Nava breaks homerless streak with two-run shot in fourth

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Nava breaks homerless streak with two-run shot in fourth

When Daniel Nava hit the first pitch he ever saw in the major leagues for a grand slam on June 12, 2010, he knew it wasn't going to be that easy.

But there was no way Nava could have known that it would take almost two years before he hit another one.

And yet, after failing to hit another one that rookie season and remaining in the minors for all of 2011, Nava's career homer total stood at one.

Until the fourth inning Monday night.

With Cody Ross on base with a leadoff single, Nava, hitting righthanded, drove a ball into the Monster Seats for a two-run homer, ending what had become a homerless drought that had stretched to 171 at-bats.

"I didn't think it was gone," said Nava after the Red Sox had completed a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners. "Knowing how big the wall is and seeing some other balls guys have hit, I didn't feel like it compared (to others). I thought it was going to go off The Wall and then I was surprised that it barely squeaked over. But I'll take it. I'm not going to complain."

After all, when it's been nearly two years since your last one, any homer is welcome.

"We were joking in the dugout," said Nava. "They were congratulating me and I said, 'I'm just glad that I hit more than one.' A couple of years ago, (current teammate Kelly Shoppach) was with the Rays and I stepped into the box and he said, 'Hey, you're the guy who hit that home run on the first pitch.' I said, 'Yeah.' Then he said, 'You really haven't really done anything since.' I started laughing. I couldn't really say anything.

"So when I hit that one (Monday night), I thought, 'Thank God, I'm not going to have just one.' I wasn't expecting one or trying to. It just happened."

Home run or not, Nava has been in the middle of a torrid stretch at the plate. In the five games he's played since being promoted from Pawtucket, Nava's had 20 plate appearances and reached base 15 times on seven hits, six walks and two hit-by-pitch.

"It's been phenomenal," said Bobby Valentine of Nava's hot stretch. "Every hitter when they're in that zone says they're seeing the ball well. He's fouling off the tough pitches and putting a good swing on strikes. That's a hitter's wonderland. He's in it and I hope he stays in it for a long time."

"I hit a stretch (earlier this season) where I was pressing too much," said Nava. "I had to simplify things. Not press, just relax and let the game come to me. I'm really trying to go one at-bat at a time and not worry about the big picture -- the rest of the season, getting called up, stuff like that.

"It makes it a lot simper."

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.