Miller impresses again, offense clicks as Sox roll, 10-4

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Miller impresses again, offense clicks as Sox roll, 10-4

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Just as road interleague games are coming to an end for another season, the Red Sox seem to be getting the hang of things.

The Sox scored early (three runs in the first) and added on late (six runs over the last three innings) to cruise to an easy 10-4 victory over the Houston Astros.

The win was Boston's third in a row against NL teams after a stretch that saw them go 1-7 in interleague play.

Boston got nine hits from its 2-3-4 hitters (Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis), pounding out 13 hits in all.

Even Darnell McDonald, who came into the game with just six hits all season, contributed, belting a three-run homer in the eighth to put the game effectively out of reach.

The first five Red Sox hitters reached in the first against J.A. Happ, resulting in the early lead.

Back-to-back doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia producd another run and Yamaico Navarro, pinch-hitting for starter Andrew Miller, launched his first major league homer in the seventh.

Miller turned in his third straight good start, going six innings while allowing two runs on seven hits.

Four other relievers -- Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler -- finished out the game after Miller left.

STAR OF THE GAME: Andrew Miller
Three starts in, the Andrew Miller Experiment is a qualified success.

Saturday night, he limited the Astros to two runs over six innings and is now an out shy of posting three quality starts in three outings since being promoted from Pawtucket.

He rebounded nicely after being hit around some in the first and allowed just four hits over his final five innings of work.

HONORABLE MENTION: Darnell McDonald
McDonald got a start Saturday, and for a change, made the most of it.

The outfielder had just six hits all season before he cranked a tape-measure three-run shot to left for his second homer of the season. In so doing, he doubled his RBI total for the season.

It was McDonald's first career three-run homer.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Carlos Lee
Lee has been the target of a frustrated Astros fan base, with boos regularly cascading down on him when he fails to come through at the plate.

Saturday night, he managed a single in the sixth, but otherwise stranded seven baserunners in his other three at-bats.

TURNING POINT: Bard's escape act
The Sox led 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh with Daniel Bard inheriting a bases-loaded jam from Bobby Jenks.

Bard walked Hunter Pence -- though he appeared to be squeezed by home plate umpire Cory Blaser on more than one pitch -- to force in a run, then retired Lee on a fielder's choice, leaving the bases loaded.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6232002
Yamaico Navarro became the first Red Sox player to hit his first major league homer as a pinch-hitter since Juan Diaz did it on June 23, 2002.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"It's a long season and a humbling game. Hopefully, this will get me going.'' -- Darnell McDonald on his three-run home run.

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

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’


BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox. 

Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.

“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”

Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.

“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”

The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”

Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.

“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

BOSTON -- New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, left-handed hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike three — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.