Lillibridge comes back to burn Sox

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Lillibridge comes back to burn Sox

CLEVELAND Apparently the lesson learned by the Sox is to never spurn any gritty, little guys in Major League Baseball.

The Sox traded away utility guy Brent Lillibridge to the Cleveland Indians for a minor league pitcher after only 10 games of service this season, and revenge was his on Saturday night. Lillibridge rapped out a career-high three hits and knocked in a pair of important runs in the Tribes 5-2 win over the Sox at Progressive Field.

The loss once again pushed the Sox to three games under .500 in their one step forward, one step back version of baseball insanity.

Once again the Indians jumped on the board first when Lillibridge who was the player acquired from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis trade powered up and slammed a Franklin Morales pitch over the left field wall.

The Sox fought back for a pair in the next half-inning courtesy of Lillibridge this time on defense. Jacoby Ellsbury laced a double to the opposite field in left-center to lead things off, and two straight misplays by Lillibridge manning third base on a bunt and a ground ball loaded the bases with nobody out.

Adrian Gonzalez blasted a double deep to center field and both Ellsbury and Crawford scored before Pedroia was gunned down trying to score all the way from first just steps behind Crawford.

The Tribe scratched back to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Lillibridge again stepped up to knock home Michael Brantley with an RBI single. It only remained tied until the bottom of the next inning when Morales lost command with a pair of walks one intentional and one no-so voluntary and a hit batsman that loaded the bases.

Bobby Valentine lifted Morales from the game, and reliever Andrew Miller allowed a sacrifice fly to Brantley that pushed across the game-winning run from third base. Meanwhile in the top of that same frame Ellsbury had again hammered a double to the opposite field, but was gunned down by Brantley attempting to stretch it into a leadoff triple. A nice stretching play by Lillibridge at third base was the difference on the play as Ellsbury attempted to hook slide around the throw.

Cleveland start Zach McAllister proved to be too much for the Sox once given that sixth inning lead, and limited their offense to only three hits. The big right was, of course, aided by both Pedroia and Ellsbury running into outs at home plate and third base respectively. He didnt walk a batter and fanned four in a career-high eight innings of work. Morales, meanwhile, didnt make it out of the sixth frame and dropped to 3-3 on the season.

The beardless Chris Perez locked it down for his 31st save of the season in the ninth inning.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.

 

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.