Bard solid in Sox win, wants to pitch deeper into games

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Bard solid in Sox win, wants to pitch deeper into games

BOSTON Facing the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young winner, Daniel Bard showed little sign of intimidation. He also tried to avoid thinking of his counterpart in the game.

I think you kind of try to avoid that as a starter, Bard said. You know hes going to give you a battle but I dont have to hit off him so thats a good thing. Hes also facing the best offense in the league, in my opinion. So I knew that Im just going to try to keep us in it for three or four and I knew one of those innings we were going to get to him and when we got up to 4-0 or 4-1 you're kind of like OK this is our game.

"I just got to settle in and keep doing what Im doing. But its nice to get a little breathing room. You dont expect it against a guy like him. You expect its going to be 1-1, 0-0 til late in the game. It was good that we could get some runs off him.

Bard went 5 13 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts and a hit batter as the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 6-3, for the second straight.

The win got the Sox over .500 for the first time this season in their seventh try. It also brought Bards record to .500, at 5-5, with a 4.56 ERA. The Sox are 4-5 in games Bard starts (he got the win April 23, pitching two-thirds of an inning in relief in Minnesota).

This is big for our team. Bard said. In the grand scheme its just one game but to do it against the guy thats the reigning MVP, and Cy Young, I mean, thats, if nothing else, good for our confidence to know that no matter who the other teams running out there on a given day weve got a good chance to beat him. So hes still one of the best and we just got the hits when we needed them.

The two runs Bard allowed came on solo home runs one by Jhonny Peralta in the fifth, and by Prince Fielder into the right field seats to lead off the sixth.

It was the first time in his career Bard has given up a home run in three straight games, and just the third time hes given up two home runs in a game. He gave up two home runs in Yankee Stadium on Aug. 9, 2009, and to the Tigers on May 19, 2011.

As long as they're solo home runs and not coming too often, thats a lot better way to give up runs than grinding through an inning, 20, 30 pitches, Bard said. At least that kind of gets it out of the way.

Bard would like to be going deeper into games, though.

I understand manager Bobby Valentine being conservative with me the last couple because the walks have been an issue coming into this one and I see where his minds at, Bard said. I just wanted him to know that I want to be out there and be going six, seven innings a start. Im not satisfied with this 5 13 stuff. Its kind of weird.

"My last two outings Ive been pulled at 5 13 after a strikeout with the bases empty. And with a pitch count thats pretty reasonable both times in the low 90s, so I get where hes coming from and typically I have struggled as I get deeper in the game. But I just told him, I made it clear as respectfully as I could that Im ready to start finishing those innings. I dont need to be treated like a kid anymore. He said 'alright I want you to finish those innings', so I think were on the same page.

Bards four strikeouts were the most hes recorded in an outing since six in his third start on April 27 against the White Sox in Chicago.

Sunday's Red Sox - Yankees lineups

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Sunday's Red Sox - Yankees lineups

If the rain doesn't prevent it, the Red Sox and Yankees will play the third and final game of their weekend series Sunday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox go into this one having won the first two games and are fresh off an 8-0 win Saturday night with Rick Porcello on the mound. Porcello improved to 5-0 on the season after another strong outing. His fellow Sox pitchers are starting to come around as of late, too.

Red Sox starters have thrown at least 6.0 innings in each of the club’s last 6 games, lowering the starting staff’s ERA nearly a full run from 5.48 to 4.49 in that span.

David Price takes the mound for the Sox. Price leads all major league starters with 13.96 SO/9.0 IP this year, the highest mark for any AL pitcher through April 30 in the Live Ball Era (min. 4 starts).

Here is the full Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

David Price LHP

Here is the full Yankees lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Aaron Hicks RF
Austin Romine C
Ronald Torreyes SS

Nathan Eovaldi RHP

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

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Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

QUOTES:

"He threw all four pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, (he's shown) the ability to make adjustments from pitch-to-pitch. If he gets out of whack or misses with a pitch, he's right back in the strike zone.'' - John Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"You look back at the first month and I think we've gained a lot of trust in each other up and down the lineup. That to me is the strongest attribute right now on this team.'' - Farrell on the Red Sox after one month of play.

"Pretty similar. I'm getting a lot of timely hits, and it's helping the team.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr., asked if this last week is similar to the hot streak he enjoyed last August.

"I'm comfortable. I'm in a good place, mentally and physically. I worked really hard to get where I am now and I'm going to continue to work.'' – Bradley on his hot streak.

"Much better fastball command. I've been able to execute my sinker better and that's allowed me to get ahead of hitters and if I do fall behind, I've been able to come back.'' - Porcello on cutting his walk rate by more than half compared to this point a year ago.

NOTES:

* The shutout at Fenway was the first for the Red Sox against the Yankees since May 14, 2011.

* The eight-run margin was the biggest margin in a Red Sox shutout over the Yankees since Sept. 6, 2003 when they won 11-0 in New York.

* The four triples in April for Jackie Bradley Jr. are the most for a Red Sox hitter in that month since Jose Offerman in 1999.

* In his last nine games against the Yankees, Bradley is 14-for-31 (.452) with nine extra-base hits.

* Rick Porcello's 5-0 start to the season is the best run for a Red Sox starter since Josh Beckett was 7-0 in 2007.

* The Yankees have failed to homer in seven games this season; they're 0-7 in those games.

STARS:

1) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley had three extra-base hits (two triples and a double) for eight total bases, and knocked in three runs.

2) Rick Porcello

The Red Sox starter tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only two baserunners into scoring position while issuing just one walk.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had a double in the second and a single in the sixth, good for three RBI, a season high for him.