BOSTON Facing five Yankees batters on Tuesday night, Junichi Tazawa struck out three, stretching his streak of scoreless and hitless innings to eight over his last five outings. He has given up two runs in his last 12 games, spanning 14 13 innings.The right-hander has appeared in 27 games over three stints with the Red Sox this season, shuttling from Triple-A Pawtucket. In 35 innings, he has allowed six earned runs on 34 hits and five walks with 35 strikeouts, posting a record of 0-1 with a 1.54 ERA. He has held opponents scoreless in 21 of his 27 appearances. In 25 games with Pawtucket, he was 3-2 with four saves and a 2.55 ERA.After Tommy John surgery in April 2010, Tazawa missed all of that season, before being activated from the disabled list on June 27, 2011. Even at the beginning of this season, manager Bobby Valentine said that Tazawa was dealing with the side effects of the surgery.At the beginning of the season, in spring training he was still cautious with his arm, Valentine said. He couldnt throw his breaking ball nor his fastball with the kind of effort that he wanted. He was always holding back five or 10 percent, according to him. Now hes not holding back. Hes throwing 96, or 97, and he has impeccable control and three pitches. I think moving forward, I think hes going to be a very good pitcher on a championship team.Tazawa was originally pegged as a starter, making 20 starts between Double A and Triple A in 2009. Since his surgery, though, he has made just eight starts, all last season. He has not made a major league start since 2009, when he made four.He came to spring training as a possible starter this year and struggled with the windup, and all that stuff, Valentines said. Theres a lot of value in good relief pitching that doesnt always show up on balance sheets or whatever.I think he likes being a good pitcher, likes being healthy. We can use him a lot.Tazawa, who turned 26 in June, signed with the Sox as an international free agent from Japan in December, 2008, after a four-year amateur career in the Japan Industrial League.He was unique, said Valentine, who managed in Japan during that time. He was the case study. It caused quite an uproar. When I was there he was going to be my number one draft choice there. And instead, out of the industrial league, an amateur industrial league, he signed a professional contract here. I think the first one to ever do it. And so he is unique.Valentine sees an important role on the Sox staff for a fully healthy Tazawa.I couldn't imagine him not being on our team and being an integral part, Valentine said.
With the Red Sox bullpen taxed in recent days by pitching 18 1/3 innings the past four games, including a short outing Friday night by starter David Price, right-hander William Cuevas was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and infielder Deven Marrero was sent down.
Cuevas, 25, made one relief appearance for Boston (allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut April 21) and had been starting at Pawtucket (4-3, 3.30 ERA in 12 starts). He pitched 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. He'll be available out of the bullpen tonight as the Red Sox continue their three-game series in Texas.
Marrero, 25, appeared in four games and went 1-for-7 in his latest stint in Boston.
The Red Sox are reportedly interested in the Atlanta Braves' Julio Teheran, so Marc Bertand and Tim Britton look at some roster options.
Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:
* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.
* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.
* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save
* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.
* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.
* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.
* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI.
* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.
* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.
* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.
1) Mookie Betts
Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.
2) Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback.
3) Koji Uehara
Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar