Boston Red Sox

Box Score Bank: Lowe's first save

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Box Score Bank: Lowe's first save

I'll admit that it's a little weird seeing Derek Lowe pitch for the Yankees, but the vision of him in pinstripes doesn't stir up any special emotions.

Maybe that's because Lowe hasn't played in Boston since 2005. Or maybe it's that he played for three different teams in between the Sox and Yankees. Or maybe the SoxYankees divide just isn't quite as hostile as it was back in the days of Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon.

Either way, Lowe's a Yankee now, and last night he picked up a four-inning save in New York's 8-2 win. It was his first save in nearly 11 years, and comes more than 14 years after the first save of his career.

Sounds like a Box Score Bank to me.

So let's set our sights on . . . July 16, 1998

Deep Impact slightly edged Godzilla as the No. 1 movie in America (not to be outdone, Spice World ranked 23rd). "The Boy is Mine" by Monica and Brandy was in the midst of its 13-week run atop the Billboard charts. A week before, France beat Brazil in the World Cup Final; six weeks later, Stanford University PhD candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded a company called Google, Inc.

And over at Fenway Park, 25-year-old Derek Lowe was picking up the first save of his Major League career.
Final Score: Red Sox 15, Indians 5
Funny how both Lowe's first and most recent save came in blowout wins, right?

No, not really. But here's how this first one went down.

Jimy Williams called for Lowe in the top of the eighth inning with the Sox up 8-5, and he promptly retired Manny Ramirez on a line drive to short. The next inning, the Sox offense promptly exploded, scoring seven runs on eight hits in the bottom of the eighth.

Lowe came back out for the ninth, gave up a single to Brian Giles but then induced three straight ground outs to pick up the first of now 86 career saves. And the rest is history.

Two years later, Lowe took over as Boston's closer and led the league with 42 saves.

Two years after that, he became a starter and finished second in the league with 21 wins.

Two years after that, he won all three deciding games as the Red Sox made their ridiculous run to the 2004 title.

And now he plays for the Yankees.

Oh well. It's definitely a little weird, but also impossible to get upset.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.