BOSTON The bright spots in this Red Sox season have been difficult to find ,but Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided at least a glimmer of one in the Red Sox 5-4 loss to the Yankees Wednesday night at Fenway Park.Returning to the lineup for the first time since he left the game against the Blue Jays Friday night with back spasms, Saltalamacchia went 3-for-3, falling a single shy of the cycle, reaching base in all four plate appearances including a walk, with two runs scored and an RBI. He led off the ninth inning with a home run into the right field seats, his 24th homer of the season, to pull the Sox within a run.Salty had a couple of days off and his back was a little tight after he hit the triple but he stayed in there and played great, said manager Bobby Valentine. I think Saltys had a really good year for us this year, totally unappreciated by some. But did a very good job tonight and for most of the season. A walk, double, triple and homer. Thats pretty good.Saltalamacchia set a career high with three extra-base hits. His fifth-inning triple, his first hit of the night, was his first triple of the season and first since Sept. 19, 2011, against the Orioles.I got the hardest part out of the way the triple, he said. After that my back started to get tighter. I was trying to focus on that and staying in the game.It was the first time in his career that he reached base in four plate appearances.I wasnt trying to do too much because of the back, he said. I wasnt trying to overswing. I was standing in on balls, not trying to pull anything. Felt pretty good.After taking game one on Tuesday from the Yankees, the Sox stayed in Wednesdays game until their final at-bat, showing, perhaps, more fight than they have in some recent games.Im not going to say more of a fight, Saltalamacchia said. The Yankee series always means a little more to Boston fans and us. I dont think weve changed our approach,. We want to win. We dont want to lay down for anybody. We havent changed our approach.Although Saltalamacchia is hitting just .232 for the season, with a .293 on-base percentage, he is slugging .480, third among major league catchers entering Wednesdays game. He also entered the game tied for second-most home runs by major league catchers. His 24 home runs are the most by a Sox catcher since Jason Variteks 25 in 2003.If I finish the season doing well, you feel good, Saltalamacchia said. One guy cant win all the games. David Ortiz is out and thats taken a big hit on our offense. It would be better if the team went into the offseason feeling better where were at. I wasnt thinking too much about my swing, just trying to put good at-bats together.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.
Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.
Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.
Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.
Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.
There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.
The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.
Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.
HONORING BIG PAPI
Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.
Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.
© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Like the rest of the baseball world, the Red Sox expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami.
David Ortiz tweeted his thoughts before the game Sunday in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays.
I dont have the words to describe the pain feel for the loss of my friend Jose. Goodbye, my friend. pic.twitter.com/xvaa5z62RW— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) September 25, 2016
There was a moment of silence for Fernandez - who attended high school in the Tampa area after defecting from Cuba at 15 - before the game at Tropicana Field, and before all major league games on Sunday.
There was to be on-field ceremony for Ortiz before his last game at the Trop, part of his retirement farewell tour, but it was canceled at Ortiz's request. A video tribute to Ortiz was shown during the game and the Rays gave Ortiz his retirement gifts privately.
Ortiz wiped away tears during the moment of silence. He wrote Fernandez's intitals and his uniform number 16 on his cap.
Fernandez had joked about how he wanted to give up a home run to Ortiz when he faced him as an N.L. pitcher in the All-Star Game this past July.
"I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run," Fernandez had said.
Ortiz ended up walking against Fernandez, prompting this response from Big Papi:
First baseman Hanley Ramirez, who played for the Marlins, as well as other Red Sox players, also tweeted their reactions after hearing the news of Fernandez's death Sunday morning.
My heart is with Jose's and the other victims' families, and my cherished Marlins family. My deepest condolences. This is heartbreaking— Hanley Ramirez (@HanleyRamirez) September 25, 2016
wow very sad new this morning...hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion #ripjose— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) September 25, 2016
Woke up to terrible news! Our baseball community has been hit hard from the loss of Jose. May God bless his family 🙏🏾#LongLiveJose— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) September 25, 2016
Heartbroken, speechless. #RIPJoseFernandez— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) September 25, 2016
May God strengthen the Fernandez Family
Increíble. Indescriptible. Dios fortalezca la Flia Fdez