Sox bullpen offers glimpse of dominance

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Sox bullpen offers glimpse of dominance

BOSTON Although their outings went for naught, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, and Mark Melancon each pitched a perfect inning from the eighth through the 11th, respectively -- in Saturdays 12-inning loss to the Orioles at Fenway Park.

It was just the second time since 1920 that the Sox had four consecutive pitchers throw at least one perfect inning. The other time was Sept. 30, 2007, against the Twins, when Jon Lester, Mike Timlin, Manny Delcarmen, and Eric Gagne did so.

Well, were all very talented, said Melancon. But its been really a frustrating year all the way around, because we all have the talent to do that. But for some reason it just seems like everybodys had a taste of humble pie. We need to finish strong. I dont know. Its just frustrating.

The Sox got their slice of humble pie in the 12th inning, when Alfredo Aceves gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, to serve up the Sox fourth straight loss, guaranteeing a loss of the season series to the Orioles for the first time since 2004.

They pitched their butts off, said manager Bobby Valentine.

The bullpen was awesome, said catcher Ryan Lavarnway. They slammed the door. They were unhittable for a while.

A while. But, not to the point that Valentine wanted to leave any of them in beyond the one inning they each pitched.

Not this time of the year, no, he said. I mean, theres a temptation. Maybe if the shoe was on the other foot. But I cant see that being a productive thing right now.

If the shoe were on the other foot. Meaning if the Sox, like the Os, were fighting for a play-off spot. Instead, the Sox are fighting to finish the season with a bit of respectability.

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

Closing in on the A.L. East title, the Red Sox look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.

Right hander Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) goes for his 22nd win for the Red Sox, opposed by Rays right-hander Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41). Porcello is coming off a complete game victory in Baltimore.

The Red Sox began the day with a magic number of four to clinch the A.L. East with eight games to play. They could clinch a wild-card spot tonight with a victory and a Baltimore Orioles loss. 

Brock Holt starts at third base and Chris Young is in left field for Boston.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Brock Holt 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
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Rick Porcello RHP 

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Corey Dickerson LF
Nick Franklin DH
Mikey Mahtook RF
Alexi Ramirez SS
Curt Casali C
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Matt Andriese RHP 

David Ortiz hits 2-run homer, Red Sox beat Rays, 2-1

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David Ortiz hits 2-run homer, Red Sox beat Rays, 2-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBI record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win

Ortiz's 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old's 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.

Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.

Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.