No love in Philly

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No love in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- The Red Sox -- or, more specifically, Daniel Bard -- made the mistake of giving the Philadelphia Phillies too much of a head start Friday night.

Bard, who walked three of the first four hitters he faced, was roughed up for four runs in the first, and though the Red Sox outscored the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 the rest of the way, the early lead proved too much to over as the Phils held off the Sox, 6-4.

Bard walked five and hit two more in his worst start in some time, dropping to 3-5 for the season.

The Sox later got solo homers from Mike Aviles (his first in May), Cody Ross (his second in as many nights) and Adrian Gonzalez (his first in more than a month) and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Nava to close to within a run.

But after Bard had followed his disastrous first with four scoreless innings and Matt Albers added two scoreless innings of his own, Franklin Morales surrendered a solo homer to Freddy Galvis in the eighth to give the Phils' a two-run cushion.

It marked the end of 23 straight scoreless appearances for Morales, dating back to June 28, also at Philadelphia.

Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game with his 12th save in 12 opportunities.

STAR OF THE GAME: Cole Hamels
Hamels gave up two homers to the Red Sox, but had the good sense to do so with the bases empty. He went six innings and limited the Red Sox to just three runs while fanning nine and improving to 6-1.

HONORABLE MENTION: Carlos Ruiz
With injuries to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Ruiz has stepped up and become an offensive force for the Phils. In the first inning, he had a two-run single and later added a single in the eighth.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Daniel Bard
Problems continue for Bard, most of them centered around his command -- or lack thereof. Bard walked three of the first four hitters he faced and all three came around to score in a four-run first. He walked five on the night, giving him 13 walks over his last three outings.

TURNING POINT: Would you believe the sixth pitch of the game? That's when, with a full count on leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, Bard elected to throw a slider. He walked Rollins, putting himself in a funk and leading to an inning in which he unraveled.

BY THE NUMBERS: 23
When Franklin Morales allowed a solo homer to Freddy Galvis, it snapped a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings on the road for the lefty reliever.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "The walks...they're not acceptable. You can't leave your team out there.'' Bobby Valentine on Bard's wildness.

Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

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Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

The Red Sox made another pitcher-for-infielder roster swap today, sending William Cuevas back to Pawtucket and bringing up Mike Miller as his replacement.

The Sox had summoned Cuevas from the PawSox over the weekend when they ran through their bullpen in Friday night's come-from-behind victory over Texas and he pitched twice against the Rangers, holding them to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and Sunday. Deven Marrero had been shipped out when Cuevas arrived, leaving the Sox with only one backup infielder (Marco Hernandez).

Now they have two again, with Miller making his first trip to the major leagues. He's been primarily a second baseman for Pawtucket, though he's also seen action at short and third. Miller -- the team's ninth-round selection in the 2012 draft -- had a combined .251 average in 46 games for the PawSox and six games for Double-A Portland.

However, his stay with the Red Sox will likely be as short as Cuevas'. Brock Holt may soon be ready for reactivation, after having missed more than a month because of a concussion, and he could take Miller's roster spot when he returns.

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.