Lowrie ready, remains on fire at the plate

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Lowrie ready, remains on fire at the plate

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Jed Lowrie has been a man without a position to call his own so far this season and for much of his big-league career. Throughout spring training and into the season, manager Terry Francona reiterated that Marco Scutaro, who played hurt most of last season while the team was decimated by injuries, would be his starting shortstop.

But with the way Lowrie has been hitting, he should be a man with a spot somewhere in the lineup.

Lowrie went 4-for-5 Monday with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI -- matching career highs in hits and RBI for one game -- as he helped the Red Sox to a 9-1 win over the Blue Jays. So far this season Lowrie is hitting .516 (16-for-31), with eight runs scored and nine RBI (tying for the team lead with Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz).

"He's swinging the bat really well. That's the understatement of the day, said manager Terry Francona. The first inning we scored, we had a chance to strand runners. We had two punchouts with the bases loaded and he comes up and hits that first ball into right field to kind of get us going. Then we just kept adding on.

So far, Lowrie has hit in every spot in the lineup except cleanup and ninth. In his first career appearance in the leadoff spot, on Saturday, he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI, and a home run. His first-inning single that day was the first hit the Sox had gotten in their first plate appearance of a game this season.

In seven games on the homestand, Lowrie put together a seven-game hitting streak, going 15-for-24, with eight runs scored, nine RBI, a walk, three strikeouts, and two home runs, hitting an unworldly .625.

Lowrie takes his numbers in stride.

Yeah, sure. I hit .400 in college. I hit .300 in the minor leagues, he said. I mean, this is a hot streak and one that you just continue to work and extend as long as possible.

Thats what this game is about. Its about winning and you have fun when you win. I think thats how were going to win a lot of games is by getting contributions from everybody.

In the first inning, Lowrie came up with the bases loaded, two outs, and no score. Batting right-handed against Toronto lefty Ricky Romero, Lowrie sent the first pitch, a 94-mph fastball, into right field scoring J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia. It was all the runs the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka would need.

Just keep it simple, Lowrie said of his approach to the at-bat. Get a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. Had a couple of opportunities and had two outs. I was able to get a good pitch and drive it the other way and drive in a couple of runs.

Romero wants to get ahead in a situation like that and hes coming off two good batters Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis where he was able to get strikeouts. Hes looking to get ahead so I just tried to stay within myself and get that good pitch.

Lowrie has been limited for much of the past two seasons by injury and illness. Getting a chance now with Scutaro under the weather the past few days with a flu-like illness, Lowrie has made the most of his opportunities.

Against left-handed pitching, the switch-hitter is batting 10-for-17 (.588) with a 1.059 slugging percentage. For his career, he is hitting .386 (34-for-88) with seven home runs and a .693 slugging percentage against lefties since his debut on July 21, 2010.

Thats good for him, said Jason Varitek. He went through what he went through last year with his illnesses and to see that, that was two big hits today. Romeros got good stuff.

Lowries lone out in Mondays game came against a right-handed pitcher, striking out against Casey Janssen.

It was a little bit of a letdown, Lowrie said. I got one good pitch to hit and fouled it straight back. And then I chased a fastball up. Hes got a good curve ball and thats kind of his mix. He throws the high hard one and then the curve ball in the dirt. I chased the high one.

As he left the field after his last at-bat the Fenway crowd treated him to a warm ovation.

I didnt know if that was for me, he said. I didnt know what it was but I heard it. I figured once I got back to the dugout people had appreciated what Id done today.

Lowries numbers arent likely to stay as lofty as they currently are. They will come back to a more worldly level. Until then, he should be somewhere anywhere in the lineup.

I know I say it a lot but I just come to the park and prepare myself to play every day, Lowrie said. It might get redundant but thats what I do.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

If only David Price could pitch as well as he dodges the media.

The Red Sox lefty bailed on a typical post-start media session with reporters in Pawtucket on Wednesday, after his second minor league rehab outing in Triple-A was another dud.

As Price comes back from a nondescript elbow injury, difficulty retiring minor league hitters doesn't combine well with difficulty facing questions. He sat in the mid-90s in his second rehab start with Pawtucket, but allowed six runs, three earned, in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

The PawSox were at home at McCoy Stadium against Triple-A Louisville, a Reds affiliate, and Price heard some heckling. Postgame, he wanted to hear nothing, apparently.

Per CSNNE’s Bill Messina, who was on site in Pawtucket, the media was waiting outside the clubhouse for Price, as is standard. 

PawSox media relations told the media to go to the weight room, where Price would meet them. As media headed that way, PR alerted reporters that Price was leaving and did not want to talk. Media saw a car leaving, but there was no interview.

On the mound, Price’s velocity is there, but the command is not. The Red Sox would be unwise to bring back Price before really two more minor league starts — one to show he can do well, another to show he can repeat it.

Price’s ERA in two starts for Pawtucket is 9.53. He’s gone 5 2/3 innings and allowed six earned runs, while striking out eight and walking two overall.