BOSTON It was an outing that left Daniel Bard bewildered. Losing to the American Leagues worst offense, thats easy to understand.Bard went 5 13 innings, giving up four runs, tying a season high with eight hits allowed, two walks, a season-low one strikeout, and a hit batter. He threw 101 pitches, 60 for strikes, raising his ERA from 3.72 to 4.38.Although he limited the As to just one over the first five innings, Bard struggled throughout. After the second inning, Bard went to three-ball counts seven times.Just had a hard time putting guys away, said Bard, whose record fell to 2-3, while the Red Sox fell to 11-13. I felt like, especially early in the game, I was getting to 0-2 and 1-2 counts and I would make those pitches on the edge of the zone and for whatever reason just wasnt getting chases and they were fouling off and they kid of worked till I left something over the plate.Thats kind of what happened later in the game, but I was a little bewildered coming out, looking at how I felt and the results. I felt really good, and I think the one thing that could have been really better was establishing a breaking ball a little more.The As saved their major damage against Bard for the sixth inning. Bard faced six Oakland batters, recording just one out.Josh Reddick led off with a single to left-center before Yoenis Cespedes flied out to Marlon Byrd in center. Seth Smith doubled in Reddick on a ball that twisted Cody Ross around in left. Kila Ka'aihue doubled in Smith, and Bard hit Kurt Suzuki on the left hand with a 93-mph fastball. Brandon Inge doubled in Kaaihue, ending Bards outing.Bards bewilderment was obvious as he attempted to explain the inning.I cant even remember how it started, he said. I know there was Smiths pop-up to left and thats just something you have to work with. Any left fielder will tell you thats a tough spot to play out there. Just tried to work around it. Again, got myself into some good counts with the hitters after that, got an out. Then I dont remember how it went. I know I gave up a run on that but youre just trying to, at that point, limit the damage and like I said got to two strikes with the next couple guys and left a pitch kind of over the middle to Inge after he lays off a couple of good breaking balls. And got ahead on Suzuki the next guy and end up hitting him.So, got to the situations where I had a chance to really limit the damage to two runs there and just wasnt able to do it.Bard has not been helped by his offense. It was the second time in his four starts this season the Sox have not scored while he has been in the game, and he has received one run or fewer in three of his four outings.I thought he pitched good, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He made some good pitches. That one inning it seems like he can't get over that one inning but we didn't put any runs on the board either way. I think he went out there and pitched great. He had a good slider working, good changeup, fell behind for some guys but all in all he did pretty good.Manager Bobby Valentine was also pleased with Bards performance.Bard once again looked like a pretty good pitcher, Valentine said. Worked quick, got some quick innings. A little adversity in the sixth there cost him a few runs. Other than, that he pitched really well. Had some pitches that he thought could have been strikes, and those innings, those are pages that you have to turn. And Im sure he will.
1:00 - Shaughnesy, Drellich and Merloni give their leading off impressions regarding the Red Sox
4:00 - Dan Shaughnessy explains why he is still skeptical about the Red Sox team, and why he will not be able to feel confident until he sees them play in the postseason
9:00 - Does our Baseball Show crew have a problem with the Red Sox letting Chris Sale pitch the 8th inning so he could get his 300th strikeout?
15:00 - Jared Carrabis joins the Baseball Show crew to discuss what matches he likes for the Red Sox in the playoffs.
17:00 - Jared Carrabis on how would the Red Sox match up against the Yankees in the playoffs
20:00 - How does Jared Carrabis think about the use of David Price as a relief pitcher?
CINCINNATI - Mookie Betts doubled with the bases loaded to tie it in the eighth inning and dashed home from second base on an infield single, rallying the Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Reds that moved them closer to the AL East title.
By winning 14 of its last 17 games, Boston has left virtually no opening for the second-place New York Yankees to catch up. The Red Sox, already assured a playoff spot, completed an 8-1 road trip that put them in excellent position to win a second consecutive division crown for the first time in franchise history.
Coupled with New York's 9-5 loss in Toronto, the Red Sox reduced their magic number to three. They lead the Yankees by five games with seven to play.
That means Fenway Park can start preparing for a potential celebration. Boston finishes the regular season at home with three games against Toronto and four vs. Houston.