Defensive gems save Red Sox

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Defensive gems save Red Sox

PHILADELPHIA -- You wouldn't expect a game that featured 12 runs and 26 hits by the two teams to be decided by defense, but the Red Sox' 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday night quite likely was.

Standout plays seemed to take place almost regularly.

Among them:

Two well-turned double plays by the middle infield combination of shortstop Mike Aviles and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

In the fifth, with runners on first and second and no out, Hunter Pence hit a ball that Aviles handled on a tough hop, feeding to Pedroia to record two key outs.

In the sixth, with Jon Lester trying to get out of a first-and-second one-out jam, Pedroia took the feed from Aviles and hung in on a tough take-out slide by Phils infielder Freddy Galvis, getting the Sox out of the inning.

"That's part of the job,'' shrugged Pedroia. "I know, in that situation, they're coming in hard and you just try to protect yourself the best you can and stay in there and turn the double play.''

Adrian Gonzalez, shifted to right field for the night to give DH David Ortiz a chance to start at first base, made two fine plays in foul territory.

He tracked down a ball near the line by Ty Wigginton for the first out in the second.

"That was anything but a routine play,'' marveled Bobby Valentine. "A high fly off the left-handed bat. It goes down the line and comes back the way it did.''

But his real shining moment came in the third, with a run in and Shane Victorino at second. Gonzalez sped toward to foul line on a sinking foul ball from Pence, went into a pop-up slide as he crossed into foul territory and was able to come up before colliding with the wall, with little territory with which to work.

"It's one of those things you're going on as you're running,'' said Gonzalez. "You're taking a peak at the ball. You've got one chance to peak at the wall and then get back to the ball because you don't want to lose sight of the ball while you're trying to figure out fence. I
knew that once I stepped on dirt, I had to go for the slide.''

"Adrian's a very good athlete,'' said Valentine. "He plays the game. If he had foot speed he'd be a five-tool player. He understands time and space and has very good athletic ability.''

The play of the game was a diving catch on the warning track in right-center by center fielder Ryan Sweeney, who took away extra bases from Carlos Ruiz with two runners on and one out in the seventh .

"I just thought I could catch it right off the bat,'' said Sweeney. "Adrian was playing pretty far away and he told me anything in the gap, I should catch. So, I did. But I had to run a long way for that ball and to dive on the warning track is never fun.

"I felt like I had a shot at it (the whole way). Once you get closer to the ball, then you kind of know a little bit more. I didn't have to catch it down low; I caught it up higher, then kind of laid out after that.''

Asked to rank the play among the defensive plays he made in his career, Sweeney said: "It's probably up there, probably my Top Five.''

"At first, I thought the ball had (too) much carry to it,'' said Gonzalez, who was backing up the play. "Then, I saw Sweeney and he had a great jump. I saw it the whole way and the only way he could have made it was diving the way he did. He made a great play.''

"I thought it saved the game,'' said Valentine. "That's a highlight reel catch, a Top Tenner. I don't think he had anything left. He gave everything he had, used full extension. He dove and made, I think, a game-saving catch.''

Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Pedroia sits, Owens on mound

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Pedroia sits, Owens on mound

The day after clinching the A.L. East title despite a loss, the Red Sox send out a semi-makeshift lineup Thursday night as they look to avoid a three-game sweep by the Yankees in the Bronx. 

Reserve third baseman Aaron Hill is leading off, Dustin Pedroia gets the night off, Deven Marrero starts at second base, and David Ortiz is, somewhat surprisingly, back in there at DH against left-hander C.C. Sabbathia (8-12, 4.02 ERA).

Left-hander Henry Owens (0-1, 7.79) gets the start for the Red Sox in place of Drew Pomeranz, who is bothered by tightness in his left forearm and will work out of the bullpen, if at all, for the final four games of the regular season.

The lineups:

RED SOX

Aaron Hill 3B

Andrew Benintendi LF

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Chris Young RF

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Ryan Hanigan C

Travis Shaw 1B

Deven Marrero 2B

Henry Owens LHP

 

YANKEES

Brett Gardner LF

Jacoby Ellsbury CF 

Gary Sanchez DH

Starlin Castro 2B

Didi Gregorius SS

Chase Headley 3B

Brian McCann C

Aaron Hicks RF

Tyler Austin 1B

C.C. Sabathia LHP 

Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

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Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

One of the biggest gifts David Ortiz could get this weekend as he plays his final regular-season games is a well-traveled area right outside Fenway Park.

Massachusetts lawmakers have taken steps to name the Brookline Avenue bridge that spans the Mass Pike between Newbury and Lansdowne streets near the ballpark the “David Ortiz (‘Big Papi’) Bridge.

The House Ways and Means committee included the proposal as part of a spending bill that the full House could vote on as soon as Thursday and, if approved, send on to the Senate. 

“David Ortiz’s accomplishments and heroics on and off the baseball field have made him a living legend, and his heartfelt contributions to the communities here and in his native Dominican Republic have made him an icon,” said Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker. “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I am thrilled to be able to help our Commonwealth create a lasting ‘Thank You’ to Big Papi through the renaming of this bridge.”

The proposal calls for a “suitable marker” to be placed on the bridge bearing the new name.

“I’m so excited to be part of this process of giving David Ortiz, one of the greatest Red Sox of all time, his proper due by naming a bridge in his honor,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “David has not only been an extraordinary baseball player, he has been an exemplary and inspirational member of our community, most notably after the Boston Marathon bombings. As a fan, I will miss his stride up to the plate followed by a clutch hit and the ballpark exploding into applause.”