Morales, Red Sox beat Twins in finale, 6-4

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Morales, Red Sox beat Twins in finale, 6-4

BOSTON Filling in for the ailing Josh Beckett and making his first start since July 13, Franklin Morales accomplished what no other starting pitcher was able to do in the four-game series against the Twins: He won.

The Red Sox beat the Twins, 6-4, at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon, ending their four-game losing streak.

It was also the first win by a starting pitcher since Clay Buchholz beat the Tigers on July 30.

Morales went six innings, giving up one run on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches, 63 for strikes, lowering his overall ERA from 3.32 to 3.14.

In six starts this season, Morales is 3-1, while the Sox are 4-2 in those games. Spanning 32 13 innings, he has allowed 11 earned runs for a 3.06 ERA, giving up 25 hits and 11 walks with 35 strikeouts.

The Sox offense came together for 14 hits, led by Adrian Gonzalez, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI, a run scored, a home run and an intentional walk. It was his second intentional walk in the last three games after receiving just one intentional pass this season.

Gonzalezs two-run home run into the Monster seats in the fifth inning scored Carl Crawford who singled. It was Gonzalezs 11th home run of the season.

On his 31st birthday, Crawford went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

The Twins put a scare into the Sox in the ninth with Vicente Padilla on the mound. Josh Willingham led off with a home run, his 28th of the season, to straightway center. After a walk to Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit crushed his 11th home run into the bleachers behind the visitors bullpen in right, cutting the Sox lead to two runs.

But Alfredo Aceves came in, retiring the next three batters, to preserve the win, earning his 23rd save.

The Sox opened the scoring with two runs in the third. Mike Aviles led off with a single to center, taking third on Jacoby Ellsbury's double to left. Aviles scored on Crawfords groundout to shortstop. Consecutive singles by Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez scored Ellsbury, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead.

The Twins got a run in fifth when Alexi Casilla walked to lead off, stole second, went to third on Jamey Carrolls ground out, and scored on Ben Reveres sacrifice fly.

The Sox added a run in the seventh when Crawford led off with a single, taking second on Pedroias groundout. After an intentional walk to Gonzalez, Cody Ross single to center scored Crawford, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.

The Sox got another run in the third when Ryan Kalish doubled with one out off reliever Luis Perdomo, stole second and scored on Ellsburys sacrifice fly.

Nick Blackburn took the loss for the Twins, falling to 4-7 with a 7.42 ERA. He went five innings, giving up four runs on nine hits, with no walks, four strikeouts, and a home run.

Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

The Red Sox try again to nail down the A.L. East crown tonight, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against the Yankees while needed just one victory -- or one Toronto defeat -- to clinch the division.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
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Clay Buchholz P

YANKEES:
Brett Gardner LF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Gary Sanchez C
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorious SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Mason Williams RF
----
Bryan Mitchell P

 

McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

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McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

Three takeaways from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night . . . 

1) Long relief may be short for the Red Sox in the postseason

The news that Drew Pomeranz won't start Thursday and is dealing with forearm soreness was ominous -- to say the least. While the Sox aren't concerned enough to order up an MRI for the lefty, it seems a fair bet that he won't pitch again this season. Pomeranz wasn't going to crack the postseason rotation and would likely have been relegated to relief duty. Now, even that seems a stretch.

Add that development to the continued absence of Steven Wright and the Red Sox are missing 40 percent of their rotation from late July and early August.

Healthy, both would have been stretched-out and available to provide multiple innings in the postseason.

Of course, most teams would prefer to not have to rely on long men in the postseason, since their very appearance in a game would signifiy that a starter got knocked out early.

When that happens, however, it's nice to have experienced, dependable arms to cover innings and not impact the bullpen's high-leverage pitchers.

Now, in such a scenario, the Sox will likely have to turn to either Robbie Ross Jr. or Heath Hembree.

2) Is Aaron Hill heating up?

In the month of September, Hill has posted a line of .381/.409/.571. On Tuesday night, he blasted a pinch-hit homer.

Admittedly, that's a relatively small sample size. But Hill has had better at-bats of late, especially against lefties.

It's doubtful that he'll take over third base -- now or in the postseason -- full-time, since John Farrell has two left-handed hitting options, with Travis Shaw and Brock Holt. Shaw certainly more power and has shown the ability to go on hot streaks at the plate.

But Hill is a veteran player, albeit one with little postseason experience (11 at-bats in the Division Series for Arizona in 2011) for a 12-year veteran.

And one other benefit: Hill is a .373 career hitter as a pinch-hitter, making him a valuable part off the bench in games started by either Holt or Shaw.

3) One loss is all it took for the second-guessing to resurface

The Sox had won 11 straight before Tuesday's loss, which quickly re-introduced criticism of Farrell.

Starter David Price had given up four runs through six innings, but the Sox rallied for two runs off Tommy Layne in the seventh to tie things at 4-4.

At 76 pitches, Price went back out for the seventh and promptly yielded a two-run homer to Tyler Austin, giving the Yanks another two-run lead.

Price hadn't been sharp in the first six. With expanded rosters, plenty of available relievers and a rested bullpen after a day off Monday, why stick with Price?

Offered Farrell: "You go with a right-hander they’re going to go with [Mark] Teixeira and [Brian] McCann with that right-field porch,” Farrell said. “Wanted to keep the (right-handed hitters) in the ballgame, (but Price) mislocated over the plate.”