Red Sox suffer 4-3 loss, sweep at hands of Nats

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Red Sox suffer 4-3 loss, sweep at hands of Nats

BOSTON -- The Red Sox turned to Jon Lester Sunday afternoon to salvage a game from their three-game set with the Nationals at Fenway Park.

Although Lester pitched well giving up three runs on six hits and two walks (one intentional) with nine strikeouts in seven innings he was not involved in the decision. The Nationals beat the Sox, 4-3, completing the three-game sweep.

Alfredo Aceves took the loss, dropping his record to 0-4.

With the score tied and one out in the ninth, Aceves walked Bryce Harper, pinch-hitting for Tyler Moore, on five pitches. Aceves then struck out Jesus Flores. But with two outs, Aceves gave up a run-scoring double to right field to Nats No. 9 hitter Roger Bernadina.

The Nationals got on the scoreboard first, with a run in the first inning. Danny Espinosa led off with double to center field, took third on Xavier Nadys fly out to Ryan Sweeney in right, and scored on Ryan Zimmermans grounder to Will Middlebrooks at third base.

The Sox tied the score in the third when Nick Punto led off with a walk, taking third on Scott Podsedniks one-out single to right, and scoring on Dustin Pedroias fielders choice.

David Ortiz gave the Sox the lead in the next inning when he led off with his 14th home run of the season, into the Nationals bullpen in right field.

But the Nats regained the lead in the seventh. Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore opened the inning with consecutive singles. But with two outs, Lester gave up a double off the wall in left to Espinosa, scoring both runners.

In the bottom of the frame, the Sox again tied the score. Sweeney and Punto led off with back-to-back singles, and Darnell McDonalds sacrifice bunt moved both runners over. Podsedniks ground out to short scored Sweeney.

Both Lester and Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann would be done after the seventh, neither involved in the decision. Lester has three no-decisions in his last three starts.

Scott Atchison pitched a perfect eighth inning, with one strikeout.

Tyler Clippard earned his eighth save with a scoreless ninth.

Manager Bobby Valentine was ejected by homeplate umpire Al Porter in the ninth inning, with Dustin Pedroia at bat, for arguing balls and strikes.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

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First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”