Boston Red Sox

High pitch count gets best of Doubront once again

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High pitch count gets best of Doubront once again

BOSTON -- Three quarters of the outs Felix Doubront recorded Tuesday night were by strikeout.

Unfortunately for Doubront and the Red Sox, that translated into just 12 outs.

In the shortest outing of his career, Doubront fanned eight, but with 94 pitches after four innings, he was done early in a 5-3 loss to the Oakland A's (By comparison, Oakland starter Jarrod Parker 98 pitches, but lasted 6 23 innings).

"That was a little different Felix," said Bobby Valentine. "He never really had his two-seamer tonight. Tonight, he was behind virtually every hitter. He tried to battle through it without his real bread-and-butter."

High pitch counts have been an issue for Doubront in virtually all of his previous starts this season, but Tuesday night, was different, according to Valentine.

"This was not what we've seen the entire time with his pitch count," the manager said. "His pitch count was up today because he was behind in the count. Normally, we've seen him get ahead in the count and not (be able to) put the guy away. He'd be one ball, two strikes then go to 3-and-2 and get some foul balls before (he got the out) and have the pitch count accumulate.

"But today, the strike zone was a little elusive."

Part of the problem was the cold, raw weather conditions which made getting the proper grip on his two-seamer tough at times.

"I couldn't feel my grip sometimes," said Doubront. "I left a couple of balls out over the strike zone. I was behind the hitters a lot of time and it's important to throw the first two pitches in the strike zone."

Doubront was nicked for a run in the first thanks to two singles, a wild pitch and a walk.

He managed to strand Kila Ka'aihue on third following a leadoff double in the second, and retired the side in order in the third before the A's erupted for four runs in the fourth.

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.