Miller wild, Rays sting Sox, 9-6

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Miller wild, Rays sting Sox, 9-6

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Through his first four starts since being added to the Red Sox rotation, Andrew Miller had occasional bouts of wildness, but managed to limit the damage done by walks.

Not Friday night.

Miller walked five in just 2 23 innings and was tagged for a grand slam by Ben Zobrist as the Red Sox came out of the second half chute in inglorious fashion, beaten soundly by the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-6.

The setback snapped the Red Sox' six-game winning streak and represented just their second loss in the last dozen games.

Miller issued two walks in the first, helping the Rays take an early lead. In the second, he walked another, helping to set the stage for Zobrist's bases-loaded blast.

After his second walk in the third, Miller was removed as the Red Sox were forced to piece the remainder of the game together with their bullpen.

The first three Red Sox runs came on solo homers: Darnell McDonald in the second inning; Jacoby Ellsbury in the third; and Dustin Pedroia in the sixth.

Eventually, Marco Scutaro hit one out with a runner on base (Yamaico Navarro), but it was far too little, too late.

A run-scoring single by Kevin Youkilis closed out the scoring.

STAR OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist
Zobrist cranked his fifth career grand slam in the second inning, staking the Rays to a 5-1 lead early and helping to set the tone. He later walked with the bases loaded to force in another run.

Zobrist had knocked in just eight runs at home in the first half of the season. Friday night alone, he had five.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Price
Price only went six innings, but by then, the Rays had build a sizeable lead and though Price gave up a career high of three homers in that span, he had the good sense to give them up with bases empty each time.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Andrew Miller
Miller was too wild for his own good, walking five in just 2 23 innings. His start Friday was his worst since being promoted from Triple A last month.

The five walks represented a season high as Miller was charged with his first loss in five starts.

TURNING POINT: Ortiz strikes out in eighth
After falling behind early, the Red Sox were chipping away to the point where they had David Ortiz coming to the plate in the eighth, trailing by three with one out.

Had Ortiz gotten on base, it would have brought the potential tying run to the plate. Instead, Ortiz was badly fooled on a pitch from rookie lefty Jake McGee and the Sox' comeback hopes were dashed.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11
When the teams met here last month, they combined to score 13 runs in three games - or, two fewer than they did Friday night.
QUOTE OF NOTE:
"The walks really hurt. All of the balls (he threw) were bunched together. It's a tough way to pitch.'' Terry Francona on Andrew Miller.

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

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.