Boston Red Sox

Notes: Lavarnway relieved after getting first hit

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Notes: Lavarnway relieved after getting first hit

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Ryan Lavarnway admits he felt "relief" after collecting his first big-league hit in the Red Sox' 7-1 win over the Royals Friday night.

The rookie catcherdesignated hitter, who was called up to the Sox on Thursday, went 0-for-4 in his debut, then left the bases loaded in each of his first two at-bats Friday night. But he singled his third at-bat -- with his parents, sister and college friends watching from the stands at Kauffman Stadium -- and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez retrieved the ball and saved it for him.

It was a little bit of a relief, said Lavarnway. It was a little more elusive than I thought it would be, but it wont be my last hit. Im pretty happy.

Alfredo Aceves has a pair of saves this season and has pitched 3 23 innings in each of the two save situations the first time the Sox have recorded a save of more than three innings since 2003. Aceves is now 8-1 with a pair of saves in a utility relief role.

The Sox right-handed credited the teams nutritionist, Tara Mardigan, with helping him lose 20 pounds, and with his brother for helping him keep the right frame of mind.

My brother always says that the best defense is to go out there and be aggressive, said Aceves of his brother Jonathan, a catcher in the Mexican Leagues. The best defense is the attack. I think its really true and it works. It makes sense for a pitcher. Instead of saying defense, defense in my head I just say attack, attack.'

With Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie ready to play, the Sox have enjoyed the luxury of not needing to rush Marco Scutaro back into the lineup while he battles with a cranky lower back.

Scutaro sat out again Friday night, the seventh game in the last eight that he's missed, and manager Terry Francona thinks the rest has helped him enough that he'll be ready to return Saturday night.

Scutaro said his back finally began loosening up Tuesday and hes been making steady improvement while taking batting practice since then.

Hes okay. Hes doing really well, said Francona.

The Sox are anxious to get Scutaro back in the lineup. He's hit .318.371.409 since the All-Star break.

J.D. Drew (left shoulder) is feeling good taking batting practice and fielding his position in right field, and it appears he's getting close to a rehab assignment. He's been on the disabled list since July 20.

He hit Friday early. He hit real well, said Francona. Hell keep on doing that for a little bit and well see where we stand. He went out and shagged balls, and actually did really good.

I dont know if we know when Drew will go on rehab. We just need to keep increasing the reps and intensity, but hes actually doing a pretty good job.

Bobby Jenks (back) made 20 throws in his first bullpen session and got out to 120 feet in long toss at Bostons minor-league complex in Fort Myers, and is on the path toward a potential activation to the Sox roster in September.

Hell throw another side Saturday and the next throwing session would be a simulated game either Monday or Tuesday, said Francona.

Josh Beckett won his 10th game of the season on Thursday night in Kansas City, and also became a 10-5 guy in the Major Leagues, which means hes spent 10 years in the big leagues and five years with the Sox. That means, per the collective bargaining agreement, that Beckett has full no-trade rights if the Sox ever attempted to move him over the duration of his contract.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

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BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

1:00 - Shaughnesy, Drellich and Merloni give their leading off impressions regarding the Red Sox

4:00 - Dan Shaughnessy explains why he is still skeptical about the Red Sox team, and why he will not be able to feel confident until he sees them play in the postseason

9:00 - Does our Baseball Show crew have a problem with the Red Sox letting Chris Sale pitch the 8th inning so he could get his 300th strikeout?

15:00 - Jared Carrabis joins the Baseball Show crew to discuss what matches he likes for the Red Sox in the playoffs. 

17:00 - Jared Carrabis on how would the Red Sox match up against the Yankees in the playoffs

20:00 - How does Jared Carrabis think about the use of David Price as a relief pitcher?

Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

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Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

CINCINNATI -- Mookie Betts wasn't about to stop. Neither are the Red Sox, who are heading home with a chance to win another division title.

Betts doubled with the bases loaded to tie it in the eighth inning and dashed home from second base on an infield single, rallying the Red Sox to a 5-4 victory Sunday that moved them closer to an AL East championship.

By winning 14 of its last 17 games, Boston has left virtually no opening for the second-place New York Yankees to catch up. The Red Sox, already assured a playoff spot, completed an 8-1 road trip that put them in excellent position to win a second consecutive division crown, something they've never done.

Coupled with New York's 9-5 loss in Toronto, the Red Sox reduced their magic number to three. They lead the Yankees by five games with seven to play.

That means Fenway Park can start preparing for a potential celebration. Boston finishes the regular season at home with three games against Toronto and four vs. Houston.

"We're learning a lot about ourselves," said Doug Fister, who pitched into the sixth. "We can put ourselves in a corner early and fight back. If we need a touchdown, the boys can put up a touchdown."

Boston inched closer with more late-game flair. The Red Sox lead the majors with 11 wins when trailing after the seventh inning.

They loaded the bases against Raisel Iglesias (3-3), who had blown only one save chance all season. Betts had fouled a ball off his foot on Friday night and missed one game. His double tied it 5-all, and he sprinted home on the still-sore foot - diving headfirst into the plate - on Rafael Devers' infield single.

"I felt he had a chance to beat it, and with me running it was going to be a tough play at the plate," Betts said.

Robby Scott (2-1) got the win, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 39 chances. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances.

Billy Hamilton helped the Reds go up 4-1. He tripled home a run and brought the crowd to its feet by scoring after getting caught in a rundown between first and second. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a wild throw, and Hamilton kept going when nobody covered home.

"In my whole career, that's one of the best ones, especially since I was in a rundown and just trying to get to second base and then I end up scoring," Hamilton said.

GOT THEIR BACKS

Red Sox and Reds players stood for the national anthem. Boston manager John Farrell said if any of his players decide to follow the example of other athletes and make a statement during the anthem, he'll support them. "We strive to create an environment that's inclusive," Farrell said. "We would have their back as an organization if that's the expression they chose. It's their constitutional right."

INTERLEAGUE

The Red Sox are 12-1 against the Reds all-time in the regular season and have won nine straight, their longest winning streak against any NL team since interleague play started in 1997. The Reds beat the Red Sox in seven games for the 1975 World Series championship. Overall, Boston is 16-4 in interleague play this season. The Reds are 5-15.

90 LOSSES AGAIN

The Reds reached the 90-loss mark for the third straight year. They lost 98 games in 2015 and 94 last year. It's the first time they've had three straight 90-loss seasons since 1930-34.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez ran the bases before the game, his next step in recovering from a sprained knee.

Reds: Hamilton was back in the lineup after getting a day off. He's played twice since returning from a broken left thumb.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (16-5) faces Blue Jays LHP Brett Anderson (1-2) on Monday night. Pomeranz is 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break.

Reds: After a day off, they finish with three games in Milwaukee and three at the Chicago Cubs. Deck McGuire (0-0) makes his first major league start Tuesday night against Zach Davies (17-9).

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