Red Sox notes: First inning woes not just for Beckett

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Red Sox notes: First inning woes not just for Beckett

BOSTON The Blue Jays scored two first-inning runs, proving to be all they would need on their way to a 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Josh Beckett has now given up 19 earned runs in the first innings of his 16 starts for a 10.69 ERA. But, its a disturbing trend that has plagued the rotation this season.

Red Sox starters have allowed at least one run in the first inning of 16 of their last 19 games at Fenway Park since June 10, including 11 of their last 12. Overall this season, the staffs first-inning ERA is 6.70, giving up a total of 70 earned runs in the 94 games. That is nearly three runs higher than all subsequent innings combined, when they have a 3.80 ERA, giving up 318 earned runs in 752 23 innings.

Carl Crawford went 1-for-4 and has hit safely in all five games since coming off the disabled list Monday night. He is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with three stolen bases and six runs scored.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-4 and has hit safely in six of his eight games since coming off the DL July 13. Since then he is batting .343 (12-for-35) raising his season average from .192 to .279.

Adrian Gonzalez went hitless for just the second time in 25 games. He snapped his five game hitting streak since the All-Star break.

Closer Andrew Bailey, who has been on the disabled all season after surgery on his right thumb, had a bullpen session Friday afternoon, throwing about 38 pitches. He is scheduled for another bullpen session Sunday, and could pitch some batting practice Wednesday when the Red Sox are in Texas.

Left-hander Rich Hill, on the 60-day disabled list with a left elbow strain, is throwing long toss from flat ground and is pain-free. He is getting close to throwing from a mound.

Aaron Laffey has now pitched 13 scoreless innings against the Sox, including his six-inning outing June 26 at Fenway. Since 1980, he is just the second pitcher to record multiple scoreless outings of at least 6.0 innings in the same season on the road at Fenway, along with Scott Kazmir with the Rays in 2007. Laffey and Kazmir are just the second lefties to do so since the Philadelphia As Lefty Grove did so in 1931.

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.