Lester, Sox falter down the stretch, lose to Rangers, 6-3

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Lester, Sox falter down the stretch, lose to Rangers, 6-3

BOSTON Jon Lester cruised through the first five innings with relative ease, allowing no runs on just two hits. But, 29 pitches to 6 batters in the sixth, cost him two runs, on the way to a 6-3 Red Sox loss to the Rangers Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

The loss drops the Sox back under .500, at 55-56.

Lester took the loss, falling to 5-10 with an ERA of 5.36. went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs on six hits, two walks, and a wild pitch, with four strikeouts. The Sox are now 8-15 in his 23 starts, of which he has posted 11 quality starts.

David Murphy, the former Sox minor leaguer who was packaged in a trade for right-hander Eric Gagne at the trading deadline in 2007, lead off the seventh with a double to right, scoring on Ian Kinslers one-out single high off the wall in left that barely missed becoming a home run. With two outs, Kinsler scored on Hamiltons single to right, giving the Rangers a 2-0 advantage.

The Rangers added two more in the seventh when Michael Young walked with one out, going to third on Geovanny Sotos single to right and scoring on Murphys sacrifice fly. After a walk to No. 9 batter Mike Olt, Lester was done.

Mark Melancon entered, giving up a single to Kinsler, scoring Soto, for a 4-0 Texas lead.

Meanwhile, Rangers right-hander Ryan Dempster, who struggled in his first start with Texas since being acquired at the trading deadline from the Cubs, kept the Red Sox batters in check until the seventh inning. He went, 6 23 innings, giving up three runs, no earned runs, on six hits, one walk, and a home run, with six strikeouts.

Will Middlebrooks finally broke through on Dempster with a pinch-hit three-run home run in the seventh. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Kalish on base, Middlebrooks, pinch-hitting for Nick Punto, took the first pitch he saw from Dempster, an 85-mph slider. and drove it into the first row of Monster seats. The home run withstood a review by umpires when it appeared a fan had reached over. It was Middlebrooks 14th home run of the season, first as a pinch-hitter, and the Sox fourth from a pinch-hitter this season.

Thanks to a Kinsler error on Kalishs grounder earlier in the inning all the runs off Dempster were unearned.

Dempster had faced the Sox once before, June 15 in Chicago, while with the Cubs. In that game he went seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and two walks with three strikeouts, earning the win. In the two starts, combined he threw 13.2 scoreless innings against the Sox.

The Rangers added a run in the eighth off Melancon. Josh Hamilton walked to open the inning, going to second on Adrian Beltres groundout, scoring on Nelson Cruzs single to right, giving the Rangers a 5-3 lead.

The Rangers got a run in the ninth off Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa. Breslow hit Murphy with a pitch to open the inning. Craig Gentry, pinch running, stole second and scored and Elvis Andrus single of Tazawa, putting the Rangers up, 6-3.

After getting called out in the eighth inning for a check swing, Dustin Pedroia was ejected in the top of the ninth for arguing with first base umpire Paul Nauert. It was Pedroias second career ejection, first since Aug. 19, 2008, in Baltimore.

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md -- In the span on less than 12 hours earlier this week, the Red Sox injected some impact players onto their roster, moves that cost them a large chunk of their farm system but made them the prohibitive favorites in the American League.
    
By adding All-Star starter Chris Sale, power set-up man Tyler Thornburg and first baseman Mitch Moreland (though the Sox have not confirmed the latter yet), the team was remade and became the talk of the Winter Meetings.
     
But Dave Dombrowski knows that "winning the winter'' can be a hollow achievement. It's what happens when the games start that will truly matter.
     
"We feel good,'' said Dombrowski as he got ready to depart. "We feel like we have a better ballclub. We feel like we've helped ourselves. Our guys have done a good job here all week long. So, we feel good about it.
     
"In the winter time, winning doesn't really mean anything. We've had that situation before. It really comes down to how well you play. That's why when people ask me to made predictions, I never make them. I think we have a club that can compete. I like our ballclub. But you really have to go about it on a day-in, day-out basis and take care of your business and I think our club will do that.''
     
The Red Sox, of course, won the A.L. East, but were summarily dismissed in the Division Series by the Cleveland Indians, who swept them in three straight.
     
The Sox were the best offensive club in the majors, but the retirement of David Ortiz takes a huge weapon out of their lineup. It's doubtful they'll score as many runs as they did a year ago.
     
Correspondingly, the Sox vastly improved their rotation with Sale, giving them three front-line starters and, in theory, a chance to go further into the postseason in 2017.
     
So deep are the Sox, in fact, that they now have seven established starters, a surplus that has them positioned to move one arm.
    
It may take some time for the market to develop, as clubs explore what's available from other teams and in free agency.
     
"I don't know what that will be,'' Dombrowski said. "We'll just kind of wait and see what takes place. I think a lot is dependent on other things that need to shake out. So our depth in starting pitching is somewhat new to people. They need time to analyze that. I had a couple clubs approach me about that [inside the Rule 5 draft] this morning. Again, we're not jumping. We'll just wait and see what happens.''
     
Dombrowski could choose to move either Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz, though it would seem dumping Buchholz's $13.5 million contract would be his preference.
     
That would enable Dombrowski to get closer to the $195 million luxury tax threshold, which he has said is a preference not a mandate.
     
"I have a preference [in choosing which starter to move],’’ he said with a smile. "I won't share that with you, but I have a preference.''

 

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- On Wednesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski was asked what else he might be searching for to complete his roster.
     
Dombrowski, noting that Travis Shaw had been dealt away in the trade that brought the Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, said the Red Sox could use another utility infielder to compete with left-handed-hitting Marco Hernandez.
     
On Thursday morning, Dombrowski found a familiar body in the unlikeliest of places.
     
The Sox selected Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. Rutledge, who was once obtained in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino, spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a slash line of .276/.338/.358 with a homer and 13 RBI in 67 games.
     
He missed most of last season with a knee injury and was outrighted by the Sox last month, becoming a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, but was unprotected by the Rockies and made available in Thursday's draft.
     
"We always liked him,'' said Dombrowski. "He thought his opportunity to play at the big league level was better [in Colorado]. But it was a situation for us, we looked at our club and we thought we might need a right-handed [hitting] utility infielder. We looked over the list and we like what he can do for our ballclub. So he was on obvious choice for us.''
     
Rutledge will compete against Marco Hernandez to become another bench player to team with Brock Holt on the Red Sox  roster.
     
Deven Marrero is also a righthand-hitting infielder, but his strength is defense and he's yet to prove he can hit major league pitching.
     
"I'd rather have someone [competing] who can swing the bat a little bit more,'' said Dombrowski. "I think [Rutledge] lines up to be on our club. We'll see what happens in spring training, but we know him, we like him. There looks like there's a path for him.''
     
Drafting Rutledge cost the Red Sox just $50,000 and he must  remain on the team's 25-man roster all season or, be offered back to the Rockies and placed on waivers.
     
The Sox also lost two players in the Rule 5 major league draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, while the Baltimore Orioles chose outfielder Aneury Tavarez.