Boston Red Sox

Notes: McDonald gets last laugh versus cousin


Notes: McDonald gets last laugh versus cousin

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH -- For Darnell McDonald, Sunday's game against the Pirates was his first time he'd ever faced his cousin, Pirates right-hander James McDonald, in a major-league game.

Darnell McDonald is six years older than James but they were close growing up, spending summers together despite the age difference Darnell is six years older. James McDonald got the better of Darnell in this game, striking him out on a curveball in his first at-bat with two runners on in the third, and also holding him hitless in another at-bat.

He said he was just going to feed me fastballs, Darnell McDondl said. But he threw me curveballs. Im going to have to get on him for that."

Darnell, though, had the last laugh.

Im glad he pitched well, he said. But Im glad we won the game.

J.D. Drew left the game after the first inning bothered by a contusion to his left eye that he suffered in pregame batting practice when he attempted to bunt and the ball hit him in the eye. Francona doesnt expect the contusion to sideline Drew going forward.

The Sox and Pirates drew 39,511, a new single-game record, surpassing Saturdays crowd. For the series they drew 118,324, a three-game record at PNC Park.

Former Sox first baseman Sean Casey, now an analyst on MLB Network, was a pregame visitor to the clubhouse with his two sons, Andrew and Jacoby. Casey is a native of nearby Upper St. Clair, Penn.

Jonathan Papelbon earned his 14th save in 15 opportunities this season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. He gave up a lead-off walk to Ronny Cedeno.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, on the DL with a lower back strain, also threw on Sunday. He has his eye ona July 4 return against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Carl Crawford, on the DL since June 18, because of a left hamstring strain, said his leg is feeling much better. But Francona is being cautious, knowing Crawford would like to make a return to the lineup when he is eligible, during the three-game series in Houston next weekend. Houston is Crawfords hometown.

If hes healthy, we want him to play, Francona said.

Bobby Jenks, on the disabled list since June 8 with left back tightness, threw an inning in a rehab outing with Double-A Portland Saturday night. Manager Terry Francona said Jenks will likely join the Sox in Philadelphia for the start of the three-game series on Tuesday.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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


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


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

CINCINNATI - Mookie 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 Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Reds that moved them closer to the AL East title.

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 for the first time in franchise history.

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.