Notes: Bard can't seal Wakefield's 200th win

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Notes: Bard can't seal Wakefield's 200th win

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

TORONTO -- It was so close, Tim Wakefield could almost taste it: Up by two runs, six outs to go and Daniel Bard, the Red Sox' dependable set-up man, pitching the eighth.

But then things went horribly wrong. Bard had command issues, walking three and hitting another batter. And when Matt Albers came in gave up a three-run double, the Red Sox had lost the lead and Wakefield had lost a chance -- his seventh -- to win career victory No. 200.

Wakefield, however, insisted he had some responsibility for the loss, even though he left with a three-run lead after five innings.

"I struggled the first three innings throwing strikes," said Wakefield. "I put a lot of pressure on (the bullpen) from the sixth on to the ninth. I'll take the blame for not getting deeper into the game and not giving those guys some rest."

Wakefield had difficulty commanding the knuckler in the first three innings, tossing two wild pitches, walking three and hitting a batter.

He was far better later, retiring six of the last seven hitters he faced.

Wakefield has had seven chances at 200 -- he hasn't won since July 24 -- and was asked if he feels at all snakebit in his pursuit of history.

"If it happens, it happens," he said philosophically. "If it doesn't, it doesn't change what I've done. I'd like it to happen. But more important is for us to get into the postseason and we're trailing the Yankees by 2 12 games now.

"That's our ultimate goal."

Bard had a 1.46 ERA over his last 56 outings before Wednesday night, but was charged with five runs in an inning, blowing the lead and Wakefield's chance at No. 200.

After getting the final out with an inherited runner in the seventh, Bard allowed the first three hitters in the eighth to reach on a hit batsman, single and walk. He then struck out two before walking Eric Thames to force in one run.

That brought Jose Bautista to the plate and Bard got ahead 0-and-2 before losing him, walking him to force in another run and tie the game.

"My command kind of came and went as the inning progressed," said Bard. "I just didn't have good timing with my delivery."

But even after his struggles, Bard maintained confidence in himself.

"I'm definitely a believer that until the run crosses the plate, I'm going to try to find a way to keep that from happening," he said. "I fully believed, with the bases loaded and no outs, that I could get out of that. I never doubted that."

Worse, the blown lead meant that another chance for Wakefield to win his 200th was gone.

"When I got in the clubhouse," said Bard, "Wakefield, he was the first guy to come up, shake my hand and pat me on the back. He knows how hard I'm trying. To be that close to getting out of it with the lead intact makes it even tougher.

"But we're trying for him. He did his job today; I didn't do mine."

Terry Francona was asked if he gave any thought to bringing in Jonathan Papelbon for a four-out save in the eighth.

"I wanted Bard to get through Bautista," explained Francona. "He handled Bautista so well. I actually thought staying with Bard was the right thing to do."

As if things weren't frustrating enough in the eighth inning, things didn't get any better in the top of the ninth.

Adrian Gonzalez homered to bring the Sox to within two, and singles to David Ortiz, a groundout and a single by Marco Scutaro scored another, making it 11-10.

Francona had Mike Aviles pinch-run for Scutaro, but Aviles, representing the potential tying run, got thrown out attempting to steal second base for the final out of the game.

"I didn't have a great jump for one," said Aviles. "For two, that's probably the best pitch to get thrown out on. It wasn't a pitchout, but it was up and out. It just didn't work out."

The Jays had Jose Molina behind the plate, "one of the best in the business in throwing out runners," said Aviles. "So I knew I needed to get a good jump. I don't feel like I got a good jump, but he did a good job getting rid of it."

Josh Beckett, who returned to Boston Tuesday to have his ailing right ankle examined, rejoined the Red Sox Wednesday.

"It's going to be common sense when it comes to his program," said Francona. "We'll see how he does. Once he's ready to start that five-day routine, we'll get him going."

Beckett was walking around the clubhouse with a bootbrace device on his ankle. He was not available to speak with reporters before Wednesday night's game.

With Beckett out for his next start and Erik Bedard skipped to give his knee extra rest, the Red Sox don't yet have a starter announced for Tuesday, when they begin a homestand with Toronto.

"We haven't gotten that far," said Francona.

J.D. Drew (finger) attempted to throw Tuesday, but was unable to do so because of lingering soreness.

"And he hasn't been able to swing either," said Francona, "so we're nowhere."

Clay Buchholz threw long toss from a distance of about 105 feet for about 60 throws.

"Good day," observed Francona of his starter. "He's picking up the intensity, picking up the distance. He'll take Thursday off and move out to 120 feet. He's tolerating everything."

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

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015, today announced a new ticket program, “Farrell’s Fighters,” that invites patients being treated for the disease and their family to a game each month throughout the season.
 
“It was a challenging battle going through the treatment a few years ago, and beyond the support of family and friends, one of the things that helped me get through it was the escape I found in the game of baseball,” Farrell said in a team statement. “I hope this program can provide a positive, momentary break for the patients and their families from the daily rigors of treatment, and for baseball to be a tonic for them, as it was for me.”
 
In addition to VIP seats at the game, the program will include a meeting with the Red Sox manager, a tour of the ballpark, the chance to watch batting practice, and lunch or dinner in the EMC Club restaurant.
 
“Farrell’s Fighters” will launch with patients from Massachusetts General Hospital, where Farrell was treated in 2015, but will expand to include other area hospitals. The first patient to take part in the program is Nate Bouley, 42, of Sudbury, Mass., who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and is in remission for the third time. Bouley, his wife, and two children will attend the Red Sox-Mariners game Sunday.

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.