Red Sox blow chances in 9th inning

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Red Sox blow chances in 9th inning

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had a major issue with the umpiring over the weekend at Fenway Park. That was all the rage after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. So much so that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine called for a league review, following the game.

And more specifically, they two of those bad calls came in the ninth inning, both when they were in the field and at the plate.

It factored into the outcome on Sunday, but the Red Sox still didn't execute when they had their chances in the final inning.

Even after Alfredo Aceves didn't get a strike-three call to end the top of the ninth inning with Bryce Harper on first and two outs, he still had a chance to make another pitch.

But his 2-2 fastball was ripped to right field by lefty Roger Bernadina, and with a poor cutoff throw by Ryan Sweeney to Adrian Gonzalez, Harper was able to score from first to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead.

Still, the Red Sox thought Aceves' 1-2 inside fastball should have ended the inning.

"Later on in the game, I think Aceves made a great pitch at 1-2 that, from what I understand and what I saw, was a strike," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"It was a fastball, set up away, and he caught it on the inside corner. From what I saw, that was a pretty good pitch."

Aceves agreed and said that the umpire could have called that a strike. Still he missed his spot on the next pitch, and Bernadina made him pay.

The Red Sox also had their chances in the bottom of the ninth against Tyler Clippard, after a pinch-hitting Kevin Youkilis drew a one-out walk. But both Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia struck out to end the game.

During Pedroia's at-bat, a 1-1 fastball was outside, but was called for strike two, and with Pedroia visibly upset, Valentine had some words and received his second ejection of the season.

"The game is simple," said Valentine. "Throw it over the plate, call it a strike. Don't throw it over the plate, call it a ball. It's simple. That's all anybody asks."

Pedroia fouled the next pitch off, and then swung and missed on a changeup for strike three, completing Washington's sweep.

The Red Sox felt they didn't get the calls on Sunday, especially in the ninth inning. But even after those calls, the Red Sox couldn't make the Nationals pay, like the Nationals made the Red Sox pay.

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

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Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:

QUOTES

* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.

NOTES

* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.

STARS

1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

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First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.