Valentine voices displeasure with umpires

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Valentine voices displeasure with umpires

KANSAS CITY Perhaps it was the frustration of losing a series to the Kansas City Royals as his team had just done following a 4-3 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

But Bobby Valentine took direct aim at the umpiring crew in the defeat, singling out home plate umpire Jeff Nelson.

Valentine was enraged that Nelson would not ask for help from first base umpire Bill Welke when Marlon Byrd, squaring to bunt, appeared to have been hit by a pitch from Royals' closer Jonathan Broxton.

"Expletive umpire can't make a right call and get help?" fumed Valentine. "It's a damn shame, is what it is. Don't be stubborn. It's not his job to call a friggin' play. Just get help. It's a damn shame is what that is. It's a damn shame. And then they don't want replay. If they can't get it right, they should friggin' ask for help.

"They asked for help on the one in the outfield in the first inning when Cody Ross couldn't hold onto a ball hit by Brayon Pena and I think they got it right. Why the expletive is it so hard to at the end of the game if you can do it at the beginning of the game."

Nelson, asked by a pool reporter why he didn't ask Welke for help, said: "That's the ruling I had on the field."

He continued: "We usually don't ask for help about a ball hitting a guy's hand based on an umpire that's 100 feet away. You go on the best information you have and also, if the batter had been offering at the pitch and the pitch had hit his hand, the result would be a strike and a dead ball.

"But my ruling was a foul ball."

Byrd, for his part, said the ball did strike his finger. His finger was taped, but Byrd wasn't nearly as angry as his manager.

"I ended up getting the bunt down, which was good," said Byrd. "I got the bunt down so that was the main thing. He made the call. There's nothing you can do about it. I had to get the job done and I did."

Surely, however, the dynamic of the inning would have been different. Instead of having runners at second and third with one out, the Sox would have had the bases loaded with no outs.

The ninth inning wasn't the only place where the umpires played a big part.

In the first inning, with one run in, two runners on and two out, Ross tracked that ball to the warning track by Pena and caught it before soon losing control of the ball as it bounced off the wall behind him.

Third base umpire Chris Guccione made the call as he ran down the left field line, then conferred with the rest of the crew and confirmed it. That accounted for two more runs for the Royals.

"I thought it hit his glove and then bounced off the wall," said Valentine. "I didn't know that they saw that. It's not a catch unless you get it out of the glove voluntarily."

"I thought I caught the ball," said Ross. "I took a couple of good steps and went to brace myself against the chain-link fence and the ball just kind of came out. I really didn't think anything of it. When I saw it kind of pop out, I kind of grabbed it.

"I turned around and expected just to run off the field after the third out and I saw shortstop Mike Aviles to throw it. So I threw it in. I guess Guccione thought that I didn't catch it, so..."

Ross asked Guccione for a ruling and was told that when a catch is made "you have to maintain control on exchange to the throwing hand. It's a tough call for him. I haven't seen the replay. It ended up being a huge play for them."

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.