Boston Red Sox

Good health, discipline leads to Nava's four hits

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Good health, discipline leads to Nava's four hits

BOSTON Daniel Nava returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night, going 4-for-5 to lead the Red Sox in the hit column with two runs scored in the 15-5 win over the Rays at Fenway Park.

Nava tied his career high for hits in a game, which he set on June 1 in Toronto, as he raised his average from .309 to .333.

Nava ho hum, hes well rested, Valentine said, tongue in cheek. Hes a very good player, playing very well. He hit four different types of pitches tonight too. Hes in a nice little groove. Glad hes healthy and back.

Nava had appeared in the previous four games, but had not started since June 9. He was scratched from the next days starting lineup just before game time because of a sore left hand. His hand, obviously, is much better.

The hands feeling really good, he said. Its felt good for a couple days. Weve just been making sure that its progressing in the right direction. You dont want to push it too quick and then send it a couple days backwards. So I think thats the thinking we had in the whole situation.

In 13 games since June 1, Nava is hitting .375, going 16-for-37, with eight runs scored, and multiple hits in five games in that stretch.

Part of his success comes from his ability to see many pitches, being selective and waiting for the one he can handle. In his five at-bats Wednesday, he saw 21 pitches.

Hes a good hitter, said Mike Aviles. You look at what hes done so far. He comes up and hes very patient and I think if the balls not where he wants, he doesnt swing. So when you have an eye like that, it benefits you. I wish I had an eye like that because I cant take that many pitches. But he takes a bunch of pitches because its not the one that he knows he can do something with. So it works out well and hes done a great job for us.

He has started eight games in the lead-off spot this season, batting .344 (11-for-32).

Batting leadoff is not that much different just because my approach is generally the same, he said. Its work the count, get the pitch that I want and then if I get the two strikes, its still put a good swing on a ball. So nothing really changes except that when youre the lead-off guy the first time youre actually a true lead-off batter. So I think thats the only time it changes because I do try and see more pitches.

Nava didnt receive an invitation to major league spring training this year. He started the season with Triple-A Pawtucket, getting called up on May 10 because of injuries to other outfielders. Still, he takes a game like this, with a career-high in hits, in stride.

No more than all the other ones, to be totally honest, he said of what it means to him. I dont set different games in higher esteem or whatever because its baseball and we have a lot of games left. We got a good little, some momentum going and well take the ones when we can get them . . . The lineup we have is good. Just be yourself.

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.