Mortensen fails to finish in Red Sox loss

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Mortensen fails to finish in Red Sox loss

BOSTON -- Once again, Clayton Mortensen had Josh Beckett's back.
Mortensen saved the day back on July 31, when he took the ball from an injured Josh Beckett and turned in 2.2 scoreless innings to pick up the win over the Detroit Tigers. Mortensen came into a one-run game with bases loaded on that day. On Wednesday afternoon against the Texas Rangers, the story was a little different.
Beckett wasn't hurt. He just wasn't any good.
Mortensen relieved Beckett of his duties on Wednesday, after the Red Sox starter allowed his third home run of the game. It was a two-run shot by Geovany Soto, and it gave the Rangers an 8-5 lead.
As he did in Beckett's last start against the Tigers, Mortensen came in and ended the inning cleanly.
"He did an unbelievable job, unbelievable," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "They've got a great lineup, and he gave us a chance and kept us in the game."
Mortensen -- who was called up before the game to replace the injured Vicente Padilla -- kept the Red Sox in the game. No question about it. But unlike the last time Mortensen saw action out of Boston's bullpen, he couldn't finish with a clean slate.
He went on to allow a two-out, solo home run to Nelson Cruz in the seventh, and then came the backbreaker.
With the game tied at 9-9, Mortensen walked the lead-off hitter -- Elvis Andrus -- in the top of the ninth. He then allowed a Josh Hamilton single that put runners at the corners with no outs.
That forced Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to make the call to the bullpen, bringing in Alfredo Aceves.
But an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly to center field scored Andrus easily from third to put Texas up 10-9. It ended up being the game-winning run.
"It's frustrating giving that pitch to Hamilton ... but I was more upset that I walked the lead-off hitter," said Mortensen after taking the loss.
Mortensen came out to start the ninth inning -- after already pitching three innings -- because of a short bullpen, according to Valentine after the loss.
"Everybody else was basically cut down today," said Valentine. "So I was going to try to squeeze, to see if we could get Clay to get Hamilton to swing at something out of the zone, which, he has those pitches, and Hamilton's an aggressive hitter. It didn't work.
"It was a very short bullpen today. And Mortensen did great job ... If Clay doesn't have what he gave us today, then it would have been a catastrophe. He did a great job."

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."