Ortiz ends scorching April with two home runs

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Ortiz ends scorching April with two home runs

BOSTON -- Prior to Monday night, Oakland Athletics lefty Tommy Milone had never allowed a hit nor a home run to a left-handed batter in the 53 innings he had pitched since coming into the big leagues last year.

That all changed in the second inning, when David Ortiz smashed a 3-2, 87-mph fastball into the Oakland bullpen for a solo home run, tying the game at 1-1.

Ortiz later added to that, smashing an 86-mph fastball into the Red Sox bullpen for another solo home run in the fifth inning, which gave Boston a 7-1 lead.

It marks Ortiz' first-career game with multiple home runs against left-handed pitching, and it was his 38th multi-homer game of his career.

"David's a star of stars for right now," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after Boston's 11-6 win over the A's on Monday night at Fenway Park. "It's hard to throw a strike by him. He's using all fields. He's seeing the ball awfully well. I know that's the old cliche, but he gets two balls and no strikes, it doesn't even bother him to take, because he's very confident right now. His swing is as good as I think it can get."

Ortiz now has 384 career home runs, and moved past Jim Rice, Frank Howard, and Larry Walker, and into a tie with Harold Baines for 57th on baseball's all-time list.

"Hes a really good force in the lineup, in any lineup," said Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. "And having him anchor this lineup, I think it really, really helps us. you got a guy that his sole position is to DH. He has one job, and thats to hit and he does it well. And anytime you have a guy like that, just from an offensive standpoint, he brings a lot to this team.

"And that doesnt even say what kind of teammate he is," added Aviles. "Hes arguably one of the greatest teammates Ive ever had. And so to have aguy like that around this group, I think it helps out a lot."

Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

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Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

 

QUOTES:

"When he's gotten in trouble, it's been a combination of location and pitches up in the strike zone. That was the case tonight. . . It's more general location than one pitch that he's getting burned on. '' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz's poor start.

"No disrespect to (Jace) Peterson, but you're wanting to force contact. He hasn't hit for a high average.'' - Farrell on Buchholz walking No. 7 hitter Peterson three times.

"When do you walk guys, you do your best to try to minimize the damage and I didn't do a good enough job of that.'' - Buchholz, who saw Peterson come around to score twice after his three walks.

"It's frustrating when you can't put your finger on what you need to do it, and when you need to do it and why. All I can do right now is learn from it and get better in these next couple of days.'' - Buchholz.

"I didn't hear anything. The play was right in front of me, so I couldn't see him say anything. I just assumed I was out.'' - Xander Bogaerts, who was ruled safe at second on a force play by umpire Joe West, but believing he was out, came off the bag and was tagged out in the first inning.

 

NOTES

* Clay Buchholz has allowed five earned runs in four of his five starts this season.

* Heath Hembree pitched multiple innings for the fourth time this season and remains unscored upon in them.

* Over the last eight games, Dustin Pedroia is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with nine extra-base hits.

* All three of Chris Young's hit off lefthanded pitchers this season have been doubles.

* Hanley Ramirez (three hits, two RBI) has driven in a run in each of his last four games and six of his last seven.

* The Sox have scored in the first inning in eight of the last nine games.

 

STARS:

1) Nick Markakis

The Braves right fielder had a four hit night and knocked in three runs.

2) Jhoulys Chacin

Atlanta's starter wasn't overpowering, but he limited the Sox to two runs over five-plus innings and earned the victory.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez broke out a bit at the plate with three hits, while knocking in the first two Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions of Red Sox' 5-3 loss: Another tough outing for Buchholz

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First impressions of Red Sox' 5-3 loss: Another tough outing for Buchholz

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves

 

Another night, another less-than-satisfactory start for Clay Buchholz. Since the end of their last homestand, the Red Sox are 6-2. Both of those losses were hung on Buchholz.

Buchholz wasn't horrendous - he did manage to pitch into the seventh inning and five runs in 6 1/3 isn't a shellacking.

But five runs to this Braves lineup is nothing to shout about, either, and Buchholz made matters worse by walking the No. 7 hitter -- Jace Peterson, who came into the game with a .205 average -- three times. Twice, Peterson came around to score.

In fact, the bottom third of the order was 3-for-7 with three walks.

 

Hanley Ramirez showed some progress at the plate.

Before the game, John Farrell noted that Ramirez had been expanding the zone of late, and working to correct the issue with hitting instructors Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez.

Something apparently clicked, as Ramirez was 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats with two RBI.

The one thing that's been lacking for Ramirez: power. He came into the game with just one homer and a paltry .373 slugging percentage.

 

It wasn't much of a night for former Red Sox players.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was 0-for-4, and for the second straight night, failed to catch a routine foul pop-up.

Meanwhile, reliever Alexi Ogando came in for the seventh inning and promptly allowed a leadoff single and a walk to the first two hitters he faced before recording two more outs and getting lifted for lefty Hunter Cervenka.

 

Turnabout is fair play for Chris Young.

Young got the start in left field over Brock Holt, despite the fact that Atlanta started a righthander (Jhoulys Chacin).

Young was 1-for-3 with a double, though that one hit came off lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

Then, in the eighth inning with righthander Jim Johnson on the mound for the Braves, John Farrell sent Holt up to pinch-hit for Young.

That marked the first time that Holt hit for Young; to the great consternation of many, Young had been sent up to hit for Holt three times in the first week or so of the season.

By the way: Holt grounded out to end the inning.