Ellsbury does it again with walk-off HR, 4-3

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Ellsbury does it again with walk-off HR, 4-3

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON It wasn't meant to be for Tim Wakefield tonight, but the same certainly can't be said for Jacoby Ellsbury.

On a night when the 45-year-old right-hander was seeking the ultimate birthday present by capturing his 200th career win in front of the home fans at Fenway Park, it was Ellsbury who once again stole the show.

The Sox center-fielder crushed a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning for a solo homer to the center field bleachers and powered the Sox a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park with his 18th bomb of the year.

It was the second straight walk-off hit for Ellsbury in consecutive nights and continues a magical comeback campaign for the leadoff hitter extraordinaire. It was also the seventh walk-off win of the season for the Sox.

Cleveland wasnt without its own highlights in this one though.

Rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis hit a home run in his fourth consecutive game, Ezequeil Carrera knocked in the game-tying run and Carlos Carrasco matched Wakefield pitch-for-pitch on what he wanted to be his big day at the Fens.

A David Ortiz two-run double in the first inning gave the Sox an early lead, and Wakefield got his potential winning run when David Ortiz scored on a potential double play broken up by Josh Reddicks hard slide into second base.

Unfortunately for Wakefield he came up just short in his second attempt at his 200th career win when a pair of doubles erased Bostons 3-2 lead. The Carrera ground-rule double down the right field line was the final straw for Wakefield. The venerable knuckler was pulled by Terry Francona in favor of reliever Randy Williams, and set up the ninth inning heroics.

The Ellsbury home run made a winner out of Jonathan Papelbon (4-0) after working a scoreless frame in the top of the ninth.

Player of the Game: Jacoby Ellsbury might just take this away as an honorary award. For the second straight night Ellsbury collected the walk-off hit and this time did it in style with a bomb to centerfield in the bottom of the ninth. It was Ellsburys 18th home run of the year after sitting at 20 home runs for his career heading into this season, and continues his sterling resume for both Comeback Player of the Year and MVP when votes are cast at the end of the season. Ellsbury has really tossed the team on his back over the last few months and is playing like a superstar in the words of David Ortiz. Ellsbury has been Bostons best player from beginning to end this season, and now hes doing it in the clutch as well.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth to notch the victory and was also the winning pitcher in Tuesday nights game against the Indians as well. Papelbon has allowed zero runs and only one hit over his last eight games with 10 strikeouts, and has been nearly automatic at the back end of the bullpen this season. Though ERA is highly overrated for relief pitchers, Papelbons number has dropped to 3.35 for the season as well.

The Goat: Terry Francona elicited plenty of boos from the crowd when he stalked out to the mound to take the ball from Tim Wakefield in the seventh inning with the game tied at 3-3 and it seemed the booing was two-fold at Fenway Park. Some wanted to see Wakefield pitch his way out of the inning and perhaps claim that 200th career victory with a Sox rally in the bottom of the seventh, and some thought the Sox skipper should have gone to the bullpen after six full innings from the 45-year-old Wakefield. Certainly Francona must have been trying to coax an extra inning out of Wakefield with Erik Bedard starting on Thursday with a limited pitch count, and it didnt work out this time around.

Turning Point: Randy Williams came into Wednesday nights game with a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning and the go-ahead run in scoring position for the Indians, and the left-hander managed to wriggle out of the jam by fanning Cleveland slugger Asdrubal Cabrera. Williams then pitched a clean eighth inning before handing the ball off to Papelbon for the ninth, and gave the Sox exactly what they were looking with two strikeouts and no hits in 1 13 innings of relief. Once Williams had shut down the Tribes rally, the door was open for the Sox to engineer a late inning rally.

By the Numbers: 0-for-4 the numbers next to Jacoby Ellsburys name in each of the last two games when he stepped up to the plate with the game on the line in the ninth inning, and then promptly delivered in both instances.

Quote of Note: I didnt know what to do with myself when I was running around the bases. I was excited. I had never experienced that in the big leagues and it was fun. Jacoby Ellsbury talking about the rush of slamming a walk-off home run at Fenway Park.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six


After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
---
Rob Whalen RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
---
Brian Johnson LHP 

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

MISSING: OFFENSE

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.