Sox bullpen rounding into form

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Sox bullpen rounding into form

CHICAGO -- A week ago, the Red Sox bullpen was the laughing stock of baseball, having blown an eight-run lead and compiling an ERA over 8.00.

But very quickly, the bullpen has turned around.

On Saturday night, three Red Sox relievers -- Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves -- combined to get the final six outs and lock down Jon Lester's 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The win was the sixth straight for the Sox -- evening their record at 10-10 -- and in that stretch, Red Sox relievers have allowed just one earned run over 15 23 innings for a microscopic 0.57 ERA.

"They're coming together,'' declared manager Bobby Valentine. "You play the season and build the little parts of your team and I think the bullpen is coming together nicely.''

Aceves, who loaded the bases in Minnesota Wednesday night before closing out a one-run lead, had a much easier time of it Saturday, returning the White Sox in order in the ninth on two groundouts and a strikeout.

He has five saves in seven opportunities.

"We talked to him and told him that he doesn't always have to throw it 97 mph,'' said Valentine. "Tonight, he threw some very effective fastballs at 93-94 mph and still had the 97 mph. He pitched. He got that final strikeout on a changeup.''

Morales, who allowed a single in between a popup and strikeout, is now unscored upon in his last 22 road games, dating back to June 28, 2011. That's a club record for a lefty pitcher and the longest road scoreless streak since Jonathan Papelbon stitched together 25 games from Sept. 23, 2005 through July 8, 2006.

Valentine wanted the righty-on-righty matchup, so he summoned Padilla for Paul Konerko (walk) and Alex Rios (groundout).

The rebound for the relievers doesn't surprise the team's No. 1 catcher.

"That's what we have down there,'' said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "That's a tough bullpen. It was only a matter of time before those guys were going to get comfortable and show what they can do.''

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

HARRISON, N.J. - Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 16th goal of the season in the 55th minute and the New York Red Bulls beat the New England Revolution 1-0 on Sunday.

Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton saved Alex Muyl's shot and Wright-Phillips put back the deflection with a half-volley into the right corner. Wright-Phillips has 61 goals in 100 career MLS games.

The Red Bulls (11-9-7) extended their undefeated streak to nine games and moved into a third-place tie in the East with the Philadelphia Union. The Revolution (6-12-9) are winless in their last six.

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

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Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

The Boston Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals without second baseman Dustin Pedroia. 

Brock Holt will be at second base for Pedroia who will miss the game, reportedly attending to a family matter.

Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.11 ERA) will be on the mound for the Sox, facing off against Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.27 ERA).

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Raul Mondesi 2B
---
Yordano Ventura RHP

RED SOX
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

Blake Swihart (ankle) to start rehab process Monday

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Blake Swihart (ankle) to start rehab process Monday

BOSTON -- Blake Swihart was in a cast on a knee scooter entering the clubhouse today, and was all smiles when he said he’d be taking his cast off Monday to get started with his rehabilitation process.

He’s been cleared to start lifting right away, and it is expected that Swihart will be ready for Spring Training.

“My ankle feels good. I’m not in any pain at all,” Swihart said. “I think in the middle of the off-season I’ll be able to get into baseball shape.”

Swihart will be rehabbing to play both catcher and left field. The top-tier catching prospect wouldn’t say which he preferred when asked, and instead said “whatever gets me on the field.”

A timetable for running has yet to be established for Swihart, but the 24-year-old will meet with the doctor within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, he plans to continue supporting his teammates race towards the postseason.

“It’s hard, I want to be out there with them, but at least I get to come in and be there with them during the whole thing,” Swihart said. “It’s a lot of fun seeing them, the way they’re playing. It’s awesome.