Sox bullpen in the middle of team's first loss

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Sox bullpen in the middle of team's first loss

DETROIT -- After all the upheaval in the Red Sox bullpen over the last week, it was almost inevitable that the club's relievers would play a role -- one way or another -- in Boston's season opener against the Tigers.

Sure enough, they did. And not in a way the Sox would have liked.

Following Jon Lester's seven-inning outing in which he allowed just one run, the bullpen figured in a big way to the 3-2 walkoff loss to Detroit.

The combination of Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales resulted in a run in the eighth before Mark Melancon and newly-minted closer Alfredo Aceves combined to allow the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Padilla allowed a leadoff triple to Austin Jackson in the eighth, and after a groundout, walked Miguel Cabrera intentionally. With Prince Fielder due next, Bobby Valentine went to the lefthanded Morales, who got Fielder to hit a weak fly ball to shallow center.

Ellsbury charged the ball, but his throw hit the mound and caromed off line as Jackson scored, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

After the Sox had rallied off closer Jose Valverde to score twice and tie the game, Valentine went with Melancon, who quickly gave up back-to-back one-out singles, putting the potential winning run in scoring position.

"It was a tie game on the road,'' explained Valentine. "So Melancon's was going to get the inning out and as soon as it got to be a jeopardy situation, I wanted to try and close the door with the last guy who's going to be the closer.''

Melancon was asked if he had been given a quick hook by his manager.

"Yeah, a little bit,'' he said. "But (second-guessing the manager) isn't my job. My job is to get outs.''

That became Aceves's job, too, thought Valentine conceded that he thought about allowing Aceves to start the inning fresh.

"But with the righthanders coming up,'' Valentine said, "I didn't think there was any reason Mark couldn't start that inning.''

Valentine conceded, however, that bringing in his closer (Aceves) into a tie game on the road was "not very'' customary.

"Same approach all the time,'' offered Aceves. "I'm trying to get the hitters out. It doesn't matter if its the ninth or the eighth... The manager has to make his own decision and we have to be out there ready to help. That's the way I think.''

Aceves inherited a first-and-second jam with one out, then made matters worse when a tailing breaking ball caught Ramon Santiago's foot, loading the bases.

That brought Jackson to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Valentine moved the infield in, but Jackson was able to slap a single just past the reach of third baseman Nick Punto.

"I wanted to get ahead (in the count),'' said Aceves, "which I did, and get a ground ball. Make him make contract and put the ball in play and see what happens.''

What happened was a game-winning, walkoff single, and the Red Sox bullpen, in the middle of the news for the last week, was in the middle of the team's first loss of the season.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

The Patriots have placed Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve, officially ending the injured tight end's season. 

The Patriots have added running back D.J. Foster to the 53-man roster. 

Gronkowski underwent surgery on his back Friday in Los Angeles. There was some hope he might be able to return if the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, but this move ends that.

More to come...