Red Sox fail to hold lead, fall to Angels 14-13 in extra innings

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Red Sox fail to hold lead, fall to Angels 14-13 in extra innings

BOSTON For a short time Thursday night, it appeared as though the Red Sox had somehow found a way to overcome what was arguably the single ugliest inning of their season to beat the Angels. Instead, that eight-run third inning was just part of one of the ugliest games in what has been a very ugly season for the Red Sox.The Sox fell to the Angels, 14-13, in 10 innings, suffering the three-game sweep. The Sox have lost four in a row and seven of their last nine.With the loss, they fall to seven games below .500 at 59-66, matching their low point of the season, on May 10.Alfredo Aceves took the loss, and was also charged with his seventh blown save of the season. With the Sox leading by two runs going into the ninth, Aceves gave up three runs. The Sox got a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, but Aceves came back out to start the 10th and gave up two more runs. Aceves went one inning (plus two batters in the 10th), giving up five runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout and two home runs.The Sox used eight pitchers in the game. Andrew Bailey, making his Fenway debut, was also charged with a blown save.The Sox took a six-run lead into the third inning, but gave it all up and then some. After scoring a run in the first and five in the second capped by Dustin Pedroias three-run home run left-hander Franklin Morales entered the third inning, leading 6-0. Morales couldnt get out of the inning, though.The Angels sent 13 batters to the plate in the third. Eight of them scored a season-high runs allowed in one inning by the Red Sox on seven hits (one shy of a season-high for one inning), three walks, and an error.The Sox needed three pitchers to get through the inning. Morales faced eight batters, but could only record two outs. Clayton Mortensen faced four batters without recording an out. Junichi Tazawa needed just one pitch to get Howie Kendrick to ground out, ending the inning. Mercifully.Morales went 2 23 innings, giving up six runs (just two earned) on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Mortensen faced four batters, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.But the Sox scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth, including a solo home run by Mike Aviles, taking a 9-8 lead.But in the seventh, Bailey gave up a run, getting charged with a blown save, as the Angels tied the game.The Sox again took the lead in the eighth. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury's single to right scored Scott Podsednik, who singled, sending Pedro Ciriaco, who also singled, to third. Pedroias chopper toward third base scored Ciriaco.Ernesto Frieri pitched the final two innings for the Angels. He earned the win, but was also charged with a blown save after giving up a home run to Cody Ross leading off the ninth to tie the score.The Sox added a run in bottom of the 10th, when Ciriaco singled, went to second on defensive indifference and scored on Pedroias single to right. It was Pedroias fifth RBI of the game.Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson started the game. He went five innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on eight hits (no walks), with six strikeouts and a home run. He is winless in his last 11 starts, going 0-5.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''