McAdam: One of those days for Red Sox

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McAdam: One of those days for Red Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas --- Their best starter gave up five runs, thanks to a career-worst three homers allowed. Their most dependable reliever allowed four runs in the eighth after his teammates had come from behind to forge a tie.

It was that kind of day for the Red Sox.

Nine runs off their two best pitchers? If that happens often, or even more than occasionally, the Red Sox are in a load of trouble.

For this one day, Opening Day, it meant a loss.

"I think everyone is pretty much feeling the same way,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "It happened. Now we need to get over it . . . It happens. It's part of baseball. It happens every day. We're out there to perform and some days we do and sometimes we don't. We got beat today.''

Prior to the opener, the focus had been on getting to Texas starter C.J. Wilson, who was 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA against Boston last year. After all the debates about the lineup, the Sox fared well against Wilson, getting four runs off him and running his pitch count up to the point where he was done after 5 23 innings.

But trouble came from their own pitchers.

Lester has been the Red Sox' best starter for much of the last three seasons, compiling 50 wins since the start of 2008. But Friday at The Ballpark in Arlington, he twice, uncharacteristically, spit up two-run leads.

After a two-run first for the Boston, Lester yielded a solo homer on his second pitch of the game to Ian Kinsler, then a game-tying home run to Nelson Cruz in the second. Then, after the Sox went up 4-2 in the third, Lester gave that back and more when he yielded a three-run homer to Mike Napoli in the fourth.

"I don't think it was a bad pitch,'' said Terry Francona of Lester's pitch to Napoli. "I think it was down and probably borderline out of the strike zone. But he's a big strong kid and he's hurt us before.''

Summing up Lester's afternoon, Francona concluded: "He just missed over the middle too much.''

"Things didn't go the way I wanted, obviously,'' said Lester.

He failed to strike out a single batter for the first time since 2008.

"I had a pretty good two-seamer today,'' said Lester. "But for whatever reason, we couldn't get many swings-and-misses.''

Indeed, 12 of the 16 outs Lester recorded were on the ground, including the first nine in a row. But over his final 2 13 innings, he began elevating the ball more and, with Napoli in particular, paid for it.

As spotty as Lester was, the Sox clawed back and tied the game on a David Ortiz solo homer in the top of the eighth. When the Sox brought Bard in, they were only tied, but the Sox are ordinarily so confident with Bard in the game, that seemed insignificant.

"We were thrilled to get to Bard,'' said Francona. "I thought he got under a few pitches and didn't locate. That probably happens a lot of times, but you somehow get them out. His command just wasn't what it normally is.''

Bard got the first out, then threw an ill-advised slider on a 3-and-2 pitch to Napoli. When it missed for ball four, the Rangers had the go-ahead runner on base.

"That's the one I'd take back,'' lamented Bard. "It was kind of an unaggressive pitch and kind of set the tone and got the ball rolling for them.''

A single to Yorvit Torrealba pushed Napoli into scoring position, bringing David Murphy to the plate, pinch-hitting for Julio Borbon.

"I made exactly the pitch I wanted to make,'' insisted Bard. "We were going sinker, down-and-away. It was at the knees, outer black and he just barely got the bat to it. Three inches to the left, it's a foul ball and we're having a different conversation.''

Instead, the looper that the left-handed Murphy clunked down the left-field line hit the chalk -- a fair ball -- and two runs scored.

It was that kind of day for the Red Sox.

"You have to ignore the result sometimes,'' said Bard, offering context and perspective, two qualities not always found in Opening Day losses.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

BOSTON - Chris Young hit a three-run homer and Christian Vazquez homered for the first time in more than a year as the Boston Red Sox routed the Minnesota Twins 9-2 on Tuesday night in a game delayed twice by stormy weather.

Drew Pomeranz (7-4) pitched five innings, three after a 1 hour, 16 minute delay between the second and third as a thunderstorm slowly passed over Fenway Park. Despite the interruption, Pomeranz held the Twins to one unearned run and four hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

Dustin Pedroia had three hits and scored twice and Xander Bogaerts had two hits and scored twice for the Red Sox as they won consecutive games for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The two rain delays totaled 2:06.

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

BOSTON — We know that Red Sox manager John Farrell did something wrong. In the absence of any sort of formal announcement otherwise, we’re left to assume the umpires did everything properly — but there’s room for MLB to make that clearer.

If the NBA can put out Last 2 Minute reports, why can’t MLB provide more regular explanations or reviews of contested calls?

Farrell on Tuesday said he’d like to see more public accountability in the umpiring realm, hours before the manager was to sit out Game No. 77. Farrell was suspended one game for making contact with crew chief Bill Miller on Saturday night as manager and umpire rained spittle on each other over a balk call that went against the Sox.

Well, was it a balk or not? Did Miller do anything wrong as well?

“I don’t know if there was anything levied on the other side,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that.”

But would he like such matters to always be public?

“I think there have been strides made in that way,” Farrell said. “I guess I would. I think everyone in uniform would prefer that to be made public. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know, but that would be a choice I would make.”

The league has a thorough internal review system. But it is just that: internal. Most of the time, any way.

On most every night at Fenway Park, there is someone on hand watching just the umpires and reviewing them.

MLB, to its credit, has announced suspensions for umpires in the past. The league has made public acknowledgments when calls have been made incorrectly. More of that seems viable — even if it’s an announcement to reaffirm that the call was made and handled properly, and here are the reasons why.

“I haven’t received any further determination or review of what transpired,” Farrell said. “My position, my stance, remains steadfast. I still firmly believe that time was called [before the balk call was made]. I wasn’t arguing the balk. I was arguing the timing of it. As I reiterated today to those that I spoke with, I still stand by my side of the argument. Unfortunately, there was contact made.”