Aviles a pleasant surpise for Sox; comes through again

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Aviles a pleasant surpise for Sox; comes through again

MIAMI -- Two and a half months into the season, David Ortiz leads the Red Sox in RBI with 38, which isn't terribly surprising.

But Mike Aviles being second on the team with 37? That's hardly to be expected.

Aviles collected another RBI Tuesday night and it proved to be huge, since it was the difference in the Red Sox' 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins, snapping a four-game Sox losing streak.

The shortstop came up in the seventh with two outs and Kelly Shoppach on second and the Sox leading 1-0.

"I was just trying to battle and not hit the ball in the infield," said Aviles. "That's really what I've been doing the last few ABs. I was just trying see the ball up and I was fortunate enough that the ball blooped in."

The Sox came into Tuesday having averaged just 3.1 runs per game over the previous eight contests, during which they hit just .221

The two runs Tuesday night hardly represented a breakout for the offense. But the fact that the Sox have been struggling at the plate put an extra premium on every run.

"We haven't been scoring the runs that we normally can score," said Aviles. "We were fortunate to put a couple hits together there and get the win."

Not only is Aviles nipping at Ortiz's heels for the team lead in RBI, but he also leads all major league shortstops in RBI.

"That's kind of cool, I guess," said Aviles. "That just show you how good an offense this team really has, because I feel like I bat with someone on base all the time. I'm just fortunate enough to get hits in those at-bats.

"I try to have good at-bats and help any way I can. I know that if I come up to the plate with someone in scoring position or on base, any hit can help out. The way the pitchers have been throwing the ball lately, we need to put those runs on the board."

Not that Aviles' only contribution came with the bat. He also turned a huge double play with a backhand stab of a hard grounder from Hanley Ramirez with one on and no out in the sixth. In a scoreless game at the time, that started a big 6-4-3 double play.

"I know the surface here plays pretty quick," said Aviles. "Hanley hit that ball pretty good. It was more like I wanted to get down and at least knock it down and if I caught it, I was going to try to turn to. But I wanted to make sure that ball didn't get to the outfield because I didn't want them to get a rally going."

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.