McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief


McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- It had been nearly a week since they last won and at times it seemed as though they literally had forgotten how.

Since last Monday night, they had lost games in every conceivable fashion -- blown-out early and overtaken late.

Mostly, they had just lost and though logic dictated that they wouldn't lose every remaining game, by the seventh inning Sunday night, when their first lead of the series disappeared after three hitters, that prospect didn't seem so far-fetched.

Then, salvation arrived in the form of a three-run homer from Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the 14th, and suddenly, the Red Sox weren't dead after all.

In the clubhouse, the annual hazing practice of dressing rookies in risqu clothing was underway and the mood was suddenly upbeat.

For the first time in a while, the Red Sox could take a breath.

"It allows us to control our own destiny," said Ellsbury. "I've said from Day 1, that's all you can ask for. I think it's huge for momentum. We know if we play like we can, it's in our hands."

Indeed, two wins assures the Red Sox of no worse than a play-in game; three clinches a spot outright.

The question lingering after Sunday night was how big a bounce one win could provide.

Was the 14-inning marathon enough to spark a turnaround? Was the burden so heavy that lifting it could restore the Sox to their previous selves?

For the last few weeks, it seemed as though the Red Sox were fighting two forces at once -- the opponents and themselves. A day before John Lackey's self-induced meltdown, one Red Sox veteran complained that the media coverage during their 5-18 death spiral was unnecessarily negative.

Now they have their win and as Ellsbury noted, with it, control. It would be nice for the Red Sox to get some help from the Yankees against Tampa, but they don't really need it.

What they need are three -- or two, anyway -- strong starts to give the offense some time to do damage against a bad Baltimore pitching staff.

One of baseball's oldest maxims is this: momentum is the next day's starting pitcher. If so, the Red Sox are well-positioned. Josh Beckett may not have been able to protect a 4- 1 lead last week against these same Orioles, but he has been the Sox' most consistent and dominant starter all season.

If the Red Sox can't win a minimum of two games against the second-worst team in the league -- and if they know what's good for them the next two since they could hold back Jon Lester for Game 1 of the Division Series -- then they don't deserve a playoff spot anyway.

Either way, the path to the postseason is before them, thanks to one win which felt more like five.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox


Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.


Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.


Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.


Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.


More AP baseball coverage:

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


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.