Red Sox rock Blue Jays pitching, 16-4


Red Sox rock Blue Jays pitching, 16-4

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Before Saturday's game, manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff were worried about the team's energy level, fearing that the real impact of the team's early morning travel would come a day later.

By the end of the afternoon, the only thing tiring for the Red Sox was circling the bases.

The Sox busted out with 18 hits and every member of the starting lineup collected at least one RBI in a 16-4 thumping of the Toronto Blue Jays, good for Boston's eighth consecutive win, a season best.

Three times, the Sox scored multiple runs in an inning, plating four in the third, seven in the fifth as both David Ortiz and Jason Varitek cranked three-run homers in that inning, and three more in the eighth.

The 16 runs marked a season high for the Red Sox. Six different players had multi-hit games, led by Marco Scutaro who had four.

The game marked the fifth time in the last 21 games -- and fourth time in the last 10 road games -- that the Sox reached double figures in a game.

John Lackey, pitching at Rogers Centre for the first time since his famous post-game meltdown exactly a month ago, picked up his second straight win, allowing four runs
over six innings.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jason Varitek
After a brutal start at the plate in the first month, Varitek has come around. Saturday, he was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, two runs scored and a total of four RBI.

The Red Sox catcher went almost a full calendar year without a homer, but has hit three since May 24.

The Red Sox predicted that Pedroia would return from the exam and scope of his ailing right knee with peace of mind -- and he has.

In the two games since, he's 6-for-10 with two walks and helping to spark the offense by getting on base at the top of the lineup.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Brandon Morrow
Morrow has great stuff, but he didn't show much of it Saturday, getting rocked for nine runs on 10 hits in just 4 13 innings.

Morrow's poor outing forced John Farrell to empty his bullpen, using five relievers and infielder Mike McCoy to close out the rout.

TURNING POINT: Varitek's three-run homer in the fifth turned a comfortable 5-2 lead into an 8-2 laugher -- and the rout was on.

BY THE NUMBERS: In their five wins against the Blue Jays this season, the Red Sox have outscored Toronto 42-7.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "That's the whole idea -- you don't want to give anybody any easy innings.'' Terry Francona on the entire lineup coming together of late.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.