Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

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Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA - For someone who had been felled by the flu and hadn't pitched for 13 days, Josh Beckett didn't pitch horribly Tuesday night.

He made two bad pitches that resulted in four runs, however, and that was way more than Cliff Lee, the opposing starter, needed to beat the Red Sox.

"You can't give that guy two runs in the second inning," said Beckett. "That just lets him go to his whole deal. I've got to battle a little better than that."

Asked if the pitches that Domonic Brown and Shane Victorino smacked for two-run homers were where he wanted him, Beckett, self-effacing as always, cracked: "They were where they wanted them."

Allowing himself some credit, Beckett added: "I felt like I made a couple of nice pitches when I needed to."

Beckett, whose last outing saw him allow just one baserunner in a win over Tampa Bay, "just didn't feel as strong," said Terry Francona. "But I thought he felt like he had to pitch and I thought he did. But the two pitches, that's four runs."

"He made two mistakes," agreed catcher Jason Varitek, "and they got us for two big home runs. Other than that, I thought he did a real good job of trying to get himself back on the mound."

Bobby Jenks and Franklin Morales, both fresh off the disabled list, got an inning each of work Tuesday.

In the eighth, Jenks, activated after missing a few weeks with a strained intercostal, allowed an infield hit and a walk, but also struck out two.

Jenks made a one-inning appearance for Portland (Double A) over the weekend and was eager to contribute after having his first season in Boston interrupted twice by injury twice in the first three months.

"I'm just excited to be back," said Jenks. "I think I might be the most frustrated one here. When I came back from the DL the first time, I was throwing the ball extremely well and then this happened.

"Nobody could be more frustrated than I am or more happy to be back. Hopefully, this will be the last time (he's sidelined with an ailment) and I can just roll into September and the playoffs extremely happy."

Asked how he was dealing with the frustration, Jenks joked: "Lots of Nicorette gum."

To make room for Jenks, the Sox sent Scott Atchison back to Pawtucket.

Morales looked sharp in the seventh inning, getting a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

The Red Sox swapped out lefty Tommy Hottovy for lefty Morales, who had been on the DL with elbow inflammation.

Outfielder Carl Crawford tested his pulled hamstring by running six 90-feet sprints at about half-speed.

Crawford is eligible to come off the DL Sunday in his hometown of Houston, but that looks like a long shot.

Francona had Darnell McDonald hitting fifth, despite the fact that the outfielder was hitting just .103 with a homer and three RBI.

"We thought about moving (Jason Varitek) up one," said Francona. "I thought about a few things, but I didn't think there
was a better lineup."

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

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

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Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON - The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

Red Sox do not need Sonny Gray, and they know it

Red Sox do not need Sonny Gray, and they know it

BOSTON — Sonny Gray is not what the Red Sox need.

As of Monday, the power rankings of their trade targets should go as such: 1. Third baseman 2. Reliever 3. Back-end starter.

When he was addressing the addition of Doug Fister three days ago, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski noted that a premier starter is not what he lacks.

“Unlike maybe some other clubs, I don't believe that we need to add a top-of-the-rotation-type starter,” Dombrowski said. “We have [Chris] Sale. I think David Price continues to make strides to come back. His stuff is good he's just got to get back. [Drew] Pomeranz has thrown well for us. [Eduardo] Rodriguez has thrown well. We know Rick Porcello is a good pitcher.

“So we're not, maybe other clubs are looking for that No. 1, No. 2 type starter. That's not really important for us. I think it's more important to be in a position where we add depth for us, somebody that can help us win major league games if needed.”

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan on Monday reported that the Red Sox “have quietly sent some of their most respected evaluators to his last two starts. This could fall under standard due diligence, but one source familiar with their intentions said the Red Sox are keen for Gray – and when president Dave Dombrowski targets a player, the price for other teams jumps accordingly.” 

Due diligence is indeed all the Red Sox are up to, a baseball source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told CSNNE.com on Monday.

The Red Sox’ trade chips are limited, if they don’t want to drastically diminish their farm system. Gray is very close with David Price, but Gray's 4.45 ERA isn’t inspiring. He has a 3.60 FIP — fielding independent pitching — and has great talent. But again, he doesn’t play the hot corner.

Offense on a whole is a greater need. The Sox entered Monday with the third lowest slugging percentage in the AL. Hanley Ramirez is now battling some left knee pain as well as his shoulder issue, after he took a pitch off the knee Sunday.

It’s warmed up, but the Sox power bats have not also warmed up.

“I wouldn’t hinge this all on just temperature,” manager John Farrell said Monday. “And I don’t know that we use that as an excuse prior. . . Over the last three or four weeks, it’s kind of stagnated a little bit. I think the biggest thing for us as a group is to still maintain a consistent approach at the plate. When we think about getting too much muscle in a swing, eventually the strike zone expands, you don’t get the pitch that you’re looking for. We can’t afford to maybe go away from that approach for the sake of maybe trying to drive the ball with greater consistency.”

Tzu-Wei Lin was starting for the Sox on Monday, yet another in the third-base carousel. Jhonny Peralta and Pablo Sandoval (rehab assignment) are going to alternate time at third base starting Tuesday with Triple-A Pawtucket. 

That’s where they need help.

The bullpen can’t be overlooked either. Carson Smith started a throwing program again Monday, but it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return, or at what effectiveness.