Bailey, Tazawa hold it down for Red Sox

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Bailey, Tazawa hold it down for Red Sox

BOSTON -- Not that putting runners on base is a good thing, but for Andrew Bailey, right now, it's something he's willing to deal with.

The Red Sox aren't fighting for a playoff spot. And Bailey missed most of the season due to injury. So he's just trying to get his game in order for next season.

Sunday afternoon also gave him another chance -- as the Red Sox closer -- to bounce back from Thursday's loss and blown save in Tampa Bay.

And he did just that, getting out of a ninth-inning jam, and picking up his sixth save of the season in the process.

"Every day's a new day," said Bailey after Boston's 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioes at Fenway Park. "You've just got to go out there and get the job done. Today, I got in a little bit of a jam and fell behind hitters again. But this time, I made pitches when I needed to, and was able to get out of it."

In a 2-1 game, Mark Reynolds gave the Orioles some life in the ninth, as he dropped a one-out single into left field. Then, Jim Thome ripped a pinch-hit ground-rule double down the right-field line, putting runners at second and third with one out.

After intentionally-walking Chris Davis to load the bases, Bailey got a force out at home and then struck out Ryan Flaherty to shut the door.

"As much as you don't want to be in this situation, for me, it's about getting back into those situations and getting the job done, and looking forward to next year, and obviously finishing this year strong," said Bailey.

"You get a lot out of it. I missed a lot of the year, and you can't replicate this type of situations. So, for me, it's nice to get back in those situations. As much as you don't want to put guys on base, when the time is right, next year, when we're in the playoff hunt, these couple save opportunities or couple high-stressful outings, might play a part, down the road."

Junichi Tazawa can't be overlooked in Boston's bullpen effort either. he was the bridge from Felix Doubront to Bailey, and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning, lowering his ERA to 1.54 and earning his first win of the season.

In Tazawa's last 12 appearances, he's pitched 11 scoreless innings and has recorded 16 strikeouts and walked only one while allowing just three hits.

"He's been near-perfect," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the win. "He's been as good a pitcher as I've seen in this league. He's continuing to get better. His split-finger, now, is devastating, and thrown at 90-91 miles an hour. His control is impeccable.

"He's everything you want in a pitcher."

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

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Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
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Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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David Price LHP