Clean shaven Pedroia heats up

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Clean shaven Pedroia heats up

BOSTON In Fridays loss to the Braves, Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4, grounding out to end the eighth representing the tying run. In 15 games since rejoining the lineup on June 5 after missing six games with a slight tear in the adductor muscle of his right thumb, Pedroia had gone 9-for-62 (.145), dropping his average from .295 to .260 in that time.

After Fridays game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine offered a prediction.

Hell get hot, Valentine said. Hotter than a firecracker.

But Valentine didnt say how quickly that would happen.

Pedroia went 3-for-4, with a double, a run scored, two RBI, and a walk in Saturdays 8-4 win over the Braves, raising his average to .267.

Friday night he said he felt really good and I thought some of his at-bats were a little different than they had been , Valentine said. And tonight his groundballs had the power to get through the infield and the double in left-center field, a walk. He had good at-bats tonight. Hes feeling good.

But, Valentine said, Pedroia has not yet reached firecracker status.

No, but he might be soon, the manager said.

Pedroia has been unfazed by his recent struggles.

Hits are coming, he said. Every year I go through a time tough time, like everybody else does, but when it rains it pours. You can go from cold to real hot.

I felt good the last few days and Ive swung the bat good but I just didnt get any hits. Thats the tough part to deal with mentally when you have good at-bats, quality at-bats and you dont get any hits. Youve just got to know that theyre coming and they will.

Pedroia said he hasnt let his recent lack of productivity bother him.

Im always in a good frame of mind, he said. I just try to know in the end Ill be right there where I normally am. You guys saw it the year before, the year before that, and the year before that. Everyone goes through tough times and its how you bounce out of it and once you find your swing you just take off.

Pedroia was clean shaven for the game for the first time in a while. It has nothing to do with baseball superstition, though, he said.

Im trying to spice up my love life with my wife, so I shaved my beard.

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.