First Pitch: Wednesday, September 14

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First Pitch: Wednesday, September 14

By ArtMartone
CSNNE.com

Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Tuesday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN: Let's face it, you're always going to be smiling after an 18-6 victory (csnne.com), no matter when it happens.

But you'll forgive the Red Sox if their smiles seemed just a little wider last night, since this one a) snapped a five-game losing streak, b) hopefully ended a 10-losses-in-13-games slide and c) came on the same night that the Rays blew a late lead and lost to the woeful Orioles, in a game David Price started, no less (Tampa Tribune), which stopped the bleeding a little in the wild-card race and got their lead back up to four games.

Not only that, but . . .

AT LAST! Tim Wakefield finally won his 200th game, in his eighth attempt. The quest has been so well-chronicled that it needs no recapitulation here, except to relate how happy Wake was to win No. 200 at Fenway. (csnne.com) Still, Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald won't think back to this night when he reflects on the highlight of Wakefield's career; he'll remember a dark October evening in which Wake set the stage for the greatest comeback in sports history.

MORE GOOD NEWS: Josh Beckett is on track to pitch either Thursday or Friday, and Clay Buchholz may actually be healthy enough to throw a side session later this week. (Both stories csnne.com)

SOME BAD NEWS: Kevin Youkilis admits he has a sports hernia that needs surgery, but thinks he can play through it. (csnne.com) Didn't Mike Lowell say that about his degenerative hip condition in 2008 . . . ?

AND SHOCKING NEWS: Bobby Jenks has been diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (csnne.com), though the Red Sox are trying to make it sound like it's not that big a deal. Which is hard to believe, because, generally, pulmonary embolisms are very big deals.

WELCOME ABOARD: The Internet was buzzing yesterday morning with rumors that the Red Sox were adding Joey Gathright and Junichi Tazawa to the roster, but they weren't the only ones. (csnne.com)

STOP WORRYING: SI.com's Joe Sheehan says it's unlikely that the Rays will overtake the Red Sox for the wild card.

ANOTHER MILESTONE: Wakefield wasn't the only one stepping into the history books on Tuesday. Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th save (New York Post), one away from the major-league record, as the Yankees beat the Mariners to stay four games ahead of the Sox in the A.L. East race. Even noted Yankee-hater Mike Lupica says there'll never be another Mo. (New York Daily News)

COMING SOON . . . The return of Alex Rodriguez. (New York Post)

LOOKING AHEAD: The Rangers -- a potential playoff opponent -- are thinking of moving Alexi Ogando to the bullpen. (Dallas Morning News)

OLD FRIENDS: Mike Cameron was always thought of as a good teammate -- that was certainly how they felt about him in Boston -- and thus the news that the Marlins released because of unspecified "conduct detrimental to the team" is shocking (Miami Herald) . . . Coco Crisp's MRI came back negative (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com) . . . It's been a good September for David Murphy and a bad one for Justin Masterson. (Both rotoworld.com)

AND FINALLY . . . David Ortiz loves them like brothers, but he hopes his NBA pals aren't able to attend his celebrity golf tournament this December. (csnne.com)

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.