Sox continue rolling with win over Tigers, 6-3

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Sox continue rolling with win over Tigers, 6-3

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT The Red Sox continued to slug their way through their road trip, pounding the Tigers, 6-3, Friday night in front of 34,046 at Comerica Park.

Trailing, 2-1, going into the third inning, the Sox sent eight batters to the plate with five scoring.

Staked to a four-run lead, starter Tim Wakefield cruised through his outing. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He needed just 83 pitches, 58 for strikes.

It is the 195th win of Wakefields 19-season career, 181st with the Sox.

The Sox beat up on Tigers starter Rick Porcello, driving him from the game after three innings. Porcello took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 3.93 ERA. He gave up six runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the third with a home run to right field, his sixth of the season, tying the score. Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk, going to second on Adrian Gonzalezs single. Kevin Youkilis double to center scored Pedroia and Gonzalez. After David Ortiz flied out to center, Carl Crawfords fourth home run of the season put the Sox up, 6-2, before Jed Lowrie grounded out and Josh Reddick popped out.

The Sox got a single run in the first inning when Ellsbury led off with a single to right, stole second, went to third on Gonzalezs ground out to second, and scored on Porcellos wild pitch.

The Tigers got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Austin Jackson led off with a single to left, stole second and scored on Miguel Cabreras single to center.

Jhonny Peraltas home run leading off the second gave the Tigers a brief one-run lead. It was the first time the Sox had trailed since the second inning Tuesday in Cleveland.

Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the ninth.

It is the Sox fourth straight win, going 4-1 in the first five games of their seven-game road trip.

South Portland, Maines Charlie Furbush relieved Porcello admirably, going five scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

But by then, the Sox had done enough damage to improve to 29-22.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tim Wakefield
Wakefield went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw just 83 pitches (58 strikes), cruising to the win. He improved to 2-1 with a 4.14 ERA.

It was his longest outing since going eight innings in a 3-2 win over the Orioles on July 2, 2010.

He has made four starts this season, including his last two outings, as he fills in with John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL. In his last two starts he has gone a combined 13 23 innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He has posted a cumulative ERA of 1.98.

I was fighting my mechanics in the first couple of innings, Wakefield said, but was able to make some adjustments after the second inning and was able to cruise through into the seventh.

"I'm just doing what I can to help us win games. Asked me to fill a role here and do the best that I can.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He scored after his first two at-bats of the game. His speed helped him to his first run, while his power gave him the second run. Ellsbury led off the game with a single to right, taking second on his 18th stolen base of the season. He went to third on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout, and scored on Rick Porcellos wild pitch.

He led off the third with his sixth home run of the season, to tie the game. It was his second home run in as many games.

For good measure, he added some strong defense in center field.

Hes a great player, said Dustin Pedroia. We knew. We expect this of him. He can do anything. He hits homers. He steals bases. He plays great defense. Hes a special player, man.
THE GOAT: Rick Porcello
Porcello lasted just three innings, giving up six runs on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts, a wild pitch, and two home runs. He was given a slim 2-1 lead in the second on Jhonny Peraltas lead-off homer, but couldnt hold on to it. In the next inning, he gave up five runs as the Sox sent eight batters to the plate.

THE TURNING POINT
Trailing 2-1 going into the third inning, the Sox sent eight batters to the plate, with five scoring.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the third with a home run to right field, his sixth of the season, tying the score. Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk, going to second on Adrian Gonzalezs single. Kevin Youkilis double to center scored Pedroia and Gonzalez. After David Ortiz flied out to center, Carl Crawfords fourth home run of the season put the Sox up, 6-2, before Jed Lowrie grounded out and Josh Reddick popped out.

STAT OF THE DAY: 1-2-3
The Sox scored seven runs in the first inning Wednesday against the Indians, five runs in the second inning Thursday against the Tigers, and five runs in the third inning Friday against the Tigers. What can that mean for the fourth inning Saturday (Oh, yeah, they also scored five runs in the eighth inning on Thursday.)

QUOTE OF NOTE
"I don't think its unusual, I think it's a blessing for us that its happened so far and hopefully we can continue to do so. -- Tim Wakefield, on the four starts he and Alfredo Aceves have made in place of John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who are on the DL. Wakefield and Aceves are a combined 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in those four starts.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Dombrowski on trading top prospects: 'You go for it'

Dombrowski on trading top prospects: 'You go for it'

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox are coming off a 94-win season and a division title.
     
MORE ON THE TRADE

Their starting rotation is solid, if not without some question marks. The team's core of young position players is the envy of the industry.
     
So, why, then, did Dave Dombrowski make the kind of gamble he did when he shipped arguably the best prospect in baseball and the organization's top pitching prospect to land White Sox lefthander Chris Sale?
     
"I think it's a situation where when you have a chance to win,'' explained Dombrowski, "you want to give yourself every opportunity to do so, if you can improve your club. And for us, this deal improved us.

"I'm not sure, for instance, if we didn't get (Drew) Pomeranz that we would have won our division. But any time you get there, short of just a total giveaway of your system or making moves that don't make us smart, I think you go for it.''
     
Dombrowski noted that most of his acquisitions -- Sale, Pomeranz, David Price, Craig Kimbrel -- are under the team's control for another three years.

"In baseball,'' he said, "four years down the road is an eternity in many ways. So you need to take advantage of that opportunity. Nothing's guaranteed in life; if you make these moves, it doesn't guarantee that you're going to win.
     
"But I think you just keep taking a chance. You keep going for it as much as you possibly can and hopefully, it works for you someday.''
     
The moves he's made to date, said Dombrowski, have all made the Red Sox "a little better.''
     
He further noted that with a young core of everyday players and prospects such as Rafael Devers and Sam Travis, "I think we're still strong for many, many years.''

Bruins hope OT win was sign of things to come offensively

Bruins hope OT win was sign of things to come offensively

BOSTON -- For a team where offense has been a major problem area this season, lighting the lamp four times against the Florida Panthers on Monday night was a welcomed sight for the Bruins indeed.

The Bruins won it in dazzling fashion with a 4-3 overtime win on a David Pastrnak rush to the net after he totally undressed D-man Mike Matheson on his way to the painted area, and then skill took over for him easily beating Roberto Luongo with a skate-off goal.

That was the game-breaker doing his thing and finishing with a pair of goals in victory, and continuing to push a pace that has the 20-year-old right wing on track for more than 40 goals this season.

That would give the Bruins just their fourth 40-goal scorer in the last 25 years of franchise history (Glen Murray in 2002-03, Bill Guerin in 2001-02 and Cam Neely in 1993-94), and mark one of the bigger reasons behind an expected offensive surge that may just be coming for a Black and Gold group currently ranked 23rd in the league in offense.

They just hope that the four strikes vs. Florida is indeed a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the season after serving as just the eighth time in just 26 games this season that they scored more than two goals.

“[There have been] a lot of tight games and low-scoring games, you’re right. It’s good, but as a goalie, I’m not happy when I let in three goals, ever. But it’s great to see that scoring support,” said Tuukka Rask. “When you get four goals, you expect to win, and a lot of times when we get three, I expect to win. It’s great to see [an uptick in scoring].”

So what is there to be optimistic about from a B’s offensive perspective aside from Pastrnak blowing up for a couple more goals to keep pace among the NHL league leaders with Sidney Crosby and Patrick Laine?

Well, the Bruins are starting to see results from crashing to the front of the net, attacking in the offensive zone and finally finishing off plays after serving as one of the best puck possession teams in the league over the first few months.

Just look at how the goals were scored, and how the Bruins are working in closer to the net rather than settling for perimeter plays.

The first goal on Monday night was a result of Tim Schaller crashing down the slot area for a perfectly executed one-timer feed from David Krejci. Similarly David Pastrnak was hanging around in front of the net in the second period when a no-look, spinning Brad Marchand dish from behind the net came his way, and he wasn’t going to miss from that range against Roberto Luongo. Then David Backes parked his big body in front of the Florida net in the third period, and redirected a Ryan Spooner shot up and over Luongo for the score that got the Bruins into overtime.

It’s one of a couple of goals scored by Backes down low recently, and his third goal in the last five games as he heats up with his playmaking center in Krejci. The 32-year-old Backes now has seven goals on the season and is on pace for 26 goals after a bit of a slow start, and the offense is coming for that line as they still search for balance in their two-way hockey play.

“A few more guys are feeling [better] about their games, and know that we’re capable of putting a crooked number up like that. It bodes well moving forward,” said Backes. “But you can’t think that we’re going to relax after the effort that we put in. We’ve got to skill to those dirty areas and still get those second and third chances, and not take anything off during those opportunities. It’s got to go to the back of the net.

“With the way Tuukka has played, and our defense has been stingy and our penalty kill has been on, four goals should be a win for our team. It hasn’t always been easy for us this year. It’s been a process, but I think you’re starting to see the things that you need to see in order for us to score goals. We’re going to the front of the net and getting extended offensive zone time, and then you find a few guys like Pasta in the slot. That’s a good recipe for us.”

Then there’s Ryan Spooner, who enjoyed his best game of the season on Monday night and set up the B’s third goal of the game with his speed and creativity. It was noticeable watching Spooner play with his unbridled skating speed and creative playmaking, and it made a discernible difference in Boston’s overall offensive attack against Florida. It’s something that Claude Julien is hoping to see more of moving forward from Spooner after recent trade rumors really seemed to spark the 23-year-old center, and also knocked some of the inconsistency from a player that’s extremely dangerous offensively when he’s “on.”

“It’s obvious that if Ryan wants to give us those kinds of games, then we have lots of time for him. When he doesn’t we just can’t afford to give him that kind of ice time,” said Julien. “There are games where he hasn’t been as involved, and it’s obvious and apparent to everybody that when he’s not getting involved then he’s not helping our team. When he is playing the way he did yesterday, we can certainly use that player more than not. We’d love to see him get consistent with those kinds of games.”

So while it’s clear the Bruins aren’t completely out of the woods offensively and there are still players like Patrice Bergeron sitting below their usual offensive numbers, it’s also been a little mystifying to watch Boston struggle so much offensively given their talent level.

The Black and Gold fully realized that potential in taking a tough divisional game from Florida on Monday night, and they hope it’s something to build on as the schedule doesn’t let up at all in the coming weeks.