Frustration builds as Sox fall in extras, 6-5

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Frustration builds as Sox fall in extras, 6-5

BOSTON What appeared early in the game might be a comfortable lead ended in yet another level of futility and frustration for the Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park as they lost 6-5 to the Twins.

It was their third straight loss, second to the Twins.

A second chance in the third inning for Carl Crawford appeared to be what the Red Sox needed to boost them over the Twins. With two outs and two on in the third, Crawford lofted a pop-up into foul territory near the first base coachs box, a seemingly certain third out for Justin Morneau, who entered the game with a .996 fielding percentage, making just two errors in 82 games.

But, the ball glanced off the tip of Morneaus glove, giving Crawford new life. He drilled the next pitch from Twins lefty Brian Duensing into the Red Sox bullpen, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead, with his third home run of the season.

But, that seemingly comfortable lead for Felix Doubront was all given back by the Sox left-hander in the fifth inning.

The Twins got on the scoreboard first when Morneau led off the second with a double to left, taking third on Danny Valencias fly out to Cody Ross in right, and scoring on Darin Mastroiannis single up the middle.

The Sox quickly tied the game in the bottom of the inning with Crawford hit a two-out double to right, scoring on Kelly Shoppachs single to center.

The Sox opened the third with consecutive singles by Dustin Pedroia, Ross, and Adrian Gonzalez for one-run before Crawfords blast.

With a 5-1 lead in the fifth, Doubront gave up a lead-off single to No. 9 hitter, Jamey Carroll, who was erased on Denard Spans fielders choice. A single by Ben Revere and a walk to Joe Mauer loaded the bases. A five-pitch walk to Josh Willingham pushed in Span for one run. And a two-run single by Morneau, atoning for his earlier miscue, scored Revere and Mauer. Danny Valencias sacrifice fly to right scored Willingham, tying the score, 5-5.

Doubront lasted just five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and four walks with two strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches, 60 strikes, as his ERA went from 4.37 to 4.56.

Duensing was not involved in the decision, either, going six innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits with no walks, three strikeouts, and a home run.

Vicente Padilla entered for the 10th, giving up a lead-off double to Darin Mastroianni on a 3-and-2 pitch. With one out, No. hitter Jamey Carroll singled to center, scoring Mastroianni with the go-ahead run.

Padilla took the loss, falling to 4-1 with a 3.92 ERA.

Carroll reached base in all five plate appearances, a walk, two singles, and two doubles. Morneau also reached base five times, with two doubles, two singles, and getting hit by an Andrew Miller pitch I n the ninth. He had two RBI and a run scored.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jamey Carroll
The Twins No. 9 hitter drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning with a one-out single to center, scoring Darin Mastroianni.

Carroll reached base in all five plate appearances, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two singles, and two doubles. His four hits tied a career high for the 11th time. It was the eighth time in his career that he has reached base safely five times in a game. He is the first Twins No. 9 batter to reach base safely in all five plate appearances since Denard Span on July 10, 2008, at Detroit.

HONORABLE MENTION: Justin Morneau
While Morneau was very nearly the goat, with a third-inning error that lead to three unearned runs, he redeemed himself by going 4-for-4, reaching base in all five plate appearances, with two doubles, two singles, and getting hit by a pitch in the ninth. He had two RBI and a run scored.

It was the ninth time in his career he has reached base safely five times in a game.

Morneau went 4-for-4 off Red Sox left-handed pitchers and is 13-for-24 (.542) against lefties since July 19. Before that he was just .133 (13-for-98) this season. It was the second time in his career he had four hits off left-handers, the first since May 18, 2009, against the Yankees.

His two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning was just his second hit in 14 at-bats with the bases loaded this season.

THE GOAT: Felix Doubront
Doubront was unable to hold a four-run lead in the fifth, allowing the Twins to tie the game. That would be his last inning.

THE TURNING POINT
The Sox had a four-run lead going into the fifth but the Twins scored four runs.

Doubront gave up a lead-off single to No. 9 hitter, Jamey Carroll, who was erased on Denard Spans fielders choice. A single by Ben Revere and a walk to Joe Mauer loaded the bases. A five-pitch walk to Josh Willingham pushed in Span for one run. And a two-run single by Mauer, atoning for his earlier miscue, scored Revere and Mauer. Danny Valencias sacrifice fly to right scored Willingham, tying the score, 5-5.

STAT OF THE DAY: 3-for-14
The Sox were just 3-for-14 (.214) with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base.

QUOTE OF NOTE
We had good at-bats, and we had chances, and we didnt have such good at-bats. Well get em tomorrow. Bobby Valentine

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.