Boston Red Sox

Doubront's struggles continue against Mariners

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Doubront's struggles continue against Mariners

SEATTLE -- As the Red Sox get closer to hitting the All-Star break, Felix Doubront continues to look as though he's hit the wall.

Doubront lasted just 4 13 innings Sunday, his second shortest outing of the season. He also issued five walks, a season-high, and hit a batter, highlighting some control issues.

He allowed just three hits and a run while he was on the mound, but the walks contributed to an accelerated pitch count. When he came out of the game, having gotten just 13 outs, he had thrown 103 pitches.

"Just three hits," said Bobby Valentine, "but he had a lot of pitches all around the zone that somehow weren't being swung at. I thought he had pretty good stuff, but he was wound up a little tight today.

"I think he was throwing too many different pitches. He was working on too many pitches, I think."

Doubront professed ignorance when it came to his wildness, insisting that he was "feeling good. But for a moment, I lost my mechanics or my release point on the ball. I don't know what happened. Seriously."

He disagreed with Valentine's contention that he was throwing too many different pitches, maintaining that he was throwing "a lot of fastballs. I just couldn't find a way to throw them in the right spot. A lot of balls, a lot of walks. That happens. Every time out is a different game. I just couldn't throw strikes."

A year ago, thanks to a series of nagging injuries, Doubront pitched just 87 23 innings between three minor league assignments and a brief call-up in September.

This season, after 79 games, he's already at 89 23 innings, leading some to suggest that Doubront is tiring under the bigger workload.

"The good thing is my arm and my body feel good," he said. "I'm just going to keep trying and one day, I'm going to figure everything out. I'm just going to stay on my five-day routine and keep doing what I'm doing."

The Sox are currently going with six starters, and with a day off scheduled for this Thursday, can give starters some extra bounce-back time. The upcoming All-Star break will also serve as an opportunity to re-arrange the rotation for the first series after the break, again affording some extra rest for weary starters.

Since June 8, Doubront is 2-2 in his last five starts with a 5.93 ERA and has pitched past the sixth inning just once.

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.