Crawford, Iglesias finish homestand with flair


Crawford, Iglesias finish homestand with flair

By DannyPicard

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; It was the fastest Jose Iglesias has ever run, according toRed Sox manager Terry Francona.

As Carl Crawford ripped a 3-and-2 fastball off the top of theGreen Monster in left-center, Iglesias in as pinch-runner after Jed Lowrie walked put hishead down and took off from first.

There was no question he was being sent home. But a play athome plate was just as inevitable.

The throw to home was late and Iglesias, making his second major-league appearance in as many days in the bigs, slid home with the winning run, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in11 innings on Monday night at Fenway Park.

It was a win that came on what Francona called a good nightto pitch. The wind was blowing in hard, and hard-hit balls were being knockeddown and kept in the park.

And as happy as the Red Sox were to see the speedy,wide-eyed Iglesias race home from first to score the game-winning run, theywere just as jacked up to see Crawford whos now batting .211 on the season drive home the game-winner.

It wasnt like we knocked them all over the ballparktonight, said Francona after the win. It was a good night to pitch. The windwas blowing in hard. We run Iggy, get some speed there, just in case somebody doesbang a ball off the wall. And thats exactly what Crawford did.

I think as Iggy is here more, hell probably be a littleeasier to read that ball off the wall, added Francona. He probably didnt getout as far as he could have. But he was probably running about as fast as hellever run. Carl took a great swing.

The 11th-inning double marked Crawfords only hit of thenight. It also was his eighth career walkoff hit, and his second of the season. His other in a Red Sox uniform came on May 1 aninth-inning single that scored Jed Lowrie to defeat the Seattle Mariners, 3-2.

Crawford has shown plenty of signs hes turning the page on a dismalmonth of April. The double extended his season-high hit streak to nine games, in which he is hitting .361(13-for-36).

And for those looking to pinpoint that average on Crawfordsability to use the wall at Fenway, Francona warns the Red Sox dont necessarilywant him to try and do that.

I think hes certainly strong enough, Francona said. But I dont think he has that Adrian Gonzalez inside-out swing,or that he necessarily manipulates the bat that way. Nor do we really want himto. Because I think hes more of a reactionary-type hitter. But hes certainlystrong enough to hit that wall when he hits the ball good.

And now that Crawford seems to be hitting the ball a wholelot better in the month of May, his teammates arent surprised to see himbeginning to break out.

The one thing Ive learned, is that, as a professionalplayer, youve got to believe and trust in what you do, said Gonzalez. At theend of the day, its not your batting stance. Its not your hands. Its notyour feet. Its your mind.

The Red Sox hope Crawfords mind keeps him hitting likehe did in their latest homestand. And theyll also keep taking walkoff hitsfrom him as well.

Walkoffs always are nice, you always feel good at the endof the day, said Crawford. So I'd do that anytime if I could.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics


Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1


Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON - The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.