Notes: Crawford delivers grand performance

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Notes: Crawford delivers grand performance

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- It had been over a year since Carl Crawford last cleared the bases with a grand slam. The old feeling quickly came back on Saturday as he belted his first one as a member of the Red Sox in their eight-run fourth inning against the Texas Rangers.

Its a good feeling when the stadiums cheering for you like that and everybodys happy, he said following the Red Sox' 12-7 win.

Crawford missed Fridays game with a stomach illness but bounced back the following day, finishing the game with two hits (including a double) and four RBI.

His offensive performance was a turnaround from a recent three-game series against the New York Yankees in which he went 3-for-12 and a homestand where he had gone just 3-for-19 prior to Saturdays game.

When you hit a grand slam, it definitely helps your confidence out a little bit, just hoping thats something that can get you going, he said, adding, Ive been feeling all right. Unfortunately I cant go 5-for-5 or something like that but Ive been feeling better.

After a slow start and inconsistent production this season, solid performances like this are often contrasted with previous struggles. Crawford stays looking ahead to the remainder of the season -- and to the postseason -- while leaving the rest behind him.

The games that passed, I dont really worry about them, he said. I just try to take the approach try to do well the next day and the day after that. Everything that happened is pretty much behind me.

The Red Sox plan to do the same.

Said Terry Francona, If his batting average at the end of the year is a little short of what expectations were, that doesnt mean he cant be a force like he was today.

Josh Reddick had a career-high four hits (he also scored three runs) but his night was cut short when he was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Darren Oliver in the eighth inning. X-rays taken after the game came back negative and he will ice his hand for treatment.

We didnt see anything too serious, so luckily missed the bone and just keep icing and covering it up and wrapping it up and reevaluate tomorrow, he said. Its a lot better. The numbing went away about ten minutes after it happened. Its a good sign.

Reddick only recalls being hit in the majors once before, in 2009 -- a 95 mile-an-hour fastball off his ankle. While he does notice a difference in getting hit in the majors and minors, he tries to avoid it either way.

A little bit of a difference, he said. They all hurt but Ive never been a guy who gets hit a lot so I like to get out of the way. But any time I get hit I dont really like it.

Francona, who expects Reddick to be sore on Sunday, offered plenty of praise for the outfielder.

So many times hes given us such a lift, and thats hard for young players to do that, he said. Were in the middle of a pennant race and this kid comes in, like when Carl Crawford wasnt playing, and gave us a lift there. And now hes playing the majority of right field and hes had some pretty good days. He had a little time there when he kind of came back, they made some adjustments, but he still has that ability to put some sock in his bat, not just singles. Theres some production in that bat.

Jed Lowrie, who started at shortstop, also left the game in the fourth inning with left shoulder tightness. Jed is just stiff, I think probably from a little bit of fatigue. Hes played a lot, said Francona. I dont think well play him tomorrow. Hell certainly be available, so were OK there. That might be me overreacting a little bit. Just dont want to lose guys.

Adrian Gonzalez turned two unassisted double plays which, according to Elias, makes him the first Red Sox first baseman in the Divisional Era to do so.

Dustin Pedroia hit his 200th career double in the sixth inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-3) extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is batting .323 during that stretch.

Erik Bedard made the start on Saturday, following JonLester on Thursday and Andrew Miller on Friday. That marks the first time sinceMay 18-20, 1995, the Sox have started three lefties in a row. The Sox went 1-2in those games.

Entering August, Matt Albers had an ERA of 2.09.In 12 games since Aug. 1, spanning 12 23 innings, he has allowed 19 earnedruns with eight walks, 11 strikeouts, and four home runs, for a 13.50 ERA. Hehas allowed runs in eight of the 12 outings. He is not hurt, though, Francona said.

No, hes had a tough time, Francona said. Hisvelocitys good. Sometimes his velocitys real good. Theres been times whenhes been behind the count and paid the price and theres been times when hesmade mistakes over the middle of the plate. When hes good hes working aheadand hes allowing that two-seamer to just come through the zone with some life,an occasional breaking ball andrightnow its elevating a little bit.

Francona is not considering giving Albers a mental ofphysical break. No, actually he wants to pitch more, Francona said. Physicallyhes fine so . . . sometimes for whatever reason he goes through ruts or things dontgo well. If you look up at the end of the year and his ERAs a little higherbecause he had that one stretch, that doesnt necessarily mean he can't be thatguy again that hes been for most of the year. Just his ERA might pay the pricea little bit."

With the Sox getting pummeled by the Rangers Friday night, Albersentered with the Sox trailing by seven runs, a lower pressure situation than hehas pitched earlier in the season. He gave up three runs.

Things kind of go hand-in-hand, Francona said. When your startergoes an inning and a third, somebodys got to pitch. Were just trying to lineit up where last night we had it mapped out where Wake was going to come in andhopefully finish the game. So we had right-handers coming up for the most partbefore Wake and it seemed like a good time to just limit Albers to one inning andthen we could bring in Tim Wakefield.

Francona said he is not yet ready to line uphis starting rotation in preparation for the postseason.

When we know were supposed to, he said. Not until. Wecertainly look at things like we always do but we also dont want to get aheadof ourselves. Were trying to do what we do.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."

Red Sox move into first place with rain-delayed, 9-3 win over Twins

Red Sox move into first place with rain-delayed, 9-3 win over Twins

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz wasn't expecting one rain delay, let alone two. But he got through both just fine.

Pomeranz pitched five solid innings, Chris Young hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox moved into first place in the AL East with a 9-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

"It was kind of crazy. I didn't even realize it was supposed to rain at all tonight," Pomeranz said.

Pomeranz (7-4) had to sit through nearly an hour delay before the game started, then a 76-minute delay between the second and third as a thunderstorm slowly passed over Fenway Park. Despite the interruption, the left-hander held the Twins to an unearned run and four hits, struck out seven and walked none.

Christian Vazquez homered for the first time in more than a year, helping the Red Sox win consecutive games for the first time in nearly two weeks. Dustin Pedroia had three hits and scored twice.

Bench coach Gary DiSarcina managed the Red Sox with John Farrell serving a one-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball.

"It's a lot of fun. It's a lot of adrenaline. I can see and appreciate the trials and the tribulations and the struggles John goes through daily and nightly," DiSarcina said. "I don't think I'm going to appreciate it until the season's over and I'm looking back at having a day like this."

The Red Sox capitalized on three errors by the Twins and moved a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees, who lost 4-3 to the White Sox on Tuesday.

"Long night," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've seen some really good games here and I've seen some ugly ones, and that would fall in the latter category for sure."

Hector Santiago (4-7) returned for the Twins after a stint on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. He allowed two runs and one hit in two innings.

"I feel really good right now. Obviously it's only two innings," Santiago said. "I feel like I had some really good velocity, really good acceleration on the off-speed (pitches)."

The only hit Santiago allowed was Vazquez's two-run homer in the second. The Red Sox led 6-1 when Young blew it open with a drive off one of the signs above the Green Monster in left.

"We just didn't do a lot of damage control after we got back out and start playing again," Molitor said.

Minnesota didn't score until the fifth when Jorge Polanco drew a one-out walk and Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton followed with consecutive singles off Pomeranz, who was fading and faced six batters in the inning.

Eduardo Escobar added a solo homer for Minnesota in the eighth.

Boston hadn't won consecutive games since beating Philadelphia three in a row from June 12-14.

VERSATILE VAZQUEZ

Vazquez hit his first home run since May 1, 2016. It was his third career homer and all three have come with one man on base.

Vazquez also stole a base after walking in the fourth and caught the entire game. Vazquez threw out Rosario when he attempted to steal third after leading off the third with a double off the wall in left.

"He's been great behind the plate all year. He's been hitting the ball all year," Pomeranz said. "It was good to see him get that home run tonight."

SUSPENSION

Farrell was suspended for poking umpire Bill Miller in the chest during an animated argument over the weekend.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Santiago was making his first start since June 6 at Seattle. The Twins placed him on the 10-day DL the next day. To make room on the roster for his return, recently acquired RHP Dillon Gee was sent down to Triple-A Rochester.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez sat out his second straight game with a bruised left knee from a pitch that hit him Sunday.

UP NEXT

Twins: Rookie LHP Adalberto Mejia (2-3, 4.93 ERA) pitches in Fenway Park on Wednesday night for the first time.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-9, 5.00 ERA), the 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, looks to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.