Aceves on blown save: It was the team's loss


Aceves on blown save: It was the team's loss

BOSTON -- Perhaps it should have never come down to this.
But even after taking a 6-0 lead through the first two innings on Thursday night at Fenway Park, it came down to Alfredo Aceves trying to hold onto an 11-9 Red Sox lead over the Los Angeles Angels.
And he just couldn't do it.
The Red Sox broke a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the eighth, and after recording the first out in the top of the ninth, Aceves allowed a solo home run to Vernon Wells. The replays showed that it should have never been a home run, as it hit the top of the red line and bounced back onto the field.
Everybody on the Red Sox thought it was a home run, until the media told them otherwise after the game.
But it wouldn't have mattered, as two batters later, Mike Trout's two-out bloop single into right field was badly misplayed by Cody Ross, advancing Trout to second on what should have been nothing more than a single.
Even if Wells' home run was reviewed and then overturned, he would have scored on Trout's hit. And even after Trout's hit, Aceves still had a chance -- with two outs and an 11-10 lead -- to end the game.
But Torii Hunter made the Red Sox pay for Ross' miscue in right field, and ripped a liner to left field, which scored the tying run in Trout, on a close play at the plate.
And it wasn't over.
Aceves then walked Howard Kendrick, and then allowed a Mark Trumbo RBI single up the middle that scored Hunter to give the Angels a 12-11 lead.
Ross tied the game with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and yet, there was Aceves, coming back out to pitch the top of the 10th in a 12-12 ball game, after giving up three runs in the top of the ninth and blowing his seventh save of the season.
"He's our closer," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "You've got to stay strong with him. We battled back and came back and scored some runs. So, you know, you've got to have confidence in your closer."
"Well it was basically the same as Angels manager Mike Scioscia did, you know, he's our closer and he gives up a lead," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "I had two left-handers in the bullpen, and they had a right-handed lineup. I had three innings left, and I wanted to squeeze another inning out of him. It obviously was the wrong decision."
Kendrys Morales led off the inning by putting an Aceves fastball in the right-field seats, giving the Angels a 13-12 lead. And in the next at-bat, Erick Aybar singled to right field, ending Aceves' night.
Craig Breslow came in to relieve him, but Wells welcomed him into the game by driving a double down the left-field line that scored Aybar from first to put the Angels up 14-12.
The Red Sox would score one in the bottom of there 10th, but it ended up being too much to overcome, and Aceves picked up his eighth loss of the season.
Still, after the game, Aceves wasn't going to blame it all on himself.
"I missed a couple of pitches, ya, obvious," said Aceves. "It's not about that. We lost the game. There were like 25 runs. So it's not that I pitched one pitch, and that we would lose because of that, no. It was the entire game, the entire game.
"It's not about me me, it's not about me," he later added when asked how he would bounce back from this. "I mean, we've been playing expletive, expletive baseball."
He's right about that. And perhaps he's also right about the entire game not being his fault. Because it probably should have never come down to him.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night


Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.