Boston Red Sox

Cook dazzles, hurling two-hitter

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Cook dazzles, hurling two-hitter

SEATTLE -- It took almost three months for Aaron Cook to earn his first major league win this season, his path detoured by a stint in the minors, and later, a freak injury.

But Friday night at Safeco Field, he reminded people why the Red Sox were compelled to put him on their major league roster when he had a May 1 opt-out, and why so many teams were lined up to offer him a spot if the Red Sox didn't.

Cook, using his trademark sinker to great effect, allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout, as the Red Sox broke out for four homers and blanked the Seattle Mariners, 5-0. Fifteen of the 27 outs he recorded came on the ground.

Cook faced exactly one batter over the minimum, retiring the punchless Mariners in order in the first, second, third, fifth and seventh innings, while taking advantage of two double plays to face just three hitters in both the fourth and eighth innings.

The only hits against him were an infield single that Ichiro Suzuki beat out to open the fourth and a line single to right by John Jaso in the eighth.

He didn't walk a batter while striking out two.

The Sox, shutout by Felix Hernandez in the series opener Thursday night, were shut out by Seattle's Hector Noesi through the first four frames, stretching their road scoreless streak to 13 innings, and 17 innings dating back to the final game of the homestand.

But in the fifth, the Sox turned on the power, as Will Middlebrooks and Cody Ross hammered back-to-back solo homers to start the inning.

Two outs later, Daniel Nava joined them, as the Sox became the first team to hit three homers in the same game at spacious Safeco this season.

An inning later, after David Ortiz lashed a double to the gap in right-center, Jarrod Salatalamacchia joined the home run derby, going to the opposite field for a two-run shot.

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.