to start on Friday. It would just be a modified bullpen with hitters standing in.”

Before landing on the DL, Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 81 strikeouts.

With Pawtucket all but locked into a playoff spot and other Red Sox affiliates still battling, there’s a strong possibility that Buchholz could make a third rehab start with a team in playoff contention.

“There will be settings that we can take advantage of if needed,” Farrell said. “Still go back to it being almost three months since he's been in a major league game and the need for a third minor league appearance, probably more realistic at this point.”

NESN names more replacements for Remy

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 04:03 PM

Dennis Eckersley will join Don Orsillo in the NESN broadcast booth for the Red Sox' three-game series against Baltimore that starts tonight at Fenway Park.

The network announced today that former WEEI announcer Jon Rish would work with Orsillo starting Friday and at least through Monday. The Sox have a three-game series against the White Sox Friday through Sunday, then start a series against the Tigers with a Monday matinee.

Peter Gammons will join the booth Friday.

Regular analyst Jerry Remy has been off the air since Aug. 15 following the arrest of his son for murder. Jared W. Remy was charged with the death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, earlier this month.

Game 133: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 02:57 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (77-55)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (9-6, 3.79).

ORIOLES (70-59)
Roberts 2B
Machado 3B
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Valencia DH
Pearce LF
Pitching: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.19).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Chen: Pedroia 4-10, Middlebrooks 3-9, Ellsbury 2-7, Gomes 1-6, Ortiz 0-6, Ross 1-5, Napoli 1-3, Saltalamacchia 1-3, Victorino 1-3, Nava 2-2.

Orioles vs. Doubront:Jones 2-14, Wieters 1-13, Davis 6-12, Hardy 0-11, McLouth 1-9, Machado 4-8, Markakis 4-7, Valencia 2-4, Flaherty 1-2, Pearce 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Orioles are 12-4 in their last 16 games at Fenway Park.

Notes: After going 9-10 over a stretch that saw them play 16 of 19 games on the road, the Red Sox open up a nine-game homestand with a three-game set against the Orioles … The Orioles, who’ve lost eight of their past 14, are two games behind Oakland in the wild card race, as they head into a tough stretch against the Sox and then the Yankees … Doubront is still looking for his first win against the Orioles. In four career starts, he’s 0-2 with a 3.28 ERA despite 12.77 strikeouts per nine innings. In his last outing against the Orioles on June 13, he gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 4.2 innings … Chen is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four career starts against the Sox. Three of those came at Fenway Park, where Chen is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA … After going 15 for 34 with two homers and seven RBIs in his first 11 games since returning to the Sox on Aug. 10, Will Middlebrooks went 1 for 11 in three games against the Dodgers. Still, he’s hitting .356 and slugging .556 since returning … David Ortiz enters the series seven hits shy of 2,000 for his career. He has seven hits in seven games this season against the Orioles, batting .280 with two homers and three RBIs … Jonny Gomes has reached base in each of his past 13 games, going 10 for 40 with three homers and 13 RBIs … Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who leads the league with 46 homers, has hit .303 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in August.

Song of the Day: “Don’t Give Up” by Washed Out.

Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.

Red Sox obtain OF Berry from Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 02:34 PM

The Red Sox have obtained outfielder Quintin Berry from Kansas City for righthander Clayton Mortensen.

Berry, 28, played 94 games for the Tigers last season, hitting .258 and stealing 21 bases in as many attempts. The Royals claimed him off waivers June 4.

Berry has spent the entire 2013 season in Triple A (for Toledo and Omaha) and not performed well, hitting .193 with a .309 on-base percentage and a .260 slugging percentage. He has 28 steals in 32 attempts.

Berry is not on the 40-man roster. Because of his speed, the Red Sox see Berry potentially being of use as a pinch runner if that need arises in September or beyond.

Because Berry is part of the organization before Sept. 1, he would be eligible for the postseason roster.

The 28-year-old Mortensen was 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 50 appearances over parts of two seasons with the Red Sox. A 5.34 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP, mostly in low-leverage situations, led to him pitching in only 24 games this season.

Mortensen was designated for assignment June 29, cleared waivers and was sent to Triple A Pawtucket. Mortensen had a 2.47 ERA in 14 games with Pawtucket, six of them as a starter. In those six starts, Mortensen was 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA over 28 innings.

Cecchini headed to Arizona Fall League

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 02:30 PM

Third baseman Garin Cecchini is the top prospect the Red Sox are sending to play for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

Cecchini has hit .322 this season with a .914 OPS. The 22-year-old is finishing the season with Double A Portland after being promoted from Salem. Cecchini is hitting .294 for the Sea Dogs with a .420 on-base percentage.

Righthanders Keith Couch, Noe Ramirez, and Pete Ruiz are headed to the AFL as well, along with first baseman Travis Shaw and infielder Derrik Gibson. The Sox have one more infield slot to fill.

Of that group, Couch and Ramirez have shown the most promise.

The AFL starts play on Oct. 8.

Pitching matchups for the Orioles series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 27, 2013 02:19 PM

Tuesday: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.19) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (9-6, 3.79), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: RHP Bud Norris (3-1, 5.53) vs. RHP John Lackey (8-11, 3.17), 7:10 p.m., NESN, ESPN.

Thursday: RHP Chris Tillman (14-4, 3.66) vs. LHP Jon Lester (12-7, 3.97), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Time for some random Red Sox thoughts

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

A few Red Sox thoughts after a fun week of watching baseball in California:

• If the Sox are to win the American League East for the first time since 2007, they're going to have to find a way to play better against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Sox have a winning record against the Rays (10-6), Blue Jays (9-7), and Yankees (7-5) but are 4-6 against the Orioles with a whopping nine games to play starting tonight. That's nearly a third of the games they have left.

Baltimore is 27-19 against the Sox the last three seasons.

Red Sox pitchers have a 3.39 earned run average against the Orioles this year. But Red Sox hitters are a paltry .208/.270/.367 against Baltimore. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia are 22 of 114 (.193).

• Jonny Gomes is hitting .234/.342/.426 on the season. But he is at .364/.474/.564 with runners in scoring position, .750/.429/1.500 with the bases loaded, and .409/567/.636 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Granted, we're talking small sample sizes. But Gomes does seem to have a certain knack for big hits this season.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a free agent after the season, is making a compelling case for a multiyear deal. He is fourth in the AL in innings caught and third in WAR at 2.6. Salty wants to stay, too.

Then there's this: The Yankees need a catcher.

• Since he became closer, opposing hitters are 10 of 93 against Koji Uehara with 37 strikeouts.

• Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters over the weekend that he would prefer not to play Carl Crawford more than five or six days in a row because of how often he breaks down physically. The Dodgers also try to keep him away from lefties.

It's hard to say what is more incredible, that the Dodgers took Crawford in the trade or that the Red Sox paid him all that money to begin with.

• Three e-mails arrived in the last 24 hours that were critical of Mike Napoli leaving two buttons on his uniform jersey unbuttoned. Napoli also got criticized on Twitter for the same thing.

Let's review: The Red Sox were a FEMA-level disaster a year ago, a wholly unlikable team bereft of talent and spirit. Now they're in first place, entertaining to watch, and loaded with players who by all accounts are generally decent human beings.

But some people find two undone buttons worthy of a complaint? Napoli has played all season with a degenerative hip condition and now with painful plantar fasciitis. That his uniform is unbuttoned shouldn't be a problem.

• When the schedules for next season come out, pick a time to go to San Francisco and catch a series at AT&T Park. If you plan ahead, you can book a hotel that's a pleasant walk to the park.

There's quite literally not a bad seat in the place, the views are spectacular and the people who work at the park couldn't be friendlier. You'll have a great time.

• Scott Boras has an evil plan that might actually make sense: Sign Jacoby Ellsbury and keep him in center. Play Jackie Bradley Jr. in left. Sign Stephen Drew and keep him at shortstop. Shift Xander Bogaerts to third and play Will Middlebrooks at first.

Boras represents Bogaerts, Bradley, Drew, and Ellsbury, of course.

The guess here is that Ellsbury signs with a team on the West Coast and Bradley plays center next season. If Ellsbury truly wanted to stay, he would have made a deal by now.

Don't blame Boras if that happens. Jered Weaver decided he wanted to stay with the Angels long term in 2011 and directed Boras to make a deal. In the end, agents do what the player tells them. Ellsbury turns 30 in a few weeks. He's not some impressionable kid.

• Sox pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo mentioned on Twitter that he's enrolling back at LSU to finish his degree. That's very commendable.

• In case you missed it, the Padres called up athletic outfielder Rey Fuentes on Monday. He was one of the players the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez.

• Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy have excellent taste in music. Peavy leans to the country side but not as much as you might think for an Alabama boy. Buchholz could have a side gig as a DJ. He has everything and mixes it well.

• Peavy picked up a cigar store indian statue in San Francisco and it sat in the Red Sox clubhouse every day on the trip. He's building a bar and bowling alley at his house and wanted it as a decoration.

• At what point would it be better for Daniel Bard for the Red Sox to release him? Maybe a new setting is what he needs.

• It's best not to worry about next season until after this one. But who plays first base in 2014 is interesting to ponder.

The candidates, in no particular order: Mike Napoli ... Will Middlebrooks ... Mike Carp ... Giant-sized Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu ... Justin Morneau. ... Kendrys Morales ... somebody picked up in a trade.

• A few readers have asked what players could get called up when rosters expand on Sunday. There are 12 healthy players on the 40-man in the minors plus Brandon Snyder, whose sudden elbow injury appears to be miraculously healing.

Rubby De La Rosa, Steven Wright, Ryan Lavarnway, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt would seem to be of immediate use.

Jose De La Torre, Brayan Villarreal, and Pedro Beato could help, too.

There's no reason to have a fourth catcher (despite the fine work of Dan Butler this season) or other extra guys around who aren't much use. That just creates more work for the coaches and trainers.

• Finally, thanks to all the readers who said hello out in California and apologies for turning down offers to have a beer during the game. Maybe we should schedule a party after the season somewhere.

Bard pitches one inning in GCL game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 26, 2013 06:50 PM

Daniel Bard pitched an inning for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday.

Bard came out of the bullpen to start the fourth inning and walked the first batter he faced before allowing a single.

With one out, an error loaded the bases. Bard then threw a pitch that got past catcher Alixon Suarez, but the runner was thrown trying to score. A strikeout ended the inning.

It was the first appearance for Bard since May 15 when he was with Double A Portland. The righthander has been battling control problems for the last 14 months but remains on the 40-man roster.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday that it was unlikely Bard would return to the majors this season.

Alfredo Aceves, who is on the disabled list with Triple A Pawtucket, also pitched an inning in the GCL game. He walked a batter with one out before getting a double play.

Greetings from Gate 36

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 26, 2013 10:38 AM

LOS ANGELES — Good morning from Los Angeles International Airport. We're here waiting to catch a flight back to Boston after a long month of travel.

The Red Sox have been in Houston, Kansas City, Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles the last 19 days. They survived and will return to Fenway Park on Tuesday in first place. There's not a fan who wouldn't have signed up for that when the season started in April.

It was easy to leave Dodger Stadium last night and wonder whether the Red Sox would be back in October for the World Series. The Red Sox demonstrated on this road trip how formidable their rotation is and the Dodgers certainly look like a team that can advance deep into the postseason.

We have a bunch of coverage on BostonGlobe.com today:

Jake Peavy was in complete command as the Red Sox beat the Dodgers, 8-1.

Dan Shaughnessy captures the scene in LA as the Red Sox took two of three games from the Dodgers.

Nick Cafardo admits that Stephen Drew is growing on him. Could the Sox keep him?

The notebook has Ryan Dempster talking about his suspension and what happens next.

Clay Buchholz had a rocky rehab start in the minors but was feeling good. Ben Hoynes has the story.

Time to get on the plane. Hoping to watch "The Newsroom" on the HBO Go app if the wi-fi on the plane is working.

Thanks for reading all weekend.

Red Sox cool down Dodgers, head home

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 26, 2013 12:44 AM

LOS ANGELES — The Red Sox have been in first place, or close to it, all season. They tend not get too excited about winning games because their goals go beyond what happens in the regular season.

But there was a definite sense of excitement in the visitor's clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night after an 8-1 victory.

“It was a good night for the boys,” said Jake Peavy, who went the distance, allowing only three hits. “That was a lot of fun.”

The Sox took two of three games from the Dodgers, who were the hottest team in baseball. The Dodgers had not lost a series since June 14-16 and have been almost unstoppable since.

“They were hot. But we’re not a bad team,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had a two-run homer, part of a 12-hit attack. “We know what we have to do. We just have to go out there and play the game. I don’t think we were happy with how the last few weeks have gone. We expect a lot more out of ourselves.”

The Red Sox were fortunate to miss Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers’ two best starters. But the Sox had superb pitching all weekend and had a 1.17 earned run average on a 4-2 road trip.

The Dodgers hit .129 in the series and scored only five runs. Peavy gave up a home run to Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth inning and was otherwise barely touched. He retired the final nine batters in a row for his second complete game of the season.

That the series clincher came on the one-year anniversary of the cleansing trade of Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers made it all the sweeter for the Red Sox.

After the Dodgers won the first game of the series on Friday, Crawford said he wanted a sweep. He instead watched home runs by Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino sail over his head in left field.

A few notes:

• Napoli is 5 for 8 with four RBIs in the last two games. After being out of the lineup for a week with a sore left foot, he appears to shaken off the slump that has hampered him for the better part of two months.

• The Red Sox have won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 6-7 at Houston and with Tampa Bay losing, they have a one-game lead in the American League East with 30 games to play. The Red Sox are off Monday and start a three-game series at Fenway Park against Baltimore on Tuesday.

• The Sox have a 13-5 record in interleague games and have outscored the NL teams by 66 runs.

• Victorino, booed all weekend, had a terrific overall game. He was 2 for 4 with a sacrifice at the plate and made several nice plays in right field.

Victorino refused interviews after the game because he was rushing to meet his family.

"We kicked their [butts], that's it," he said.

• The Sox were 9-10 in a stretch of games that saw them play 16 of 19 on the road in three time zones and two countries. They were a game up when it started and a game up when it ended.

Final: Red Sox 8, Dodgers 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 25, 2013 08:13 PM

Game over: Red Sox 8, Dodgers 1 - Oh well, Carl Crawford's dream of sweeping the Red Sox didn't come true. The Red Sox took two out of three here and finished the road trip 4-2. Jake Peavy (10-5) was terrific in his 300th career start with a complete game three-hitter. The only mistake was a solo homer by Adrian Gonzalez on an 0-2 pitch in the fourth inning. The Red Sox slammed three homers - a key two-run homer by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the the sixth which turned a close 3-1 game into a 5-1 game; Shane Victorino, who had a sensational game in the field, homered in the seventh; and Mike Napoli hit a garbage time homer in the nine with Dustin Pedroia aboard. The win coupled by a Tampa Bay loss gives the Red Sox a one-game lead in the AL East. The game was played before 44,109 at Dodgers Stadium in 3 hours.

Top 9th: Red Sox 8, Dodgers 1 - Red Sox content to get into the ninth with a 7-run lead after Mike Napoli's two-run bomb. Dustin Pedroia doubled to right with two outs to start things off.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Dodgers 1 - Nothing doing for the Dodgers who have not been able to solve Jake Peavy.

Top 8th: Red Sox 6, Dodgers 1 - Xander Bogaerts with his second hit. Nice hitter. after a Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk. Jake Peavy hit for himself and lined to the pitcher. Hit the ball hard three times tonight.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Dodgers 1 - Peavy goes perfect again in 7th.

Top 7th: Red Sox 6, Dodgers 1 - Shane Victorino has impacted this game with his glove, but he also just impacted it with his bat - a solo homer to left. Victorino has also doubled and had a sacrifice bunt.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1 - Dodgers have no oomph in their lineup tonight. Carl Crawford singled, but the Dodgers could do no more vs. Peavy.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1 - Mike Napoli walked off Chris Withrow, the new Dodgers pitcher, and then scored ahead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's opposite field home run, his 11th.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Dodgers 1 - Great play by Shane Victorino to cut off a ball that was headed to the rightcenter gap by Skip Schumaker. Victorino held him to a single. Peavy was able to retire the next three batters including pinch-hitter Andre Ethier with a strike out.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Dodgers 1 - Capuano has settled down and retired the side with a pair of fly balls to center by Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia and a ground out from Jacoby Ellsbury.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Dodgers 1 - Adrian Gonzales belted his 17th homer, a shot to rightcenter on an 0-2 pitch for LA's first hit and run off Jake Peavy, who by the way is making his 300th career start tonight.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Dodgers 0 - Xander Bogaerts drove in Will Middlebrooks with a double to right center, for his first Major League RBI. Skip Schumaker bobbled the ball for a moment and Middlebrooks had been stopped by 3B coach Brian Butterfield. Probably should have been an E-8 and no RBI. Middlebrooks singled with one out.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Dodgers 0 - Dodgers had their first baserunner - A.J. Elis with a walk. Chris Capuano sacrificed him to second with two out. Carl Carwford, who wanted to sweep the Red Sox, struck out for the second time.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Dodgers 0 - Hanley Ramirez just doesn't get rid of the ball quickly enough at SS. Ellsbury beat out a grounder to short, then stole second base, his 47th steal. Victorino sacrificed him over to third base and Dustin Pedroia got him on with a sac fly to center.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Dodgers 0 - Peavy has now retired six straight.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Dodgers 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out and Xander Bogaerts and Jake Peavy grounded out in an easy inning for Capuano.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Dodgers 0 - Carl Crawford and Nick Punto went down on strikes against Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzales flew out to deep left.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1,Dodgers 0: - The Red Sox know that the Rays have lost before the game. Let's see how they respond.

After Jacoby Ellsbury struck out against Chris Capuano (that's one out, Jacoby), Shane Victorino lined a double to left. Dustin Pedroia then reached on an infield hit to shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who made a short throw to first which was scooped nicely by Adrian Gonzalez, but Pedroia was ruled safe. Mike Napoli followed with a ground-rule double to center scoring Victorino with the first Red Sox run.

Dempster has no issue with Ortiz's comments

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2013 07:43 PM

LOS ANGELES — Ryan Dempster will finish his five-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Sunday by sitting in the stands and watching the Red Sox play the Dodgers.

Under the rules, Dempster was allowed to work out before the game but could not be in the dugout or clubhouse during the game. So he showered, dress and went to look for a seat among the fans.

“I’ll go find a seat somewhere and play ‘Where’s Waldo?’ I like being out there with the fans,” he said.

Dempster was suspended for intentionally throwing at Alex Rodriguez during last Sunday’s game at Fenway Park. He is eligible to play on Tuesday but the Red Sox pushed him back to Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

Dempster threw 80 pitches in the bullpen on Saturday and throw another bullpen session on Tuesday.

“I’ll be there ready to go,” he said. “I felt really good [Saturday] and I’ll be as prepared as I can be to go out there and do my job.”

David Ortiz said last week that hitting Rodriguez was the wrong thing to do because it appeared to motivate the Yankees in a game the Red Sox ended up losing.

Ortiz’s relatively innocuous comments made news nationally because he appeared to be criticizing a teammate. But Dempster said he took no offense.

“For sure. He has his opinion and he’s right to every bit of his opinion,” Dempster said. “This is his team. I’m sure he was a little bit frustrated with how everything happened and that’s OK, man. … We joked about it and we’re totally cool.”

See the Globe tomorrow for more on Dempster.

Buchholz throws 38 pitches in rehab game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2013 06:20 PM

LOS ANGELES — Clay Buchholz had a rough start for Single A Lowell at Hudson Valley this afternoon.

He lasted only 2/3 of an inning and threw 38 pitches, 19 for strikes, against Tampa Bay prospects. His line: 1 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. The Red Sox wanted him to get to 45-50 pitches over three innings.

“I felt good,” Buchholz told Globe correspondent Ben Hoynes. “My only concern was coming out here and pitching and physically I felt fine. I think I sort of got done what I needed to. I hadn’t thrown forty pitches all together through all this stuff so I think that was something I needed to do."

See the Globe on Monday for much more on Buchholz.

Also:

• LHP Matt Thornton was activated off the disabled list. RHP Brayan Villarreal was optioned. The Sox now have four lefties in their bullpen.

• David Ortiz is not playing first base against lefty Chris Capuano. Part of the reason, John Farrell said, was Mike Napoli's return to health and productive day at the plate on Saturday. The Sox also want to take advantage of the schedule to give Ortiz three days off in a row.

Obviously Ortiz could pinch hit. Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig brought a bat over for Ortiz to sign for him.

• Ryan Dempster threw 80 pitches in the bullpen on Saturday. He starts on Friday against Chicago. He believes the time off will serve him well. Dempster also said he had no issue with David Ortiz's comments about him hitting Alex Rodriguez.

Game 132: Red Sox at Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2013 04:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (76-55)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Bogaerts SS
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (9-5, 4.25).

DODGERS (76-53)
Crawford LF
Punto 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ramirez SS
Puig RF
Schumaker CF
A Ellis C
Uribe 3B
Pitching: LHP Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.70).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Capuano: Ross 4-15, Gomes 2-9, Victorino 3-8, Drew 0-4, Peavy 0-2.

Dodgers vs. Peavy: Ethier 5-33, Ramirez 1-13, Crawford 4-12, Hairston 1-8, Uribe 2-9, Gonzalez 3-7, Schumaker 1-4, Capuano 0-2, Punto 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Capuano, a native of West Springfield, is 35 and has pitched 233 games in the majors for four teams. This will be his first game against the Red Sox.

Notes: The Sox are 3-2 on a road trip that ends tonight. They are off on Monday then play 18 of their final 30 games at home. ... The Sox are 36-32 on the road. ... The Sox have not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 at Houston. ... The Dodgers have not lost a series since June 14-16 at Pittsburgh. They are 14-0-4 since. ... The Sox are 12-5 in interleague games with a +59 run differential. ... Peavy is 13-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 24 career starts against the Dodgers, 6-1, 3.08 in 12 starts at Dodger Stadium. He has not faced them since 2009. ... Gomes is 10 of his last 36 with five extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 12 games. ... Ortiz is 1 for 13 in four games playing first base. ... Ellsbury is 11 of 55 (.200) in the last 12 games. ... Pedroia is a career .335 hitter in interleague play. ... The Dodgers have won four of five and are 29-6 since the All-Star break.

Song of the Day: "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys.

Rotation could be the difference for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2013 10:29 PM

LOS ANGELES — The Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers today, 4-2, during a beautiful day for baseball.

But with the Rays beating the Yankees, the Sox remain percentage points behind Tampa Bay in the division.

Concerned? Take heart at these two developments:

• Jon Lester took a three-hit shutout into the eighth inning against the hottest team in baseball. He was charged with one run but again pitched well.

The big lefty is 4-1 with a 2.31 earned run average in his last seven starts. Lester has given up four earned runs in his last 29 innings and one in his last 15.2.

“Whether or not he’s catching a second wind here in the second half of the season could very well be,” manager John Farrell said. “I think most importantly is his command and power to the fastball. That sets up everything for him.”

Lester's fastball topped out at 96 today and was still 94 into the eighth. His return to form is a very good sign for the Sox.

• Clay Buchholz starts his rehab assignment on Sunday. He could return to the Sox on Sept. 4 or by Sept. 9. That's four or five starts down the stretch.

An improved Lester and a healthy Buchholz gives the Red Sox a formidable rotation when you add in John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront.

A few other notes:

• You can make a pretty decent case that Koji Uehara is the MVP of the Sox. He has pitched 20.2 consecutive scoreless innings and since becoming the closer in June has a 0.32 ERA and 0.43 WHIP. Opponents are 10 of their last 93 against him with 37 strikeouts.

The four-out save today was the second in Uehara’s career, the first since 2010. That out he got to end the eighth inning was one of the biggest of the season.

• Jonny Gomes has 18 RBIs in his last 24 games. His three-run homer in the first inning was a big hit after Friday's shutout. Gomes's ability to sit then deliver big hits from the middle of the order is impressive.

• Mike Napoli revealed that he had an injection in his left foot a week ago that has alleviated much of the pain he was experiencing because of plantar fasciitis.

The question now is whether Napoli can be a productive player over the final 31 games of the season. That he was 3 for 4 with an RBI was certainly a positive sign.

Napoli was in the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 16. He came into the game hitting .206 since July 1 with a .743 OPS. Since Aug 1, the first baseman was hitting .146.

The three-hit game was his first since June 1. Napoli also nimbly completed a double play in the first inning, grabbing a line drive and touching the bag before Yasiel Puig could get back.

“I know I have to pick it up. Nobody realizes that more than I do,” Napoli said. “I’ve done everything I can to figure it out.”

• Xander Bogaerts entered the game on a double switch in the eighth inning and got to the plate in the ninth. He collected his first career hit with a single off Brandon League. “Hopefully a lot of people from Aruba saw it and hopefully the first of many more,” Bogaerts said.

• With Bogaerts on first base and one out, Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to first base. Adrian Gonzalez threw to second for the force and there was no return throw. But Ellsbury walked back toward the dugout after taking his hit helmet off. Hanley Ramirez came from shortstop to tag him.

“Yes,” Farrell said when asked whether Ellsbury lost track of how many outs there were.

Ellsbury was not so quick to acknowledge his obvious mistake.

“I just peeled off and I started walking back and saw Hanley run at me. I still thought I had a base,” he said. “Either way, I thought I was safe.”

When pressed, Ellsbury admitted he lost track of the outs.

“For a split second,” he said.

• When Napoli collected an infield hit off Brian Wilson in the eighth inning, it was a clash of two notable beards. “I got a hit. Did my beard win?” Napoli asked.

• The Sox could activate lefthander Matt Thornton off the disabled list on Sunday. He has been out with an oblique strain since Aug. 5.

• The win was the first at Dodger Stadium for the Sox in four games against the Dodgers. But they beat the Angels at Dodger Stadium on July 31, 1965.

• Reliever Daniel Bard remains on the 40-man roster but hasn’t pitched since May 15 because of control problems and has been at the team complex in Florida since being taken off the Portland roster. Farrell knew of no plans for Bard to pitch in a game and acknowledged there was little chance he would return to the majors this season.

See BostonGlobe.com on Sunday for much more on the game.

Final: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 24, 2013 04:19 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2: Uehara retired the Dodgers in order for his 13th save. He has thrown 20.2 consecutive scoreless innings.

The game ended with Dustin Pedroia making a diving stop to rob Jerry Hairston of a hit. It was only the fourth loss in 22 games this month for the Dodgers.

The Sox are 3-2 on a road trip that ends Sunday night with Jake Peavy facing Chris Capuano.

Xander Bogaerts had his first career hit with a single in the ninth. When Ellsbury grounded into a force at second for the second out, he went back to the dugout thinking the inning was over and was tagged out. In a 4-2 game it was a bad mistake.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2: Well, $20 million man Carl Crawford, who apparently has to sit against lefties, came into pinch-hit for the pitcher's slot and walked. Crawford was running out of time for his hope of sweeping the Red Sox.

Puig singled but Ellis struck out bringing up Gonzales against Craig Breslow, who relieved Tazawa. Gonzalez lined a double to left center scoring both runs.

Farrell pulled a double-switch after Hanley Ramirez walked taking Middlenbrooks out and inserting Xander Bogaerts at third while Koji Uehara came on to pitch. Uehara wound up striking out AJ Ellis stranding two runners on base.

Top 8th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - The Red Sox loaded the bases against Brian Wilson. A double to leftcenter by Dustin Pedrioia, an infield single by Mike Napoli and a walk by Drew. Middlebrooks took a called third strike on 2-2 to leave the bases loaded.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Lester allowed a walk and his third hit to Andre Ethier with one out, but once again, Lester got the benefit of a double play, a linedrive to shortstop Stephen Drew on which he was able to step on second base to double off Ethier.

Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - The Red Sox were retired in order by Marmol and lefty reliever J.P. Howell.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Yasiel Puig singled, and while he was trying to steal second, Mark Ellis lined into a double play when Shane Victorino caught the liner and threw to first which Puig had vacated. Adrian Gonzalez flew out to end the inning.

Top 6th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Carlos Marmol came on for Ryu after Nick Punto pinch-hit in the bottom of the fifth. Marmol, the ex-Cubs closer, struck out three batters in the inning. He also walked Jonny Gomes, who stole his first base of the season.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Lester has allowed only one hit to the Dodgers. Really pitching well and obviously back in his good groove. The Dodgers went down in order in the fifth.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Ryu hasn't given the Red Sox much since the first. He retired the top of the Red Sox order side in the fifth including a strikeout of Victorino.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Mark Ellis led off with a single rightcenter vs. Lester, who then K'd Adrian Gonzales and Hanley Ramirez, before walking A.J. Ellis. Andre Ethier lined to right to end the proceedings.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Stephen Drew continues to make a case for why the Red Sox should re-sign him with a double to left field, but he didn't get very far as Ryu dug in to get the next three outs with two strikeouts of Ross and Lester.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Jerry Hairston Jr. reached on a throwing error by Mike Napoli on a toss to Lester at first, but after Ryu moved the runner over with a bunt, Puig lined out to right field.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - After Ryu got the first two outs, Napoli singled, his second hit. Gomes struck out.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Lester takes care of the middle of the Dodgers order as Hanley Ramirez, Friday's hero with a two-run homer, popped really high to third base. AJ Ellis fanned and Andre Ether grounded out to second base.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Hardly a sweat for Hyun-Jin Ryu. He got David Ross on a ground ball to third, struck out Jon Lester on three pitches and got Jacoby Ellsbury to line out to left.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0 - Jon Lester walked leadoff hitter Yasiel Puig to start off his outing. He struck out Mark Ellis and the Adrian Gonzalez lined to first base where Mike Napoli made the catch and stepped on first which Puig had vacated.

Top 1st: Red Sox 4, Dodgers 0: Big start for the Red Sox who were shut out Friday night, 2-0. They got a three-run homer by Jonny Gomes off Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu after Mike Napoli drove in the first run after Shane Victorino was hit with a pitch and Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single.

Game 131: Red Sox at Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2013 12:20 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (75-55)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Ross C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (11-7, 4.09).

DODGERS (76-52)
Puig RF
M. Ellis 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ramirez SS
A. Ellis C
Ethier CF
Uribe 3B
Hairston LF
Pitching: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.95).

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Ryu: No history.

Dodgers vs. Lester: Crawford 9-40, M. Ellis 2-12, Punto 3-12, Ramirez 2-6, Uribe 2-5, Hairston 1-3.

Stat of the Day: It's some kind of amazing run the Dodgers are on. They have won 55 of their last 65 games and are 29-5 since the All-Star break including 18-3 in August. The Dodgers are 10.5 games up in the NL West, their largest lead in the division since they finished the 1977 season with a 10-game lead. Oh, and they've won four straight.

Notes: Ryu is a 26-year-old from Korea who has started 24 games for the Dodgers. He is 5-1, 2.54 in six starts since the break and 2-1, 4.10 in four starts against American League teams. ... Lester has a 1.25 ERA in his last three starts and a 2.76 in his last seven. He is facing the Dodgers for the first time in his career. Lester is 12-5, 3.14 in 24 interleague starts. He also is 0 for 28 as a hitter. ... The Sox are 1-3 on their road trip. They have lost six of nine and nine of their last 14. The Sox are 17-18 since July 13. ... The Sox are 0-4 at Dodger Stadium in their history. ... Ortiz is 1 for 13 with one RBI when playing first base this season. ... Napoli has not played in five of the last eight games and has seven at-bats since Aug. 15. He is hitting .206 since July 1, .146 since Aug. 1 and .087 since Aug. 10. ... The Sox are 11-5 in interleague games. ... Puig is 5 of his last 35 (.139) with two RBIs over nine games. ... The Sox haven't won a game without scoring at least four runs since July 3 when they beat the Padres 2-1.

Song of the Day: "L.A. Blues" by The Stooges.

Carl Crawford: Killing the Sox for 12 years

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2013 09:30 AM

LOS ANGELES — Here's are some statistics that will make you wince if you're a Red Sox fan:

Carl Crawford has hit .301/.332/.443 with 64 stolen bases, 12 home runs and 61 RBIs in 145 games against the Red Sox.

In 161 games for the Red Sox from 2011-12, Crawford hit .260/.292/.419 with 23 stolen bases, 14 home runs and 75 RBIs.

It gets worse. Crawford had UZRs of -3.6 and -1.6 in his two seasons playing left field for the Sox. He had a +17.9 in his final season with the Rays and has a +6.2 for the Dodgers this season.

He played to an 0.6 WAR in two seasons in Boston and has twice that (1.2) already in Los Angeles. His worst WAR in Tampa for a full season was 2.3.

Crawford was 2 for 3 on Friday with two stolen bases. It was only the second time all season — the first time since April 6 — that he stole two bases in a game.

Basically the guy is Tim Raines against the Sox and was the second coming of Darren Bragg when he played for them.

Is there a reason for all this? Injuries certainly played a major role. But the Red Sox also inaccurately projected how Crawford would mentally handle a market like Boston.

On the night he agreed to terms on that $142 million contract with the Sox, three people connected with the Rays (a player, a media person and a team official) texted to say that Boston would be a bad fit for Crawford. They later explained that he was sensitive to criticism and thrived because the Rays managed to protect him from the spotlight.

They were right. From literally the first day of spring training in 2011, Crawford seemed flustered by playing in a place where baseball mattered. He tried too hard to live up to his contract and never got comfortable.

That Terry Francona dropped him down in the order after only two games didn't help. Then the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine, a guy who had ripped him on national television, to replace Francona. Crawford was used to managers who comforted him, not challenged him.

In Los Angeles, Crawford is a face in the crowd. Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and now Yasiel Puig get far more attention than he does. When Kemp was healthy, Crawford was going to platoon in left field.

Baseball also isn't covered in Los Angeles like it is in Boston. The Lakers and college football are more important here. Crawford can almost surely go to dinner most anywhere and not be recognized by half the place. If he slumps, it's not a topic of conversation on the radio or television.

Crawford is not a bad guy, he was just a bad fit. Based on the players they signed this season, the Red Sox learned that lesson. But what a price they paid for it.

More hard luck for John Lackey

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2013 01:12 AM

LOS ANGELES — John Lackey has started 23 games for the Red Sox this season and is 8-11.

Talk about a useless statistic.

Lackey pitched one of his best games of the season tonight in a 2-0 loss against the Dodgers. He allowed two runs on three hits over eight innings and struck out six without a walk. Lackey needed only 97 pitches to navigate those eight innings and threw 69 of them for strikes.

A two-run homer by Hanley Ramirez beat him. Carl Crawford (2 for 3) was aboard.

As he walked off the mound in the eighth inning, Lackey pounded his right fist into his glove and shouted at the night sky above Dodger Stadium.

"More than a little frustration," he said.

Consider:

• Lackey has made 16 quality starts and is 8-5 in those games.

• Lackey has started five of the 10 games the Red Sox were shut out.

• The Sox have scored three or fewer runs in 12 of Lackey's 23 starts.

• Lackey has a 4.06 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the best of his career.

• Lackey has a 3.17 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Justin Masterson has a 3.50 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP and he's 14-9.

“I want to win the game, man. I didn’t come here for ERA. I came here to try and win a championship,” Lackey said.

Ricky Nolasco dominated the Red Sox. He allowed two hits, struck out six without a walk and hit one in a game that lasted only two hours and seven minutes. He threw 101 pitches, 66 strikes. Kenley Jansen got the save as the final 22 Red Sox went in order.

“From a righthander that’s as good a start as we’ve seen against us,” John Farrell said.

The Red Sox have lost six of their last nine games and nine of their last 14. They have not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 and are now percentage points behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.

See the Globe or BostonGlobe.com for more tomorrow.

Final: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2013 10:05 PM

Game over: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: Ricky Nolasco allowed only two hits over eight innings as the Dodgers beat the Sox, 2-0, before a crowed of 50,240.

Nolasco (10-9) struck out six without a walk and hit one in a game that lasted only two hours and seven minutes. He threw 101 pitches, 66 strikes. Kenley Jansen finished the Red Sox off for his 22nd save.

It was the 10th time this season the Red Sox were shutout. Their final 13 hitters went in order.

John Lackey was again the victim of poor run support. The righthander allowed only three hits and struck out six without a walk. But that was not good enough. Lackey fell to 8-11.

Top of the 9th: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: Status quo for the Sox. They're mounting no offense to speak of. One runner past first base all night.

Top of the 8th: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: Both teams went in order again. Lackey so far: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. This sure isn't his fault. Nolasco has been great.

Top of the 7th: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: The Sox went in order again. They've had runners on base in two of the first six innings. Lackey allowed a single by Crawford, who stole second. But Gonzalez flied to left to end the inning.

Crawford has two stolen bases for only the second time this season. The last time was April 6. Coincidence? Guessing not.

Top of the 6th: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox started a rally when Nava was hit by a pitch and Drew singled to right. But Middlebrooks grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Lackey retired the Dodgers in order. The first five innings took 1:13. Not exactly a Sox-Yankees game.

Top of the 5th: Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0: Nolasco has retired the last 10 Red Sox in order. Lackey's perfect game ended when Crawford singled to right. With two outs, Crawford stole second on a ball that bounced past Salty. Ramirez then hammered a fastball out to center for his 13th homer.

The steal was only the second in 27 games for Crawford.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 0, Dodgers 0: If you like quick baseball, tonight's your kind of game. Both teams went in order again. Lackey is at 28 pitches and the three innings took 38 minutes.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, Dodgers 0: Both pitchers had easy innings. Salty flied to center, Nava grounded to short and Drew flied to center. Lackey then got two fly balls before Uribe grounded to shortstop. Lackey is at a tidy 17 pitches after two innings.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Dodgers 0: Pedroia had a single and that was it for the Red Sox as Ortiz grounded into the shift. Lackey set down the Dodgers in order, striking out Puig and Gonzalez along the way. His fastball was 94-95.

dodgerstadium.jpgPre-game: Good evening from Dodger Stadium, where it's a beautiful night for baseball between two first-place teams.

The Red Sox players were catching up with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto before the game. Punto spent far more time in conversation with the Sox players, which speaks to the popularity he enjoyed in the clubhouse during his brief time in Boston.

It'll be John Lackey (5-2, 1.89 in 10 career appearances against LA) against Ricky Nolasco. The Sox are missing Clayon Kershaw and Zack Greinke this series.

The Dodgers haven't lost a series since mid-June. If the Red Sox get out of here with two wins, that'll be a major accomplishment.

Hang out for updates and please feel free to leave your comments.

Ortiz did not mean to criticize Dempster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2013 07:41 PM

LOS ANGELES — David Ortiz said Friday his comments regarding Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last Sunday were not meant as criticism of his teammate.

Ortiz said his criticism was more about the timing of the incident and that it led to the Yankees coming back to beat the Red Sox.

“I didn't like it. I don't think it was the right thing to do,'' Ortiz told USA Today on Wednesday. "But we don't all think alike.”

When his comments became national news, Ortiz was surprised.

“I don’t know why they’re making a big deal out of it. I guess they don’t have anything else to talk about,” he said.

According to Sox manager John Farrell, Ortiz and Dempster spoke after the game about the now-infamous fastball that hit Rodriguez in the elbow.

“I don’t think the comments David mentioned will have any lingering effect on our clubhouse,” Farrell said before the Red Sox faced the Dodgers. “I do know this, that Ryan and David spoke Sunday night and more than anything David’s comments were coming from the standpoint of not trying to give added inceptive to the opponent regardless of who the opponent is at the time and just maintain our approach of going out trying to win a ball game on a given day.”

Dempster was suspended for five games because of the incident. On Friday, Dempster reported to Dodger Stadium early in the day for a workout and left before reporters were allowed in the clubhouse.

Ortiz, in a discourse that was at times angry, denied any issue with Dempster.

“All I said was that I don’t think hitting A-Rod was right at the time and that was because it kind of woke them up and we ended up losing the game,” Ortiz said. “Did I lie about that? I think that is what everybody saw.

“I didn’t say I was mad at my teammate for hitting A-Rod. No, no, no. I said it because I think you’ve got to make sure to win every game possible. You’ve got Tampa breathing on our necks and they already won earlier in that day. That’s all I mean. I didn’t mean anything else.”

Ortiz said he and Dempster have nothing to discuss and the issue was settled at the time.

“We already talked. He understands. He knows it’s nothing against him or anyone else. I respect my team; I respect everybody. When I talked about this subject, I said very clear why I didn’t like A-Rod getting hit at the time.

“If people want to make a big deal about it, I don’t [care]. That’s me. I say what I feel and I tried to say it right. I’m here to win games, I’m not here to be mad at nobody.”

The Red Sox have seven games remaining with Yankees, the next on Sept. 5 in New York. Is Ortiz worried about retaliation?

“That’s up to them. I’ve got no control over that. At least they have a reason,” he said.

Also:

• Ortiz, who left Wednesday's game with a sore back, said he feels like and can play first base this weekend.

• Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen and will fly back to the East Coast on Saturday. He will pitch for Single A Lowell on Sunday in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

• Matt Thornton faced teammates in a simulated game. The staff will decided on Saturday whether the lefthander will be activated on Sunday or sent to pitch a rehab game.

• Former Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford refused to speak to reporters this afternoon. Nick Punto was chatty, though.

Eckersley will continue to fill in for Remy

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2013 06:24 PM

NESN announced that Dennis Eckersley will remain in the broadcast booth for the Red Sox' three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles that starts Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Eckersley has been filling in for Jerry Remy since Aug. 16. Remy's son, Jared W. Remy, has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel.

A NESN spokesman, Gary Roy, said he had no information about whether Remy will return to the booth this season.

Game 130: Red Sox at Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2013 06:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (75-54)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Nava LF
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (8-10, 3.22).

DODGERS (75-52)
Crawford LF
Puig RF
Gonzalez 1B
Ramirez SS
Ethier CF
Uribe 3B
M Ellis 2B
Federowicz C
Pitching: RHP Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 3.60).

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Nolasco: Victorino 6-37, Drew 11-21 (3 HR), Ortiz 1-4, Pedroia 1-5, Salty 1-4, Gomes 0-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Nava 2-3, Ellsbury 0-2, Ross 1-2.

Dodgers vs. Lackey: Ellis 16-62, Crawford 21-45 (2 HR), Punto 4-24, Uribe 7-22, Ethier 4-13, Gonzalez 6-14, Hairston 3-9.

Stat of the Day: The switch-hitting Shane Victorino has been batting righthanded against righthanders because of a sore left hamstring. He is 11 of 34 with three extra-base hits batting righthanded against righties.

Notes: The Sox took two of three from the Giants but have lost five of eight overall. They start the day with a one-game lead on the Rays ... The Dodgers lead the NL West by 9.5 games. They are 28-5 since the All-Star break and 45-10 since June 22. The Dodgers were once 30-42 before turning their season around ... The Sox are 5-4 against the Dodgers all-time and are at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2002 ... The Sox are 11-4 against NL teams this season, outscoring them, 95-36 ... Lackey is 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Dodgers, the last coming in 2009. Lackey is 17-8, 3.11, in 35 interleague games ... Nolasco is 4-1, 2.98, in eight starts with the Dodgers since behind obtained from the Marlins. Nolasco faced the Sox twice last season when he was with Miami. He was 0-2 and allowed 12 earned runs over 9.1 innings ... Victorino is 11 of his last 22 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs ... Daniel Nava is 10 of his last 20 with five doubles and five RBIs ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a nine-game hitting streak and is 13 of 36 over that stretch with 6 doubles, 7 RBIs, and 8 runs ... Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .239/.271/.283 in his last 10 games.

Closing time: Koji Uehara has appeared in 17 games since the Red Sox named him closer. His line: 26.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 36 K. He has thrown 19.1 consecutive scoreless innings since July 6. Opponents are 6 of 62 against him in his last 17 games.

Song of the Day: "It Was A Good Day" by Ice Cube.

Carl Crawford wants to beat the Red Sox 'bad'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 22, 2013 09:30 PM

LOS ANGELES — Carl Crawford, one of the players the Red Sox traded to the Dodgers a year ago, continues to be critical of his time in Boston, something he has done several times this season.

"That was just a bad experience," Crawford told the Los Angeles Times. "I definitely felt like I had a chance to get a fresh start. With a new team, new atmosphere, new environment.”

Crawford has blamed the atmosphere in Boston and even the media for his hitting .260 with a low .711 OPS over parts of two seasons with the Sox after accepting a seven-year, $142 million free agent contract.

"I want to win all three games. Bad," Crawford said of this weekend's series against the Sox.

Now a leadoff hitter after recovering from elbow surgery, Crawford has played only 88 of 127 games this season, hitting .288. He rarely steals bases (11) or hits home runs (5) anymore, and is signed for four more years at $82.5 million.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is taking a less combative approach to the series.

"I think it'll be fun to play them," he told reporters in Miami. "They're a good club and they're playing good. The better teams continue to force you to be better. I look forward to it a little bit."

Ortiz chides Dempster for hitting A-Rod

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 22, 2013 01:16 PM

David Ortiz disapproved of teammate Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez last Sunday night at Fenway Park.

"I didn't like it. I don't think it was the right thing to do,'' Ortiz told USA Today. "But we don't all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy. It's not that I didn't think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone's on their own.

"But we've got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees' team at that moment. You saw how the game ended up. CC [Sabathia] was throwing 91 [m.p.h.] and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there.

"You're talking about a good team that you can't wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.''

Pitching matchups for the Dodgers series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 22, 2013 09:30 AM

Friday: RHP John Lackey (8-10, 3.22) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 3.60), 10:10 p.m. (ET), NESN.

Saturday: LHP Jon Lester (11-7, 4.09) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.95), 4:05 p.m. (ET), FOX.

Sunday: RHP Jake Peavy (9-5, 4.25) vs. LHP Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.70), 8:05 p.m. (ET), ESPN.

Red Sox head to Los Angeles with a win

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2013 09:29 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — That the Red Sox beat the Giants, 12-1, on Wednesday, and outscored them, 21-4, in the series underscores just how bad that loss was on Tuesday night.

That said, Felix Doubront pitched well and the offense came from all points of the lineup. Now the Red Sox have a day off before opening up a three-game series with the Dodgers that is sure to be interesting for many reasons.

Also:

• Will Middlebrooks is 15 of 34 (.441) with three doubles, two home runs, and seven RBIs since being sprung from Pawtucket. He has struck out only seven times while drawing six walks.

Middlebrooks also played three innings at second base and turned a double play.

“I haven’t turned a double play up the middle since I was 18 in Texarkana, Texas. It’s been a while,” said Middlebrooks, who played shortstop in high school and third base once he signed with the Sox but never so much as an inning at second until Wednesday.

• Officially, the Red Sox said David Ortiz came out of the game with lower-back tightness. Manager John Farrell called it “general soreness.”

Ortiz didn’t seem too concerned.

“It started grabbing me a little bit my first at-bat and I was trying to fight through it. It’s not anything bad,” he said. “It’s just a little tight and we were winning.”

The schedule also has played a role in Ortiz’s soreness. The team is close to the end of a stretch of playing 16 of 19 games on the road in three time zones. The Red Sox have two interleague road games in Colorado Sept. 24-25. Ortiz may need to play first base then, too.

“I’m telling you. I don’t know who did this schedule. Probably a Yankees fan,” Ortiz said.

• Ryan Dempster is eligible to return from suspension on Tuesday, but the Red Sox have pushed the righthander back to Aug. 30 against the White Sox. It will be an 11-day break for Dempster. He will throw a simulated game in Los Angeles on Friday to stay sharp.

• Clay Buchholz is scheduled for a bullpen session in Los Angeles on Friday. He will then join Lowell for a game in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on Sunday against Hudson Valley. Triple A Pawtucket is home that day. But the Red Sox prefer Buchholz to face Rookie League hitters in what would be his first game since June 8.

• The Red Sox are a major league-best 11-4 in interleague games this season, outscoring National League teams, 95-36. Jacoby Ellsbury has hit safely in 18 consecutive interleague games dating to last season.

• The Giants were 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the series and scored four runs. Hard to believe this 56-70 team won the World Series last season.

• Mike Napoli was out of the starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game. The first baseman is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Napoli has had only three plate appearances in the last five games. The Sox are hoping the time off will cure Napoli of his foot issue.

• Lars Anderson, once considered an elite Red Sox prospect, visited with some former teammates and coaches before the game. Anderson, a Bay Area native, was released by the White Sox last month.

• Red Sox principal owner John Henry is expected to join the team in Los Angeles on Friday.

Final: Red Sox 12, Giants 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2013 03:38 PM

Game over: Red Sox 12, Giants 1: Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew hit home runs, part of a 12-hit attack as the Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants, 12-1, before a crowd of 41,523 at AT&T Park.

The Sox took two of three from the Giants. They are 11-4 against National League teams this season, outscoring them 95-36.

Felix Doubront (9-6) went eight innings for the win. He allowed one run on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 12, Giants 1: The Sox scored a run on another Giants error. Doubront motored through the eighth inning.

Ortiz, by the way, left the game with lower back tightness. Or a dislike of playing first base a day game after a night. We'll find out more later on.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 11, Giants 1: Ellsbury singled and went to third on Pedroia's double. Gomes walked with two outs to extend the inning. Salty — whose free agent value improves by the hour — singled in two runs. Drew then belted a three-run shot to right.

Pedoria out for a rest and Middlebrooks is playing second base for the first time in his life.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 6, Giants 1: An uneventful inning for both clubs. Doubront has allowed three hits.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 6, Giants 1: The Sox went in order facing Jean Machi. Jean Machi That sounds like a character in a Robert Ludlum novel. Anyway, Doubront then worked around a single by Arias.

Solid performance by Doubie so far. *

* National League team.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 6, Giants 1: Middlebrooks drew a leadoff walk and was bunted over by Doubront. With two outs, Victorino popped a ball to right field and three Giants played Ring Around The Rosie with it. The ball dropped in for an RBI double.

That was it for Zito after 85 pitches. Doubront retired the side in order and has set down eight straight.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 5, Giants 1: Big inning for the Sox. Ellsbury singled and stole second. Victorino bunted and was safe at first when the Giants botched up the play. He got a single out of it. Pedroia then doubled down the line in left to drive in a run.

Ortiz whiffed on a Zito "fastball" that was 83 mph. But Gomes dropped a single into left to score two runs.

It is “Jonny Gomes Day” in his hometown of Petaluma, about an hour north of San Francisco. "With Jonny Gomes, you either love him or you love him," Petaluma mayor David Glass told Petaluma Patch. The mayor and a busload of Gomes fans have seats along the left field line.

Doubront retired the side in order. He's at a tidy (well, for him) 53 pitches after 3 innings.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Giants 1: Salty drew a walk and scored when Middlebrooks homered to left field. It was his 11th of the season. If you're Zito why not pitch around a righthanded hitter with power to get to Doubront?

Arias homered with one out in the bottom of the inning for the Giants. It his his first of the season (and 161 at-bats).

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Giants 0: Ellsbury led off with a double but was stranded as Victorino whiffed, Pedroia popped to right and Ortiz grounded to first.

Doubront was hit in the gut by a line drive by Torres then picked him off. Scutaro walked (yes, again) before Belt popped to right and Posey flied to center.

attpark.jpgPre-game: It's day baseball in sunny San Francisco as the Red Sox play the Giants. The teams split the first two games of the series. It'll be two lefties as Felix Doubront faces Barry Zito.

We'll have updates all game. Follow along, waste time at work and feel free to leave your comments.

Game 129: Red Sox at Giants

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2013 12:05 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (74-54)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (8-6, 3.95).

GIANTS (56-69)
Torres CF
Scutaro 2B
Belt 1B
Posey C
Pence RF
Arias 3B
Kieschnick LF
Crawford SS
Pitching: LHP Barry Zito (4-8, 5.34).

Game time: 3:45 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Zito: Ortiz 10-34 (2 HR), Drew 11-33, Victorino 3-15, Gomes 2-9, Napoli 3-11, Pedroia 4-6, Ross 1-4, Salty 1-3.

Giants vs. Doubront: No history.

Stat of the Day: San Francisco has 228 consecutive sellouts, the longest active streak in the majors. The Sox had the old record of 794 consecutive regular season games up until April 10.

Notes: The Sox have lost five of seven and eight of 12 and start the day percentage points behind the Rays in the division (two games back in the loss column). ... Doubront has been ragged in his last two starts, allowing nine earned runs on 14 hits and six walks over eight innings. He is facing the Giants for the first time in his career. Doubront is 4-1, 4.66 in five career interleague games. ... Zito comes out of the bullpen to make his first start since July 30 and his first start against the Sox since June 15, 2007. He is 5-6, 5.12 against the Sox in 14 career starts. ... The Sox are 10-4 in interleague games. ... The Giants are 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the series and 4 of 35 in their last four games. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in all 14 interleague games this season at 25 of 60 (.417). ... In his last nine games this season, Ellsbury is 8 of 42 (.190) with one double and five runs scored. He has struck out 14 times and walked twice in that span. ... The Sox are 34-31 on the road with losses in 10 of their last 17 games. ... Victorino is 8 of his last 17 with three extra-base hits and two RBIs. ... Nava, who has reached base safely in 32 consecutive starts, is 9 of his last 17 with five doubles and two RBIs. ... Middlebrooks is 14 of 31 in 10 games since returning from Triple A Pawtucket, with four extra-base hits, four runs scored and five RBIs. He has walked six times and struck out seven. ... The Sox bullpen has allowed seven runs on 20 hits in its last 14.2 innings.

Song of the Day: "Take A Walk" by Passion Pit.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2013 12:03 PM

A walk-off walk issued by Brayan Villarreal sent the sliding Sox into second place with a 3-2 loss against the Giants.

Ryan Dempster was suspended for five games by Major League Baseball and started serving on Tuesday.

Dan Shaughnessy writes thatMLB had no choice but to suspend Dempster.

The notebook has Clay Buchholz ready for a minor league game.

Lots going on, all of it bad for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2013 02:10 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox had a 2-1 lead on the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. Then came a series of events that make for good baseball conversation. Let's go over them:

The Tying Run: Junichi Tazawa, whose trustworthiness can no longer be taken for granted, put runners on first and third with Buster Posey up. He hit a fly ball to right field that got caught up in the wind.

Shane Victorino caught the ball in foul territory facing the wall along the line. A run scored and the game was tied.

You can argue whether Victorino should have caught the ball or let it drop. Three things to remember:

1. Posey was up. If he gets to swing again, the ball could be over the fence.

2. It's windy at AT&T Park. The ball could have drifted back fair pretty easily.

3. The sac fly only tied the game. It wasn't the go-ahead run.

"I went over there to catch the ball. I had no intent of doing anything else. I thought about (letting the ball drop), I really did after the play was done," Victorino said. "I said to myself, 'Should have I have let that fall?' But what if Posey hits the ball in the gap?"

"You can always think differently. I told myself to catch the ball, get the out and put myself in a position to make the throw. ... As I was running over there, I was thinking about all the scenarios. If I let that fall, is that going to end up fair and I end up looking like a fool. I tried the best I could."

Manager John Farrell supported his right fielder.

"That's one of those plays, with the wind blowing back in and not knowing if that's going to drift back on the foul line, he's almost straddling the line," Farrell said. "We're damned if we do, damned if we don't."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who knows this park better than anybody, said catching the ball was the right move.

The ninth inning: Farrell went to Franklin Morales in the ninth inning, not Koji Uehara. Farrell explained he wanted to hold back Uehara for a save situation and did not want to use rookie Brandon Workman for three days in a row.

Morales had two outs with a runner on first when he walked pinch hitter Andres Torres and hit pinch hitter Hector Sanchez. Morales was ahead of Torres 1-and-2 and ahead of Sanchez 0-and-2. That's really when the game was lost.

"I'm pissed off," Morales said. "I let them get away. My fastball, when I went in, I went in too much."

Said Farrell: "It looked like Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit. It leaves us in a tough spot with two outs. Just the uncertainty of strike throwing ... felt like it was time to make the move."

David Ross, who was catching, was surprised.

"Franklin was doing pretty good and then we kind of let them back in the count a couple of times," he said. "When he hit [Sanchez] I thought we had them. He was pulling his fastball in too much."

The impossible spot: Brayan Villarreal came in with the bases loaded and two outs and walked Marco Scutaro to force in the winning run.

You're excused for not knowing who Villarreal is. He was obtained from the Tigers in the three-team deal that landed Jake Peavy. He's a 26-year-old righthander who was very good for the Tigers in 2012 and so bad in April that he was sent down to Triple A.

Villarreal pitched two games in Lowell and two games for Pawtucket before he was called up on Monday. Tuesday was his debut with the Sox.

"I'm not going to pitch Workman on three consecutive days. That was the decision," Farrell said.

Villarreal missed badly three times. The fourth pitch was a little closer but still outside and umpire Mike Everitt kept his hand by his side.

"He got behind. You can't do that in that situation," Ross said. "The 3-and-0 pitch was close. I think the umpire had been giving that pitch most of the night. But when you're 3-0 and haven't thrown a strike yet, they tend to [call] borderline pitches a ball. It's a borderline pitch. We shouldn't be in that situation to begin with."

Villarreal has faced 27 hitters in the majors this season, 17 of them have reached base. The odds of him getting an out there were slim.

Villarreal was not available to speak to after the game. He seemed pretty upset.

The Red Sox are now percentage points behind the Rays and haven't won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 at Houston. They are 4-8 since.

Thanks for staying up.

Final: Giants 3, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 10:07 PM

Game over: Giants 3, Red Sox 2: Brayan Villarreal was called up from Triple A Pawtucket on Monday to join the Red Sox. Few noticed because the Sox also promoted Xander Bogaerts that day.

Villarreal was given his first chance in the ninth inning, coming in with the bases loaded and two outs of a tie game. Four wayward pitches later, the game was over as he walked Marco Scutaro to force in the winning run.

With Tampa Bay beating Baltimore, 7-4, the Sox have fallen into second place for the first time since July 30. They are percentage points behind the Rays.

The Sox have lost five of their last seven games and eight of the last 11. They have not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 at Houston.

Franklin Morales (2-1) started the ninth inning. Roger Kieschnick singled with one out and took second when pinch hitter Andres Torres walked with two down.

The Giants used Hector Sanchez, a switch hitter to pinch hit for lefthanded hitting Gregor Blanco. Morales got ahead of him 0-and-2 before hitting him in the arm with a 2-and-2 fastball. In came Villarreal and there went the game.

The Red Sox did not score in the final six innings, getting two hits. Sergio Romo (4-6) went an inning for the win.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 2, Giants 2: The Sox had their fifth consecutive scoreless inning.

Junichi Tazawa started the bottom of the eighth. Scutaro singled with one out and went to third on a single to feep left by Belt. Posey was next and he hit a fly ball to foul territory in right field. Victorino caught it facing the wall and was in a poor position to throw and Scutaro scored to tie it.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 2, Giants 1: Ross led off with a double but was stranded. Breslow then retired the side in order. Vogelsong was pinch hit for after a solid seven innings.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 2, Giants 1: The last 10 Sox have gone in order. Meanwhile, Peavy allowed a leadoff double to right by Posey. He got two outs before Craig Breslow came in and got Crawford on a grounder to second with one pitch.

Peavy didn't look too thrilled to be coming out.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 2, Giants 1: The last seven Sox have gone in order. Meanwhile, the Giants finally scored in this series.

Kieschnick singled and scored on a triple by Arias. With the infield in, Vogelsong was robbed of a single by Pedroia. Blanco then grounded to Pedroia before Scutaro hit a slow roller to short that Bogaerts made a strong throw on to end the inning.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, Giants 0: The Sox went in order in their half of the fourth.

Belt started the bottom of the fourth inning with a triple to the gap in right. Peavy stranded him there. Posey grounded to third before Peavy struck out Pence and Crawford swinging.

Thirteen innings and no runs for the Giants in this series.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, Giants 0: Victorino led off with a home run to left field.

The Red Sox intended to give Victorino Saturday off and didn't because Mike Napoli was hurt. Since then he is 8 for 15 with two doubles and a homer.

Victorino was batting righthanded against Vogelsong, something he has been doing because of a sore left hamstring. Victorino's only other homer hitting righthanded against a righthander was Sept. 24, 2010 off R.A. Dickey.

Switch hitters often hit righthanded against a knuckleball.

Pedroia walked and went to third on a two-out double by Nava. But Bogaerts grounded to shortstop He is 0 for 2 and has left five runners on base.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Giants 0: Peavy had an easy first inning. Then Vogelsong retired the Sox in order.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 1, Giants 0: Carp's sacrifice fly drove in Ellsbury, who had singled and advanced to third after Victorino was hit by a pitch and Pedroia singled.

Middlebrooks singled to reload the bases but Nava popped to left and Bogaerts grounded to second (off the pitcher's glove) in his first at-bat.

Pre-game: Good evening from AT&T Park and the second game of this series. It'll be Jake Peavy against Ryan Vogelsong.

We'll have updates every inning or so. Please feel free to leave your comments.

One note: The Giants changed their lineup and now have Joaquin Arias playing third base instead of Pablo Sandoval.

Buchholz throws 46 pitches in simulated game; no appeal for Dempster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 06:23 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Clay Buchholz threw 46 pitches in a three-inning simulated game this afternoon. He faced teammates David Ross, Mike Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts.

Buchholz looked to be throwing pretty well, mixing in all of his pitches. His strike percentage went up significantly after the first inning.

We'll have more later from John Farrell about what comes next for Buchholz.

Also, Ryan Dempster said he will not appeal his five-game suspension. So he could pitch a week from today when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park

Game 128: Red Sox at Giants

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 06:14 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (74-53)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Carp 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Nava LF
Bogaerts SS
Ross C
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (9-5, 4.41).

GIANTS (55-69)
Blanco CF
Scutaro 2B
Belt 1B
Posey RF
Pence RF
Sandoval 3B
Kieschnick LF
Crawford SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75).

Game time: 10:15 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI,

Red Sox vs. Vogelsong: Drew 1-5, Gomes 0-3, Napoli 0-2, Ortiz 0-2, Victorino 0-2, Peavy 0-1.

Giants vs. Peavy: Francoeur 11-32, Sandoval 3-10, Pence 1-6, Scutaro 0-4, Arias 1-3, Blanco 0-3, Torres 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have a +104 run differential this season. Thirteen interleague games account for 49 runs of that.

Notes: Peavy is making his fourth start for the Sox. He is 12-9, 3.51 in 25 career starts against the Giants, the last coming on April 21, 2009. ... Vogelsong is making his third start since coming off the disabled list. He was out from May 20 to Aug. 9 after breaking his right hand while swinging. Vogelsong has faced the Sox once his career, that coming back on June 19, 2005 when he three three innings of relief. ... The Sox are 10-3 against the National League this season. ... Ellsbury is 7 of his last 38 with 13 strikeouts in his last eight games. ... Nava has reached base safely in 31 consecutive starts. ... Ross is playing for the first time since June 14.

Song of the Day: "What's My Name" by DMX.

Ryan Dempster suspended, fined

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 20, 2013 03:03 PM
Righthander Ryan Dempster was suspended by Major League Baseball for five games and fined an undisclosed amount on Tuesday for hitting Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez with a pitch on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was also fined for his vehement protest to umpire Brian O'Nora. Girardi was ejected, Dempster was not.

Dempster hit Rodriguez with a fastball on a 3-0 count in the second inning of the nationally televised game.

Dempster denied it was intentional. In its news release announcing the discipline, MLB explained the move was for "intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez."

"I was just trying to pitch inside," said Dempster, who threw behind Rodriguez with his first pitch.

Rodriguez later hit a solo home run off Dempster in the sixth inning, and had three hits and scored twice.

"Whether you like me or hate, that was wrong. That was unprofessional and silly. It was kind of a silly way to get someone hurt on your team as well," Rodriguez said.

Dempster's suspension began Tuesday. He said he would not appeal.

Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.

Farrell: Xander Bogaerts at shortstop tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 01:33 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Monday that Xander Bogaerts would start against the Giants on Tuesday. Turns out it will be at shortstop.

Farrell told MLB Network Radio that Bogaerts will replace Stephen Drew in the lineup. It would be the major league debut for the 20-year-old.

In other news:

• The Indians today released Daisuke Matsuzaka, who spent all season in Triple A Columbus. The 32-year-old is now a free agent.

Matsuzaka was 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA in six seasons for the Red Sox. The so-called "best pitcher on the planet" had two solid seasons before going 17-22, 5.53 and making only 55 starts in the four seasons that followed.

Ryan Dempster facing suspension

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 01:13 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster is likely to be suspended by Major League Baseball at some point today for intentionally hitting controversial Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that news earlier today and several MLB sources confirmed that an announcement is pending.

Dempster threw his first pitch behind Rodriguez, threw two pitches inside and then hit Rodriguez on the elbow. He was not ejected.

"That baseball is a weapon. It’s not a tennis ball. ... It’s a weapon, and it can do a lot of damage to someone’s life," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday before the Yankees played a doubleheader against Toronto.

"And that’s why I was so upset about it. You can express your opinion and be upset with someone, but you just can’t start throwing baseballs at people. I mean, it’s scary."

Girardi was ejected Sunday and nearly punched umpire Brian O'Nora as he flailed his arms about in anger.

Dempster being suspended would not affect the rotation much. With Thursday's day off, the Sox could go with John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Jake Peavy against the Dodgers. They're also off on Monday.

Ask Nick: What will happen at first base?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 20, 2013 01:00 PM
First of all, thank you for all of the responses on the Ryan Dempster/Alex Rodriguez incident.

My position was that Dempster was in the wrong and cost his team a game just to make a point, whatever that point was. He fired up the Yankees at a time when he was leading, 2-0.

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
There were hundreds of emails in support of the stance that it was the wrong time and the wrong thing to do. There were two emails supporting the decision to throw at A-Rod and one of them was sophomoric but consistent with the way this emailer thinks.

The Red Sox are out West in San Francisco and are coming off a much-needed strong performance from Jon Lester in a 7-0 win Monday. They’ve been losing series recently (Kansas City, Toronto, New York), and Tampa Bay is winning again. This is going to be quite a race to the finish.

The West is never a great place to turn things around, but the defending World Series champion Giants are a shadow of themselves, and the Red Sox should clean up.

The Red Sox have decided their righthanded-bat acquisition is going to be Xander Bogaerts. They need help against lefty starters, and Bogaerts, 20 years old, will be the one chosen to help that.

More questions this week about the “future” at first base, concern that Mike Carp isn’t playing enough, and future legal issues with A-Rod.

Here we go:
 
How do you see the 1B situation shaping up next year?  It seems that Napoli has had a good enough year to get a decent contract, but perhaps not good enough for a multiyear re-sign. Do you think that they stay in-house with Nava/Carp or even Middlebrooks? Or will they make a splash by making a trade or going all in on Abreu?
Ben, Phoenix
My guess is they stay in-house. A lot depends on Middlebrooks and how he finishes off the season. If he finishes strong and with power, he could move to first because he does a lot of work there before games. That would allow the Red Sox to move Xander Bogaerts to third and re-sign Stephen Drew. That’s one scenario for sure. If Bogaerts stays at short and Middlebrooks at third, then Carp/Nava is probably in play. If the Red Sox could find a power-hitting righthanded first baseman, they’d do it. Not feeling a Napoli return right now, but that could change as well. He tends to get hot in September.

Can your organization start a legal action saying that if A-Rod loses his appeal, all the games that he played since he started his appeal should be forfeited? If he loses the appeal, that means he was playing as an illegal player. Why is the A-Rod appeal taking so long? Just publicizing A-Rod forfeited games would be great.
Jimbo, Mililani, Hawaii

You can start legal action against anyone anytime if there’s a valid reason. I’m sure there will be legal action outside of this arbitration process, but I doubt it would have to do with the forfeiting of games. The appeal process was bargained by the union and the players and MLB. It’s in the CBA. But other legal issues could arise. There’s too much money at stake -- $34 million. The appeal isn’t taking that long. There are time constraints. I believe the whole process from the hearing to the decision is 45 days.

If Napoli is down for a while, why would they not just play Carp? He seems to have been consistently good at 1B and at the plate. Is there any reason he isn't being given the chance to play more regularly?
Jason, North Stonington, Conn.

Carp should get more playing time, I agree. He’s a really good hitter. Not sure why they spot him like they do. It would be good to see him over a long stretch to see how he handles it and also to see if he might be your future full-time first baseman.

It seems like Clay Buchholz is not only injury-prone but one of those players who doesn't know the difference between pain and injury. With the club fighting for a division title and others players playing hurt (Pedroia comes to mind), doesn't this kind of thing cause division on a ball club?
Charles, Boxford
He seems to be feeling better. Unfortunately, they have these guys on “throwing programs” and these things are like watching paint dry. The throwing progression is painfully slow, but management has to stick with them because it’s a way to measure and document the progress of the pitcher. The documentation part is important; in case of reinjury, the pitcher could have a claim against the team.

Click the full entry button for more Q&A.

FULL ENTRY

Red Sox leave the Giants looking tired

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2013 02:08 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox finished their game against the Yankees at 12:19 a.m. on Monday. First pitch against the San Francisco Giants was 22 hours and 57 minutes later and 3,000 miles away.

In between, the Sox caught some sleep in their own beds then reported back to Fenway Park in the morning for a bus ride to Logan Airport and a flight here. Most of the players came to AT&T Park directly from San Francisco International Airport.

But the energetic Sox put 12 runners on base in the first five innings against the San Francisco Giants and scored four runs. That led to an impressive 7-0 victory against the Giants.

Let's be clear: The Giants (55-69) aren't very good and it's not like the Red Sox came here in a covered wagon. But there are days when the schedule beats you and the Sox didn't let that happen.

"The one think that we talked [about] before the game was to not make a big issue out of the travel," manager John Farrell said. "We took a morning flight rather than a night flight. In the end that's kind of what it is."

Jon Lester was the key. The big lefty, who flew here Sunday ahead of the team, threw 8.1 shutout innings. He scattered six hits, walked two and stuck out three.

"Jon was exactly what we needed. We needed a strong pitching performance and on a night when we could use a guy to go deep in the game, he gave us just that," Farrell said.

Lester is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. He has been steadily edging back to being the pitcher he was at the start of the season. Lester wasn't overpowering against the Giants, but he used a good fastball and one of the best cutters of the season to get 10 outs on the ground and assorted pop-ups.

In two career starts at AT&T Park, the first coming in 2010, Lester has allowed one run over 17.1 innings. He beat Tim Lincecum both times.

"Today I felt like I was pretty strong and had a good fastball that we were able to locate to both sides of the plate," Lester said.

Offensively, the Red Sox had a varied attack. Shane Victorino (3 for 4) and Daniel Nava (3 for 4) were each on base four times and drove in a run. Nava's OBP is up .382 and he has reached base safely in 31 consecutive starts.

Farrell said Nava looks stronger after getting some days off.

"Honestly, nothing's changed," Nava said. "That's how baseball goes. Sometimes the ball falls. Sometimes you get a pitch to hit and you hit it. I try not to look too much into it or it'll drive you crazy."

Nava was thrilled to be back in the Bay Area. He gets to see his daughter, Faith, for the first time since Aug. 7, two days after she was born.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two more hits and a walk. He's hitting .272 with a .797 OPS and leads the team with 34 doubles. Salty is 12 of his last 32 with six doubles and five RBIs.

"I'm seeing some pitches that are up and putting them in play," said Saltalamacchia, who has thrived with more playing time. "I've always felt the more I catch the better I play. You're in the game, you're involved."

Also:

• The Sox are 10-3 in interleague games, the Giants 4-11. ... David Ortiz played an uneventful eight innings at first base. ... Will Middlebrooks since being called up: 12 of 27, five extra-base hits, five RBIs and six walks in nine games.

Final: Red Sox 7, Giants 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 10:10 PM

Game over: Red Sox 7, Giants 0: Jon Lester pitched one of his best games of the season, taking a shutout into the ninth inning as the Red Sox beat the Giants, 7-0, before a crowd of 41,585 at AT&T Park.

With Tampa Bay beating Baltimore, 4-3, the Red Sox maintained a one-game lead in the division.

Lester (11-7) scattered six hits, walked two and struck out three. He threw 115 pitches over 8.1 innings. Brandon Workman finished the game.

The rest of the Sox seemed to have plenty of energy as they collected 11 hits off Tim Lincecum (6-13) and two San Francisco relievers. Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava were each 3 for 4 with an RBI.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 7, Giants 0: Pedroia tripled, Saltalamacchia doubled and Nava singled of Jose Mijares. Lester back out to try to finish off his shutout.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Giants 0: Lester put two runners on but got Scutaro to ground into a double play to end the inning. He's at 107 pitches.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Giants 0: Lester is working on a three-hit shutout. The Sox offense has quieted down against Moscoso.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 5, Giants 0: Ellsbury singled and Lincecum was replaced by Guillermo Moscoso. He hit Victorino before Pedroia grounded into another double play. A run scored on a wild pitch.

Line for Lincecum: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. He has a 5.40 ERA in six starts since his no-hitter.

The Giants mounted their first real threat when Brett Pill walked with one out and took second on a single by Torres. Lester got former teammate Marco Scutaro on a fly ball to right field before Brandon Belt flied to left to end the inning

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Giants 0: Nava (2 for 2 with a walk) singled with two outs and scored on Drew's double to center. Middlebrooks was intentionally passed again and Lester fanned looking.

Pence reached on a Drew error. Pedroia and Drew then turned a slick double play on Sandoval before Francoeur grounded out to Middlebrooks.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Giants 0: Victorino (3 for 3) singled with one out but the struggling Pedroia grounded into a double play. Lester lost his perfect game when Torres led off with a single. But he retired the side from there.

13 career innings at AT&T Park for Lester, 1 earned run.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Giants 0: Salty walked and Nava singled with one out. After Drew grounded out, the Giants intentionally walked Middlebrooks to get to Lester and he grounded out to second.

Lester then retired the side in order. Nine up and nine down for the big lefty.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Giants 0: Salty (who is making himself a lot of money) led off with a single. Nava walked then Drew singled to load the bases. Middlebrooks did his job with a sacrifice fly to right field. Nava went to third on the play and scored when Lincecum stumbled on the mound and balked. Lester bunted Drew to second. Ellsbury then reached on catcher's interference for the fourth time this season. That paid off for the Sox when Victorino singled in a run. Lincecum is already at 45 pitches.

Lester retired the side in order again. He has thrown 25 pitches.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Giants 0: Lincecum worked around a one-out double by Victorino. Pedroia struck out and is now now 26 of 123 (.211) since the All-Star break with .572 OPS over 137 plate appearances.

Lester retired the Giants in order.

Pre-game: Good evening from beautiful AT&T Park and tonight's game against the Giants. It'll be Jon Lester against Tim Lincecum.

We'll have updates all night, so hang out and leave your comments.

Bogaerts arrives . . . on the bench for now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 07:32 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox called up their top prospect on Monday. But 20-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts wasn’t in the starting lineup against the San Francisco Giants.

Bogaerts is joining the Red Sox to provide depth on the left side of the infield and not necessarily to play every day, manager John Farrell said. The plan is to start him on Tuesday night and go from there.

“It’s definitely an exciting day,” said Bogaerts, who was playing dominos with some teammates at Triple A Pawtucket when he got a telephone call on Sunday night summoning him to Boston. “I was surprised.”

Farrell said the righthanded hitting Bogaerts would be a compliment to lefthanded hitting shortstop Stephen Drew.

“That’s not to say a platoon situation by any means,” the manager said. “We’ll look to find the best matchups.”

Drew has hit well since coming off the disabled list on July 20. But he also has hit .195 with a low .593 OPS against lefthanders this season.

Farrell said Bogaerts would also play some games at third base. But he indicated there would be more games at shortstop for the rookie.

Bogaerts hit .297 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs in 116 games for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket. He hit .298 with a .926 against lefties in Triple A. Scouts and other talent evaluators generally rate Bogaerts as one of the top three or four prospects in baseball.

“You’re talking about a young, exciting offensive player; really a very good player all around,” Farrell said. “At 20 years of age, he’s still developing. He is a person in his abilities who will give us a shot in the arm and make an impact here.”

Farrell claimed the promotion was not related to the Red Sox losing seven of 10 games and three series in a row.

“It’s an opportunity while we’re on the road to bring Xander here and get his career started,” Farrell said.

Bogaerts is the first native of Aruba in the majors since righthander Sidney Ponson in 2009. Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, who managed Bogaerts in the World Baseball Classic, was happy to hear of the promotion.

“The more guys from the islands who come up, it makes us feel proud because our program is working, the talent is there. We put a lot of work in with these guys. Now they get here and they get to show it off,” he said.

Bogaerts was at AT&T Park for the semifinals of the WBC on March 18 but didn’t play for the Netherlands.

Middlebrooks, Farrell said, is now the backup second baseman. Given that he has never played second base, that would certainly be interesting.

Also:

• The Red Sox also made a bullpen move. Rubby De La Rosa was demoted to Triple A Pawtucket after a series of rocky outings and righthander Brayan Villarreal was called up. Villarreal, 26, was obtained from the Tigers on July 30 as part of the three-team trade that landed Jake Peavy.

“Given what we’ve had to come through the last couple of nights out of the bullpen, we needed a guy who had the ability to pitch a couple of innings, a fresh arm,” Farrell said.

Villarreal had a strong 2012 season for the Tigers, appearing in 50 games and posting a 2.63 earned run average. He struck out 66 in 54 2/3 innings and allowed only 38 hits.

Villarreal started this season with Detroit but was hit hard in seven games and dropped to Triple A Toledo. A thumb injury set him further back. He has pitched in four minor league games for the Sox and struck out five in five innings.

“He’s starting to throw the ball consistent to where he was a couple of years ago,” Farrell said. “It’s a power arm that’s got some success in the big leagues.”

• The Red Sox released righthander Jose Contreras from his minor league contract. The 41-year-old appeared in eight games for Pawtucket and did not pitch well. He allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and six walks over 9.2 innings.

• Farrell doesn’t believe Ryan Dempster should be suspended for hitting Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night, saying again that Dempster was simply pitching inside against the controversial Yankees slugger. Dempster is scheduled to face the Dodgers on Saturday.

• Mike Napoli has been out of the lineup for three consecutive games with a sore left foot. Farrell said the first baseman is responding well to treatment and should return before the end of the series.

• The Red Sox left Boston shortly after 10 a.m. and arrived in San Francisco at 1:11 p.m. local time. A bus with Farrell, the coaches and a large group of players went immediately to AT&T Park. The Sox elected to spend Sunday night in Boston rather than fly out after the Yankees game, which would have been around 2 a.m.

Jon Lester, who starts tonight, flew ahead of the team along with David Ross and Jake Peavy, who starts on Tuesday.

See Tuesday's Globe for more on Bogaerts.

Red Sox make a flurry of roster moves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 07:24 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Here are the roster moves the Red Sox made today:

• INF Xander Bogaerts selected to major league roster.

• RHP Brayan Villarreal recalled from Triple A Pawtucket

• C David Ross activated from disabled list.

• INF Brock Holt optioned to Pawtucket.

• C Ryan Lavarnway optioned to Pawtucket.

• RHP Rubby De La Rosa optioned to Pawtucket.

• RHP Clay Buchholz transferred to 60-day disabled list.

• RHP Andrew Bailey transferred to 60-day disabled list.

Note: Bailey and Buchholz going on the 60-day DL makes room for Bogaerts and Ross on the 40-man roster. Buchholz has already been out more than 60 days so he is eligible to be activated at any time. Once Buchholz returns, the Red Sox would need to create a spot on the 40-man roster.

Game 127: Red Sox at Giants

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 06:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (73-53)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Nava LF
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 4.31).

GIANTS (55-68)
Torres CF
Scutaro 2B
Belt 1B
Posey C
Pence RF
Sandoval 3B
Francoeur LF
Crawford SS
Pitching: RHP Tim Lincecum (6-12, 4.38).

Game time: 10:15 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN, ESPN2 / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Lincecum: Victorino 10-46, Drew 9-42, Gomes 0-3, Napoli 0-3, Nava 0-2, Ortiz 1-2, Lester 0-1, Morales 0-1.

Giants vs. Lester: Scutaro 7-22, Francoeur 1-13, Pence 0-5, Posey 0-4, Torres 1-4, Sandoval 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 9-3 against National League teams with eight games left to play,

Notes: The Red Sox start a six-game, seven-day West Coast trip amidst a flurry of roster moves. Infielder Xander Bogaerts and righthanded reliever Brayan Villarreal were called up from Triple A Pawtucket and David Ross was activated off the 60-day disabled list ... Lester and Lincecum, both 29, grew up roughly 30 miles apart from each other in Washington state. Their careers have taken similar paths, too. After much success, they have struggled the last two seasons. Lester is 19-21, 4.60 in his last 58 starts and Lincecum is 16-27, 4.82, in his last 57 starts. They faced each other on June 27, 2010, at AT&T Park. Lester pitched one of the best games of his career (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) and Lincecum was off (3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) before leaving with an injury ... The Red Sox are 6-3 against the Giants all-time, 3-3 in San Francisco ... Will Middlebrooks has hit in eight straight at 12 of 26 (.461) with five extra-base hits and four RBIs ... David Ortiz is 19 of his last 49 with three homers and seven RBIs over 12 games ... Jacoby Ellsbury is 6 of 34 with 11 strikeouts in his last seven games ... Rookie relievers Drake Britton (11 hits and 6 ER in his last 5.1 IP) and Brandon Workman (14 hits and 8 ER in his last 10 IP) have run afoul of scouting reports a bit ... Craig Breslow has thrown 10.1 IP consecutve scoreless innings in his last 11 outings.

Song of the Day: "X Marks The Spot" by Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers.

A quick glossary on some pitching terms

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 10:45 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — A reader named Dave emailed to ask about Clay Buchholz throwing four "simulated innings" on Saturday and what that meant.

It was a really good question. So here are rough definitions of some of the pitching terms you'll hear tossed around:

Throwing a bullpen: Every starter will throw in the bullpen at least once between starts. It's a way to maintain their arm strength and stay sharp. Typically these sessions take place early in the afternoon before batting practice.

Long toss: Just like it sounds, it's tossing a ball from long distances. Pitchers will start at 60 feet and go further back, out to 120 feet. It's a good way to build up arm strength.

Throwing from flat ground: Pitchers often will throw their pitches from 60 feet to a squatting catcher while standing in the outfield. It's less stressful on their arms to throw from flat ground than from a mound.

Simulated innings: While throwing in the bullpen, pitchers will toss 15 or so pitches then sit down for a few minutes. Then get back up again and throw 15 more pitches. This replicates throwing innings in a game. Sometimes a teammate or coach will stand at the plate holding a bat.

Simulated game: This is basically pitching to teammates who are allowed to swing. The point is usually to get three outs per inning or throw a certain number of pitches. The batters don't run the bases and there aren't any fielders. It's just the pitcher, catcher and hitter. A coach or the catcher will call balls and strikes.

Rehabilitation assignment: A player on the disabled list can be assigned to a minor league team as part of their recovery. Position players have a limit of 20 days and pitchers 30. Veteran players can refuse such an assignment but that rarely happens. Typically, at least with pitchers, a team prefers a Triple A or Double A home game.

Throwing program: When a pitcher is coming back from injury, they almost always have a series of steps to take first. They progress from playing catch to long toss and then to flat ground, bullpens, simulated innings, simulated games and then a rehab assignment.

That may sound like a lot. But with the money teams have invested in pitchers, methodical building up only makes sense.

Pitching matchups for the Giants series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 09:15 AM

Monday: LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 4.31) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (6-12, 4.38), 10:15 p.m., NESN, ESPN2.

Tuesday: RHP Jake Peavy (9-5, 4.41) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75), 10:15 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: LHP Felix Doubront (8-6, 3.95) vs. RHP Chad Gaudin (5-2, 3.06), 3:45 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Report: Bogaerts being called up

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2013 04:13 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox have decided to call up their top prospect, 20-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts has hit .297 with an .865 OPS in 116 games for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season. He has 15 home runs and 67 RBIs. Bogaerts will replace Brock Holt on the 25-man roster and serve as a utility player who can spell shortstop Stephen Drew.

Bogaerts is a righthanded hitter and his presence could help the Red Sox improve their production against lefthanded starters, something that has been an issue since the All-Star break. With Pawtucket, Bogaerts has hit .298/.452/.474 against lefthanders

Scouts and media evaluators generally rank Bogaerts among the top four or five prospects in the game. With the Red Sox having lost seven of their last 10 games, team executives hope that Bogaerts will provide a spark. He would be the youngest Red Sox position player since 20-year-old Dwight Evans in 1972.

Catcher David Ross will come off the 60-day disabled list as well before the Red Sox start a three-game series against the Giants on Monday. Ryan Lavarnway will return to Pawtucket.

To make room for Bogaerts and Ross on the 40-man roster, the Sox are expected to place injured pitchers Andrew Bailey and Clay Buchholz on the 60-day disabled list.

Bailey is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Buchholz has been out longer than 60 days already and the move is retroactive.

News on the roster moves was first reported by WEEI.com.

Middlebrooks keeps hot streak going

Posted by Staff August 19, 2013 01:47 AM

There was a time when Will Middlebrooks slugged three home runs, went 4 for 5, and helped the Red Sox cruise to a 13-0 thrashing of the Toronto Blue Jays.

It happened in just the sixth game of the season, but it seems like ages ago. Middlebrooks slumped during the end of June, was demoted to Pawtucket, and didn’t return until Aug. 10.

But upon his return, the 24-year-old has 10 hits in 23 at bats (.435) and a soaring 1.040 OPS.

Although the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 9-6, Sunday night, Middlebrooks continued on his tear, going 2 for 3 with an opposite field home run, a double, and a walk.

In the fifth inning, he put a charge into a 93 mile-per-hour fastball from CC Sabathia and sent it ricocheting into the Boston bullpen to give his team a 5-3 lead.

“My first at-bat, he threw me all off-speed so I figured he’d try to tag me a little bit differently the second time around, thinking I’d go out there and look for his off-speed stuff,” Middlebrooks said. “He came fastball in first pitch and I shot off the plate, so I figured he’d throw another heater.”

After the game, manager John Farrell had plenty of praise for Middlebrooks, who seems recharged after his long stay in Pawtucket.

“He came back to us more squared up in his stance, and it’s allowed him to keep the bat through the strike zone with more plate coverage,” Farrell said. “He’s more, I think, relaxed, he looks at ease in the box. Much different from when he got sent out. He’s come back feeling pretty good about himself.”

Although the game got away from the Red Sox, who have lost seven of their last 10 games and three straight series for the second time this season, Middlebrooks seemed relaxed heading into the upcoming six-game West Coast trip.

“There’s no concern here,” Middlebrooks said. “Nobody is worried, nobody is panicking. We’re a really good team. We’re going to be good throughout the rest of the season.”

Drama at Fenway Park

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 18, 2013 09:03 PM

Ryan Dempster decided he would be the one to send a message to Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night. He threw one behind A-Rod's legs and then plunked him on the left side on a 3-0 pitch to start the second inning.

Both dugouts and bullpens emptied but there was no brawl.

Amazingly, Dempster was not thrown out of the game by plate umpire Brian O’Nora, who instead issued warnings to both benches. That sent Yankees manager Joe Girardi into a rage and he was thrown out of the game.

Once warnings were given to both teams, that meant any CC Sabathia retaliation would result in him being tossed from the game. Sabathia retired the Sox in order in the second. The Yankees can ill afford to lose Sabathia this early with a thin bullpen.

Unfortunately for Dempster, the hit by pitch led to the Yankees scoring two runs. Curtis Granderson doubled, Eduardo Nunez singled him in, and Lyle Overbay’s sacrifice fly scored the tying run.

If the Red Sox lose this one, you have to question Dempster’s “message.”

It’s no secret that Rodriguez, never a popular player around baseball and even less so now with a 211-game suspension looming as he appeals, is now a bull's-eye for players who abhor the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Dempster is obviously one of them.

The crowd was certainly behind Dempster as they continue to boo Rodriguez every time he steps to the plate.

Rodriguez also made no motion toward Dempster, but was walked to first base by the Yankee trainer. A-Rod seemed completely bewildered by the chain of events.

What was interesting is that A-Rod did receive support from his teammates who left the dugout and the bullpen.

Final: Yankees 9, Red Sox 6

Posted by Staff August 18, 2013 07:51 PM

Final: Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: The Red Sox could not overcome the three-run deficit. Ortiz singled and Gomes walked, but Salty flied out to end the game. Rivera earned the save, while Dempster fell to 0-6 against the Yankees in 8 career starts.

Top of the 9th: Yankees 9, Boston 6: New York stretched the lead to three runs. With Jayson Nix on third base, Stewart singled to left field to bring the run home. Rubby De La Rosa, the fifth reliever of the night, pitched the ninth inning.

End of the 8th: Yankees 8, Red Sox 6 – The Yankees nearly extended their lead in the top of the inning, but left the bases loaded. With two runners on, Tazawa replaced Morales. Rodriguez singled. With two outs, Granderson flied out to left. Will Middlebrooks doubled with two outs in the bottom frame and took third on a wild pitch, but Boston couldn't capitalize. Ellsbury struck out to end the inning – his fourth of the night.

Bottom of the 7th: Yankees 8, Red Sox 6 – Boston goes down easy. Ortiz struck out swinging, and Saltalamacchia grounded into 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top of the 7th: Yankees 8, Red Sox 6 – The Yankees added another run via a pinch-hit single from Mark Reynolds. The hit came off of Franklin Morales, but Brandon Workman was charged with the run.

Bottom of the 6th: Yankees 7, Red Sox 6 – Middlebrooks walked to start the inning, but was stranded. Ellsbury and Victorino struck out, and Pedroia grounded out. Shawn Kelley replaced Sabathia and retired Victorino and Pedroia. Sabathia's line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K.

Top of the 6th: Yankees 7, Red Sox 6 – After two quiet innings, the Yankees snapped back with four runs, sparked by a home run from Rodriguez. Dempster surrendered two more hits, and was finished after walking Stewart. Drake Britton replaced him, and gave up a base-clearing triple to Gardner. The ball was in the right-center gap, and Victorino ran a long way to try and make the play. Brandon
Workman replaced Britton, who faced just three batters. Workman retired soriano to end the inning. Dempster's line: 5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 K, 107 pitches.

End of the 5th: Red Sox 6, Yankees 3 – Just like the fourth inning, Dempster made easy work of the Yankees, retiring the side in order on seven pitches. In the bottom half of the inning, Boston added a run after Nava drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to score Pedroia. One fan was so happy that he proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes.

End of the 4th: Red Sox 5, Yankees 3 – After a quiet top half of the inning, the Red Sox take the lead with a pair of runs. Drew's sacrifice to fly to left field scored Saltalamacchia, who led off the inning with a double. Middlebrooks added a home run to opposite field and into the Boston bullpen.

Bottom of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Yankees 3 – All knotted up. Victorino led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Ortiz grounded out to Overbay and the speedy Victorino scored.

Top of the 3rd: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2 – Drew made a nice diving stop to get Rodriguez out at first, but it was enough to score Ichiro and put the Yankees ahead.

Bottom of the 2nd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 2 – With warnings issued, it wouldn't be smart for Sabathia to hit anybody. Instead, he used just nine pitches to retire Drew, Middlebrooks and Ellsbury to quickly get out of the inning.

Top of the 2nd: Yankees 2, Red Sox 2 – Only a matter of time until a pitcher plunked Alex Rodriguez, and Dempster didn't take long. After throwing an 89-mile-per-hour fastball behind Rodriguez's legs on the first pitch, Dempster hit him on a 3-0 count. Manager Joe Girardi shot out of the dugout like a cannon and was ejected, and the benches emptied. Dempster was warned, but not ejected. Granderson doubled and Eduardo Nunez scored A-Rod on a single. Overbay hit a sacrifice fly to score Granderson.

Bottom of the 1st: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0 – The Sox scored a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly from Jonny Gomes and a two-out, RBI single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. After throwing a first-pitch strike to Jacoby Ellsbury to start the inning, Sabathia walked him on four straight pitches and gave up a hit to Shane Victorino. Pedroia lined out to left, but Sabathia fell into trouble again and walked David Ortiz on a 3-2 count.

Top of the 1st: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0 – Ryan Dempster started the game efficiently, striking out Brett Gardner and Ichiro. But he gave up a double to Robinson Cano, and after throwing a wild pitch to Alfonso Soriano, faced trouble with Cano on third. Dempster escaped after getting Soriano to ground to shortstop to end the inning. His best pitch was an 82-mile-per-hour splitter, which Ichiro fanned at for the strikeout.

Pregame: Welcome to Fenway Park for game 126 and the weekend finale against New York. After splitting the first two games, the Sox are looking for a win before heading west to face San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pedroia banged up but still in the lineup

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 18, 2013 06:35 PM

pedroia081813.jpg

Even though Dustin Pedroia was limping through the clubhouse after fouling a ball off his left ankle last night, Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't think twice about putting the second baseman in the lineup tonight.

"If his name wasn't in the lineup, I guarantee you he'd be in the office," Farrell said.

No one in baseball has played more games than Pedroia's 124. He's started all but one game at second this year. He's reached base in 108.

If Pedroia wants to play, Farrell said he's not getting in the way.

"He's earned the right to speak his mind and we trust what he says with how he feels or what he's feeling at the plate or any area of his game," Farrell said. "So honestly, coming in here today, this wasn't even a second thought in my mind that he wouldn't be in the lineup."

Pedroia went down in the eighth inning, fouling the ball off the inside of his front leg. He finished his at-bat but didn't take the field in the ninth. X-rays following the game were negative.

"He's banged up a little bit, but he's ready to go," Farrell said.

At the start of the season, Pedroia quietly played through a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and earned his fourth All-Star nod.

"He leads by example," Farrell said. "In situations like this or his thumb or how he goes about every at-bat, the way he plays defense. We also know he's a vocal leader in his own right, but his actions speak volumes and much louder than anything he can possibly say. He's full of grit as we know and sets the tone for how we play this game."

Game 126: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 18, 2013 04:15 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (73-52)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Nava 1B
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50 ERA).

YANKEES (63-59)
Gardner CF
Ichiro RF
Cano 2B
Soriano LF
Rodriguez 3B
Granderson DH
Nunez SS
Overbay 1B
Stewart C
Pitching: CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Sabathia: Ortiz 14-58, Pedroia 16-52, Ellsbury 9-33, Gomes 7-32, Napoli 7-31, Victorino 8-24, Saltalamacchia 5-19, Nava 2-10, Drew 2-7, Carp 0-5, Middlebrooks 1-5, Lavarnway 0-3, Dempster 1-2.

Yankees vs. Dempster: Reynolds 4-15, Overbay 3-12, Wells 4-11, Gardner 5-10, Suzuki 2-9, Cano 2-8, Nunez 3-8, Granderson 2-4, Soriano 1-4, Stewart 0-4, Rodriguez 2-2, Sabathia 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are still the only team in the major that hasn’t lost four straight this season.

Notes: Having split the first two games of the three-game weekend set with the Yankees, the Red Sox are looking to avoid losing their third straight series. They’ve only dropped three straight series once the season … The Sox have lost six of their last nine and seven on their past 12 … They are 7-4 for the season against the Yankees. The two teams play seven games in Sept. Three at Fenway … Through the first 12 games of a stretch that will see the Red Sox play 16 of 19 on the road, the Sox are 5-7 … Dempster is 0-5 in seven starts against the Yankees with a 6.98 ERA … Sabathia is 3-5 with a 6.06 ERA in his past 10 starts. He’s given up 26 home runs this season, 14 on the road … David Ortiz is hitting .378 (17-for-45) with three homers and six RBIs in his past 11 games … Will Middlebrooks has hit safely in all seven games since being recalled. Over that stretch, he’s hitting .435 (10-for-23) with two doubles and three RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Triangle Ship," by Terrace Martin feat. Kendrick Lamar

For John Lackey, a satisfying victory

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 10:29 PM

That John Lackey was sharp against Hiroki Kuroda set a tone the rest of the Red Sox picked up on in Saturday's 6-1 victory.

The righthander allowed one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings and walked off the field with a four-run lead. He struck out only one but got the Yankees to ground into 14 outs. Lackey handled five of the groundouts himself.

“We needed a win today especially as a team after the last few games,” he said.

Lackey didn’t allow a run until the fifth inning. By then the Sox already had a 3-0 lead.

Lackey got three ground outs in the sixth inning, the second when Dustin Pedroia robbed Alex Rodriguez of a hit with a diving stop. The crowd broke into cheers then booed loudly as Rodriguez returned to the dugout.

Rodriguez was 0 for 3 with a walk and heard jeers throughout the game.

Lackey told the Globe last week last week he didn’t think it was fair for Rodriguez to be playing in the pennant race despite his right to appeal a 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs.

If shutting down the game’s most unpopular player gave him any satisfaction, Lackey didn’t express it.

“We’re just trying to win a game he was just as important as any other guy,” he said.

With two outs in the seventh inning, Lackey hit Chris Stewart with a pitch. Craig Breslow replaced him and Lackey walked off knowing his first win since July 12 was secure.

Meanwhile:

• The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry does not cross the lines of friendship, it seems. David Ortiz and Rodriguez met in the player’s parking lot after the game and drove away in Ortiz’s SUV.

• Will Middlebrooks, 2 for 3 with a walk, has hit safely in all seven games he has played since returning from Pawtucket. He is 10 for 23 with three RBIs and three walks over the span.

• In a non-save situation, Koji Uehara extended his scoreless streak to 18 1/3 innings.

• David Ross was 0 for 4 and caught nine innings for Pawtucket and will be activated off the disabled list Monday barring any recurrence of concussion symptoms. That Ross was 1 for 16 in his five rehab games was not a concern, Farrell said.

• Marc Kudisch and Kerry O’Malley presented a robust rendition of the national anthem before the game. They will be in the free concert production of “Kiss Me, Kate” on Aug. 21 at the Hatch Shell.

• The two finalists in the US Amateur -- England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Australia’s Oliver Goss -- threw out first pitches after coming over from The County Club.

X-rays negative for Pedroia

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 08:42 PM

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his left ankle in the eighth inning. He stayed in to finish the at-bat but did not play the field in the ninth.

"He's sore," manager John Farrell said. "The foul ball got him just above the ankle on the shin. We'll check in the morning, but at this point we don't anticipate [him] missing any time."

Farrell said X-rays taken at Fenway Park were negative.

"Right now everything points to be being a negative situation. If he comes in [Sunday] with any increased soreness, we'll take every precaution needed," Farrell said.

Pedroia limped across the clubhouse after the game but did not speak to reporters.

On June 25, 2010, the second baseman fouled a ball off his left foot and broke the navicular bone. He returned for two games in August before undergoing season-ending surgery.

Final: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 04:14 PM

Game over: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1 - The Red Sox won a big game here Saturday afternoon and night to stop a three-game losing streak and prevent the first four-game losing streak of the season. The Red Sox got a big performance out of John Lackey (8-10), who threw 16 ground ball outs over 6-2/3 innings and out-pitched Hiroki Kuroda. The Red Sox took advantage of a terrible throwing error by Lyle Overbay in the fourth inning which opened the floodgates for a three-run inning to break a 0-0 deadlock. The Red Sox never looked back. David Ortiz hit his 24th homer and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in two runs with three hits. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara were all strong in relief. The game was played in 3:26 before a sellout of 37,517.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1 - Middlebrooks walked and Victorino singled, but the Sox couldn't add more to their lead.

Top 8th: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1 - Junichi Tazawa keeps the Yankees down, excites the crowd with a high, hard one to A-Rod, who flew out to right to end the inning.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1 - Ortiz homered to black tarp in center. That's 24 home runs and 77 RBI for the Big Papi.

Top 7th: Red Sox 5, Yankees 1 - The Yankees get two men on, but can't score. Lackey leaves after 6-2/3 innings, one run, six hits to a standing-O.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Yankees 1 - A wall double by Nava leads to a run when Salty singles to left with one out. After Middlebrooks struckout, Ellsbury doubled over Ichiro's head in right scoring the fifth run. Cano threw errantly toward the plate allowing Ellsbury to take third. That was Kuroda's night. Adam Warren came on.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1 - Make it 13 of 18 outs with ground balls. Lackey really dealing today when the Red Sox really needed a big performance against Kuroda, who is so tough.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1 - Kuroda recovered to retire the heart of the Red Sox order 1-2-3. Pedroia (line out to second), Ortiz (strike out) and Carp (grounder to first).

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1 - Lyle Overbay singled and Chris Stewart hit a ground-rule double down the third base line to start things off. All things considered, Lackey recovered and limited the damage to one run. He got Brett Gardner to tap back to the pitcher - Lackey's fifth assist - and Ichiro grounded out to second base to score a run. With two outs,a runner at third and Robinson Cano up, Lackey got Cano to ground out to second for the final out. Ten of Lackey's 15 outs have come on ground balls.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 0 - Bad throwing error by Lyle Overbay on what should have been a double-play grounder by Stephen Drew resulted in no outs and a run for the Red Sox. David Ortiz lined a ground-rule double to right to start the inning. Mike Carp followed with a single which advanced Ortiz to third. After Daniel Nava struck out, Drew grounded to Overbay who threw wide of Nunez at second and throw back to first was not in time as Ortiz scored. The Red Sox pulled off a double-steal, but Saltalamacchia struck out. Middlebrooks, however, reached on an infield hit up the middle to score Boston's second run. Ellsbury followed with a single to right scoring the third Sox run.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - The Yankees are really trying to force the issue in the running game knowing John Lackey has the slowest delivery to the plate of any Red Sox starter. Soriano, who was doubled off second base in the second inning, stroked his second hit but was caught stealing on a nice throw to second base by Saltalamacchia. Curtis Granderson singled and stole second base, but Nunez tapped back to the pitcher for the final out.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Will Middlebrooks singled to rightcenter, but was eliminated when Jacoby Ellsbury knocked into a double play. Victorino followed with an infield single to the shortstop hole, but Dustin Pedroia grounded out on a force.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Lackey has the sinker ball working. Three ground ball out by the top of the Yankee order - Gardner, Suzuki and Cano.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - With one out, Daniel Nava doubled off the left field wall. Drew advanced him to third on a fly ball to right, but Robinson Cano robbed Jarrod Saltalamacchia of a run-scoring single when he ranged deep behind second to field a grounder and throw him out.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Yankees loaded the bases as Lackey had control issues by walking two batters. He was bailed out by a double play when Curtis Granderson popped to Stephen Drew in short center and Alfonso Soriano didn't get back to second in time. Lackey then loaded the bases on a walk to Edwin Nunez and a single by Lyle Overbay, but he escaped arm when Chris Stewart flew out to center.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Started out encouraging with a Jacoby Ellsbury single to right. But Hiroki Kuroda struck out both Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia before retiring David Ortiz with a tapper back to the pitcher.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - John Lackey got three quick outs with two tap backs to the mound and a shift-related grounder to the right side by Robinson Cano.

Jerry Remy issues statement regarding tragedy

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 03:45 PM

Via Twitter, NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy just released the following statement regarding his son, Jared W. Remy, being charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to Jenn Martel and her family. Words cannot describe my wife's and my grief.

"Son or not, I am at a loss for words articulating my disgust and remorse over this senseless and tragic act.

"We are heartbroken,

"Jerry Remy"

Remy did not work Friday night's game and will not call the six games on the upcoming West Coast road trip. His status beyond that is uncertain.

Napoli injury changes Red Sox lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 01:40 PM

The Red Sox changed their lineup. Mike Napoli is out with a sore left foot.

"Mike Napoli is dealing with a foot ailment that is going to require him to be off his feet here today," Farrell said. "Something he's been dealing with for quite some time and aggravated last night on that double [in the ninth inning]. So when he came in today, felt like he needed a day down at a minimum."

Farrell added these details: "It's in that plantar fascia area of the left foot. He was examined today by our training staff. I'm sure once our team orthopod [Dr. Peter Asnis] is in here before game time that will take place again. This has been something that's been a maintenance issue for him for a little bit of time here."

Farrell was asked whether the injury has contributed to Napoli's poor performance at the plate. He is hitting .211 since July 1 with six home runs and 15 RBIs over 149 plate appearances.

"No, I can't say that has caused his swing to be less aggressive or it's caused him to not hit from a more powerful base," the manager said. "It's been something he's been dealing with but he has not expressed that as being a reason to why some of the streaks he's experienced."

Farrell intended to give Shane Victorino a day off to help with his sore left hamstring. That changed when Napoli was unable to go.

"Just kind of keeping the pulse of how guys are feeling physically and just building in a day when needed. Sometimes that's not afforded," Farrell said.

The new lineup:
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp 1B
Nava LF
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B

Also:

• Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen today and the next step would be to throw in a simulated game next week. Farrell said the righthander may not be going on the upcoming road trip and could throw that simulated game at Triple A Pawtucket.

The step after that would be for Buchholz to start a rehabilitation assignment and pitch in a game for the Paw Sox. Farrell said a second simulated game is possible, too.

"He's confident that he's making steady progress," Farrell said.

• Backup catcher David Ross is scheduled to catch nine innings for Pawtucket tonight. Ross is 1 for 12 in his rehab games for Portland and Pawtucket. Farrell said Ross would be activated as scheduled on Monday regardless of his performance at the plate.

Pedroia celebrates turning 30

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 12:21 PM

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Dustin Pedroia turned 30 today. What do you get for the man who has everything, except hair? Obviously a Sasquatch cake.

Pedroia is a big fan of the show "Finding Bigfoot" and his wife, Kelli, commissioned a special cake from Party Favors in Brookline.

Dustin and his two sons loved the cake. All he needs now is a win today.

Game 125: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 12:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (72-52)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp LF
Drew SS
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-10, 3.32).

YANKEES (63-58)
Gardner CF
Suzuki RF
Cano 2B
Soriano LF
Rodriguez 3B
Granderson DH
Nunez SS
Overbay 1B
Stewart C
Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33).

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Kuroda: Drew 8-29, Pedroia 8-21, Victorino 5-19, Ellsbury 5-19, Nava 4-14, Salty 4-17, Carp 4-12, Gomes 1-10, Ortiz 6-9, Napoli 3-9, Lavarnway 1-8, Middlebrook 0-4.

Yankees vs. Lackey: Suzuki 31-105, Rodriguez 13-65 (5 HR), Cano 14-57, Wells 8-40, Soriano 3-32, Granderson 7-26, Gardner 9-25, Overbay 8-24, Reynolds 2-11, Nix 0-7, Nunez 3-6, Stewart 0-2, Romine 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Soriano is 13 of 18 in his last four games with one double, five home runs and 18 RBIs. He is one of six players all time to drive in 18 runs over four games, the last since Sammy Sosa in 2002. The others are Jim Bottomley (1929), Lou Gehrig (1930), Tony Lazzeri (1936) and Joe DiMaggio (1939).

Milestone watch: Ortiz needs 11 hits for 2,000 in his career. That would make him the 39th player in history with at least 2,000 hits, 400 homers and 1,400 RBIs. ... Ichiro needs five hits to have 4,000 in his career. He's had 2,717 of those hits in the majors. ... Cano is one homer shy of 200 in his career.

Notes: The Sox have lost three straight, four of five, six of eight and seven of their last 11 games. They are one game ahead of the Rays, albeit one behind in the loss column. ... The Yankees have won five of six, moving from 11 games out to 7.5. ... Lackey is 8-10, 4.73 lifetime against the Yankees. He faced them on July 20 and took the loss, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits over 6.1 innings. He struck out seven without a walk. ... Kuroda is 3-3, 3.72 against the Sox. He is 1-2, 4.61 in three starts this season. In his last seven starts, Kuroda is 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA. ... Cano has an 11-game hit streak (17 of 40) with six RBIs. ... Middlebrooks has hit safely in six straight since he recall at 8 of 20. ... The Sox are 6-4 against the Yankees this season. ... Cold hitters for the Sox: Ellsbury 3 for 25, Victorino 1-18, Ortiz 4-24. ... Rodriguez is 12 for 40 in 10 games since appealing his 211-game suspension from MLB for using multiple PEDs over multiple years.

Song of the Day: "Julie's Been Working For The Drug Squad" by The Clash.

Lead down to one game after an ugly loss

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2013 12:49 AM

Friday night was the 182d time the Red Sox and Yankees have played in the last 10 seasons, counting the 2004 ALCS.

The Yankees lead the series 92-90. The Red Sox have outscored the Yankees, 982-977. It's amazing how evenly matched the two franchises have been when they play each other.

As for Friday night's game, a few notes:

• The Sox have lost three straight, four of five and six of their last eight games. They now lead the division by one game on the Rays, who beat Toronto. "We’re very confident in our team. And yet, we’re going to go through some peaks and valleys," John Farrell said.

• Beyond wins and losses, the level of play has been well below the standard set earlier in the season. The Sox have scored only 14 runs in their last five games, going 10 for 48 with runners in scoring position.

There have been seven errors in the last three games, three coming on Friday.

Base running continues to be problem as well. The Sox ran into three more outs on Friday, part of a troublesome trend since the All-Star break.

“It’s one of those funks that you walk into,” David Ortiz said. “You need to get out of it.”

• Alfonso Soriano, traded to the Yankees by Theo Epstein’s Cubs last month, was 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs. He is 13 for 18 with five home runs and an astonishing 18 RBIs in New York’s last four games.

• Alex Rodriguez was 2 for 4 with a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base amid loud booing every time he came to the plate. The crowd chanted “You do steroids” at Rodriguez in the third inning before he singled to quiet the din.

Rodriguez has played 10 games for the Yankees since appealing his 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball. He is 12 for 40 (.300) with the Yankees winning six of those games. The Sox play nine of their remaining 38 games against the Yankees. Rodriguez’s impact on the race could be significant.

• Rubby De La Rosa made his Fenway debut in the fifth inning. He put three runners on base over 2 1/3 innings but did not allow any runs.

• Shane Victorino, who has one hit in his last 18 at-bats, left the game after the eighth inning, just as a precaution with his left hamstring according to Farrell.

• Stephen Drew had two more hits and is hitting .355 with nine RBIs in his last 16 games.

• Will Middlebrooks, who singled in his first at-bat on Friday, has hit safely in all six games he has played since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.

Final: Yankees 10, Red Sox 3

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 07:05 PM

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The power and scoring that was absent in the Yankees' first trip to Fenway was on full display in their 10-3 win over the Red Sox Friday night.

Alfonso Soriano's earth-scorching run continued with a 3-for-4, four-RBI night that included a two-run homer. In his Yankees debut, Mark Reynolds went 2 for 5 with a three-run blast, becoming the 14th player since 1961 to homer in his first at-bat with the Yankees.

The Yankees lineup manhandled Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, who gave up seven runs (six earned) before getting the hook after four innings. It was the second time this season and the fifth time in his career that he's allowed at least six runs.

The Sox struggled to muster offense most of the night, with Yankees starter Andy Pettitte going 6 2/3 innings giving up three unearned runs.

As for Alex Rodriguez, he was practically oblivious to the boos going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

FULL ENTRY

A-Rod denies report of leaking information

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 06:37 PM

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Alex Rodriguez denied reports that he purchased and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and his New York Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli in Major League Baseball’s most recent performance-enhancing drug scandal.

According to a “60 Minutes” report, members of Rodriguez’s inner circle obtained the documents in February and leaked them days after the release of a story in the Miami New Times that outlined Rodriguez’s own PED use.

Rodriguez, who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball, said he wasn’t surprised by the latest development in a saga that has cast a pall over the Yankees as they head into Fenway Park 8.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.

The story first surfaced in April in the New York Daily News but faded. As it resurfaces with the Yankees preparing for a crucial series, Rodriguez questioned the timing.

“It's just obviously a very tough situation,” Rodriguez said. “Not surprising. I think they reported this like four months ago, but it didn't get much traction. And here we are at Fenway. Just weird. Weird timing.”

And Rodriguez said he doesn’t expect this to be the last time this kind of story comes out as his appeal process plays out.

“Let's make one thing clear,” Rodriguez said. “For the next seven weeks, it's going to be a very, very bumpy road. Every day, expect a story like this, if not bigger. And after arbitration, with a full platform, I can tell my full story.

“We're going to all have to be ready for a bumpy road. It's going to get worse every day. There's going to be bigger and bigger stories that come out every day.

"It's frustrating for the game because the game is going so well. This is a big series. The team is playing really well. We're excited about playing obviously one of the best teams in baseball in Boston. The drips, it's frustrating that it's coming out one drip at a time."

With the Yankees sitting six games out in the wild card race but having won five of their last seven, manager Joe Girardi dismissed suggestions that distractions from Rodriguez’s situation would affect the team.

“I really believe that this group is good at shutting out distractions and understands what it has to do,” Girardi said. “And it's always going to be something.

"I think since this Biogenesis thing has come about, there's been something every once in a while that comes out that players are asked about. But I think they're good at moving on and going out and doing their work.”

When Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells heard the news earlier in the day, he said, “I actually read it and I chuckled.”

At the same time, he said, he braced knowing more was on the way.

“Obviously this isn't a laughing matter, but I don't think this is the end of it,” he said. “When you have an investigation that's gone on for months, there’s potential to be so many layers to it. There's going to be things that are said and things that are written. Some will be true, some won't be true.”

Jerry Remy on leave after son's arrest

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 05:45 PM

NESN analyst Jerry Remy did not work Friday night’s game against the Yankees following the arrest of his son for murder.

Jared W. Remy was arraigned earlier in the day at Waltham District Court and charged with murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

(Boston.com's Metro Desk has more on the crime.)

Jerry Remy did not attend the arraignment. He was with the Red Sox in Toronto on Thursday and returned on the team’s charter flight.

NESN announced that Remy also would not call the six games on the team’s West Coast road trip next week. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is filling in for Remy.

It is unclear when Remy will return, although NESN associates said they do expect him to return to the broadcast booth this season.

“This morning, we learned of a terrible tragedy. All of us at NESN and the Red Sox, along with Jerry Remy, are filled with grief for everyone involved, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Jennifer Martel,” the network said in a statement.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked about the situation before the game.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. Our thoughts, our prayers and our sympathy is certainly with the Martel family,” he said.

A-Rod a man alone at Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 05:00 PM

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Here's a scene you don't usually see at Fenway Park. It's Alex Rodriguez walking alone in the concourse behind home plate.

It happened just a few minutes ago. There is one gym at Fenway and it's in a room above the home clubhouse. Opposing players often use it before the game and walk down the concourse to get there.
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As A-Rod was walking back, vendors and other game-day employees literally stopped in their tracks to see baseball biggest villain walk by.

Rodriguez then stopped for what appeared to be an animated conversation with Bob Costas of MLB Network.

Game 124: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 02:41 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (72-51)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66).

YANKEES (62-58)
Gardner CF
Nunez SS
Cano 2B
Soriano LF
Rodriguez 3B
Wells DH
Suzuki RF
Reynolds 1B
Stewart C
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Pettitte: Ortiz 23-64, Pedroia 10-45, Ellsbury 10-27, Gomes 10-28, Napoli 7-19, Victorino 7-20, Drew 3-9, Saltalamacchia 0-6, Carp 0-3, Middlebrooks 2-3, Nava 1-3.

Yankees vs. Doubront: Cano 1-16, Granderson 2-13, Suzuki 2-11, Gardner 0-7, Rodriguez 2-6, Nix 1-7, Nunez 2-6, Wells 2-6, Overbay 1-4, Stewart 1-2, Romine 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox will play 10 of their final 39 games against the Yankees.

Notes: The Sox are 6-3 against the Yankees this season, outscoring them, 46-29 ... Doubront is 3-1, 2.36, in 10 career appearances against the Yankees, six of them starts. In two starts this season, he has allowed two earned runs on nine hits over 12.1 innings. Doubront has a 2.73 ERA in his last 16 starts this season ... Pettitte is 19-11, 3.87, in 41 career appearances against the Red Sox, 7-4, 3.98, at Fenway Park. In two starts against the Sox this season, he has given up five earned runs on 14 hits over 14.1 innings. In Pettitte's last two starts, he allowed 19 hits over seven innings ... The Red Sox bullpen has allowed two earned runs in its last 15 innings ... Craig Breslow has thrown 9.2 scoreless innings in his last 10 outings ... Hot Sox: Will Middlebrooks is 7 for 18 since being called back up and Ryan Lavarnway is 8 of 20 in his last five starts with four RBIs ... Alfonso Soriano is hitting .296 with a .944 OPS in 18 games for the Yankees since the Cubs traded him. In his last three games, Soriano is an unconscious 10 for 14 with a double, four homers, and 14 RBIs ... Cold Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury is 2 for his last 20, Shane Victorino 1 for 14, and David Ortiz 3-20 ... The Sox have 11 runs in their last four games. They've hit .238 in that stretch, 7 for 40 (.175) with runners in scoring position, and left 40 runners on base ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 8 for his last 23 with five doubles. ...Ichiro is six hits away from 4,000 in his career (Japan and MLB). ... Cano needs one homer for 200.

Song of the Day: "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams.

Pitching matchups for the Yankees series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 09:45 AM

Friday: LHP Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66), 7:10, NESN.

Saturday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-10, 3.32), 4:05 p.m., FOX.

Sunday: LHP CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50), 8:05 p.m., ESPN.

Red Sox limp home from road trip

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2013 12:05 AM

TORONTO — For a team with aspirations of playing in October, a 10-game road trip to Houston, Kansas City and Toronto needed to produce more than four victories.

The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park for a weekend series with the Yankees still in first place in the American League East, but bruised up after a 2-1 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.

The Sox lost consecutive one-run games against the last-place Blue Jays to drop the series and ended the trip with losses in five of the last seven games. Now their lead in the division is down to two games.

The “easy” part of the month is over, too. After three games with the Yankees, the Sox start a six-game West Coast trip on Monday in San Francisco.

“We should have done better on this trip,” David Ortiz said. “But we needed to play better. Now the schedule is going to be crazy. It’s kind of stupid. But we have to get it together.”

Jake Peavy pitched well in his third start for the Sox, taking a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning before giving up two runs. But that wasn’t enough on a night when the Sox put numerous runners on base and left them there.

The Sox had 11 hits and drew three walks off Jays starter Mark Buehrle and two relievers but were 2 of 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners on base.

The Sox were 6 of 34 (.176) with runners in scoring position for the series, scoring eight runs.

Also:

• The Red Sox have lost consecutive series for the first time since May when they lost three straight against the Rangers, Twins and Jays.

• A day after he belted a game-tying two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, Mike Napoli didn't play.

Farrell decided before Wednesday’s game that Napoli would get a break in the final game of the series.

“The decision was made for this to be a down day for him,” Farrell said. “We’re going to get in at 3 in the morning. We have another lefthander in [Andy] Pettitte on the mound against us [Friday] night.

“Just trying to balance the schedule. We’ve got a challenging 10 days ahead of us. Just trying to keep everyone involved as best we can and find matchups where it might make the most sense.”

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia also was out of the lineup.

• When Daniel Nava singled in the second inning, it marked the 28th consecutive start that he reached base safely. Nava has reached in 79 of his 91 starts this season.

John Lackey: A-Rod shouldn't be playing for Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 11:50 PM




TORONTO — In his first game in the majors, back in 2002, John Lackey gave up a home run to Alex Rodriguez. Years later, Rodriguez admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs during that season.

Now Lackey will likely face Rodriguez on Saturday when he starts against the Yankees. Once again, his drug use is an issue.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games on Aug. 5. Major League Baseball said at the time it had evidence Rodriguez used numerous forms of PEDs over multiple years.

Rodriguez has yet to deny baseball’s findings but appealed his punishment and has since played nine games for the Yankees, hitting .278 with one home run and four RBIs.

Lackey doesn’t believe it’s fair Rodriguez is on the field.

“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Lackey told the Globe on Thursday. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right. … It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”

Lackey said the topic is one that comes up frequently in the Red Sox clubhouse, especially among the pitchers.

“Sure, we talk about it,” he said. “But talking to the media about it is a little bit different. People have strong feelings. He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell deflected questions about whether Rodriguez should be on the field.

“He has every right to appeal it, which he is. We know he’s going to be in the lineup and we’ll prepare accordingly. The process he’s going through is well within his rights. They’re in place for a reason and you can’t argue that.”

As a competitor, is Farrell upset his team has to face a player who has apparently been cheating for years? The Sox have 39 games remaining, 10 against the Yankees. Rodriguez could have a significant impact on the pennant race.

“I understand what you’re getting at. But he being on the field is out of our hands,” Farrell said. “Until completely proven guilty, this is what we’re dealing with.”

See the Globe on Friday for more on how the Red Sox feel about facing A-Rod this weekend.

Final: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 07:13 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 -The Red Sox were held to six hits by Mark Buehrle and relievers and dropped two out of three to the Blue Jays to end their 10-game road trip to Houston, Kansas City and Toronto, 4-6. Jake Peavy pitched well but took the loss. Casey Janssen retired the Red Sox in the ninth ending the game by getting David Ortiz to fly out to center on a 3-2 pitch. The game was played in 2:43 before 44,477 at Rogers Centre.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 -Rajai Davis reached on an infield single against Junichi Tazawa. John Farrell brought in flame-thrower Rubby De La Rosa with sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion due up. Interesting strategy: power vs. power. Bautista grounded out to shortstop to end the inning after Davis stole second and went to third on Lavarnway's throwing error.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 - Daniel Nava doubled to center for his third hit with two outs against lefty Darren Oliver. Oliver walked Will Middlebrooks, but then got Jacoby Ellsbury to chase a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 - The Jays scored two vs. Peavy to take the lead. It started with an error on a grounder to third baseman Will Middebrooks by Jose Bautista (this was changed to a hit later by the official scorer). After Encarnacion singled, Brett Lawrie tied it up with a single to center. Adam Lind's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run, but Craig Brwslow, who relieved Peavy got the final two outs.

Top 7th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - Excellent pitcher's duel between these two ex-Chicago White Sox teammates.Both were coached by Juan Nieves in Chicago who respects both of them for the great pace each work at. Buehrle is the second fastest pitcher in the Major Leagues between pitches at 18.2 seconds, slightly below teammate R.A. Dickey who who is at 17.7 seconds. Buehrle quickly retired the Red Sox in the top of the inning.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - Peavy machine-like in retiring the side.

Top 6th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - The Red Sox had Buehrle on the ropes again, but couldn't produce the knockout punch. Stephen Drew and Ryan Lavarnway singled with nobody out. But the veteran lefty dug in, striking out two and retiring Ellsbury on a ground out to third base.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - Peavy surrenders a single to Arencibia with two outs, but strikes out Pillar to end the frame.

Top 5th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - A 1-2-3 frame for Buehrle.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - Peavy is mixing his pitches and locations really well. He struck out Davis, got Bautista to bounce back to the mound and retired the dangerous Encarnacion on a pop to second base.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 - Daniel Nava doubled to left field and will Middlebrooks advanced him to third on a single to center. Nava scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's fielder's choice grounder to second base.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Peavy is pretty sharp tonight. He struck out rookie Kevin Pillar, got Kawasaki to line out to right and retired Jose Reyes with a fly ball to center.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Pedroia led off the inning with a single and advanced all the way to third on David Ortiz' ground out into the shift to the right side. Because the Jays were shifted there was nobody manning third base and Pedroia was able to take two bases on the ground out. Jonny Gomes fouled out to third and Stephen Drew struck out. One thing to watch, Ortiz fouled a ball off his foot. The trainer had to come out. let's see if this thing gets worse.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - An Adam Lind, two-out double off Peavy went for naught when Peavy Struck out Arencibia.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Red Sox had the bases loaded on singles by Ryan Lavarnway, Daniel Nava (off the pitcher) and a walk by Jacoby Ellsbury. But with two outs Shane Victorino lined out right to end the threat.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Jake Peavy had a 1-2-3 inning against the top of the Blue Jays order.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - With quick-working lefty Mark Buehrle on the mound, Jacoby Ellsbury (fly to deep center), and Victorino (strike out). Dustin Pedoia reached on an infield single to second base and Ortiz walked. Jonny Gomes then singled to left where Kevin Pillar threw Pedroia out at the plate.

Game 123: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 02:40 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (72-50)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Lavarnway C
Nava 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (9-4, 4.50).

BLUE JAYS (55-65)
Reyes SS
Davis CF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion DH
Lawrie 3B
Lind 1B
Arencibia C
Pillar LF
Kawasaki 2B
Pitching: LHP Mark Buehrle (8-7, 4.43).

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Buehrle: Ortiz 25-71, Pedroia 9-29, Gomes 7-21, Napoli 4-19, Ellsbury 6-19, Victorino 5-17, Middlebrooks 5-10, Drew 1-5, Nava 2-6, Lavarnway 1-3, Saltalamacchia 0-3.

Blue Jays vs. Peavy: Encarnacion 4-18, Reyes 5-18, Bautista 2-14, Lind 3-9, Izturis 3-7, Lawrie 2-7, Davis 0-7, Arencibia 0-4, DeRosa 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 4-5 on a road trip that ends today. They have scored 44 runs in the nine games and given up 44 runs.

Notes: The Sox start the day three games up in the division race. They are 9-6 against Toronto this season ... Peavy has had one strong start and one poor one since joining the Red Sox. Overall: 12 IP, 14 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 3 HR. Peavy is 2-0, 3.60, in five career starts against Toronto. He faced the Jays three times last season and allowed five earned runs over 21.1 innings ... Buehrle is 0-4, 4.97, in eight starts against the Red Sox since the start of the 2010 season. He has not beaten the Sox since 2009. In three starts against the Sox this season, Buehrle has allowed 10 earned runs on 19 hits over 19.2 innings ... Ellsbury has a 16-game hit streak against Toronto ... The Sox are 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position for the series.

Song of the Day: "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel.

Baseball set to add video review challenges

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 02:21 PM

Major League Baseball, pending approval of the owners, players and umpires, will institute an instant replay system next season. Commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement today.

Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of games and two after the seventh inning until the end of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York, which will make the final ruling.

MLB vice president Joe Torre gave the replay presentation to representatives from all 30 teams. Former manager Tony La Russa and Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz joined Torre in setting up the system, which would not be used for balls and strikes.

The plan will be voted on at the owners meetings Nov. 13-14 in Orlando. A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval and the players' association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system. According to MLB officials, the umpires approve of the idea.

Managers would not be allowed out of the dugout to argue calls. They would instead inform umpires they are seeking a review. The process is expected to take three minutes. If a challenge is successful, a manager would not lose a challenge.

A Red Sox 2004 Series ring up for grabs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 09:45 AM

puffer111.jpg

Brandon Puffer, a righthanded relief pitcher, never played a game for the 2004 Red Sox. But he was given a World Series ring and that valuable piece of jewelry will be the centerpiece of a popular television show tonight.

Here's the story behind the story:

Puffer was acquired from the San Diego Padres on July 2 that season. The Sox also obtained lefthander Jimmy Anderson that day and decided to send Puffer to Triple A Pawtucket.

Puffer pitched credibly for Pawtucket and was summoned to the majors on Sept. 2. Puffer did not get in the game and was designated for assignment the next day because the Sox wanted outfielder Adam Hyzdu on the roster.

Despite not actually playing in a game, Puffer was on the roster for a day and was given a ring. The 18-carat white gold ring was encrusted with diamonds and adorned with a ruby "B."

Puffer appeared in three games for the Giants the following season and never pitched in the majors again. In 2008, while pitching in the minors, Puffer was arrested in Texas and charged with burglary with the intent to commit a sexual assault.

Puffer was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to five years of prison. He has since been paroled.

Puffer's World Series ring was sold to a private memorabilia collector during that time and about a year ago was purchased again, this time by a collector from suburban Boston named Mike, who asked that his last name not be used.

"I'm not a huge baseball fan but I was a fan of that team because they were so entertaining," Mike said. "I felt having that ring was worth it. It's fun to have."

Mike is a fan of the show "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel. Via a friend who contacted the show, Mike went to Las Vegas and offered to sell the ring to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.

The episode will be aired at 9 p.m. tonight. We won't spoil the show by telling you what happened. But it's worth noting that former Sox pitcher Scott Williamson auctioned his ring in 2011 and received $89,000. Rick Harrison, the owner of the pawn shop, has a great affinity for championship rings.

"I'm willing to sell the ring and getting a chance to go on the show was great," Mike said. "The ring is something everybody wants to see."

Big hit for Napoli but a bad loss for the Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2013 12:36 AM

TORONTO — If that towering home run in the ninth inning gets Mike Napoli going, the Red Sox will look back on Wednesday night's 4-3 loss against the Blue Jays with no regret.

A opposite-field blast with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game should boost Napoli's confidence. Manager John Farrell had dropped him into the seventh spot of the order because of a protracted slump. As he came to the plate, Napoli had six hits in his previous 53 at-bats with 25 strikeouts.

Brett Cecil’s second pitch was a sinker that stayed up and Napoli hit a long home run to right field, his 15th of the season. The shot snapped an 0-for-16 skid — with 10 strikeouts— for Napoli.

The Sox were so excited that Dustin Pedroia gave Napoli a head butt when he returned to the dugout and David Ortiz ruffled his fingers through the first baseman’s bushy beard.

“It felt good to do something like that, to come through in a situation. Obviously I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Napoli said. “Keep grinding, got a pitch I could drive. ... I felt good about my approach and where I was at. I should be able to get out here tomorrow and try to repeat. Do the same drills and try to stay comfortable."

Napoli, for all his peaks and valleys, maintains a calm disposition. He doesn't take bad at-bats into the field, either.

"It's what we do. You can't get too high; can't get too low," he said. "You've got to stay with that even line. It felt good to hit that tonight, it definitely did. But it's over with and we didn't win."

Outside of Napoli's home run, it was a rather tepid effort for the Sox. Consider:

• They committed three errors, two on one play in the third inning that allowed Rajai Davis to race around the bases. It looked like a bad Little League game.

• They were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base after Napoli's home run.

• Toronto starter Esmil Rogers went six innings and allowed one run. This was a pitcher with an 8.50 ERA in his previous seven starts and was banished to the bullpen. He started only because Josh Johnson went on the disabled list.

• Jon Lester wasn't bad. But of the six hits he allowed, five were doubles.

• Toronto traded their second baseman, Emilio Bonafacio, to Kansas City before the game and started two players who were called from Triple A.

• Ortiz, who belted a long home run earlier, inexplicably tried to bunt to lead off the ninth with the Sox down by two runs. He tapped the ball two feet and was thrown out at first.

The Sox are 4-5 on a road trip through Houston, Kansas City and Toronto. They have a chance to go home with a win on Thursday.

Thanks for reading and apologies for the tech issues today.

Final: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3 (10 innings)

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 07:11 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3 (10 innings): The Red Sox lost in overtime tonight when Brett Lawrie singled off Stephen Drew's glove in a drawn-in infield to score Rajai Davis with the winning run.

Davis led off the inning with a double to center. The speedy Davis took second because he knew Jacoby Ellsbury and his sub-par arm was throwing the ball back to second. Jose Bautista advanced him to third on a ground ball out to second base. After the Red Sox walked Edwin Encarnacion intentionally, the big guy stole second to create second and third and one out.

Lawrie had been 0-for-3 with an HBP in four plate appearances, but managed to hit the ball to Drew's left and the ball hit off his glove on the dive. The run came off Brandon Workman, who pitched three innings in the loss. The game was played in 3:20 before 31,605 at Rogers Centre.

Top 10th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3 - No Napoli Magic this time as he grounded out to third base to strand two runners in the inning. Before Napoli's ninth-inning homer to tie, he had gone 0-for-16 with 10 strikeouts. The Red Sox put two on on Dustin Pedroia's single and Stephen Drew's walk.

Bottom 9th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3 - Brandon Workman with another very good inning to shut the Jays down.

Top 9th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3 - Mike Napoli had been mired in a 6-for-53 slump but with Jonny Gomes on base, Napoli homered to right field off lefty Brett Cecil to tie the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a double, his 32nd. Strange sight to start the ninth when David Ortiz tried to bunt for a hit against Cecil. Kinda need a home run here, David. He had homered in his previous at-bat.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1 - Brandon Workman walks a batter but strikes out JP Arencibia to end the inning.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1 - Red Sox went down in order.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1 - Another throwing error by Lester on Kawasaki's comebacker to the mound after he failed to field it cleanly and then threw errantly to Napoli. No harm. Lester came out, Brandon Workman in.

Top 7th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1 - With Rogers out of the game, the Red Sox were retired in order with two strikeouts recorded on Salty and Middlebrooks by righty reliever Neil Wagner.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1 - Edwin Encarbacion doubled and Brett Lawrie was hit with a pitch by Lester. It helped when DeRosa knocked into a double play, but JP Arencibia, hitting only .211, doubled in the run.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 - David Ortiz slams a long linedrive to right for his 23rd homer.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - A two-out double by Rajai Davis, but Jose Bautista popped ou.t

Top 5th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Will Middlebrooks reached second when rightfielder Jose Bautista misjudged Middlebrooks' pop to right. Ellsbury grounded out to second advancing the runner to third. But with two outs, Victorino lined out to center.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Edwin Encarnacion doubled and scored on Mark DeRosa's double which just eluded a leaping Mike Napoli at first and rolled into the outfield.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - A single by Jonny Gomes, but Drew knocked into a double-play and Napoli lined out to second base, robbed of a hit by leaping Kawasaki.

Note: We're trying to get the comments page fixed. Please hang in while we get it resolved.

Bottom 3rd: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Yikes. Poor fielding plays by the Red Sox on Rajai Davis' tapper back to Lester, allowed the speed outfielder to take four bases on a tapper back to the pitcher. Lester, who has always had problems throwing to bases, threw one passed Mike Napoli at first allowing Davis to keep running around the bases. By the time Shane Victorino retrieved the ball in foul territory, he overthrew third base allowing Davis to score..

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Ellsbury (grounder to pitcher) and Shane Victorino (strikeout) made two quick outs. Pedroia singled and Ortiz grounded out to third.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Lester walked Mark DeRosa with one out, but rebounded to strike out JP Arencibia and got Kevin Pillar to fly out to right.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right with two outs but Will Middlebrooks flew out to right to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Jon Lester took the mound. Lester is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four starts vs. the Blue Jays this season. He's 14-7 with a 3.67 ERA over his career and has held the Jays to a career .198 average. Lester walked Jose Bautista with two outs, but got Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to right.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury struck out and advanced to first on a wild pitch. Shane Victorino, who has been batting exclusively righthanded for two games because of soreness to an oblique when he bats lefthanded, went back to batting lefthanded and drew a walk against Esmil Rogers.Rogers made a nice recovery striking out Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz back-to-back and getting Jonny Gomes to fly out to right.

Buchholz feeling good after 50 pitches

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 05:44 PM

TORONTO — Clay Buchholz threw 50 pitches over three simulated innings in the bullpen this afternoon at the Rogers Centre. The All-Star righthander came away pleased with how he felt.

"Best day so far," said Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a shoulder injury. "It's the best I've felt as far as intensity and everything. It felt like a pretty standard bullpen for me ... The last 30 pitches I didn't feel anything. That's the best thing I could take out of it."

Buchholz, who doesn't throw at game speed in the bullpen, estimated he was at 80-85 percent effort for the final 10-15 pitches.

"No increase in stiffness of any kind," said manager John Farrell. "He got loose as he began the next simulated inning. Overall a good day."

The next step for Buchholz will come Saturday when he throws three more simulated innings and perhaps goes beyond 50 pitches. From there he would pitch a simulated game and face teammates.

Because he hasn't pitched in so long, Buchholz would want some kind of simulated game before starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"I'd rather have some guys stand in," he said. "It's been a while. Instead of just going out and throwing in a minor league. It would be better for me to see a hitter and throw more pitches before we jump to [a game]."

The minor league regular season ends Sept. 2, so Buchholz should have ample time to pitch in a minor league rehab game before he is activated.

"The most important thing is he feels good and it's another positive step," Farrell said.

Also:

• David Ross caught seven innings for Triple A Pawtucket today. He was 0 for 2 with a walk. Ross will be off Thursday, then catch back-to-back full games Friday and Saturday. From there he would be activated Monday in San Francisco.

Ross is on the disabled list recovering from a concussion.

• Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster will start against the Yankees this weekend.

• Slumping first baseman Mike Napoli was dropped to seventh in the lineup. Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew are behind David Ortiz in the order

"Just in talking to Mike today, we're looking for the right combinations through that middle third of the order," Farrell said. "Stephen has been swinging the bat with a lot of confidence of late."

Farrell also mentioned that he plans to rotate Mike Carp and Daniel Nava into the lineup at first base more often.

Farrell was careful to say it won't be a strict platoon, but clearly the idea is to use Carp and Nava more at Napoli's expense.

"Feel like we can manage his time as best possible to keep him fresh," Farrell said.

It sounds like Gomes will start to get more at-bats against righthanders.

"The competitiveness to all his at-bats, whether it's righthanded or lefthanded, I don't see a whole lot of difference between the two," said Farrell. "He brings another element of energy to our team. With him in the lineup we project a different feel on the field and we want that in there."

Napoli trying to break slump

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 04:12 PM

TORONTO — Mike Napoli was dropped to seventh in tonight’s batting order as John Farrell and Napoli both try to find a solution to the first baseman’s deep slump.

“I’m just trying to look at positives and trying to get better,” Napoli said. “You want to do good every day. I see what’s going on; I’m not blind and saying everything is OK. I know it’s not OK. Just go out every day and go about my routine.”

Some fans fear that Napoli, a former catcher, is wearing down. He also has been diagnosed with a chronic degenerative hip condition. But Napoli, who is hitting .190 since the All-Star break, said there’s nothing wrong with his hips and playing first base hasn’t been hard on his body.

“Personally, I don’t feel like I am worn down,” Napoli said. “I run around the field and feel fresh. We all have nicks here and there. I just haven’t been getting it done. I haven’t been feeling too good at the plate. Just trying to get back to what I was doing.

"I learned at a young age to separate my defense and offense, and let things go and try to get better every day.”

Napoli, who has struck out 158 times — and will likely break Mark Bellhorn’s team record of 177 — made a couple of nice plays on foul balls in Tuesday’s 4-2 Red Sox win.

Napoli has gotten plenty of advice on breaking his slump. He’s listening a lot to Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

“I talk to Pedey and David," he said. "I talk to those guys about certain stuff. They’re trying to help. Talking is good. Maybe they’re seeing something that I’m not seeing."

As for fans getting on him, Napoli said, “I’m used to that. You have to shut that out as a professional. That’s always going to be there.

"My effort is always going to be there. I care. Every time I’m up at the plate, I have a plan. I’m trying to do something good.

"I’ve been through this before. I've gone through bad slumps in my career. Every time, I’m thinking that, in my next at-bat, I’ll turn it around. I’ve been in the big leagues a long time. I know what to tune out and what to tune in.”

So far, the Red Sox have resisted any temptation to start Mike Carp at first full-time or to attempt to acquire someone such as Justin Morneau, who has been hot in Minnesota and was placed on waivers.

Game 122: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 02:50 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (72-49)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 4.37).

BLUE JAYS (54-65)
Reyes SS
Davis CF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion 1B
Lawrie 3B
DeRosa DH
Arencibia C
Pillar LF
Kawasaki 2B
Pitching: RHP Esmil Rogers (3-7, 5.12).

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI,

Red Sox vs. Rogers: Napoli 2-7, Pedroia 4-7, Drew 3-6, Nava 0-3, Gomes 1-2, Ortiz 1-3, Ellsbury 1-3, Salty 1-3, Victorino 1-3, Middlebrook 0-1.

Blue Jays vs. Lester: Bautista 11-52 (4 HR), Arencibia 7-38, Encarnacion 5-33, Davis 8-30, Lind 3-29, Izturis 9-27, Lawrie 3-20, DeRosa 2-14, Reyes 1-8.

Stat of the Day: Daniel Nava has reached base safely (via hit, walk or HBP) in 27 consecutive starts. Only Mike Trout of the Angels (33 games) has had a longer such streak this season.

Notes: The Sox are 4-4 on their 10-game road trip and are four games ahead of Tampa Bay in the division. They also have the best record in the American League by a 1.5 games on the Tigers. ... The Sox are 9-5 against Toronto, 5-2 at the Rogers Centre. ... Lester is 2-2, 3.48 in his last five starts and seems to be turning his season around after a roughs stretch. Facing Toronto could help. He is 3-0, 2.79 in four starts against the Jays this season and 14-7, 3.67 in his career against them. ... Rogers was put back in the rotation on Tuesday after being dumped from it on Sunday. He is 0-4, 8.50 in his last seven starts. In five games against the Sox this season (one start) he has allowed six earned runs on 12 hits over 8.1 innings. ... Napoli is batting seventh for the first time this season. He is 6 of his last 50 with 25 strikeouts and is hitting .190/.312/.367 since the All-Star break. He's hitting .212 with runners in scoring position. His .769 OPS is the lowest of his career.

Song of the Day: "If You Were A Bluebird" by Joe Ely.

Schedule could be a help for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 01:47 PM

TORONTO — The Red Sox have 41 games remaining. The Rays have 45, the Tigers 43, and the Orioles 43.

It may not seem like a big deal on Aug. 14, but those extra days off — including four in the final 21 days of the season — could help the Red Sox secure the division title and perhaps home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The gaps in the schedule will allow manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves to line up the rotation in the most advantageous way. That could mean extra rest for the pitchers who have worked the most or putting certain pitchers against teams they have had success against.

The days off also could allow Farrell to squeeze a few extra outings out of relievers Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and Craig Breslow.

It's impossible to say how many wins that could lead to, if any. But if the schedule contributes to even one or two victories, that could be the difference in the pennant race.

Also:

• Toronto traded infielder Emilio Bonifacio to Kansas City today for future considerations. The Blue Jays also placed outfielder Colby Rasmus (left oblique) on the disabled list. Toronto called up outfielder Kevin Pillar and shortstop Munenori Kawasaki from Triple A Buffalo.

The Blue Jays are selling off spare parts because they're 17 games behind the Red Sox. That's not a scenario anybody envisioned when the season started.

Ortiz still angry about drug issue

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 12:05 PM

TORONTO -- David Ortiz spoke to the Toronto Globe and Mail about how angry he is about the performance-enhancing drug issue.

He is most upset about Jack Clark's claims that Albert Pujols did steroids.

“You have that in the city where this guy built up his legacy? You don’t ruin it just like that,” Oritz said. “It pissed me off because I know Pujols. He is one of the most natural talented players in the game right now.

"You don’t ruin a guy like that because you want to get a [expletive] show famous and if you do, that’s wrong and God will chase you at some point. That is wrong. I don’t care what anybody say. That is wrong.”

Ortiz also talked about his name being on the 2003 list as having tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

“I went through that in 2009, when they say I was on that list, and nobody ever explained to me what’s going on,” said Ortiz. "And I live with that until today. That’s totally wrong.”

He also spoke about he stigma attached to Dominican players and PED's.

“People shouldn’t see it that way. Because Dominican players, we are hundreds and hundreds, not just 12. Because they caught some players using PEDs, that means everybody is using it? No. That’s wrong. Everybody makes a choice," Ortiz said.

“The game is slowly going to cleaned up. What MLB is trying to do, should have been done better. But it will get there. If you’re two years out of baseball, you’re done. But it will get better.”

Victorino, ever unique, delivers for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 14, 2013 12:54 AM

TORONTO — Shane Victorino has his own way of doing things and it doesn't always make sense at first.

On Tuesday afternoon, for instance, he came out for optional early batting practice wearing a dark blue Toronto Argonauts football jersey. A Red Sox player is an Argonauts fan?

Not exactly. The jersey was a gift from his friend, Toronto wide receiver Chad Owens. Like Victorino, Owens is a native of Hawaii. He's also a burgeoning MMA fighter, a sport Victorino follows closely.

Once the game started, the switch-hitting Victorino batted righthanded against Toronto righthander Todd Redmond.

What's the deal with that? Victorino has been batting exclusively righthanded lately because of a strained left hamstring that has been slow to heal.

From the right side, Victorino can swing the bat with his usual effort. But the strength isn’t there when he stands in the lefthanded batter’s box and plants his left leg. With the permission of Red Sox manager John Farrell, Victorino decided to temporarily abandon hitting lefthanded.

“Do I want to hit righthanded on a righty? Probably not,” Victorino said. “That’s the way I feel right now and that’s what I’m going to do until my body feels good. I thank John for allowing me to do it.

“I’m sure they sit there and wonder what’s going on, I don’t know. They signed a switch-hitter, not a righthanded hitter.”

In the 11th inning, happily batting righthanded against Toronto lefty Aaron Loup, Victorino drove a two-run single into center field to give the Sox a 4-2 victory.

Victorino is hitting .287 with less than expected power because of the leg injury. But Tuesday was an example of how he is still able to contribute. He is a player whose value is not always apparent statistically.

“The guy is a winning player. That’s the best way I can describe it,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s been a big piece of what we’ve been doing defensively and offensively. Shane can change the game.”

Pedroia said that against certain hitters, he shades up the middle a step or two knowing that Victorino has the speed to come in and catch a shallow pop-up.

"I bet that's helped me make a few plays I might not normally make," Pedroia said. "Shane's defense has been huge for us."

The UZR charts show that Victorino is the best defensive outfielder in the game this season in terms of covering ground. His arm comes into play, too. He picked up his eighth assist of the season in the sixth inning when he threw speedy Jose Reyes out at the plate.

The Sox increased their lead in the American League East to four games on Tampa Bay with 41 left to play. It was the 19th time this season the Sox have won a game in their final at-bat.

The Sox have come from behind to 28 games this season — seven times since July 30.

"What is it? I don’t know. From day one, that’s just the mentality this team has,” Victorino said. “You can play 27 outs even if we’re down by however many runs. … That’s the mindset and that’s always been out mindset. Lately it seems to be happening that way.”

Also:

• Will Middlebrooks was 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored. His single in the 11th moved the go-ahead run into scoring position. He also had a solid day in the field.

Middlebrooks is 5 for 12 with two RBIs and three runs scored since returning from Triple A Pawtucket. The Sox have won two of those games and Farrell believes Middlebrooks looks more relaxed at the plate. The third baseman agrees with that assessment.

“I’ve put away all the individual things,” he said “I’m here for these guys. I just want to help us win. I’m in a much better place.”

• Ryan Dempster pitched seven strong innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four. After two rough starts in a row, he was sharp.

• Koji Uehara had a nice night. He retired all four batters he faced in his 55th appearance. That triggered a clause in his contract guaranteeing him at least $4.2 million next season.

Uehara has not allowed a run in his last 17 1/3 innings. His ERA is 1.32. Opponents are 10 of their last 100 against him.

• Mike Napoli was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and left five more runners on. He's down to .246 and is 6 of his last 50 (.120) with 25 strikeouts. Farrell said he not yet at the point of pinch hitting for Napoli. But that time could be soon. A Napoli/Mike Carp platoon would seem to make sense.

• Farrell quite correctly pointed out that Napoli had a good day in the field.

• Davis Ross was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts for Pawtucket in his third rehab game. He caught five innings and threw out Billy Hamilton trying to steal second. Hamilton was 69 of 81 on steals this season before Ross got him.

Final: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2, 11 innings

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 13, 2013 07:03 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2, 11 innings: Shane Victorino delivered a two-run single in the top of the 11th to give Boston the win. Koji Uehara earned the win as he came on in the 10th and got the final out before pitching a scoreless bottom of the 11th.

Uehara made his 55th appearance, which vested his 2014 option of $4.25 million.

Mike Napoli, who struck out three times, made his second nice play at first to catch Rajai Davis' pop in foul grounds. Will Middlebrooks, who had two hits, made a nice diving play on Jose Bautista to record the second out in the 11th. Edwin Encarnacion grounded to third to end the game. Ryan Dempster pitched seven strong innings. The game was played in 3:37 before 32,816.

Top 11th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: Shane Victorino singled in two runs with two outs to give the Sox the lead.

Salty drew a walk before Middlebrooks singled. After Ellsbury grounded into a force and stole second Victorino singled up the middle off Aaron Loup.

Bottom 10th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2 - Craig Breslow retired the first battters of the inning - Arencibia on a pop to first and he struck out Bonafacio. John Farrell summoned Koji Uehara to face Jose Reyes and Uehara struck him out.

Top 10th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2 - David Ortiz doubled deep to center with one out, but neither Gomes (fly out) or Napoli (strikeout) could get the run in. Brock Holt pinch-ran for Ortiz, so the Sox won't have the big bat in thelineup if this game should go longer. Napoli has struck out three times and has 158 on the season.

Bottom 9th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2 - The Jays had two on, one out but couldn't get the wining run across. Tazawa got Brett Lawrie to pop out to Mike Napoli in foul territory down the right field line, Nice play by Napoli. Craig Breslow came on to strike out Mark DeRosa.

Top 9th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2 - Sox can't muster anything against Jays pen.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2 - JP Arencibia belts a home run off Junichi Tazawa on a 3-1 pitch to tie.

Top 8th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Mike Napoli struck out again as Sox go down.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Dempster has a strong 1-2-3 inning.

Top 7th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Will Middlebrooks doubled with one out and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's single to tie the score at 1. Dustin Pedroia knocked in Ellsbury after he stole second base giving Boston their first lead.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - The Jays get a run cut down at the plate on a questionable decision by third base coach Luis Rivera to send Jose Reyes from second on a single to right by Edwin Encarnacion.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Shane Victorino walked vs. Redmond, and after Pedroia flew out to center, Redmond had apparrently reached his pitch limit and was taken out by manager John Gibbons. Ortiz singled off reliever Brett Cecil and Jonny Gomes, pinch-hitting for Daniel Nava., walked to load the bases with one out. But the Red Sox were unable to capitalize as Mike Napoli struck out and Stephen Drew flew out to center.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Brett Lawrie doubled and rode home on JP Arenecibia's two-out single to left.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right with one out, but Middlebrooks grounded back to the pitcher and Ellsbury flew out to left.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Davis struck out. Bautista fouled out to the catcher and Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to thrid.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - A two-out infield single by Daniel Nava to third base was all the Red Sox could muster against Redmond.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - An efficient 1-2-3 inning for Dempster.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Redmond struck out Middlebrooks and Ellsbury and got Victorino to pop to third.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Blue Jays had two on, one out and couldn't score. Edwin Encarnacion walked and Brett Lawrie singled to third base, but Maicer Izturis knocked in to a double play to end the inning.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Redmond threw strikes, as advertised, as Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew (strikeout) and Saltalamacchia went down.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Ryan Dempster seemed pumped up in the first inning, retiring the side.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Toronto righthander Todd Redmond came in to the game billed a "strike-thrower" so the expectation was that you may not see the patient approach by the Red Sox hitters. But but both Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz ran the count to 3-2. Redmond got two quick outs on Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, But Dustin Pedroia doubled to right field after he ran the count to 3-2 and fouled off some balls. Ortiz, who was 2-for-13 in the KC series, walked, but Daniel Nava flew out to right.

We'll be with you shortly from Rogers Centre. The dome was open for a while, but it was recently shut. Too bad. Was a cool summer night though there were some dark clouds moving in.

Game 121: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2013 02:47 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (71-49)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.67).

BLUE JAYS (54-64)
Reyes SS
Davis LF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion 1B
Lind DH
Lawrie 3B
Izturis 2B
Arencibia C
Bonifacio CF
Pitching: RHP Todd Redmond (1-1, 4.22).

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Redmond: No history.

Blue Jays vs. Dempster: Encarnacion 4-20, Bonifacio 5-20, Bautista 5-18, Rasmus 4-17, Reyes 4-14, Arencibia 1-8, Lind 1-6, Thole 1-6, DeRosa 0-6, Lawrie 1-5, Davis 2-4, Izturis 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 8-5 against Toronto this season, outscoring the Jays 71-54.

Notes: After a day off, the Red Sox are set to finish their 10-game road trip with three games against the Blue Jays. ... After remaking their roster in the offseason, the Blue Jays were expected to be strong contenders to win the division. Instead they are 16 games back. ... The Sox start the day with a three-game lead on Tampa Bay. ... Dempster is in a rut. He is 1-0, 5.97 in his last seven starts and allowed 12 earned runs over 12 innings in his last two. He has faced the Jays three times this season and allowed nine earned runs on 18 hits over 16.1 innings. ... Redmond is coming up from Triple A Buffalo for the game. He has never faced the Sox before. ... Drew is 19 of 45 in a 12-game hit streak.

Song of the Day: "Bill Lee" by Warren Zevon.

Dempster, Robertson join forces for charity

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2013 09:30 AM

Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster and Yankees reliever David Robertson — two really good guys — are working together on a charity project.

Through Power of 2, they are raising money for their respective charities in a friendly competition.

Fans are encouraged to donate to David and Ryan’s charities as many times as they would like to until Monday August 26. The pitcher that receives the most donations will be crowned champion of the Power of 2. The loser will have attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in September dressed as a super hero.

Fans can win two tickets to a game and field passes to meet Ryan or David.

Ryan's foundation improves the quality of life for those affected by 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

David and his High Socks For Hope foundation lends support to charities and organizations helping those affected by tragedies. It was formed to help people left homeless by the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2011 and has since undertaken a variety of worthwhile projects.

More surgery for Ryan Kalish

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 12, 2013 09:51 PM

Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish will undergo cervical fusion surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The neck procedure will be done by Dr. Robert Watkins at Marina Bay Hospital.

The Red Sox announced the news via Twitter at 9:39 p.m.

Kalish has spent the entire season on the disabled list recovering from January surgery on his right shoulder. He had surgery on his left shoulder and neck in 2011.

The injuries all date back to a diving catch Kalish made for Triple A Pawtucket early in the 2011 season and subsequent setbacks.

This latest surgery is not considered career-threatening and Kalish hopes to be ready for the start of spring training in 2014. But four major surgeries over a span of 23 months add further doubt to whether Kalish will fulfill what was once considered vast potential.

The 25-year-old Kalish made his debut with the Red Sox in 2010. He has hit .243 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases over 89 games.

Kalish's surgery log:
Sept. 14, 2011: Disc surgery in neck
Nov. 18, 2011: Left shoulder labrum
Jan. 30, 2013: Right shoulder labrum
Aug. 13, 2013: Cervical fusion

Day off includes a ballgame for three Red Sox players in Toronto

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 12, 2013 02:03 PM

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The Red Sox flew from Kansas City to Toronto Sunday night and are off today. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are hosting a day game against the Athletics.

So how did Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia decide to spend a few hours? They went to the game and sat behind the plate.

An alert Blue Jays fan, @Alleycat17 on Twitter, spotted the trio and posted a photo.

Kind of neat that three baseball players wanted to watch baseball on their day off. Knowing those three guys, they were there looking for some edge that will help them in the upcoming series.

Pitching matchups for the Blue Jays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 12, 2013 10:00 AM

Tuesday: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.67) vs. RHP Todd Redmond (1-1, 4.22), 7:07 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 4.37) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (2-8, 6.20), 7:07 p.m., NESN.

Thursday: RHP Jake Peavy (9-4, 4.50) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (8-7, 4.43), 7:07 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

* This post now reflects changes made to Toronto rotation today.

Red Sox actually having a productive trip

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2013 11:21 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Red Sox were one game ahead of the Rays in the American League East standings when they embarked on their 10-game road trip.

After going 3-4 against the Astros and Royals the Sox are now ... three games up?

Yes. The once rampaging Rays have lost five straight and seven of nine after being swept by the Dodgers.

The Sox are off on Monday before starting a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday.

A few other notes from today:

• David Ross caught four innings for Double A Portland and had three plate appearances in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment. Ross reached on catcher’s interference, walked and doubled in a game against Portland. He is scheduled to play for Triple A Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday.

Ross, who is on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a concussion, is eligible to be activated on Saturday. But the Sox, John Farrell said, will wait until Aug. 19 in San Francisco barring any setbacks. The plan is for Ross to catch consecutive games for Pawtucket later this week.

• Mike Napoli struck out three times in a 4-3 loss against the Royals and now has 155 on the season. That’s the fifth-most in a single season in franchise history. Only Mark Bellhorn (177 in 2004), Jason Bay (162 in 2009), Butch Hobson (162 in 1977) and Tony Armas (156 in 1984) have had more. Napoli is on a pace for 209.

• Jonny Gomes drew a walk as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. He has reached base safely in 13 of 23 plate appearances as a pinch hitter this season

• John Lackey is 7-10 in 21 starts thanks largely to a lack of run support. The Red Sox have averaged 3.42 runs in the games Lackey has started, 5.38 runs otherwise.

• Stephen Drew was 2 for 4, extending his hit streak to 12 games. He's 19 of his last 45 with five extra base-hits and eight RBIs. His OPS of .781 is fifth among all shortstops in baseball.

• Will Middlebrooks was 1 for 4 with a walk and has been on base four times in two games since returning to the majors.

Final: Royals 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 11, 2013 02:14 PM

Game over: Royals 4, Red Sox 3: Royals closer Greg Holland retired the Red Sox in the ninth to earn his 32nd save and 25th in a row. James Shields bested John Lackey in this one. Both starters pitched well. The Royals scored all of their runs in the first three innings.

Alex Gordon's solo homer in the third proved to be the difference. Gordon also made a spectacular fly slamming against the wall in foul territory on a ball hit by Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 0-for-5 after going 4-for-5 the night before. Ellsbury struck out to end the game. David Ortiz also went 0-for-4. The game was played in 2:56 before 24,935 at Kauffman Stadium.

Bottom 8th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - With one out, Alex Gordon doubled over Ellsbury's head. Ellsbury just missed the catch as he rolled against the wall. The Royals loaded the bases, but Drake Britton did a nice job getting out of trouble, getting Escobar to ground into a force at home and Dyson struck out.

Top 8th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - Shields left after recording the first out. After a walk to Nava by Tim Colins, the next two batters - Napoli and Drew - struck out.

Bottom 7th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - Lackey records a strikeout and two ground balls to first base.

Top 7th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - Shields seems to be getting stronger. Easily takes care of the top of the Red Sox order.

Bottom 6th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - Lackey showed some emotion after he struck out Jarrod Dyson on a 3-2 pitch stranding two runners. Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar reached on hits. Home plate umpire Greg Gibson had to call time with the count 3-2 to confer with the other umpires. The count was 3-2, but the scoreboard read 2-2. Gibson had to call to the scoreboard operator to have the count changed while play was disrupted.

Top 6th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3 - A Daniel Nava infield single to third base, a two-out double to right by Drew, set the stage for Lavarnway's single down the third base line, scoring two.

Bottom 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 1 - Top three batters in the order go down vs. Lackey.

Top 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 1 - Alex Gordon keeps highlighting why he's such a good player. He made a sensational catch going face-first into the left field wall in foul territory on Jacoby Ellsbury's fly ball down the line. He then caught the very next ball off Shane Victorino, turned and fired a strike to second base where he nearly picked off Ryan Lavarnway, who led off with a single. The Sox actually had two on and nobody out after Will Middlebrooks walked, but could do no more against James Shields.

Bottom 4th: Royals 4, Red Sox 1 - Three-up, three down for Royals.

Top 4th: Royals 4, Red Sox 1 - Ortiz and Nava made quick outs against Shields, but Napoli interupted the flow with a walk on a pitch that looked like a strike. Drew popped out.

Bottom 3rd: Royals 4, Red Sox 1 - Alex Gordon hits a lined shot to right for a home run off Lackey.

Top 3rd: Royals 3, Red Sox 1 - Will Middlebrooks made solid contact with a single to left, but was erased on Jacoby Elllsbury's double-play grounder. Shane Victorino was hit with a pitch and Dustin Pedroia popped out to second.

Bottom 2nd: Royals 3, Red Sox 1 - Mike Moustakas doubled to right, moved to third on Alcides Escobar's sacrifice bunt and scored on Jarrod Dyson's single to right. Dyson stole second and then was moving on the pitch where David Lough blooped a single to right scoring Dyson easily.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Royals 1 - After Stephen Drew extended his hitting streak to 12 games, Ryan Lavarnway bounced into a double-play.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Royals 1 - John Lackey had trouble replicating his mechanics for the first two batters - David Lough and Eric Hosmer - and walked both. He got bailed out a tad when Billy Butler knocked into a double-play, but Alex Gordon lined a single to center to drive in the tying run. After a stolen base, Salvador Perez lined out to center.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Royals 0 - James Shields allowed a double to left field. Dustin Pedroia walked. Victorino stole third, his 16th swipe and scored on catcher Salvador Perez' throwing error where the ball hit Victorino on the back side on a pick-off attempt.

We're underway here in KC, in near-perfect conditions. Nice matchup - James Shields vs. John Lackey. We'll be with you shortly for updates.

A few pre-game notes from Kansas City

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2013 01:06 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Greetings from Kauffman Stadium and a lazy Sunday morning at the ballpark.

No batting practice today for the teams and the Sox have a day off tomorrow. It'll be John Lackey against James Shields at 2:10 p.m.

A few notes:

• David Ross is scheduled to catch four or five innings for Double A Portland today. He'll transfer his rehab to Triple A Pawtucket on Tuesday.

Ross is eligible to return on Aug. 17. The Sox are planning to activate him on Aug. 19 in San Francisco according to John Farrell.

• Clay Buchholz threw today and is scheduled for a bullpen session on Tuesday in Toronto. He's making progress and seems far less concerned about his shoulder than he did even two weeks ago.

• The Royals made some roster moves today. Miguel Tejada (right calf strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list and infielder Irving Falu was recalled from Triple A Omaha. Catcher Sal Perez was activated off the seven-day concussion DL and reinstated RHP Wade Davis from the family emergency list. LHP Donnie Joseph was optioned to Omaha and catcher Brett Hayes was designated for assignment.

Hayes started two games in this series and then gets DFA'd? Tough league.

• A bunch of people asked what's on the piece of paper Daniel Nava was looking at in the outfield last night. It's a list of reminders about shifting defensively based on what pitcher is on the mound and what batter is on the plate.

Rather than try to decipher signals from the dugout, Nava refers to the paper to make sure he's in the right spot.

• Enterprising reporter to Farrell: "Do the Red Sox have a hidden-ball trick like the Rays?"

Farrell: "If I told you it wouldn't be hidden."

• The Sox are 21-11 in days games, the best record in the majors. Nobody seems to know exactly why that is. "Maybe because we're good," Dustin Pedroia said.

Game 120: Red Sox at Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2013 10:12 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (71-48)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Lavarnwway C
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-9, 3.21).

ROYALS (60-54)
Lough RF
Hosmer 1B
Butler DH
Gordon LF
Perez C
Moustakas 3B
Escobar SS
Dyson CF
Johnson 2B
Pitching: RHP James Shields (6-7, 3.08).

Game time: 2:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Shields: Ortiz 19-60, Pedroia 17-57, Ellsbury 12-52, Napoli 6-23, Salty 0-14, Nava 2-9, Victorino 2-5, Drew 2-5, Carp 1-4, Gomes 1-2.

Royals vs. Lackey: Tejada 14-47, Butler 6-12, Gordon 4-10, Escobar 0-3, Hosmer 1-3, Moustakas 1-2.

Stat of the Day: John Lackey is making his first appearance at Kauffman Stadium since Sept. 5, 2009. He is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts in Kansas City.

Notes: The Sox need a win to split the series. They are 2-4 against the Royals this season. ... The Sox start the day with a three-game lead in the division and are 3-3 on a road trip that continues in Toronto on Tuesday. ... Lackey is 3-3, 3.36 in nine career starts against the Royals. He is facing them for the first time since July 27, 2011. ... Shields is 8-13, 4.44 in 24 career starts against the Sox. He did not have a decision against the Sox at Fenway Park on April 20 when he allowed one run over six innings and struck out eight. ... Drew has a 10-game hit streak (17 of 41). ... The Royals lead the all-time series against the Sox 222-221.

Song of the Day: "I've Been Working Too Hard" by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Red Sox bullpen holds off Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2013 12:27 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — C.J. Matsumoto works for the Red Sox as their Japanese interpreter. He's a pleasant guy who shadows Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa and helps them communicate with teammates, coaches or manager John Farrell.

Koji and Taz know enough English to get by for the most part and plenty of baseball expressions don't need much translation. C.J. is there to make sure the message is clear.

He also helps out with interviews and was a little busy after tonight's 5-3 victory against Kansas City. Tazawa pitched two scoreless innings before Uehara finished off the Royals for his 12th save.

They were part of a bullpen that worked five innings without giving up a run following an erratic performance by Felix Doubront.

Uehara has not allowed a run over 16 consecutive innings. In his last 28 appearances, the 38-year-old righthander has given up one earned run on 10 hits over 29 innings with three walks and 40 strikeouts. Opponents are 10 of their last 96 against him.

The Sox are 26-6 when Tazawa and Uehara both pitch in a game. Tazawa was asked about working as the set-up man for Uehara.

“He’s been money,” Tazawa said via Matsumoto. “I know if I do my job that he’ll end the game.”

He's been money? That's a Japanese expression, too?

"We'll sort of," Matsumoto said. "That's what he meant."

Uehara has appeared in 54 games. His next appearance will trigger a clause guaranteeing his contract for next season. That’s just fine with the Red Sox.

“Whether or not people take note nationally, I don’t know. I know how important he is to our team,” Farrell said. “He’s been outstanding.”

Farrell has come to marvel at how Uehara approaches the ninth inning.

“You sit there and you watch him pitch and against a given hitter you almost feel he’s got a sixth sense when he’s on the mound,” the manager said. “When to elevate a fastball to reverse the count, fall behind on purpose to be able to use some of the hitter’s aggressiveness against his split [finger fastball]. He’s just got an exceptional feel for the situation.”

Uehara was told he pitches like a man with somewhere to go.

“It’s just my way,” he said. “When I was a starter in Japan there was a game I finished in two hours. If I did that now, everybody would be able to go to dinner early.”

Meanwhile:

• Jacoby Ellsbury showed all the elements of his value. He was 4 for 5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a stolen base. He also made several nice catches in center including a running stab in the first that helped save a few runs.

Ellsbury raised his batting average to .305. Combine that with an .806 OPS, 42 stolen bases, and above-average fielding and his value on the free agent market is trending up after a slow start.

“Seeing the ball, driving it. Getting some good swings on the ball,” Ellsbury said. “It started in Houston where they tracked down a couple of balls at the wall and then I hit a couple out. I just want good hard contact and I’m satisfied tonight that they fell in for me.”

• Will Middlebrooks marked his return to the majors with two hits and two RBIs. His first game for the Sox since June 20 was just about perfect for him after seven weeks in the International League.

“It was a good feeling to come back and help us win a game,” Middlebrooks said. “That’s all that really matters.”

Middlebrooks was an instant upgrade at third base. His righthanded power could be a significant addition.

• Stephen Drew continued his contributions, going 1 for 4 with an RBI. He has hit safely in 10 straight games. Going back to June 18, he is 34 of 103 (.330) with 13 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and 14 walks.

• With the Dodgers beating the Rays, the Sox now lead the American League East by three games. It’s their largest lead since July 13. The Sox are 5.5 up on the Orioles and 11 up on the Yankees.

• David Ross started his rehabilitation assignment with Double A Portland by going 0 for 2 with an RBI. He was the designated hitter. Ross has been on the disabled list since June 15 because of concussions.

• Speaking of good guys, old friend Darnell McDonald was called up by the Cubs.

That's it from Kauffman Stadium. Check back tomorrow for more.

Final: Red Sox 5, Royals 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 10, 2013 07:05 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Royals 3: -After two strong innings by Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, making his 54th appearance, recorded his 12th save in 15 tries.

Uehara is just one appearance short of his 2014 option vesting.Uehara retired the side in order. The Red Sox had a big night from Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 4 for 5 with two RBIs. Will Middlebrooks, recalled from Pawtucket, went 2 for 4 with two RBIs to help pace the Boston attack. The game was played in 3:28 before 38,742 at Kauffman Stadium.

Top 9th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3: Victorino (single) and Ortiz (walk) reach, but Nava flew out to right to end the inning.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - For the second straight inning, the Royals leave a man on second base. Catcher Brett Hayes doubled off the left field wall after Daniel Nava had the ball in glove as he slammed shoulder-first into the wall and the ball become dislodged. Tazawa got the next two outs to preserve the lead.

Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - The Red Sox go down in order.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - The Royals waste a leadoff double by Billy Butler and can't score vs. Junichi Tazawa.

Top 7th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - The Red Sox produced a Dustin Pedroia walk and a single by Mike Carp, but couldn't add to their lead.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - Escobar singled with one out, but eric Hosemer knocked into a double play.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Royals 3 - With two outs, Middlebrooks beat out an infield topper to third base. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with his fourth hit -a double to left center. He was thrown out trying to stretch to a triple, but the run had scored.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Royals 3 - Felix Doubront pitched himself out of this game. In the fifth, he walked Alcides Escobar, who scored on Eric Hosmer's double. Bill Butler doubled to the corner in right field scoring Hosmer and Alex Gordon blooped a single to center to put runners at the corners.

Doubront had thrown 98 pitches to this point and hadn't retired a batter. Before he could qualify for a win, John Farrell yanked him in favor of Brandon Workman with Justin Maxwell coming up. Workman got the next three outs with two strikeouts but not before he allowed an RBI single to Miguel Tejada.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Royals 0 - Ortiz popped to third base, Carp grounded out to first and Napoli flew out to center against Guthrie.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Royals 0 - Nice quick inning for Doubront after the Sox scored four runs in support at the top of the inning. Doubront pitched seven shutout innings last Sunday vs. Arizona.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Royals 0 - The Red Sox seemed on the verge in the first three innings off Guthrie, but finally made it happen with four runs. With one out, Mike Carp kicked things off with a walk. Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to right field. Stephen Drew doubled Carp in. With runners at second and third, Will Middlebrooks, just recalled from Pawtucket, singled to right scoring two runs. Ellsbury followed with his third hit, a double to right, scoring the fourth Red Sox run.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - Doubront again played his bend-but-do-not-break game. He allowed singles to Butler and Maxwell, but managed to wiggle out of harms way.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - The Red Sox out two baserunners on with a single by Jacoby Ellsbury and a single by Dustin Pedroia, but the Sox couldn't get the run in when Ortiz flew out to right..

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - After two outs, Doubront walked No. 9 hitter Jarrod Dyson, but then struck out Alicides escobar, his second K of the inning.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - Mike Carp, playing left field, started the inning with a single to right. But Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both struck out before Stephen Drew popped out to third.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - Long inning for Felix Doubront to start things off. The Royals loaded the bases on a single by Eric Hosmer and walks to Alex Gordon and Justin Maxwell. Miguel Tejada ran the count to 2-1 before he lined out hard to center field. Doubront threw 34 pitches.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury started things off on a great night here at Kauffman Stadium, with a single to center. Shane Victorino's grounder back to the pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie, resulted in a force of Ellsbury at second base. Guthrie then reared back and struck out Dustin Pedroia (on a close 3-2 pitch that Pedroia argued) and David Ortiz, who swung and missed. Victorino did steal second base with Ortiz up.

Red Sox call up Will Middlebrooks

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2013 02:57 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Will Middlebrooks is on his way to Kansas City and is expected to be in the Red Sox lineup tonight.

The 24-year-old third baseman hit .192/.228/.389 before he was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket on June 25. Middlebrooks hit .268/.327/.464 in Pawtucket with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs in 45 games.

Middlebrooks was 12 for 38 in his last 10 games for the PawSox with two home runs and six RBIs.

The Red Sox were using Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder at third base after the trade of Jose Iglesias. They were 5 of 37 (.135) with three RBIs in 11 games.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Middlebrooks is in the lineup and batting ninth.

Game 119: Red Sox at Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (70-48)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp LF
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.56).

ROYALS (60-53)
Escobar SS
Hosmer 1B
Butler DH
Gordon LF
Maxwell RF
Tejada 2B
Moustakas 3B
Hayes C
Dyson CF
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (12-7, 3.96).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Guthrie: Pedroia 16-49, Ellsbury 16-42, Ortiz 13-38 (3 HR), Napoli 6-16 (2 HR), Salty 6-12, Gomes 3-9, Carp 5-9 (2 HR), Victorino 2-6, Nava 1-4, Middlebrooks 0-3, Lavarnway 1-1.

Royals vs. Doubront: Gordon 2-6, Butler 0-5, Escobar 2-5, Hosmer 1-5, Dyson 2-4, Cain 1-2, Johnson 0-2, Moustakas 1-3, Hayes 0-2.

Stat of the Day: Red Sox players are hitting a collective .371/.437/.667 in 213 career plate appearances against Guthrie.

Notes: The Sox are 2-3 on their 10-game road trip but still lead the division after the Dodgers came back to beat the Rays in the bottom of the ninth inning. ... Sox pitchers have allowed 27 earned runs on 41 hits over 34 innings in the last four games. ... Doubront is 5-4 with a 2.55 ERA in his last 15 games. Since May 16, he has the 11th-lowest ERA among starters in baseball. Doubront was 1-0 in two starts against Kansas City last season, albeit with a 5.56 ERA. ... Guthrie is 3-8, 4.94 in 21 career appearances against the Sox, 19 of them starts. Guthrie is 17-10,3.36 in 37 starts for the Royals since being acquired from Colorado on July 20, 2012. Guthrie was 50-74, 4.37 before he joined the Royals. ... Ortiz drove in his 1,400th career run on Friday. That's 73rd all-time and fourth among active players. Only Alex Rodriguez (1,950), Albert Pujols (1,498) and Jason Giambi (1,430) have more. ... Ortiz is 10 of his last 14 with three RBIs. ... Red Sox third basemen (Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder) are 5 of 37 since the trade of Jose Iglesias, 0 for their last 18. That's what led to the recall of Middlebrooks. ... Drew has a 10-game hit streak (16 of 37) with three extra-base hits and eight RBIs.

Song of the Day: "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by The Police.

Peavy: You’ve got to win a game like that

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2013 01:13 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jake Peavy was three outs away from handshakes and hugs in the dugout for a job well done. The Sox had a three-run lead on the Royals entering the sixth inning and John Farrell had his bullpen lined up.

It's the kind of game any starter has to take care, but especially a veteran who was obtained at the trade deadline. Peavy doesn't need to be a stud for the Sox, he just needs to take care of business.

But Peavy didn't get an out in the sixth inning. Three singles knocked him out of the game and the bullpen only made it worse. Than Drake Britton was charged with the loss didn't matter to Peavy.

“Obviously I take the blame. Your offense can’t score six runs and you not win the game in a game you start,” Peavy said. “I just didn’t get it done.”

Peavy allowed 10 hits over his five innings. He consistently got ahead of hitters but just as consistently failed to put them away. For only the second time in 297 career starts, Peavy went at least five innings without a strikeout.

A few notes:

• The Red Sox bullpen is showing some cracks. Brandon Workman was hit hard in Houston on Tuesday and Britton has allowed three runs in his last three innings.

Pedro Beato was called into Farrell's office after the game. He's headed back to Pawtucket with Franklin Morales coming off the DL.

• Third basemen Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder are 5 for 37 (.135) since the trade of Jose Iglesias. The duo are hitless in their last 18 at-bats. Will Middlebrooks is hitting .316/.357/.500 in his last 10 games for Pawtucket with six RBIs. Maybe now is the time to bring him back.

• The crowd of 29,485 was loud during the game. Kansas City hasn't had a winning team since 2003 but winning 15 of 17 has the people excited.

• The Sox have to have Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields in the final two games of the series. They need Felix Doubront and John Lackey to get this road trip back on course after a 2-3 start.

Final: Royals 9, Red Sox 6

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 08:30 PM

Game over: Royals 9, Red Sox 6: A six-run sixth inning by the Royals did the Red Sox in tonight. Jake Peavy wasn't at his best, while the Sox bullpen that relieved Peavy was also off kilter. All-Star reliever Greg Holland retired the Red Sox in the 9th to record his 31st save and 24th consecutive save. The game was played in 3:25 before 29,485 at Kauffman Stadium.

Bottom 8th: Royals 9, Red Sox 6 - Craig Breslow came on. Hosmer singled but was wiped out by Butler's double-play grounder. Alex Gordon singled to right.Breslow uncorked a wild pitch with Maxwell up advancing the runner to second. but he struck Maxwell out to send this into the 9th.

Top 8th: Royals 9, Red Sox 6 - The Red Sox had a chance to cut the gap a little here but came up empty. Ellsbury and Victorino walked against lefty Tim Collins, but Pedroia knocked into a double-play. David Ortiz had a chance to knock in a run, but he popped out to end the inning.

Bottom 7th: Royals 9, Red Sox 6 - George Kottaras singled off Mike Napoli and then Dustin Pedroia, but Pedro Beato was able to prevent an extension of the lead.

Top 7th: Royals 9, Red Sox 6 - Mike Napoli singled to leadoff the inning, but the Sox were retired after that.

Bottom 6th: Royals 9, Red Sox 6 - The Royals scored six runs against Jake Peavy and the Red Sox bullpen to retake the lead. Peavy allowed three straight hits to Justin Maxwell, Mike Moustakas and an RBI single to Alcides Escobar. Peavy's night was over.

On came rookie lefty Drake Britton who walked George Kottaras, but got pinch-hitter Miguel Tejada to foul out to first base. But leadoff hitter David Lough hit a hard line drive sacrifice fly to right scoring yet another run before Eric Hosmer singled between the 5-6 hole to account for two more runs. Pedro Beato was next. He allowed an RBI double to Billy Butler, walked Alex Gordon and allowed an RBI single to Justin Maxwell.

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Royals 3 - The Red Sox were three-up, three-down.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 6, Royals 3 - The Royals stroked two hits (Hosmer and Butler) off Peavy, but Gordon knocked into an inning-ending double-play.

Top 5th: Red Sox 6, Royals 3 - A leadoff single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia went for naught.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 6, Royals 3 - Peavy holds the status quo with a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th: Red Sox 6, Royals 3 - Nothing like a two-out rally. This game was deadlocked against Ervin Santana until Pedroia and Ortiz singled and Nava was hit with a pitch to load the bases. Mike Napoli didn't disappoint this time. He doubled to deep center to clear the bases. That was the end of Santana's night.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 3, Royals 3 - Alex Gordon homered to straightaway center vs. Peavy. Ellsbury then made a great leaping catch against the CF wall to rob Mike Moustakas of extra bases.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Royals 2 - David Ortiz homered, his 22nd on a 3-2 count. The Red Sox rallied for another run with two outs. Mike Napoli was hit with a pitch. Stephen Drew singled and Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled just inside the first base bag, scoring the go-ahead run.

Bottom 2nd: Royals 2, Red Sox 1 - Justin Maxwell homered to left off Peavy to tie it. Peavy couldn't end it right there. With one out, Alcides Escobar singled, former Red Sox catcher George Kottaras walked. With two outs, leadoff hitter David Lough singled up the middle scoring Escobar.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Royals 0 - Santana got the first two outs but then surrendered a single to Jacoby Ellsbury before getting Victorino to fly out to left.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Royals 0 - Jake Peavy, 5-7 career vs. the Royals, took the mound for his second start for the Red Sox. After he gopt the first two out, Billy Butcler singled to center, but Peavy retired Alex Gordon for the final out.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Royals 0 - Shane Victorino singled to center and Dustin Pedroia walked after one out vs. Ervin Santana. After two outs, Daniel Nava singled in Victorino. After Napoli walked, Stephen Drew ended the inning with a ground ball out.

Buchholz encouraged after throwing 40 pitches

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 06:41 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Clay Buchholz threw 40 pitches in the bullpen this afternoon and came away feeling encouraged about his right shoulder.

"Felt good," said Buchholz. "Everything is coming along. Feels like arm is catching up to the body a little but better, and there's nothing inside of my head when I'm going through the motion."

Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 9, threw 27 pitches in the bullpen in Houston Tuesday.

"I threw harder, more intense today. Threw all my pitches," he said. "It feels a lot different than it did the first time around [before the All-Star break]. I definitely can feel it getting better."

Buchholz is scheduled to throw again Sunday and again in Toronto Tuesday. From there, he could work his way up to a simulated game later next week.

The Sox have Buchholz throwing every three days as he builds up arm strength. The Red Sox have been careful not to reveal any timetables, but Buchholz could rejoin the rotation late this month on the pace he is on.

The All-Star righthander is 9-0 with a 1.71 earned run average in 12 starts. His return could be a difference maker in the final weeks of the season.

Also:

• LHP Franklin Morales is ready to come off the DL and could be activated Saturday.

• Backup catcher David Ross will start a rehab assignment with Double A Portland Saturday. He will DH the first game.

Red Sox announce international signings

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 04:24 PM

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The Red Sox announced the signing of four 16-year-old international prospects: third baseman Rafael Devers (Dominican Republic), lefthander Enmanuel DeJesus (Venezuela), lefthander Jhonathan Diaz (Venezuela) and center fielder Yoan Aybar (Dominican Republic).

Devers, who signed for $1.5 million, is the prize of the group. Scouts have been impressed with his power and approach at the plate. But obviously trying to project what kind of player a 16-year-old will be in five years is lots of guesswork.

Devers played in the International Prospect League and they posted this photo on Twitter.

Time for a move at third base?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 04:23 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Red Sox have played nine games since trading Jose Iglesias. They're 6-3 and have averaged 5.6 runs. So it would be a little hyperbolic to suggest that the lack of production at third base is some sort of crucial issue. It's not. It's not as though Iglesias was hitting much before the deal.

Nonetheless, Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder are 5 for 33 (.151) with four runs, three RBIs, and two extra-base hits since the trade. They are hitless in their last 14 at-bats.

Don't blame Holt and Snyder. Holt is a middle infielder best suited for a utility role, and Snyder is a bench player now with his third organization in three years. They are what they are.

There's an equation the Red Sox have to figure out here sometime soon. Can Xander Bogaerts play third base in the majors after seven games of experience at the position at Triple A? Or should the Red Sox bring Will Middlebrooks back?

Bogaerts is the best prospect in baseball, and the Sox do not want to throw him into the heat of the pennant race unless he is ready. They also believe Middlebrooks is an important part of the future and are committed to the idea of him smoothing out some rough edges in the minors.

But the valid priorities of player development usually take a back seat to the needs of the major league team, and right now, there's a need.

Whether it's Bogaerts or Middlebrooks, the Red Sox need a third baseman. At this point, either represents a significant upgrade that would come at no cost. The reward far outweighs any risk.

Game 118: Red Sox at Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 03:50 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (70-47)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Nava LF
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (9-4, 4.14).

ROYALS (59-53)
Lough RF
Hosmer 1B
Butler DH
Gordon LF
Maxwell CF
Moustakas 3B
Escobar SS
Kottaras C
Johnson 2B
Pitching: RHP Ervin Santana (8-6, 2.97).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Santana: Ortiz 10-31, Pedroia 4-27, Carp 5-20, Ellsbury 7-24, Gomes 3-18, Napoli 6-18, Nava 1-9, Salty 1-7, Drew 0-5, Victorino 1-2.

Royals vs. Peavy: Buler 12-30 (3 HR), Gordon 2-9, Moustakas 4-19, Hosmer 3-18, Escobar 7-19 (2 HR), Tejada 4-9, Dyson 2-6, Cain 0-5.

Stat of the Day: Peavy is 5-7, 4.60 in 13 career starts against Kansas City, 1-5, 5.15 in his last seven. He did beat them on April 3 with a strong six innings (4 H, 1 ER 0 BB, 6 K).

Notes: The Sox are 2-2 on their 10-game road trip. They start the day with a two-game lead on the Rays in the division. ... Kansas City has won two straight, five of six, 14 of 16 and 16 of 20. They are 4.5 games out of a wild card spot. ... The Sox are 1-3 against Kansas City this season. ... The Royals lead the all-time series against the Sox 221-220. ... Peavy won his first start with the Sox and is 3-0, 3.60 in four starts since coming off the disabled list. ... Santana beat the Sox on April 21 (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) and is 4-3, 3.98 in 12 career starts. Santana is 3-0, 1.27 in his last four starts. ... Cain is 6-14 with five extra-base hits in four games against the Sox this season. ... Drew has a nine-game hit streak. He is 15 of 32 with three extra-base hits and eight RBIs in the streak. ... Ortiz, who had a day off on Thursday is eight of his last nine with two RBIs and two walks. .... Gomes is 5 of his last 13 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Whatever It Takes" by Tom Morello.

Jonny Gomes + Kevin Millar = entertainment

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 02:26 PM

Here's Jonny Gomes on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar:

Gomes, by the way, acts like this pretty much all the time.

For Lester, perhaps some positive signs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2013 12:12 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Don’t shake your head and wonder how the Red Sox lost 5-1 to the Royals.

Kansas City has won 14 of its last 16 games to crawl back into the wild card race and has the lowest earned run average in the league.

Lefty Bruce Chen, who bamboozled the Sox with an array of pitches, arm angles and speeds, has been at the center of the resurgence. After pitching effectively out of the bullpen all season, the 35-year-old was put in the rotation on July 12. He has a 1.14 ERA since and Kansas City has won four of his five starts.

It was an ugly first inning for Jon Lester and the Red Sox Thursday night. The lefty threw 41 pitches, allowed three runs and there was an error by Jonny Gomes in left field that reminded you why Oakland liked him as a DH.

Here's one positive to take out of the night: Lester may actually be getting close to being himself again.

He has a 3.48 ERA in his last five starts. Over 31 innings Lester has walked seven and struck out 30. After that bad first inning, Lester recovered and shut down the Royals over the six innings that followed on 80 pitches. He gave up only two other hits.

“I need to win more of those games, but I feel like I’m getting close,” Lester said. “There are good signs if you try to look at the glass as being half full. It’s getting there.”

He'll face Toronto next week.

Meanwhile:

• Maybe Rubby De La Rosa (two solo home runs in the eighth inning) isn't quite ready for prime time after all.

• Mike Napoli was 1 for 4 hitting sixth and struck out two more times.

• The Sox are 1-3 against KC.

• The Sox are 46-9 when they score first, 24-38 when they don't.

Final: Royals 5, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 08:19 PM

Game over: Royals 5, Red Sox 1 - The Red Sox avoided their second shutout in four games by scoring a run in the ninth, their only run of the game, when Stephen Drew knocked in Jonny Gomes (double) with a single against reliever Luke Hochevar. The Red Sox could not solve lefty Bruce Chen who shut them out for 7 2/3 innings. The Red Sox committed three errors behind Jon Lester, who allowed three runs in the first inning, the floodgates opened on a Jonny Gomes error in left field. The Red Sox dropped to 22-16 vs, lefty starters.

Bottom 8th: Royals 5, Red Sox 0 - Rubby De La Rosa proved that the harder you throw it, the faster it goes out. Billy Butler connected with one of De La Rosa's high 90s speed balls and sent it 413 feet over the centerfield fence. Another long out to right by Miguel Tejada.Justin Maxwell blasted a 97 mph fastball over the centerfield fence as well.

Top 8th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox had two on on singles by Nava and Ellsbury, but the Sox couldn't get a run across. Chen left after the Ellsbury single and replaced by Luke Hochevar retired Shane Victorino with a pop up.

Bottom 7th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Stephen Drew booted Alcides Escobar's grounder, Boston's third error. After a stolen bases, Lester didn't let the error rattle him. He's gotten through seven and what once looked like a struggle for him turned into a pretty good outing.

Top 7th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Chen allowed a single to Stephen Drew for Boston's fourth hit, but nothing else.

Bottom 6th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Lester gets three outs with grounder, strike out and fly out by Tejada, Maxwell and Moutsakas.

Top 6th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Lester now has a quality start working after retiring the side in the sixth.

Bottom 5th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox made another error - a boot by Daniel Nava on Eric Hosmer's grounder. Lester also walked Cain, but Lester had the bend-but-not-break mindset and held the Royals in check.

Top 5th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Napoli struck out. Nava popped out to the catcher and Salty lined out to left. Chen pitching to contact and getting his outs efficiently.

Bottom 4th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - With one out Mike Moustakas singled to right, but was caught stealing by Jarrod Salatalamacchia. The Royals went down vs. Lester, who has settled down considerably.

Top 4th: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - A Dustin Pedroia walk amid three infield pops.

Bottom 3rd: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Another 1-2-3 inning by Lester topped off by a nice sliding catch in right by Shane Victorino to prevent a Miguel Tejada single.

Top 3rd: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Chen gets all three batters.

Bottom 2nd: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Lester recovers and retired the Royals in order.

Top 2nd: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - A two-out single by Mike Napoli was all the Red Sox could muster. Napoli has been dropped to sixth in the order. He spent a down day yesterday working on his hitting, and he went the other way and got on base.

Bottom 1st: Royals 3, Red Sox 0 - Long inning for Jon Lester, who was victimized by an outfield error by Jonny Gomes, who misjudged Alex Gordon's sinking liner to left Lester allowed a leadoff double to Lorenzo Cain, who moved to third on Eric Hosmer's grounder. Billy Butler walked, setting the stage for Gomes' blunder which scored a run. After another out and another walk, Mike Moustakas doubled to right scoring a pair of runs.. .

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Royals 0 - On an unusually cool Kansas City summer night, the Red Sox and Royals begin the first game of hat could be a tough four-game series. Bruce Chen, who has produced four quality starts in a row, allowed a single to Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the game, but Ellsbury was picked off by Chen, who retired the side after that.

With Nava back, Wright sent down

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 07:52 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Daniel Nava back from paternity leave, the Red Sox optioned righthander Steven Wright back to Triple A Pawtucket.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz had what John Farrell said was his most strenuous throwing from 90 feet. He is scheduled for 30-35 pitches in the bullpen Friday.

"He's making steady progress," Farrell said.

• LHP Franklin Morales, who threw an inning for Double A Portland Wednesday, could be activated off the disabled list as soon as Friday. He has been on the DL since June 23 with a strained pectoral muscle on his left side.

With Matt Thornton going on the DL on Wednesday, the Sox want that third lefty reliever.

"We've come to know that three lefties in the bullpen is a little bit of a luxury," Farrell said.

• RHP Alex Wilson had a setback with his sprained right thumb. He pitched in four rehab games for Pawtucket and is not scheduled for another outing.

"We've got to get that thoroughly checked again," Farrell said.

• Happy birthday to Craig Breslow, who turned 33 today.

• Junichi Tazawa was perfect for two innings Wednesday and in recent outings has shown the same command and velocity he did earlier in the season.

"There was a stretch where he was very conscious of not letting some fastballs leak back onto the plate," said Farrell. "A couple of righthanders had squared him up. Subconsciously he got into a little bit of cutting the baseball and it limited his velocity.

"I think he really felt like it was time to just cut the ball loose. He's been more aggressive; he's been more efficient. Last night was as probably as good as he's been all year. He's a key member of our bullpen. That ability to go against lefties and righties late in the game, control the running game, swing-and-miss ability. All that is key for us."

• Today is Day 9 of Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts Held Hostage as the Sox platoon Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder at third base.

So when will the Sox make a move?

"When one of the players mentioned steps up and says by his performance and his actions this is one that's going to make us the best team," Farrell said. "That's what is the bottom-line goal here, what is our best team.

"There might be some fluctuation with that. I'm not saying a move is imminent. That's the view that's taken with the four names that have been talked about at third base."

Bogaerts is hitting .275/.368/.462 at Pawtucket and played seven games at third base. Middlebrooks is hitting .259/.314/.459 at Pawtucket. Obviously he has more experience at third.

Napoli dropped in order

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 06:48 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Red Sox have the most productive lineup in baseball. But on Thursday, manager John Farrell decided to make an adjustment.

Mike Napoli, the No. 5 hitter for the bulk of the season, was dropped down a spot against the Kansas City Royals and could stay there, especially against righthanded pitchers with good velocity.

Napoli is hitting .250 with 14 home runs and 64 RBIs. His on-base percentage of .340 is in line with what the Red Sox expected. But Napoli’s .443 slugging percentage is the lowest of his career.

He also is hitting .211 with runners in scoring position and has struck out 147 times in 384 at-bats.

In an effort to get cleanup hitter David Ortiz more protection, Farrell is willing to use another lefthanded hitter hitting fifth. Stephen Drew would be a candidate.

Farrell will base that part of the order on the opposing starting pitcher.

“It’ll be matchups and likely against some righthanded starters we’ll probably put another lefthander behind David,” he said. “Mike is well aware of that. Against some lefties, Mike could find himself in the 5-hole as well.

“To Mike’s credit, it’s about whatever we have to do to win tonight.”

Napoli has hit better in the second half of the season during his career. But he hit .200 with a .741 OPS in his first 17 games after the All-Star break. Napoli is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and has left 23 runners on base.

On Wednesday afternoon, Napoli worked with hitting coaches Greg Colbrunn and Victor Rodriguez on his swing, specifically cutting it down in the interest of making more consistent contact. Then he met with Farrell.

“We talked about a couple of different things that we might look to do with the lineup,” Farrell said. ‘He’s all on board with all of it.”

Napoli was not in the starting lineup against Houston Wednesday but came into the game in the eighth inning. With the Sox down a run, he popped up to the first baseman.

“It’s been a tough time,” Napoli said. “Physically, it’s not a problem. I’m fine; my hip is fine. It’s all timing for me.”

In some cases, changing a player’s spot in the order leads to better production.

“There’s two schools of thought on that,” Farrell said. “Some people think where a guy hits in the lineup, he hits to that spot and there’s a different mentality that’s associated with a spot in the lineup.

“There are other guys [who say], ‘Put me anywhere, I’ll go up and do my normal thing.'

"Mike and I both recognize he’s going through a stretch here where he’s been grinding. Hopefully just moving him down a slot gives him a little breather.

"We’ve just stayed consistent and ride the streaks with him. I think that’s where players gain some comfort and gain some confidence because they’re trusted despite recent happenings.

"In this situation — and again we’re talking about one slot in the order; he’s not going to the 9-hole — we’re just looking for a different combination in the middle.”

Game 117: Red Sox at Royals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 04:20 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (70-46)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Napoli DH
Nava 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (10-6, 4.52).

ROYALS (58-53)
Cain CF
Hosmer 1B
Butler DH
Gordon LF
Tejada 2B
Maxwell RF
Moustakas 3B
Hayes C
Escobar SS
Pitching: LHP Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.03).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Chen: Ortiz 7-25, Gomes 5-21, Pedroia 5-11, Napoli 1-11, Ellsbury 3-8, Salty 1-6, Carp 0-3, Lavarnway 1-3, Snyder 0-3, Nava 1-1.

Royals vs. Lester: Butler 4-17, Tejada 8-15, Gordon 2-15, Escobar 1-7, Hosmer 3-6, Johnson 2-7, Moustakas 1-4, Cain 1-4, Dyson 0-3, Kottaras 1-3.

Stat of the Day: Since June 10, opponents are 10 for 93 (.108) against Koji Uehara with three walks and 40 strikeouts.

Notes: After a harder-than-expected series victory in Houston, the Sox have won seven of nine and nine of 12. ... The Royals have won 13 of 15 and start the day 8.5 games out in the Central but only five out in the wild card. ... Lester is 6-2, 1.64 in nine career starts against Kansas City. In his last four games this season, he is 2-1, 4.13. That represents improvement considering he was 2-5, 6.49 in the 10 starts prior to that. ... Chen is 4-6, 5.59 in 19 career appearances (11 starts) against the Sox. He has been a part of Kansas Citys turnaround. After spending all season in the bullpen, Chen has started four straight games and gone 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA. ... The Sox are 1-2 against Kansas City this season. They dropped a doubleheader against the Royals on April 21 at Fenway. ... Gomes is 4 of his last 9 in his last three games with two homers, a double, three walks, and six RBIs. ... Junichi Tazawa (5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K last four appearances) has his groove back. ... Drew is 13 of 28 in his last eight games with three extra-base hits and seven RBIs. ... Victorino is 16 of his last 40 with six extra-base hits and six RBIs. He has scored 11 runs in that nine-game stretch. ... The Sox lead baseball in runs, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage, OPS and walks. They are fifth in stolen bases and second in triples. ... Napoli is hitting sixth for the first time this season a Drew moves up to fifth. Ortiz is getting a day off.

Song of the Day: "Midnight to Stevens" by The Clash.

Pitching matchups for the Royals series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 09:15 AM

Thursday: LHP Jon Lester (10-6, 4.52) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.03), 8:10 p.m. (ET), NESN.

Friday: RHP Jake Peavy (9-4, 4.14) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (8-6, 2.97), 8:10 p.m. (ET), NESN.

Saturday: LHP Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.56) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (12-7, 3.96), 7:10 p.m. (ET), NESN.

Sunday: RHP John Lackey (7-9, 3.21) vs. RHP James Shields (6-7, 3.08), 2:10 p.m. (ET), NESN.

Drew comes through, saves Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2013 12:50 AM

HOUSTON — The Red Sox were three outs away from losing two of three games against the worst team in baseball. That's a bad way to start a stretch of 16 of 19 games on the road in two countries and three time zones.

So desperate were the Red Sox to make something happen in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros that they used rookie pitcher Drake Britton to pinch run for David Ortiz after a leadoff single.

When Britton was told to loosen up in case he was needed to run the bases, he thought it was a joke at first.

"I said, 'Excuse me?' But they told me to get ready."

Britton had last run the bases when he played for Tomball High in 2007. His high school is about 45 minutes from Minute Maid Park.

There was no time to teach Britton any signals. The coaches told him to trust his instincts and run hard.

It turned out to be easy duty. After Mike Carp lined out to left field, Jonny Gomes drew a walk. Stephen Drew then blistered a curveball thown by Josh Fields into the seats in right field.

“I was looking for something over the plate,” Drew said. “I got a hanging breaking ball and put a good swing on it. It’s great what this team is doing.”

Britton waited to see the ball clear the fence then jogged around the bases and got to wait at the plate for Drew to cross.

"Pretty cool," he said. "I scored a run in the big leagues."

Drew is 13 of 28 with three extra-base hits and seven RBIs in eight games since Jose Iglesias was traded. Drew is hitting a modest .249 and Gomes .239. But both players have come up with a series of important hits this season.

“You look at the overall performance on the year; you look at the numbers. In key moments they’ve been big for us,” manager John Farrell said.

A deeper look at the numbers reveal plenty about Drew. He has a .778 OPS, good for third among American League shortstops with at least 325 plate appearances. Drew also is third in RBIs among AL shortstops, fifth in extra-base hits and first in pitches per plate appearance. His UZR of 4.7 puts him in the upper echelon for fielding, too.

Drew isn't the best shortstop in the league. But he's in the first tier and seems to be getting better.

"He was starting to get in the flow of things once he got back and got some at-bats under his belt after the DL stint after the All-Star break," Farrell said. "To have that kind of bat at shortstop down the bottom of the third of the order, not only does it lengthen things out but he's swinging with a lot of confidence right now against lefties and righties."

Drew started the season on the disabled list with a concussion suffered in spring training. A poor April (.154/.267/.250) put him a hole that only now he has emerged from. Since May 1, Drew is hitting .270 with an OPS of .836.

"I think personally over my first 80-bats it was like spring training. But now this is more like what I can do and I think who I am as a player," he said.

Also:

• With the Rays losing at Arizona, the Sox have a 2.5-game lead in the division. That is their largest since July 19. The Sox have won seven of nine and nine of their last 12 games.

• Ortiz was 4 for 5. Before making an out in the seventh inning, he had reached base 10 consecutive times, going 8 for 8 with two walks. He is hitting .332 with a .412 on-base percentage. Ortiz was 17 of 27 (.630) in seven games against the Astros this season.

• Junichi Tazawa (5-3) threw two perfect innings in relief of Ryan Dempster before Koji Uehara picked up his 11th save. He allowed a single but otherwise struck out the side. Uehara has 15 scoreless innings in a row and has allowed one earned run over 28 innings in his last 26 appearances.

• The Sox have come from behind to win six of their last seven games.

• The Sox left for Kansas City and a four-game series that starts on Thursday. The Royals have won 13 of 15 to get in the wild card race.

Final: Red Sox 7, Astros 5

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 08:00 PM

Game over: Red Sox 7, Astros 5 - Koji Uehara is a strike-throwing machine, the Astros are completely inept and Stephen Drew's three-run homer in the top of the 9th sealed the deal as the Red Sox came away winning two out of three vs the Astros. They are now off to Kansas City for a tough four-game series. There were 22,205 on hand at Minute Maid for a game which lasted 3:53. David Ortiz stroked four hits to improve his average to .332, Jonny Gomes added a two-run homer to pace Boston's 12-hit attack. Uehara now has 11 saves.

Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Astros 5 - Stephen Drew sent a hanging breaking pitch by Josh Fields into the rightfield bleachers with Drake Britton and Jonny Gomes aboard to turnaround a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 lead. David Ortiz, 4-for-5, singled to lead off the inning. Jonny Gomes walked on a 3-2 pitch before Drew struck. Fields had saved Houston's first win in the first game of the series.

Bottom 8th: Astros 5, Red Sox 4 - Tazawa tosses another solid inning. Keeps the game close.

Top 8th: Astros 5, Red Sox 4 - Top of the Red Sox order bows out to Chia-Jen Lo.

Bottom 7th: Astros 5, Red Sox 4 - Astros went down in order vs. Junichi Tazawa.

Top 7th: Astros 5, Red Sox 4 - Jonny Gomes smacked a two-run homer to left with Mike Carp (single to left) aboard to pull Boston to within a run. The rally came with two outs. The Red Sox extended it with a Drew single and Salty walk, but after the second pitching change of the inning, Brandon Snyder, pinch-hitting for Brock Holt, ran the count to 3-2 before striking out against righty Chia-Jen Lo.

Bottom 6th: Astros 5, Red Sox 2 - The Astros opened things up vs. the Red Sox. Grossman, smacked a double to rightcenter and scored after he advanced on a wild pitch to third and came in on Jose Altuve's infield single to third. Castro doubled in the second run and Marc Krauss' sacrifice fly accounted for the third run.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - Good relief work by Wesley Wright and Josh Zeid. The Red Sox loaded the bases with three walks (Gomes and Drew vs. Coasart) and Holt vs. Walker. Walker struck out Salty and Ellsbury and Zeid struck out Victorino. Yes, the old 3k-3BB inning.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - Astros are retired in order by Dempster who has a good split-fingered pitch tonight.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - David Ortiz has reached base 10 straight times with seven singles and three walks after his third hit tonight. His single moved Dustin Pedroia to third (after a walk), but Mike Carp knocked into a double-play to end the threat.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - After a Jason Castro single, Krauss knocked into a double-play and Brett Wallace struck out to end the inning.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - With two outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia stroked his second hit, a single to left field. After Brock Holt walked, Jacoby Ellsbury K'd.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Astros 2 - Robbie Grrossman homered off Dempster with a shot to the right field second deck with Jake Elmore aboard. It was the 22nd homer Dempster has allowed. Elmore had reached with a ground-rule double and one out.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Astros 0 - Good base-running by David Ortiz helped get the Red Sox their second run. Dustin Pedroia had reached on an infield single to shortstop and Ortiz singled to center sending Pedroia to third. Carp hit a routine grounder to first, as first baseman Brett Wallace stepped on first for the out and then Ortiz got himself caught up between first and second before he got tagged, but not before the run had scored.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Astros 0 - Castro and Krauss struck out before Brett Wallace singled. But Matt Dominguez flew out to center

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Astros 0 - The Red Sox scored first. Gomes walked and Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right field. Brock Holt grounded out to second base scoring Gomes.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - Easy inning for Ryan Dempster, who retired the side in order. Dempster has not lost in his last seven starts but allowed seven runs on nine hits over six innings vs. Seattle on August 1st.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - The Red Sox produced two hits but no runs against rookie righty Jarred Cosart, Shane Victorino singled with one out and David Ortiz singled to an abandoned spot through the infield at third base for the second hit. But with two outs, Cosart broke Mike Carp's bat as he bounced back to he pitcher for the final out.

Ortiz to appeal fine for dugout incident

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 07:45 PM

HOUSTON — David Ortiz will appeal what he revealed was a $5,000 fine for taking a bat to the telephone box in the visitors dugout at Camden Yards on July 27.

Major League sources had told the Globe last week that Ortiz had received a "significant" fine.

Ortiz said he had never heard of a fine being that high and maintains that he didn't start the series of events that led to his being ejected and then destroying the case around the phone with a bat.

Ortiz said his agents have filed the appeal.

Matt Thornton to DL, Mike Napoli sits, and other Red Sox notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 06:56 PM

HOUSTON — The Red Sox placed lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle on his left side and recalled righthanded reliever Pedro Beato.

Thornton was injured Sunday while throwing a pitch. The Red Sox waited two days before deciding to make the roster move.

"When you get into the oblique injury, even though he feels improved [from Sunday], this is something that we don't feel like we want to rush with the potential of any kind of setback," manager John Farrell said.

Farrell said Thornton would need "every bit of the two weeks" before he returns.

The Red Sox also needed a fresh arm after using Brandon Workman for 4.2 innings out of the bullpen Tuesday night. He threw 91 pitches and won't be available for at least three days.

The Sox would make another bullpen move in Kansas City. Lefty Franklin Morales is scheduled to pitch an inning for Double A Portland tonight and that could end his rehabilitation assignment.

Also:

• Mike Napoli was given a day off, and Mike Carp is batting fifth and playing first base. Napoli is 0 for his last 14 and is hitting .203 with a .329 on-base percentage since the All-Star break.

Napoli was on the field early doing some extra work with the coaches. The focus was on keeping his bat in the strike zone and taking a better path to the ball.

"Today was a day to get him off his feet," said Farrell. "He's been grinding of late, and we felt like the extra work was needed, and a day off his feet."

Napoli has no issues with his hips. His problems at the plate are largely mechanical.

When asked if he would consider moving Napoli lower in the lineup, Farrell didn’t dismiss the idea.

“That’s something I need to talk about with Mike before we get into it any further,” he said.

"Right now, he’s grinding, and as a result, I think the swing has gotten a little bit longer at times and that’s where you see him having to commit earlier to above-average velocity. Does that make him susceptible to a bigger strike zone? Possibly. These are the things that are being addressed daily and certainly with the early work [Wednesday].”

• David Ross, who is on the disabled list with a concussion, will get checked out by a specialist Thursday in Pittsburgh. If cleared, he would start a rehab assignment with Portland Friday.

• RHP John Lackey, who sprained his left ankle Monday, played catch today and remains scheduled to start Sunday.

Game 116: Red Sox at Astros

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 04:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (69-46)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp 1B
Gomes LF
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.54).

ASTROS (37-75)
Grossman LF
Barnes CF
Altuve 2B
Castro C
Krauss DH
Wallace 1B
Dominguez 3B
Hoes RF
Elmore SS
Pitching: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0, 0.96).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Cosart: No history.

Astros vs. Dempster: Altuve 1-5, Castro 1-6, Wallace 1-4, Carter 0-2, Grossman 0-2, Dominguez 2-2.

Stat of the Day: Mike Napoli is 0 for his last 14, leaving 23 men on base. Napoli is hitting .211/.316/.398 with runners in scoring position, .286/.363/.489 with no runners on base.

Notes: The teams have split the first two games of the series. The Sox are 5-1 against Houston this season, outscoring the Astros, 43-22 ... Dempster has a 5.68 ERA over his last six starts, 7.20 in the last four. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out 10 against Houston April 26 at Fenway ... Cosart, a 23-year-old rookie, is making his fifth start of the season. He has been dynamite so far in starts against the Rays, Athletics, Blue Jays, and Twins, allowing three earned runs over 28 innings ... David Ortiz is 13 of 22 with four extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in six games against Houston this season ... Hot Sox include Shane Victorino (15 of 35, six extra-base hits, six RBIs, 11 runs); Dustin Pedroia (11 of 35, four extra-base hits, 10 RBIs, six runs), and Stephen Drew (11 of 24, two extra-base hits, four RBIs, eight walks) ... Red Sox pinch hitters are 14 of 52 with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. Their 1.048 OPS is first in the AL.

Song of the Day: "All The Young Dudes" by David Bowie.

A wild night in every way for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 01:12 AM

HOUSTON — John Farrell looked a little worn out after tonight's 15-10 victory against the Astros. Can you blame him? There were 25 runs, 26 hits, 13 walks, 18 strikeouts and seven pitching changes in the game.

Down 5-0 after two innings, the Sox scored 15 runs in the next five innings. The Sox sent 26 batters to the plate in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and 12 scored.

The 69-46 Red Sox have won as many games as they did all last season and have 47 left to play.

“I hope we pass last year,” cracked Farrell.

A few notes:

• The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup — Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz — were 11 for 18 with seven RBIs and 11 runs scored.

• Ellsbury had two home runs, walked twice and scored four runs. Since 1920, the only Red Sox center fielders to hit two home runs and score four runs in a game. Fred Lynn (1975) and Ellis Burks (1987) are the others.

Ellsbury had one home run in his first 342 at-bats this season then six in the 104 at-bats after that.

• Jonny Gomes is 6 for 16 as a pinch hitter with four home runs, a double and seven RBIs. Hall of Famer Joe Cronin set the Red Sox record of five pinch-hit homers in 1943. The only other Red Sox player with four was Del Wilber in 1953. Gomes and Atlanta’s Evan Gattis have the most pinch-hit home runs in the majors this season.

“That’s pretty cool,” Gomes said. “But the season’s not over. Probably get another one.”

• The Sox have six pinch-hit home runs as a team, one off the team record set in 1953.

• Lavarnway was charged with four passed balls in the first inning, tying a major league record for the most in one inning. It had last happened on Aug. 22, 1997 when Geno Petralli of Texas had four passed balls catching knuckleballer Charlie Hough.

But after being tortured by knuckleballer Steven Wright, Lavarnway drove in two runs in the fifth inning to give the Sox the lead.

• Drake Britton had 10.1 scoreless innings to begin his major league career, the most by a Red Sox since Vaughn Eshelman went 18 innings in 1995. Hopefully Britton will accomplish more than Eshelman, who lasted three years and had a 6.07 ERA.

• Rubby De La Rosa made his Red Sox debut in the ninth and retired the side in order with two strikeouts. His fastball hit 98 miles per hour. "Impressive," Farrell said.

• Mike Napoli is 0 for his last 14 and has left 23 runners on base. He is down to .251, .214 with runners in scoring position. Napoli has not been what the Sox hoped. But it certainly hasn't affected Ortiz (.326/.407/.584) very much.

• Farrell suggested the Red Sox could make a roster move to bolster the bullpen after using Brandon Workman for 4.2 innings.

Wrong time for Steven Wright

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 7, 2013 12:56 AM

HOUSTON – A domed stadium used to be sweet music to Tim Wakefield’s ears. It meant the knuckleball was in a contained environment which usually led to better movement and a more dramatic break to the ball.

Steven Wright had those conditions last night. But he had too much of it. Even though Ryan Lavarnway had caught him eight times at Pawtucket, Wright would last only one inning and allow three runs, while Lavarnway was charged with four passed balls.

There was some head-scratching as to why Wright would even start a game during a pennant drive. A confluence of events — the dome, the opponent (the lowly Astros) — all came into play. Red Sox manager John Farrell, however, pulled the plug on the experiment quickly when he realized the movement of the ball was too much to harness.

Down 3-0 after one, 5-0 after two, the Red Sox recovered for a 15-10 win over the Houston Astros.

Lavarnway made up for the passed balls with a big two-run double in the fifth inning to give the Red Sox an 8-7 lead for good.

“I don’t think that’s how anyone would have drawn it up, but that’s the way it goes with knuckleballers – feast or famine,” Lavarnway said.

As for the big hit, “It was awesome. That’s a game where nobody ever gave up. Nobody quit. We know that we have the capabilities offensively.”

Lavarnway said it was the most movement he’s ever seen Wright have.

“I don’t know why it was,” Lavarnway said of the possibility of the dome raising havoc. “He’s been brilliant the last two times out. Sometimes it just goes the other way.”

Wright said, “It was moving a lot. It was hard to contain sometimes and tonight I couldn’t make that adjustment. It was hard to keep it in the strike zone.”

Asked whether he felt for Lavarnway, Wright said, “Yeah it’s a tough pitch. Usually, I can keep I within a certain area of the strike zone.”

He said pitching in a dome for the first time, “It was different. It was moving a lot more than I anticipated. I felt good out there. I was all over the place and wasn’t able to contain it. It was moving more than I ever had in my life.”

Final: Red Sox 15, Astros 10

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 6, 2013 08:19 PM

Game over: Red Sox 15, Astros 10: The game didn't start so well. We all wondered why Steven Wright was starting a game in the midst of a pennant race, but there he was in the first inning allowing three runs. Ryan Lavarnway committed four passed balls to tie a major league record. The Sox were down 3-0 and the decision was made to take Wright out of the game. Brandon Workman, credited with the win, didn't exactly shut the door. He allowed six runs and nine hits over 4.2 innings of relief.

But the Red Sox offense was relentless scoring 10 runs, five each in the sixth and seventh innings. Big nights by David Ortiz (4-for-4, two RBI), two homers by Jacoby Ellsbury, four RBIs and a three-run homer by pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and a big two-run double by Lavarnway in the fifth inning, which put the Red Sox ahead for good, 8-7.

We also got to see flame-throwing righty Rubby De La Rosa, who was throwing 97-98 mph heat when he struck out two in the ninth. The game was played in 3:54 before 21,620.

Top 9th: Red Sox 15, Astros 10 - Brandon Snyder walked pinch-hitting for Ortiz, but not much there.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 15, Astros 10 - Jake Elmore stroked a homer off Drake Britton, first run he's allowed since coming up.

Top 8th: Red Sox 15, Astros 9 - The game has calmed down. Nothing doing here for Red Sox.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 15, Astros 9 - Britton keeps throwing zeroes.

Top 7th: Red Sox 15, Astros 9 - Jacoby Ellsbury hit his second home run of the game. He now has seven. Sox kept rallying. Victorino walked, moved to second on a balk. Another walk by Ortiz, who has reached base five times with four hits and a walk. Gomes delivered another RBI single, his fourth RBI since coming into the game as a pinch-hitter for Carp in the sixth.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 13, Astros 9 - 'Stros come a back a bit. Four straight hits by Hoes, Elmore, Grossman (RBI) and Barnes, and a grounder by Altuve which Pedroia muffed (and could have been a double-play) allowed the second run to score.

Top 6th: Red Sox 13, Astros 7 - The Astros turned into the Astros. They have now squandered a 7-3 lead. Ellsbury walked (his second of the game) and Victorino singled to center to put runners at first and second. Pedroia singled in Ellsbury. Ortiz singled in Victorino and shortstop Jonathan Villar made a bonehead off-the-mark throw to the plate allowing the runners to advance into scoring position. Jonny Gomes hit a pinch-hit three-run homer, his fourth pinch-hit homer of the season.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 8, Astros 7 - Workman walked Jason Castro, but Brett Wallace knocked into a 3-6-3 inning-ending double-play.

Top 5th: Red Sox 8, Astros 7 - Red Sox put up five runs to take the lead. Shane Victorino knocked in Jacoby Ellsbury (walk). Dustin Pedroia doubled to bring home Victorino. After David Ortiz singled, Mike Napoli (a double-play grounder and two strikeouts) struck out. Mike Carp's grounder got Pedroia in. After Stephen Drew walked, Ryan Lavarnway, who committed four passed balls in the first inning, doubled in a pair. All the runs came off Jordan Lyles.

Bottom 4th: Astros 7, Red Sox 3 - Workman allowed a triple to L.J. Hoes to Tal's Hill in deep center and he scored on Jonathan Villar's single through the middle of a drawn-in infield. After Grossman sacrificed the runner to second base with one out, Villar was caught trying to steal third with Jose Altuve at the plate by Lavarnway. Barnes grounded out to end the threat.

Top 4th: Astros 6, Red Sox 3 - Lyles lapses into a one-out walk to Stephen Drew, but struck out Lavarnway and got Brock Holt to tap back to the pitcher.

Bottom 3rd: Astros 6, Red Sox 3 - Brett Wallace homered to right against Brandon Workman.

Top 3rd: Astros 5, Red Sox 3 - After a Stephen Drew single and one out, Jacoby Ellsbury launched a two-run homer. The Red Sox continued the rally against Lyles with a Shane Victorino single. After Dustin Pedroia was hit with a pitch, David Ortiz singled to right to knock in the run, his 72nd RBI of the season. Mike Napoli whiffed to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Astros 5, Red Sox 0 - Steven Wright was out after one inning. Lavarnway couldn't catch him. Brandon Workman came in. He allowed a one-out single and stolen base to Jonathan Villar and then Robbie Grossman homered.

Top 2nd: Astros 3, Red Sox 0 - A David Ortiz single went for naught. Mike Napoli knocked into a 6-4-3 double-play and Mike Carp struck out.

Bottom 1st: Astros 3, Red Sox 0 - The good news is Steven Wright had an incredibly moving knuckleball. The bad news is, Ryan Lavarnway couldn't catch it. There were four passed balls, two of them producing runs. Wright walked leadoff man Robbie Grossman, who stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball before Brandon Barnes was hit with a pitch.

After a passed ball advanced the runner to second Jose Altuve struck out. Another passed ball produced a run. Jason Castro singled, Marc Krauss walked. But Wright finally settled in, allowing a third run on a ground out by Brett Wallace. Wright threw 38 pitches. Four passed balls by Lavarnway tied a major league record for PB's in one inning.

Top 1st: Astros 0, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox went down in order against Jordan Lyles, who struck out Dustin Pedroia to end the first inning.

Buchholz feeling good after bullpen work

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2013 05:40 PM

HOUSTON — Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz threw 27 pitches in the bullpen at Minute Maid Park this afternoon, his first such work since July 14 in Oakland.

He came away enthused about the condition of his right shoulder and plans to throw again in Kansas City on Friday.

"I'm not really sure how long it's going to take, but I'm on my way," Buchholz said.

Buchholz has not appeared in a game since June 8. The Sox thought he was progressing before the All-Star break until a setback in Oakland led to his being examined by Dr. James Andrews.

This time around, the pain was gone.

"It was night and day compared to that," Buchholz said. "It's been while since I've thrown with any kind of intensity off a mound. A little sore I guess from all the stuff we've been doing. But it's different than the last time I was on the mound."

Buchholz will need several bullpen sessions before he advances to either a simulated game or a minor league game. He is several weeks away from rejoining the major league rotation.

Also, John Lackey said his sprained left ankle will not prevent him from making his next start.

Game 115: Red Sox at Astros

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2013 03:30 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (68-45)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Drew SS
Lavarnway C
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP Steven Wright (2-0, 3.65).

ASTROS (37-74)
Grossman LF
Barnes CF
Altuve 2B
Castro C
Krauss DH
Wallace 1B
Dominguez 3B
Hoes RF
Villar SS
Pitching: RHP Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.91).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Lyles: Drew 1-5, Ellsbury 1-3, Holt 3-3, Pedroia 0-1, Victorino 0-3.

Astros vs. Wright: No history.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 10-3 against Houston, 4-3 at Minute Maid Park.

Notes: Wright, a 28-year-old knuckleballer, is making his first major league start. In three relief appearances he has allowed five runs on 11 hits over 12.1 innings. Houston leads the majors with 1,046 strikeouts, an average of 9.4 a game. Facing a knuckleballer, the free-swinging Astros could pile up the whiffs. ... Lyles, although only 22, will be making his 58th career start. He is 11-25, 5.12 in his career. He faced the Sox on July 3, 2011 at Houston and pitched fairly well: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. ... Drew has hit safely in eight of 10 games at 16 of 40 (.400). ... Pedroia is 9 of his last 30 with eight RBIs after a lengthy slump following the All-Star break. ... The Sox have won seven of 10 and five of seven.

Song of the Day: "Knuckles" by The Hold Steady.

Ask Nick: Which starter is the odd man out?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 6, 2013 01:19 PM
It’s about 105 degrees here in Houston, but it feels like a nice clear day in baseball after the Biogenesis mess was finally resolved, though Alex Rodriguez’s appeal will linger.

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
The Yankees will see about $34 million of A-Rod’s salary come off their books once the appeal is heard and likely denied. That will really help them in 2014 in keeping under the luxury tax threshold and also being able to go out and buy players.

That probably isn’t the best news for the other AL East teams, but Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino didn’t seem too concerned.

“The biggest thing here is to support the commissioner’s effort in ridding baseball of this scourge of PEDs, and that’s the effort we all support,” Lucchino said. “That’s what we need to focus on.”

Thirty-four million dollars is a lot, but there would be more objections if A-Rod had been given a lifetime suspension and some $112 million were taken off the Yankee books.

Anyway, the Red Sox had a team take about $260 million off their hands last Aug. 25, so it’s hard to complain, isn’t it?

Your questions this week seem to focus on Boston’s pitching depth and what will happen when Clay Buchholz returns, with six pitchers for five jobs? This issue also looks ahead to next season and what the Red Sox might do with Jon Lester, whose contract expires after the 2014 season.

Let’s take a look:

When Clay Buchholz returns, the Red Sox will have six starters (Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, Dempster, Peavy), so who sits, or do they use a modified six-man rotation to get rest headed into the postseason?
Evan, Longmeadow
The six-man issue will arise, and it’s something they’re going to have to figure out. You can go with a six-man for a while, but as you head down into the final two weeks of September, I think you want a regular five-man rotation that sets you up for the playoffs. Dempster has been a closer, so he’s the most adaptable, and I’m guessing he would be the odd man out and sent to the pen. But who knows?

Does Buchholz want to be traded? He's sure acting like it.
Douglas, Portland, Maine
I wouldn’t think so. He’s on the team with the best record in baseball. I would think he enjoys it here. He’s got an injury that he doesn’t feel he could rush. Dr. James Andrews, the Red Sox, Mass. General staff, and trainers have put him on a throwing program and so far he’s executed it without any setbacks. Figure late August and he should be good to go.

We have seen a lot of player movement up through the minor league system recently. Players are moving from A to AA, AA to AAA. Is this their normal career progression or are the Sox posturing their system for further deals?
Todd, North East, Md.
The Red Sox have one of the best systems in baseball now, and they have multiple prospects at certain positions like third, short, catcher, pitcher. It’s somewhat difficult to manage that sometimes, especially when there’s a bottleneck situation. Things thinned out a bit with Jose Iglesias being traded to the Tigers, but you still have Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, and Garin Cecchini only a level away from one another. But, sure, the normal progression is to get to the multi-digit A’s over a three-year span, and I think for the most part Red Sox prospects have been able to do it. These logjams will likely create deals, trading excess for something you don’t have.

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FULL ENTRY

Red Sox dodged a bullet with A-Rod

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2013 09:30 AM

HOUSTON — As baseball again deals with Alex Rodriguez and his astonishing hubris, it's worth looking looking back on what happened in 2003 when the Red Sox unsuccessfully tried to trade for him.

At the time, the Red Sox were prepared to trade Manny Ramirez to Texas for Rodriguez. They were then set to ship Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox in what would be a historic remaking of their roster.

A-Rod agreed to restructure his contract — losing $28 million in the process — to make the deal possible in return for increased marketing rights. But the MLB Players Association refused to approve the trade based on the contract losing value

"The Players Association's intransigence and the arbitrary nature of its action are responsible for the deal's demise," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said at the time.

A few months later, Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees. It seemed like a disaster for the Sox.

But in the 10 years he has been with the Yankees, Rodriguez has been an utter embarrassment to the Yankees, who have just one championship since their ill-fated trade with Texas.

Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in 2009 and on Monday was suspended for 211 games for the same offense. He has shamed the franchise with misdeeds on and off the field, alienated teammates and drawn the wrath of fans.

After opting out of his contract in 2007 — during a World Series game, naturally — the Yankees compounded their original mistake by signing Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million deal that is sure to go down as the worst in baseball history.

Instead of going down as one of the greatest players in history, Rodriguez will remembered for his clownish antics.

In his latest phony performance on Monday, Rodriguez portrayed himself as a victim while refusing to answer questions about whether he again used PEDs. But outside of a few media contrarians, few believe anything he says.

Even if he is suspended for all of 2014, the Yankees will still owe Rodriguez $61 million over three years. His contract will hamper the organization for years to come.

Had the MLPBA allowed the trade 10 years ago, all this drama might have played out at Fenway Park. It very easily could have been the Red Sox dealing with all of Rodriguez's foibles while MLB investigators snooped around. John Henry could be the one on the hook for all that wasted money.

Lucchino called it intransigence. A decade later, count it as a stroke of luck.

Not much luck for John Lackey

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2013 12:50 AM

HOUSTON — John Lackey pitched into the seventh inning tonight. He allowed two runs on eight hits, walked two, and struck out 10.

On most nights, he'd be celebrated for that. This time, he limped out of the clubhouse with his ninth loss of the season as the Astros beat the lifeless Red Sox, 2-0.

“I thought John threw a great game,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “He kept us in there the whole game. We just didn’t score any runs for him.”

That has been a season-long trend. Lackey has a 3.21 earned run average but the Red Sox are 9-11 in his starts. The Sox have been shut out nine times this season, four times with Lackey on the mound, including three of his last six starts.

Lackey has gone at least six innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs in 14 starts this season. He is 6-4 in those games with four no-decisions. The team is only 8-6 in those games.

The Sox have averaged 3.45 runs in the 20 games Lackey has started. Compare that to the other primary starters this season:

Ryan Dempster: 6.22 runs (22 starts)
Jon Lester: 5.34 runs (23 starts)
Clay Buchholz: 5.25 runs (12 starts)
Felix Doubront: 4.90 runs (20 starts)
Others: 4.59 runs (17 starts)

“It’s all about winning the game more than anything,” Lackey said. “I can only control the way I pitch. Got to go out there and compete again in five days and try and get us another chance to win.”

Lackey had a scare in the second inning when he fielded a tapper back to the mound off the bat of Matt Dominguez and made an off-balance throw to first base for the third out.

He rolled his left ankle on the play and limped back to the dugout. The Red Sox quickly got rookie Rubby De La Rosa up in the bullpen, but Lackey came back out for the third inning after a quick tape job.

“I’ve done that several times in different sports. It definitely didn’t feel great but I wasn’t going nowhere,” Lackey said after throwing 113 pitches.

Lackey was walking gingerly after the game but said he would make his next start.

“I’ll be all right,” he said.

Also:

• Mike Napoli was 0 for 4 and left five runners on base. Napoli is hitting .215 with runners in scoring position and has struck out 145 times overall, only 32 away from matching the franchise single-season record set by Mark Bellhorn in 2004.

• Josh Fields, a righthander the Astros took from the Sox in the Rule 5 draft, struck out the last four Red Sox for his first career save.

• Astros rookie Brett Oberholtzer threw seven shutout innings. The 24-year-old lefthander made his second major league start after throwing seven shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles last Wednesday. In two starts against AL East contenders, Oberholtzer has allowed seven hits over 17 scoreless innings and struck out eight with two walks.

Oberholtzer is the first pitcher to go least seven innings without allowing a run in his first two starts since Marty Bystrom of the Phillies in 1980.

Final: Astros 2, Red Sox 0

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 08:18 PM

Game over: : Astros 2, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox were shut down by left Brett Oberholtz for seven innings and then by the Astros bullpen, particularly Josh Fields, who was taken by the Astros from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft last December.

Fields retired the Red Sox in the ninth by striking out the side for his first save. He struck out all four batters he faced. John Lackey pitched well for Boston with 10 strikeouts over his 6-inning stint, but again was a hard-luck loser to drop to 7-9. The game was played in 3:01 before 24,543.

Bottom 8th: Astros 2, Red Sox 0 - Astros go down, await Josh Fields' save chance in 9th.

Top 8th: Astros 2, Red Sox 0 - A fragmented threat, but a threat nonetheless for the Red Sox. Getting Oberholtzer out of the game after seven was a breath of fresh air. Ellsbury drew a walk against lefty Wesley Wright, who got the next two outs before David Ortiz blooped a single to center sending Ellsbury to third. Astros manager Bo Porter summoned righty Josh Fields to the mound to face Napoli. He went 3-1 before throwing two fastball's that Napoli couldn't catch up to for the strikeout.

strong>Bottom 7th: Astros 2, Red Sox 0 - John Lackey allowed a L.J. Hoes double to right and a bunt single before exiting the game. As he walked into the dugout, lackey slammed his glove onto the bench. Junichi Tazawa came on and struck out Robbie Grossman. Brandon Barnes' sac bunt to the pitcher scored the run.

Top 7th: Astros 1, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox threatened when Gomes hit a leadoff double and got to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's long fly to right on which Gomes beat the throw. It was the first Sox base runner to reach third. But Oberholtzer, who has been superb struck out Stephen Drew and Brandon Snyder to squirm out of tough spot.

Bottom 6th: Astros 1, Red Sox 0 - Lackey sets them down after a Jason Castro leadoff single. He had two K's, has 10 in all.

Top 6th: Astros 1, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox put two baserunners on with two outs when Pedroia beat out an infield hit to third and Ortiz walked. But Napoli grounded out to shortstop unassisted.

Bottom 5th: Astros 1, Red Sox 0 - Newly acquired In the Bud Norris deal with the Orioles), L.J. Hoes singled to right after Lackey K'd Matt Dominguez. He stole second base, the fifth steal for the Astros. After a walk to Jonathan Villar, Robbie Grossman singled in the run. Lackey bore down and got two K's to end the inning without further damage.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - A two-out double for Stephen Drew against Oberholtzer before Snyder flied to center.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - Altuve singled and stole second base. After a walk to Jason Castro, a former Red Sox draft pick who elected Stanford, Chris Carter and Brett Wallace whiffed.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - Pedroia singled to right, but Ortiz and and Napoli flew out. Pedroia tried to swipe second base and was caught stealing.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Astros 0- Lackey OK. Right back out there and gets the Astros out.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, Astros 0: With a runner on second and two outs, Lackey fielded a tapper back to the mound by Dominguez and made an off-balance throw for the out. But he rolled his left ankle and limped off the field.

Rubby De La Rosa is warming up now. No word yet on the extent of the injury to Lackey.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - John Lackey had a quick efficient inning, retiring the Astros in order.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Astros 0 - The Red Sox went down in order in the first against Brett Oberholtzer. Yes folks, get used to these Astros names. Ellsbury did send a ball deep to center to lead things off.

Workman replaces Nava on Red Sox roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 05:39 PM

The Red Sox placed outfielder Daniel Nava on paternity leave and replaced him with righthander Brandon Workman.

Nava went to California to be with his wife, Rachel. She had a baby girl this morning they named Faith. Nava will return to the team in Kansas City on Thursday.

With Steven Wright coming out of the bullpen to start Tuesday, the Red Sox needed another reliever. Workman's last three appearances were as a starter, but he will go to the bullpen with the recent addition of Jake Peavy.

Also:

• RHP Clay Buchholz will throw in the bullpen on Tuesday, to a degree as yet determined. It would be his first time on the mound since July 17.

• Catcher David Ross will be in Pittsburgh Thursday to be checked out by Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist. If cleared, Ross could start a rehab assignment over the weekend.

• LHP Matt Thornton, who left Sunday's game with a sore oblique, was in the trainer's room at noon getting treatment. He is not on the disabled list and hopes to avoid it.

• LHP Franklin Morales is scheduled for two innings for Pawtucket on Tuesday. That could change if Thornton goes on the DL.

• LHP Drake Britton, who grew in nearby Tomball, Texas, played several games at Minute Maid Park while in high school. "Hit my first home run here sophomore year," he said. "Right into the bullpen." He is expecting 40-50 family and friends at the game today.

Game 114: Red Sox at Astros

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 03:42 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (68-45 )
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Snyder 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.23).

ASTROS (36-74)
Grossman LF
Barnes CF
Altuve 2B
Castro C
Carter DH
Wallace 1B
Dominguez 3B
Hoes RF
Villar SS
Pitching: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 3.77).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Oberholtzer: No history.

Astros vs. Lackey: Altuve 0-3, Castro 1-2, Dominguez 1-3, Grossman 0-3.

Stat of the Day: If the Red Sox win, they will have matched their total of last season with 48 games left to play.

Notes: The Sox have won two straight and seven of nine. ... The Astros have lost four straight. ... Lackey, a native Texan, will be pitching at Minute Maid Park for the first time in his career. He is 1-0, 5.92 in two career starts against the Astros. He was sharp against them at Fenway on April 28, allowing one run on five hits in six innings. ... The Sox swept the Astros in a four-game series at Fenway, outscoring them 28-10. ... The Sox are 18-11 against the AL West. ... Oberholtzer is a 24-year-old making his second career start. He threw seven shutout innings against Baltimore on July 31. ... The Sox are 29-24 on the road with wins in six of their last nine games. ... Red Sox bullpen in the last nine games: 34.1 IP, 27 H, 4 ER, 8 BB, 27 K. ... Ellsbury is 14 of 45 (.311) in a 10-game hit streak with six runs scored. ... Drew has hit safely in seven of nine games at 15 of 36. ... Pedroia has eight RBIs in the last six games. ... Rookie LHP Drake Britton, who grew up 40 minutes from Minute Maid Park, has not allowed a run in nine innings since being called up.

Song of the Day: "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.

Victorino is AL player of the week

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 03:38 PM

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino is the American League player of the week.

Victorino was 12-for-30 with three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored over seven games, helping the Red Sox to a 5-2 mark.

This is his first career weekly award and the third for the Red Sox this season after Mike Napoli and Andrew Bailey were tabbed with co- honors for the week ending April 21.

Among AL leaders, Shane finished first in total bases (21), was tied for first in doubles and was tied for second in hits and runs scored.

MLB suspends A-Rod for 211 games

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 03:24 PM

HOUSTON — Here is the release from Major League Baseball on Alex Rodriguez:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason and the entire 2014 Championship Season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement.

Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.

Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation.

The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.

Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline.

Also:

Major League Baseball issued the following discipline today for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in relation to the Biogenesis investigation. Players receiving 50-game suspensions without pay for their violations of the Program are:

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo; San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera; New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli; Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz; Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League; Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, who is currently of the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League; Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League; Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League; Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta; New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League and Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.

Norberto’s suspension will be effective immediately once he signs with another Major League organization. All other suspensions are effective immediately. None of the players will appeal their discipline.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline.

Major League Baseball’s investigation found no violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.

Statement from Selig:

“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.

“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it. I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me. As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.

“It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012. With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program. Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.

“This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing. We continue to attack this issue on every front – from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills. Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.

“As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.”

Statement from MLB executive director Michael Weiner:

“The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.

"For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. . Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.

"The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all. The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.

"Lastly, l want to close by stating our profound disappointment in the way individuals granted access to private and privileged information felt compelled to share that information publicly. The manner in which confidential information was so freely exchanged is not only a threat to the success and credibility of our jointly administered program; it calls into question the level of trust required to administer such a program. It is our view that when the bargaining parties hold their annual review of the program, we must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach by any individual involved in the process.”

Statement from the Yankees:

"We are in full support of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We also recognize and respect the appeals process. Until the process under the Drug Program is complete, we will have no comment. We are confident that the process outlined in the Drug Program will result in the appropriate resolution of this matter. In the meantime, the Yankees remain focused on playing baseball.

"However, we are compelled to address certain reckless and false allegations concerning the Yankees' role in this matter. The New York Yankees in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or used the investigation as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate standard of care to Alex Rodriguez."

For Red Sox, reliever depth is plentiful

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 01:48 PM

The Red Sox have 49 games remaining and seem to have stabilized their rotation with the addition of Jake Peavy. Their bullpen moves were more modest with just the addition of lefty specialist Matt Thornton.

Here's why: The Red Sox have 22 relievers at their disposal. Thanks to a series of moves, they have what amounts to three layers of pitchers who could be used in in the bullpen.

Here's a brief breakdown:

Major League roster (7)
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Craig Breslow
LHP Matt Thornton
LHP Drake Britton
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
RHP Steven Wright (starting on Tuesday)

Thornton could be headed to the disabled list today after coming out of Sunday's game.

Major League DL, have started rehab assignments (2)
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Alex Wilson

Both are either ready to return, or close to it. Rehab assignments for pitchers can last 30 days, so the decision can be dragged out. Morales started his assignment on July 29 and Wilson on July 30.

40-man roster players in Pawtucket (5)
RHP Brandon Workman
RHP Jose De La Torre
RHP Allen Webster
RHP Pedro Beato
RHP Brayan Villarreal

Workman should be back in the majors once eligible. Webster has not pitched in relief this season, but could be used in that role in September. Villarreal, acquired from the Tigers last week, is getting over a thumb injury and should start pitching for Pawtucket soon.

Veteran MLB pitchers at Pawtucket (4)
RHP Jose Contreras
RHP Clayton Mortensen
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
RHP Alfredo Aceves

These pitchers are not on the 40-man roster, but could be added. Contreras and Rowland-Smith are essentially in tryout mode at this point and would be granted their release if the Red Sox have no plans for them. Mortensen and Aceves were outrighted off the roster. Aceves is on the DL at Pawtucket was recently shipped off to Fort Myers. It would take an unforeseen series of events for him to return.

Others potentially in mix (3)
RHP Brock Huntzinger
RHP Chris Martin
RHP Anthony Carter

These minor league veterans are in Pawtucket's bullpen, but not on the 40-man roster. Huntzinger has had a breakout season, posting a 2.03 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 42 appearances for Portland and Pawtucket. Martin, a former independent league player, also has shown promise. Carter is a AAA veteran.

Not in the mix (1)
RHP Daniel Bard

Bard remains on the 40-man roster but has not pitched since May 15 when he was with Portland. The Sox claimed he had an oblique injury and have since said he will pitch again this season. Given the team's need of a righthander who could pitch in the 8th inning, Bard is sorely missed. It's a sad story.

Lowell's Callahan coming of age

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 01:06 PM

You've been hearing a lot about Red Sox pitching prospects of late. Here's a post from On Deck about Lowell's Jamie Callahan and his near-perfect run in the New York-Penn League.

Pitching matchups for the Astros series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 5, 2013 09:15 AM

Monday: RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.23) vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 3.77), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Tuesday: RHP Steven Wright (2-0, 3.65) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.91), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.54) vs. RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0, 0.96), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Red Sox give John Farrell fitting 51st birthday gift: 4-0 win

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 4, 2013 09:29 PM





What do you get the Red Sox manager who seems to have it all?

A box of cigars? A case of champagne? A gift card?

Dustin Pedroia seemed to come up with the perfect solution after the Red Sox delievered their manager the perfect gift on his 51st birthday: a 4-0 shutout of the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,611.

"Just try to keep winning for him,’’ said the Sox second baseman, who went 1 for 3 with an RBI double. The was part of a two-run fifth that broke a scoreless stalemate, 2-0.

"That’s it,’’ Pedroia said. "We don’t want to give him too many gray hairs. We got 12 walkoffs, or whatever it is. We should not make it too scary for him.’’

Unlike the first two games of the three-game sweep over the Mariners, which the Sox won with walkoffs to give them a league-leading 11 for the season, there was no reason to chomp fingernails down to the nub in the finale of this three-game interleague set against the Diamondbacks.

Felix Doubront delivered a gem when he threw seven shutout innings -- which Farrell described as "workmanlike" -- allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out five. Tightness in his right oblique hastened the lefthander's departure after going seven innings and throwing 95 pitches.

"Is it his birthday?'' Doubront asked afterward, unaware Farrell had turned 51 Sunday, sharing the same exact birth date and year as Roger Clemens. ``Well, Happy Birthday. We won.''

The Red Sox scored a pair of runs in the fifth and tacked on two more in the sixth to give Doubront all the runs he would need to 8-5 overall. It marked the 19th time in his last 20 starts Doubront had allowed three earned runs or fewer.

"First-pitch strikes were a little elusive, but he was able to go to a breaking ball or changeup to get the timing back in his delivery and still maintain a lot of efficiency,'' Farrell said of Doubront. "He had a couple of key double plays that he was able to get. Had a number of fastballs that they chased up for some strikeouts. It was kind of a workmanlike, solid seven shutout innings for him.''

It was a workmanlike effort, overall, by the Red Sox, who wrapped up a 5-2 homestand by recording their major league-leading 23d series win of the season.

The Sox, who are now a season-high 23 games over .500 (68-45) and control a one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, will embark on a 10-game, 11-day trip to Houston, Kansas City and Toronto, marking their longest of the season. The Sox will play 16 of their next 19 on the road, with a three-game weekend series against the Yankees Aug. 16-18 as their only home appearance during that stretch.

"Our guys recognize that there’s maybe a greater intensity, a greater level of energy that this crowd is creating,’’ Farrell said. "Whether that coincides with the way we are playing, or some of the late games, late wins we’ve been able to nail down, this was a good homestand.’’

In other news:

* Farrell announced before the game that righthanded knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-0, 3.65 ERA) will make his first career start Tuesday night in Houston. "The reason being is that we're just trying to get guys an extra day of rest this time through,'' Farrell said. "It's more just that time of the year and managing some overall rest.''

* Clay Buchholz, on the DL since June 9 with a neck strain, did some ``pretty intensive'' long toss and flat-ground work before Sunday's game and felt he was close to getting back to doing work off the mound. ``The last two days have been really good days for me,'' Buchholz said. "So, moving forward, we'll try to map out what I can start doing and throw a little bit more to get the rhythm back to it.''

Final: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 4, 2013 01:00 PM

Final: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: That's it from Fenway Park, where a sellout crowd of 37,611 watched as the Red Sox gave manager John Farrell a fitting gift on his 51st birthday.

Top 8th: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: After giving up a leadoff single to Tuffy Gosevich, Matt Thornton departed the game with an undisclosed injury after making a 1-and-2 pitch to Didi Gregorius. Drake Britton entered the game and struck out Gregorius and made a leaping stab of Paul Goldschmidt's comebacker to the mound for the inning-ending put out at first.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: The Sox threatened to open it up when Stephen Drew and Brock Holt drew back-to-back walks off of Joe Thatcher with two out in the bottom half of the seventh. But the Sox were unable to capitalize when Heath Bell entered the game in relief of Thatcher and struck out Jacoby Ellsbury on an inning-ending 93-m.p.h. fastball.

Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Pitching coach Juan Nieves emerged from the dugout after Cody Ross singled to put two men aboard for the Diamondbacks, evidently to take inventory of Doubront, who got out of the inning by striking out Wil Nieves (91 fastball) and inducing Gerardo Parra to ground to short.

Bottom 6th, 1 out: Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorinio hit back-to-back RBI singles off reliever Josh Collmenter, who started the sixth in relief of Will Harris.

After issuing a walk to Pedroia that loaded the bases, Collmenter turned it over to Joe Thatcher, who got out of the inning by striking out David Ortiz and getting Mike Napoli to fly to center as the Sox left three men aboard for the second consecutive inning.

Top 6th, Red Sox 2, Diamondbacks 0: Pitching with a lead, Doubront seemed to get more dominant as he fashioned a 1-2-3 sixth against the D-backs. He has now thrown 69 pitches (43 strikes) in six innings of shutout ball, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out four batters.

Bottom 5th, Red Sox 2, Diamondbacks 0: Jacoby Ellsbury lofted a high sacrifice fly to center, scoring Stephen Drew from third. Drew reached on a lead-off single to right then went to third on Brock Holt's single to right. Ellsbury then scored Drew with his RBI sacrifice fly to center.

After Shane Victorino singled to center, putting men on the corners, Dustin Pedroia came up and scorched an RBI single down the line to left, scoring Holt from third. McCarthy issued an intentional walk to David Ortiz, loading the bases for Mike Napoli, then handed the baton to Will Harris.

Harris got Napoli to pop up to first and Mike Carp to pop up to third to end the inning.

Top 5th, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Web Gem! Brock Holt certainly submitted a worthy entry when he made a stab of Tuffy Gosewich's blistered line drive then doubled off Wil Nieves (single to right) at first for the inning-ending double play.

Bottom 4th, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Mike Carp broke up McCarthy's no-hit bid when he stroked a single to center with two outs in the fourth. Little good it did the Sox, though, as McCarthy got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to ground to second.

Top 4th, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Doubront continued to hold up his end in this taught affair against the D-backs, getting two quick outs before giving up a single to right by Martin Prado. Doubront stranded the baserunner when he struck out Cody Ross (looking at a 79 m.p.h. changeup) to end the inning.

Bottom 3d, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Sox unable to muster much of a response. After Shane Victorino reached after getting hit on the left shoulder, McCarthy got out of the inning by inducing Dustin Pedroia to ground out to third.

Top 3d, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Nice 1-2-3 inning for Doubront. Got C Tuffy Gosewich to fly to left, struck out SS Didi Gregorius (looking), and induced A.J. Pollack to ground to second. Scary moment when Pollack hit a towering fly to right that went foul. Shane Victorino gave chase and slammed into the half wall near the stands along the right field line with the left side of his body. He was slow to return to his position but managed to survive the inning.

Bottom 2d, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: McCarthy got some sparkling work from his own defense as second baseman Aaron Hill made a diving stab of Stephen Drew's groundball to the hole. From his stomach, Hill flipped the ball to short stop Did Gregorius for the force on Jarrod Saltamacchia at second before Gregorius turned the double play by throwing out Drew at first.

Top 2d, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Doubront was the beneficiary of some sparkling work by his defense in the second. After giving up a lead-off single to center by Cody Ross, Doubront got DH Wil Nieves to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Then, anticipating a bunt attempt by Gerardo Parra, Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a running stab as he went to first and casually flipped the ball to first baseman Mike Napoli for out No. 3.

Bottom 1st, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: The Red Sox stranded a pair of runners on the corners when Brandon McCarthy struck out Mike Napoli to extricate himself from the jam. McCarthy found himself in the prickly situation when he issued a two-out walk to Dustin Pedroia and right fielder Gerardo Parra misplayed David Ortiz's liner, allowing Pedroia to reach third.

Top 1st, Red Sox 0, Diamondbacks 0: Felix Doubront quickly dispatched the first two batters he faced and seemed well on his way to a 1-2-3 first inning when Paul Goldschmidt singled to center. Doubront got out of the innng unscathed when he induced Martin Prado to ground out to second.

Pregame: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the Red Sox (67-45) will host the Diamondbacks (56-54) in the finale of this three-game interleague set. LHP Felix Doubront (7-5, 3.77 ERA) will oppose RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-4, 5.00) in the hopes of delivering Sox manager John Farrell a fitting gift on his 51st birthday.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Steven Wright draws first career start Tuesday at Houston

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 4, 2013 11:34 AM

Righthanded knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright was excited to learn he will draw his first starting assigment of his career Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. "I'm stoked. I'm excited,'' he said. "I'm just trying to go out there and get as many innings as I can."

Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed Wright's addition to the rotation before Sunday afternoon's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, saying, ``The reason being is that we're just trying to get guys an extra day of rest this time through,'' he said.

Wright (2-0, 3.65) will oppose Houston RHP Jordan Lyles and follow RHP John Lackey, who will start Monday's opener vs. the Astros, and precede RHP Ryan Dempster, Wednesday's starter.

"They'll also get an added day [of rest] with next Monday being off before we open up that series in Toronto,'' Farrell said. ``It's more just that time of the year and managing some overall rest.''

Asked what the next couple of days would be like for him before his start, Wright said, "Just be ready, get ready. I throw a knuckleball. There are not much scouting reports. There's not much to do. For me it's just go out there throw good knuckleballs and hope it's dancing."

Wright said he learned of his assignment from pitching coach Juan Nieves Saturday.

"He told me that I might throw [Saturday] and I might throw today one inning, but then it's trying to line me up for Tuesday,'' Wright said.

Asked how meaningful it was to draw a start in the middle of a pennant race, Wright said, "Yeah, I mean it's great. I think every game counts. It's just for them to give me the opportunity I'm just excited, and I hope to go out there and give it my all and hope for the best.''

Game 113: Diamondbacks at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 4, 2013 10:04 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (67-45)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (7-5, 3.77)

DIAMONDBACKS (56-54)
Pollock CF
Hill 2B
Goldschmidt 1B
Prado 3B
Ross LF
Nieves DH
Parra RF
Gosewisch C
Gregorius SS
Pitching: RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-4, 5.00)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, TBS/WEEI

Red Sox vs. McCarthy:
Napoli 3-16, Ortiz 4-13, Carp 3-13, Pedroia 4-12, Ellsbury 2-7, Gomes 1-6, Saltalamacchia 2-6.

Diamondbacks vs. Doubront: Hill 1-2, Pennington 1-2, Chavez 1-1.

Stat of the day: In his last five games, Shave Victorino is batting .435 (10-for-23) with three doubles, two home runs, and five RBIs.

Notes: The Sox are 4-2 on this homestand and have won six of their last eight. They travel to Houston to begin a series Monday against the Astros ... Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has homered in each of the two games of this series so far and has 26 this season ... McCarthy is making his first major league start in more than two months. He went on the disabled list in May with right shoulder inflammation ... McCarthy won two starts vs. Boston last season while with Oakland ... The Diamondbacks have lost five of their last seven games and have not scored more than three runs in each of the losses.

Final: Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 07:19 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 2 Jake Peavy (9-4) made a strong debut in with seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs. He threw 99 pitches, 65 for strikes in limiting the Diamondbacks to four hits. Paul Goldschmidt touched him up for a fourth inning homer.

Shane Victorino tied it with a homer in the fifth inning and the Red Sox broke a 1-1 deadlock with two seventh-inning runs against 12-game winner Patrick Corbin. Jacoby Ellsbury and Victorino drove in the runs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia made Koji Uehara's save a lot easier with a two-run homer in the eighth. The game was played in 3:02 before 37,941 at Fenway, a sellout.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 2 - A two-run homer Jarrod Saltalamacchia has extended Boston's lead. Tenth of the season for Salty.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, D-Backs 2 - Jake Peavy left the game at the top of the inning after allowing a single to Wil Nieves. He received a roaring standing ovation. Peavy's runner eventually scored. Cliff Pennington was hit witha pitch by reliever Craig Breslow and Gerardo Parra singled to load the bases.

Junichi Tazawa came on and surrendered a single to Aaron Hill scoring one run, but the second runner, Pennington, was gunned down on a nice throw from left field by Jonny Gomes, an ill-advised decision by third base coach Matt Williams. Another key at-bat was Tazawa striking out Paul Goldschmidt with two runners on and one out.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, D-backs 1 -The Red Sox finally broke through against Patrick Corbin with a pair of runs to take the lead. Drew and Snyder led off with singles to put the runners at the corners with no outs. A wild pitch got Snyder to second base. Ellsbury singled to center scoring Drew..Corbin left for righty Will Harris. Victorino hit a sacrifice fly to center to knock in the insurance run.

Top 7th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 1 - Peavy records three groundball outs.

Bottom 6th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 1 - After Mike Napoli walked, Jonny Gomes lined out to center and Jarrod Saltamacchia knocked into a 5-4-3 double play.

Top 6th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 1 - Peavy allowed a single to leftcenter to Aaron Hill with one out, but Paul Goldschmidt hit a hard liner to right which was caught by Victorino and Eric Chavez popped out foul to

Bottom 5th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 1 - Shane Victorino hits a righthanded homer in to the Monster seats to tie it up off Patrick Corbin.

Top 5th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 0 - Peavy retired the bottom of the D-Backs order.

Bottom 4th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 0 - A two-out single by Stephen Drew was about it.

Top 4th: D-Backs 1, Red Sox 0 - Paul Goldschmidt, whose dad David grew up in Natick, Ma., homered, his 26th, to deep center on an 0-2 pitch from Peavy. Goldschmidt, having a monster season, knocked in his 89th run.

Bottom 3rd: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox put two men on vs. Corbin when Shane Victorino singled to left and Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single, but again Corbin found another gear when he struck out Davis Ortiz and got Mike Napoli to pop out to shortstop.

Top 3rd: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - A leadoff single by Wil Nieves, but Peavy got the next three outs including two strikeouts.

Bottom 2nd: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - Busy inning for the Red Sox but nothing to show for it. David Ortiz singled, Mike Napoli walked and after Jonny Gomes struck out, the D-Backs' middle infield dropped the ball when Jarrod Saltalamacchia's grounder to second, but butchered by Aaron Hill, who then threw errantly to second base where the ball was dropped by Cliff Pennington. Bases loaded one out. Stephen Drew fanned on a nasty slider and Brandon Snyder lined out to right as Corbin got out of the jam.

Top 2nd: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - Peavy allowed allowed a one-out walk To Martin Prado, but was able to get out of the inning unharmed with Cody Ross flew out to center and Jason Kubel struck out swinging.

Bottom 1st: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - Right back at 'ya from lefty Patrick Corbin who struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and then got Shane Victirino and Dustin Pedroia to ground out.

Top 1st: D-Backs 0, Red Sox 0 - Good start for Jake Peavy., He got the first two batters - Gerardo Parra (fly to CF) and Aaron Hill (strikeout) before walking Paul Goldschmidt. But Jarrod Saltalamacchia gunned him down trying to steal.

A few notes from Fenway

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 05:05 PM

Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara were put on trade waivers yesterday by the Red Sox, but all three will be pulled back by the Red Sox if there's a claim on any of them. The Red Sox and the rest of baseball are putting most of their players through waivers this month in an effort to see what interest there is and to see if a deal can be made.

If a player is not claimed and goes through trade waivers, he's able to be traded at any time.

The Red Sox will sift through this list to see if there's a reliever or hitter they can pick off on waivers or through a waiver trade.

• RHP Rubby De La Rosa, promoted today from Pawtucket, will be used in the long role, according to John Farrell. But don't be surprised if the Red Sox sneak him into a meaningful one-inning stint at some point.

• Clay Buchholz has been throwing fine in his long tossing.

• David Ross, recovering from a concussion, caught two bullpen sessions today and can go on a rehab assignment at the end of the week.

• LHP Franklin Morales is scheduled to throw in back-to-back games for Pawtucket this weekend.

Game 112: Diamondbacks at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 03:00 PM

Here are today's lineups:

RED SOX (66-45)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Snyder 3B
Pitching: Jake Peavy (8-4, 4.28).

DIAMONDBACKS (56-53)
Parra CF
Hill 2B
Goldy 1B
Chavez DH
Prado 3B
Ross RF
Kubel LF
Nieves27 C
Pennington SS
Pitching: Patrick Corbin (12-2, 2.24).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Corbin: Victorino 0-3.

Diamondbacks vs. Peavy: Kubel 1-8, Chavez 1-6, Parra 3-6, Ross 1-5, Hill 0-3, Pennington 0-3.

Stat of the Day: David Ortiz’s two-run homer Friday night was his first at Fenway Park since June 9.

Notes: Peavy is making his Red Sox debut after being acquired in a three-team deal … He has more games, wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts against the Diamondbacks than any other team in the majors but he hasn’t faced them since 2009 when he was with the Padres … It’s his first start against the Diamondbacks as an American League pitcher … In his last outing, Peavy threw 118 pitches over seven innings, giving up four earned runs in a win over the Detroit Tigers … All-star left-hander Patrick Corbin is making his first start against the Red Sox and just his second career interleague start … He’s given up just one run in each of his past four starts … Jacoby Ellsbury has a leadoff hit in each of the past three game. He’s currently on an eight game hit streak, hitting .324 (12 of 27) with two doubles, a triple, a homer and six runs scored … Stephen Drew is hitting .360 (9 of 25) with three homers and nine RBIs in his past seven games … Martin Prado is hitting .358 (19-for-53) in 14 games since the All-Star break for the D’Backs … The Sox are 7-3 in interleague play this year. They remain a game ahead of Tampa Bay for the AL East lead.

Song of the Day: ”There is a Way,” by Mos Def.

John Henry in agreement to purchase Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 12:30 PM

Red Sox owner John Henry entered into an agreement early Saturday to buy The Boston Globe.

“This is a thriving, dynamic region that needs a strong, sustainable Boston Globe playing an integral role in the community’s long-term future,” Henry said in a statement. “In coming days there will be announcements concerning those joining me in this community commitment and effort.”

Said Globe editor Brian McGrory: “We have no plans whatsoever to change our Red Sox coverage specifically, or our sports coverage in general, nor will we be asked. The Globe’s sports reporting and commentary is the gold standard in the industry.”


For Lester, a rough night and more questions

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 12:31 AM

Jon Lester's contract is guaranteed only through the end of this season. The Red Sox hold a $13 million option on him for 2014 or can pay a $250,000 buyout.

For a team like the Red Sox, $13 million for a lefthanded starter who turns 30 in January is not particularly onerous. Odds are that the Sox will keep Lester for at least another season.

But when Lester pitches like he did on Friday, you can't help but wonder. Lester lasted only 4.1 innings against Arizona, giving up six runs on 11 hits. Of those 11 hits, five were doubles and one a home run by Paul Goldschmidt that practically punched a hole in the Monster Seats.

It was the shortest start of the season for Lester and the most hits he has allowed. After he showed improvement over three starts, Friday was a reversal.

Arizona is a contender in the National League West. But their team OPS of .710 is just a few points better than the NL average. The Diamondbacks also played at Tampa Bay on Wednesday before going to Texas for a makeup game on Thursday then on to Boston.

“Ball was just up in the zone. Misfired a lot of balls. It wasn’t a good night,” Lester said. “Fastball was up. Changeup was up. Curveball felt like it was better than it has been in a while. Tonight was never really able to get to it.”

In his last 60 starts — the equivalent of two seasons — Lester is 19-23 with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He has averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

In the 150 games prior, Lester was 76-31 with a 3.43 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

A 43-percent jump in ERA over two seasons is troubling, especially considering there is no injury to blame. Lester is still fairly young, but he made his MLB debut at 22 and has 1,308.1 innings under his belt.

The Red Sox have Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Jake Peavy under control for next season. Buchholz, Doubront and Lackey are under control for 2015.

In Drake Britton, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Steven Wright, the Red Sox have six young starters who have shown promise. All are either in the majors or at Triple A.

The easy move would be to retain Lester and maintain as much starter depth as possible. That is probably what will happen, too. The Sox will trust John Farrell and Juan Nieves to help Lester make the transition all veteran starters eventually must when their physical abilities diminish.

But if the final two months of the season are more of the same, the Red Sox could have a difficult decision to make on a pitcher they've been immensely proud of developing.

Also:

• Lefty reliever Franklin Morales, who is on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle, is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket on Saturday and Sunday. He will be evaluated after that. With Craig Breslow, Matt Thornton and Britton already in the bullpen, the Sox have no need of another lefthander so some sort of adjustment will be needed.

• Dustin Pedroia spent some time before the game catching up with Arizona catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, his teammate at Arizona State University from 2002-04. Their freshman class produced six big leaguers. Mike Esposito, Andre Ethier, Ian Kinsler and Jeff Larish are the others.

• David Ortiz hit his first home run at Fenway since June 9.

• Daniel Nava has been hit by a pitch 12 times, tying Minnesota’s Josh Willingham for the most in the majors.

Ross makes most of return to Fenway

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 3, 2013 12:31 AM

The way he flung his bat and hopped out of the box, it seemed like Cody Ross thought he got all of Pedro Beato's 1-and-0 slider, but he wasn't quite sure.

With the wind blowing in, Cody Ross couldn't tell if the deep fly ball he sent out to left field had enough on it to get over the Monster.

Otherwise, he said, the bat flip would've been much stronger.

"That was a weak one," Ross said. "I didn't really know if that was gonna go or not."

ross.jpg

The homer was the last of his four hits on the night and it ultimately decided the Arizona Diamondbacks' 7-6 win over the Red Sox. Admittedly playing with a chip on his shoulder in his return to Fenway after parting ways with the Sox in the offseason, Ross finished with two doubles, the homer, and three RBIs.

"Obviously, I've had this game circled on my calendar for a while," Ross said. "I knew we were coming back here in the later part of the year and I was excited to get back and see a lot of familiar faces and a lot of friends, but at the same time come back and beat them. There's some feelings there."

Cheers greeted him when he stepped into the batter's box, appreciation for a 22-homer run year, albeit in one of the franchise's most frustrating seasons. He also got some heckling from fans in the Monster seats when he went out to play left field.

"They're cheering for me and giving me a hard time, too. It was good," Ross said. "As bad as we were last year, for the fans to cheer for me was pretty special. It didn't go so well like that when I was in San Francisco. I got a lot of boos, which I really don't understand. But maybe these fans know a little bit more than they do. I don't know. "

Ross stopped short of saying he sent any kind of a message with his huge day at the plate.

"I don't feel like I proved a point," he said. "I was just going out there and trying to help my team win. Obviously it feels good to have success against your old team or any team that let you go."

Final: Diamondbacks 7, Red Sox 6

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 2, 2013 06:55 PM

Ross080213.jpg

Trailing by one in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox had a chance to work walkoff magic for a third straight night but fell short, taking a 7-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cody Ross, playing for payback after not reaching an agreement to re-sign with the Sox after last season, went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs.

The night was a short one for Jon Lester, who labored through 4.1 innings, throwing 102 pitches and giving up six runs on 11 hits, including a homer.

The Sox's lead over the Tampa Bay Rays to remained at one game after the Rays fell on the road to the San Francisco Giants, 4-1.

FULL ENTRY

A Red Sox comeback for the ages

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2013 04:44 PM

Thursday night's stunning 8-7 victory against the Mariners by the Red Sox was just the fourth time in franchise history that they rallied from a deficit of five or more runs in the ninth inning to win.

The Sox, down 5-0, beat the Orioles, 6-5, on May 13, 2007 in the "Mother's Day Miracle. Before that, you have to go back to 1931 and '37.

Thursday was just the third time in history the Sox came back to win after trailing by six or more runs when entering the eighth inning. The previous time was July 3, 1940 against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics when the game ended on back-to-back home runs by Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx.

The Sox were down 11-6 in that game, which was played before a crowd of 2,400.

"Without a doubt it was a remarkable inning," Sox manager John Farrell said today. "Think there was a time this morning just sitting around having a cup of coffee thinking, 'Still can't believe we won last night.' "

Also:

• There was a lot of discussion in the Red Sox clubhouse about an interpretation by the umpires in the ninth inning.

Robby Thompson, Seattle's acting manager, had lefthander Oliver Perez and righthander Yoervis Medina warming up. When he went to the mound to take out Tom Wilhelmsen, Thompson raised his left arm even though he intended to bring in the righthander.

The umpires have some leeway in that situation but made Thompson bring in Perez, who gave up RBI singles by Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. Those hits accounted for three of the runs.

"To me it's kind of a technicality in some ways," Farrell said. "I could understand if Robby was upset. I think he had a right to be. But [umpire crew chief Gary Darling] didn't want to go back on the decision. He held him to it. As I understand it, that pitcher's not in the game until he walks on the mound."

Had the umpires allowed Medina to come in the game, Farrell said he would not have argued.

"Maybe I'm a little bit lenient on the view of it. I wouldn't have protested," Farrell said. "Maybe that's an oversight on my part but that's kind of how I viewed it last night."

• The Red Sox have promoted 23-year-old righthander Anthony Ranaudo to Triple A Pawtucket. He will start on Monday at Buffalo.

Ranaudo was 8-4 with a 2.95 earned run average and a 1.09 WHIP in 19 starts for Double A Portland. Over 109.2 innings, he allowed 80 hits and struck out 106. Ranaudo was the 39th overall pick of the 2010 draft out of LSU.

Ranaudo came back strong after making only nine starts in 2012 because of injury and pitching to a 6.69 ERA.

"Ranaudo has had a little bit of a turnaround. He's remained healthy, first and foremost," Farrell said. "The velocity has climbed to the projection that made him a first-round pick."

• Franklin Morales is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with back-to-back games for Pawtucket on Saturday and Sunday. Farrell said the Sox would decide then if Morales is activated.

The Sox could have a bit of a logjam of lefties with Craig Breslow, Matt Thornton, Drake Britton and Morales.

Game 111: Diamondbacks at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2013 02:55 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (66-44)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Holt 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (10-6, 4.27).

DIAMONDBACKS (55-53)
Pollock CF
Hill 2B
Goldschmidt 1B
Prado 3B
Ross 3B
Ross LF
Kubel DH
Nieves C
Parra RF
Gregorius SS
Pitching: RHP Randall Delgado (3-3, 2.85).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Delgado: Victorino 0-4, Nava 0-1, Ortiz 0-1, Pedroia 2-2, Salty 1-1.

Diamondbacks vs. Lester: Hill 2-32, Kubel 2-11, Prado 3-4, Pennington 0-2, Nieves 0-2, Ross 0-2.

Stat of the Day: Since June 10, opponents are hitting .096 (8 for 83) with a .118 on-base percentage and .157 slugging percentage against Koji Uehara.

Notes: The Sox return to interleague play. They are 7-2 against National League teams this season and have 11 interleague games remaining. ... Lester has allowed five earned runs over his last 19.2 innings, dropping his ERA from 4.60 to 4.27. ... Delgado is 8-8 with a 3.23 ERA in 29 appearances against NL teams and 0-5, 6.45 in five starts against AL teams in his career. Delgado started against the Sox last June 23 while with the Braves and lasted only 1.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks. ... Victorino is 7 of his last 15 with three extra-base hits and three RBIs. ... Cody Ross returns to Boston. He hit .298/.356/.565 at Fenway last season for the Sox. ... Gomes hit .173/.321/.298 in his first 131 plate appearances this season and is .305/.356/.547 in 104 plate appearances since.

Song of the Day: "The Night Before" by The Beatles.

Pitching matchups for the Diamondbacks series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2013 09:30 AM

Friday: RHP Randall Delgado (3-3, 2.85) vs. LHP Jon Lester (10-6, 4.27), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Saturday: LHP Patrick Corbin (12-2, 2.82) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (8-4, 4.28), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Sunday: RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-4, 5.00) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (7-5, 3.77), 1:35 p.m., NESN, TBS.

Life is good in Walk-Off City

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2013 12:49 AM

scrappytweet.jpg

That there were still a lot of fans left at Fenway Park in the ninth inning on Thursday night was a testament to the pleasant weather. Surely nobody believed they would see the Red Sox come back and win.

The Sox were down, 7-2, against the Seattle Mariners and had the bottom of their order coming up against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. The web site FanGraphs.com, which tracks the win expectancy of every game, gave the Sox a one percent chance of winning.

The Sox were 2-35 when trailing after eight innings and hadn't come back from a five-run deficit all season.

The Sox had already won two games against Seattle and were about a lose a game started by Felix Hernandez. There is no shame in that.

By now, you know what happened. The Sox scored six runs in the ninth inning to win, 8-7.

“In a word — magical,” manager John Farrell said.

Daniel Nava, who started the inning with an innocent walk, came up again and won it with a 400-foot single.

It was the second walk-off victory in 22 hours for the Sox, who beat Seattle 5-4 in 15 innings just after midnight earlier in the day.

“We just play until they tell us we can’t,” Dustin Pedroia said.

The Sox are 37-20 at home with 11 of the victories coming in their final at-bat, the most in the majors. The Sox haven’t that many walk-off wins since 1978 and are two shy of the club record of 13 set in 1940.

At 66-44, the Red Sox are 22 games over .500 for the first time this season and now lead the division by a full game over the Rays, who were idle. With 52 games left, the Sox have won three fewer games than they did all last season.

A few notes, quotes and observations:

• Jonny Gomes apparently has some sort of magic dust. Oakland was 74-88 in 2011 then went 94-68 last season with 15 walk-off victories.

The Red Sox were 69-93 last season and signed Gomes. Now they're 66-44 and have 11 walk-off wins.

Gomes is hitting a modest .236. But he is 10 of 24 in the ninth inning with five RBIs and is a .333 hitter with runners in scoring position. He had a huge RBI single in the ninth inning to complete an epic seven-pitch at-bat.

• With one run in, Wilhelmsen walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases. Acting Seattle manager Robby Thompson came out of the dugout to make a pitching change. Thompson is managing the team in place of Eric Wedge, who is recovering from a mild stroke.

Seattle had righthander Yoervis Medina and lefthander Oliver Perez warming up. Thompson intended to bring in Medina, but raised his left arm first before tapping his right arm.

When umpire David Rackley signaled for the lefthander to come in, Thompson tried to correct his mistake, but umpire crew chief Gary Darling did not allow it.

“If there’s anything there for me, it’s a lesson learned that if you make any motion with either hand, that’s it. I didn’t realize that,” Thompson said.

It was a huge turn of events for the Sox. Perez was surely being prepared to face David Ortiz. Instead he faced switch-hitting Shane Victorino (two-run single) and Dustin Pedroia (RBI single). Perez struck out Ortiz and then Medina came in.

• Stephen Drew, who had the game-winning single on Wednesday, fell behind 0-and-2 and worked a walk to load the bases. That left it up to Nava.

“It goes without saying that at-bat was set up a lot by everything that happened before that,” Nava said. “Steve had a great at-bat, 0-2 and works the count, gets the walk. Changes the whole situation of my at-bat. With one out, obviously [the Seattle defense] is pulled in.”

• The game was eerily reminiscent of an 8-7 victory in Seattle on July 11.

Ryan Dempster didn’t get through the fourth inning of that game and Steven Wright threw 5.2 innings of scoreless relief to help the Sox rally from a 5-1 deficit. The winning run scored on a single by Nava off Wilhelmsen in the 10th inning.

This time Dempster was rocked again and Wright threw three innings of scoreless relief as the Red Sox rallied from a 7-1 deficit. Wright has two career wins, both in long relief against Seattle when the Red Sox rallied from big deficits.

"Deja vu," Wright said. "That's crazy."

• Farrell, who crunches numbers with the best of 'em, has embraced the attitude of his team.

“We don’t quit. Ever,” he said. “There’s no quit in this bunch. They truly believe there’s a chance to do something special, whether it’s on a given night or over the course of a given year. That one would be this year.”

Arizona at Fenway on Friday night. Stick around Extra Bases for more.

Ortiz fined by MLB for dugout rage

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 11:15 PM

David Ortiz was fined a "significant" amount for his dugout rage in Baltimore, according to a major league source.

Ortiz was not suspended for taking a bat to the dugout phone on Saturday, but Major League Baseball didn't let him off the hook, either.

The story is old now, but Ortiz received quite a bit of heat from some fans who thought the designated hitter overreacted to a high 3-and-0 pitch that was called a strike by home plate umpire Tim Timmons in a game the Red Sox led, 7-2, in the seventh inning.

Ortiz struck out and was ejected soon after.

Final: Red Sox 8, Mariners 7

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 06:59 PM

King Felix.jpg

With the Seattle Mariners melting down in front of their eyes, the Red Sox capitalized scoring six runs in the eighth, capped by Daniel Nava's walkoff single, to erase a five-run deficit in the ninth inning beat the Mariners 8-7 to earn a sweep of their three-game series.

For the second straight night, the Sox won in walkoff fashion. This time, it didn't take 15 innings. It was the Sox's 11th walkoff win of the season.

With a completely rickety ninth inning, Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threatened to let Felix Hernandez's seven one-run innings go to waste. Wilhelmsen gave up two walks and two hits, including Brock Holt's RBI double, and left the bases loaded without recording an out.

Oliver Perez walked into a four-alarm fire, facing Shane Victorino, who had just hit his sixth homer of the season an inning earlier. He smacked a two-run single to right field to cut it to7-5. Dustin Pedroia followed up with a liner to left that scored Jacoby Ellsbury.

After David Ortiz struck out swinging, Jonny Gomes fell behind 0-and-2 but fought back to shoot the game-tying single up the middle.

It was the Sox's 24th walkoff win of the season.

Hernandez struck out eight while giving up just six hits, but was denied his second win over the Sox in a three-week span. Henry Blaco's fifth inning grand slam of Ryan Dempster, the third of his career, appeared to blow the game open. It gave Hernandez, who came in 102-25 with 2.88 when he gets two or more runs of support, more than enough room to breath.

Kendrys Morales went 4 for 5 with an RBI. Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak both with 2 for 4, fueling an offense that swatted 11 hits, roughing up Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who gave up seven runs on nine hits and five walks, in arguably his worst start of the season.

The Sox ran away with the season series 6-1. They've won all but two of their past 12 series at home.

FULL ENTRY

Peavy to make Sox debut Saturday

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 06:21 PM

Jake Peavy.jpg

Jake Peavy has already played out the image of how his first start in a Red Sox uniform will go this Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He knows the first impression he’ll give off in his new surroundings will be of a high-strung, mound-circling, emotionally-charged, seemingly maniacal pitcher yelling at himself after every pitch.

That, he says, is just the way he works.

“As emotional as you guys think I am, there'll be so much going on between the ears in that 15 seconds that you get the ball back,” Peavy said. “What happened on that pitch? What will be the next pitch? Situation of the game. Score. The inning. What has this guy done his last at-bat? All that stuff will be going on Saturday and you guys will see me out there screaming and yelling at times.”

Peavy arrived in Boston Wednesday night, a day after the Red Sox weaved a three-team deal with the White Sox and Tigers to add the 32-year-old righthander as they load up for a pennant race.

The chance to pitch in high-intensity, high-magnitude games in the season's late stages is what enticed Peavy, who’s only pitched in two postseason games in his 12 major league seasons.

“The opportunity that I've been given, I couldn't have asked for anything more than to come to a team who's now obviously in first place with a realistic chance this year of being a world champion, which is why we all play the game,” Peavy said. “To have a chance to compete in the postseason would be a dream come true. That's something that I know a lot of other guys in there expect and I expect to do it and to be a contributing factor here going forward.”

After dealing with injuries to his ankle in 2009 and his lat in 2010, Peavy felt strong last season when he threw 219 innings in 32 starts. He said he felt even better going into this season until fractured ribs forced him to sit for six weeks.

“It was kind of a freakish thing but I had to miss almost six weeks,” Peavy said. “It was painful. It was miserable. Over the past few years when I had my ankle injury and then the lat injury, once you get labeled you're 'hurt,' you fight that.

“So last year meant the world to me to throw 220 innings. Then to get off to a good start this year and then miss time for something you really feel like is non-baseball related – broken ribs, something you really couldn't pinpoint what happened – that was tough. But I'm as healthy as I can be now.”

He’s pitched twice since he returned from the disabled list, most recently striking out seven in as many innings against the Detroit Tigers.

“Still working my way back pitch-count-wise,” said Peavy, who threw 118 against the Tigers. “But I expect nothing more than to throw 100 or so pitches Saturday and win.”

Iglesias thanks Red Sox fans after trade

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 06:12 PM

Jose Iglesias, who is expected to join the Tigers on Friday, took to Twitter today with his first public comments about being traded by the Red Sox:

iggytweet.jpg

The Sox host the Tigers for three games starting on Sept. 2.

Red Sox make some roster moves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 04:30 PM

Jake Peavy arrived today and will start on Saturday against Arizona. Righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for Peavy on the roster.

The Red Sox also optioned righthander Brandon Workman to Pawtucket and recalled righthander Steven Wright. That move became necessary when the Sox used five relief pitchers for eight innings in Wednesday's 15-inning game against Seattle.

Workman, who threw 103 pitches in his start on Tuesday, is not available for a few days. Wright last pitched on Sunday and can provide long relief if needed tonight.

Manager John Farrell said the Sox intend to recall Workman as soon as he becomes eligible, which would be in 10 days.

Also:

• Peavy was given No. 44, which he has had all his career. Jackie Bradley Jr. had the number, but such is the life of a rookie.

• A few of the Red Sox starters were taking batting practice this afternoon. The Sox have six consecutive interleague road games starting Aug. 19.

• David Ross has started taking BP on the field, a good sign as he continues his comeback from a concussion.

• Clay Buchholz is on a schedule of three days of throwing then one day off. He is off today and the hope is he will clear a hurdle in terms of intensity sometime over the weekend. If Buchholz is able to do that, he would be able to throw in the bullpen.

The test Buchholz needs to pass is throwing from a distance at full effort while making a "crow hop" like an outfielder. That was the direction given by Dr. James Andrews. If Buchholz is able to do that without any shoulder discomfort, he would be able to progress from there.

Game 110: Mariners at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (65-44)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Carp 1B
Drew SS
Nava LF
Lavarnway C
Holt 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.24).

MARINERS (50-57)
Miller SS
Franklin 2B
Seager 3B
Morales DH
Saunders CF
Smoak 1B
Chavez RF
Ackley LF
Blanco C
Pitching: RHP Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.34).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Hernandez: Napoli 6-36, Pedroia 10-35, Ortiz 9-29, Salty 5-25, Ellsbury 6-21, Gomes 3-14, Nava 2-11, Drew 2-7, Victorino 2-3, Carp 1-3, Holt 1-2.

Mariners vs. Dempster: Quintero 3-21, Ryan 7-20, Ibanez 5-18, Morales 3-10, Chavez 5-7, Saunders 3-8, Blanco 0-6, Morse 0-3, Seager 1-5, Smoak 0-3, Miller 2-3.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have not been 22 games over .500 since Sept. 19, 2011, when they were 88-66.

Notes: The Sox have won four of their last five, including the first two games of a three-game set with the Mariners. Now comes the tough part: Figuring out a way to beat King Felix. Hernandez is 6-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last 11 starts. He has not taken a loss since May. Hernandez beat the Sox on July 8, allowing two runs over seven innings. He is 7-2, 3.13 in 13 career starts against the Sox; 3-1, 2.53 in six starts at Fenway. ... Dempster had a rough start against Seattle on July 11, allowing seven runs (four earned) over 3.1 innings in a game the Sox came back to win. He is 1-0 with a 4.56 ERA in his last five starts. ... The Sox are 17-11 against the AL West. ... Seager is 11 of 27 with three extra-base hits and three walks in six games against the Sox this season.

Song of the Day: "Bling (Confessions of a King)" by The Killers.

For Peavy, an old connection to the Red Sox

Posted by Staff August 1, 2013 10:01 AM

In 1999, Mark Wasinger was a scout for the San Diego Padres who traveled to Semmes, Ala., to watch a 17-year-old high school pitching prospect.

His name was Jake Peavy.

"He was very, very impressive," Wasinger recalled. "He had movement, he had flexibility. And most of all, he was just a competitor. He would see a hitter, see how he set up in the box and know exactly how to work him. He saw their weaknesses and could think two, three pitches ahead. You don't normally see that at that age."

Wasinger said Peavy was on the radar of almost every team.

"But in the end, it came down to his size," Wasinger said. "At 6-foot-1, he wasn't the 6-foot-5 Brandon Workman physical type that is the prototype. A lot of people thought that for Peavy, maybe that wear and tear might not suit him for the long term."

Peavy also had committed to play at Auburn, another red flag. Teams thought he would be difficult to sign. Auburn was just a three and a half hours down I-65 from Peavy's hometown.

So Peavy dropped to the 15th round. But the Padres did sign him.

Wasinger never really kept in touch with Peavy. He has scouted hundreds and hundreds of prospects. It's just the way baseball works, he said.

Wasinger and Peavy took completely different career paths, until now.

In the days before the Red Sox acquired Peavy from the White Sox in a three-team trade, Wasinger sat in on meetings with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherrington.

Today, Wasinger is a special assignment scout for Boston. Having the Sox acquire a prospect he scouted 14 years ago brings his career full circle.

"There had been times before where his name had come up in Sox meeting rooms," Wasinger said. "At those points in his career, it was a difficult fit. But I know how he pitches in big games and I know he's just a battler. First hand, I know he is going to come up big for Boston and hopefully take us deep in the playoffs."

Wasinger recalled this story on Thursday morning in a telephone interview. He was in Syracuse, enduring a rain delay, set to watch four games throughout the day.

He has not talked to Peavy yet since he was acquired. He will be in Fenway Park over the next few weeks and looks forward to catching up.

A few years ago, Wasinger did run into Peavy's parents. He scouted a player at Samford University, where Peavy's brother, Luke, was the catcher.

"It was nice to see them then," Wasinger said. "But it will be really nice to see Jake."

Another wild win for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2013 01:04 AM

I'm about out of words after the last two late nights at Fenway. So here's what some other guys had to say:

Stephen Drew on his game-winning single: "Overall it's an exciting win and hopefully we can keep this thing going.

"Had a base open, so I figured they'd walk Jonny [Gomes] or make him swing at some pitches he didn't want to swing at. He did a good job.

"Just trying to get a good pitch, get a good count to get the pitch that I wanted. And it happened. Kind of seeing the angle off the bat, I knew it would stay fair."

Gomes on his unassisted double play to end the top of the 15th inning: “It definitely was on purpose. To tell you the truth I’ve been waiting years to do that. Never had one and never seen one. That’s one I’m glad I’ve got on my resume.”

Drake Britton on his first major league win: "It was amazing. We were all down [in the bullpen] there knowing that it could be any one of us or it could be all of us. It was just an amazing feeling to be out there on the mound."

Meanwhile:

• John Farrell said the Red Sox "have some moves to make" with their bullpen before Thursday's game. Between the bullpen and third base, you could see some roster shifting going on.

• The Sox have 10 walkoff wins, their most since 1996. It's the most before August since 1931.

• At 65-44, the Sox have matched their high point of the season at 21 games over .500.

• Taking the first two games of the series sure looks good with Felix Hernandez on the mound for Seattle tomorrow.

• Opponents are 5 for their last 51 against Koji Uehara. His signing in the winter generated little buzz but Uehara has been remarkable all season.

• Dustin Pedroia said he considered standing on second base and high-fiving Gomes as he jogged in. "But I decided that would be a bad move," he said.

Thanks for reading. Back at it tomorrow.

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