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.

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

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First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:

 

* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.

 

* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.

 

* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.

     

 

 

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP