Pedroia still searching for timing

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Pedroia still searching for timing

BOSTON Since returning to the lineup on Tuesday, after missing six games because of a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb, Dustin Pedroia has gone 2-for-20 with a run scored, two RBI, two walks and seven strikeouts. His average has dropped from .295 to .277 in that span.

His sixth-inning single Friday night against Stephen Strasburg snapped an 0-for-14 slide.

Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Pedroia came to the plate with two outs and the Red Sox rallying in the seventh -- with two runs in already in the inning, now down by two runs, having knocked Gonzalez out of the game.

But Pedroia popped out to first baseman Adam LaRoche in foul territory to end the rally.

"He's got great effort, and I think they're pitching him really tough, said manager Bobby Valentine. He hasn't got a lot of great pitches to hit. And the ones that he's gotten, his timing's just been off a little."

Pedroia insists hes feeling better at the plate, seconding his managers opinion that he just needs to work on getting his timing back.

I feel alright, Pedroia said. Timings still a little off. A little late on the heater and early on off-speed pitches. But Ill have one at-bat where it clicks and take off.

His timing being off is just a factor of the time he had off, he said.

Yeah, thats it, he said. The past few days Ive hit the ball actually pretty good. Today I really didnt, but the last few days. But I got to start finding a way to get on base and help us score runs.

The 4-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday was the Sox fifth in the last six games, dropping them under .500, at 29-30, for the first time since May 27. Its not a team slump, Pedroia said, just a matter of facing good pitching.

The last two guys Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg were pretty darn good, he said. So we got to come out and find a way to have better at-bats and score runs for our guy.

He insists hes fine physically, the brace hes been wearing is not hindering him, and the thumb is fine.

Ill be alright, he said. Ill get hits, dont worry.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.