Notes: Pap saves 200th; Girardi criticizes Papi

191542.jpg

Notes: Pap saves 200th; Girardi criticizes Papi

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- Jonathan Papelbon's save Tuesday night wasn't any ordinary save.

It was the 200th of his career, making the Red Sox' closer the fastest to 200 in history.

Papelbon allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out the Sox' 6-4 win when he struck out Alex Rodriguez with a 97 mph fastball with a runner in scoring position.

It came in Papelbon's 359th career appearance. Previously, Mariano Rivera had held the record, reaching his 200th save in appearance No. 382.

"This game will definitely hold a little special something in my heart,'' said Papelbon, who notched his 12th save of the season. "It's something that's obviously very special. But for me, right now, after it's all said and done, I'll think about it a little bit tonight and tomorrow, move forward and keep doing what I'm doing.''

Papelbon said getting pregame news of his three-game suspension for bumping umpire Tony Randazzo Saturday was not disruptive.

"Not one bit,'' he said.

Papelbon said he'll save the lineup card and ball from the occasion.

Getting the record in front of Rivera, Papelbon acknowledged, was special.

"I've always called him the Godfather,'' said Papelbon. "He's the one who's made this role closer what it is today, and there's no ifs, ands or buts about it. This role has become what it is today because of that one man.

"I feel like I have a special relationship with Rivera because of the simple fact that I'm here today because of what he did. It doesn't matter that I did it in front of him; that's kind of out of the equation. But I don't think I would do it without him making this role what it is.''

The Sox lost set-up man Bobby Jenks in the seventh inning, but the reliever hopes it won't be for long.

After going 3-and-0 to Jorge Posada, Jenks felt something grab in his upper back, just below his left shoulder.

"It's an injury that happened years and years ago,'' said Jenks. "Unfortunately, it still gives me fits every now and then. Everything's fine once I cool down and the muscle starts relaxing. It will be all right. Should be just a day or two.''

Just to be sure, Jenks plans to have an MRI performed Wednesday morning.

"It's a small muscle that I tore years ago,'' said Jenks. "It heals itself. The last time was a year or two ago. I felt it during warmups. I was hoping it was cramping, but today, it just locked up pretty good. It got real tight and took my breath away a little bit.''

Matt Albers came in and replaced Jenks and, after throwing ball four to walk Posada, got Alex Rodriguez on a flyout and got Robinson Cano on an inning-ending double-play.

New York manager Joe Giradi made a point of saying that he ''didn't really care for'' David Ortiz's celebratory bat flip in the fifth when he smashed a two-run homer to right.

Ortiz didn't seem bothered by Girardi's reaction.

"That's Papi style,'' said Ortiz. "You've seen that before . . . It's not my first time, it's not going to be my last. Big deal. I'm a home-run hitter. That's all I can tell you.

"I've done that before. It's not like I do it all the time. It's part of the excitement. What can I tell you? I just went deep. It's just another homer for Papi, you know what I mean?''

Jed Lowrie was replaced by the just-activated Marco Scutaro at shortstop because his left shoulder is still sore, more than a weekafter a collision with teammate Mike Cameron. Lowrie said the pain is a"dull ache,'' and he plans to undergo an MRI soon on the shoulder.

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

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

BOSTON -- New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, left-handed hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike three — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox tie strikeout record in completing sweep of Rangers, 6-2

Red Sox tie strikeout record in completing sweep of Rangers, 6-2

BOSTON (AP) There's something about Boston Red Sox pitchers and 20-strikeout games.

There have been six major-league games with that many strikeouts and the Red Sox made the list for the third time, fanning that many Texas Rangers for a 6-2 victory Thursday night and a sweep of the three-game series.

Five Boston pitchers combined on the 20 strikeouts with starter Drew Pomeranz getting 11 in six innings and closer Craig Kimbrel getting four in the ninth when the leadoff batter reached on a wild pitch strike three. Boston's Roger Clemens twice reached 20 strikeouts by himself.

"His stuff is nasty. What he is doing right now I have never seen anything like that," Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said of Kimbrel.

Kimbrel has retired 53 of the last 56 batters he has faced and right-handed hitters are on an 0-for-41 streak.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to its fourth straight win.

"A lot has been made about our home run totals or lack thereof," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Tonight was the first of what should be many more."

Pomeranz (4-3), who tied his career high with the 11 strikeouts, made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

"Felt lost for a couple of starts and wasn't satisfied," said Pomeranz, who gave up four hits and walked one. "Tonight I felt more like last year."

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and 15 of 21 on the road.

"The sweep is surprising," Andrus said. "But that's the beauty of baseball, I guess. You cannot take any team for granted. Even when you feel you're playing at your best, stuff like this can happen."

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers starter Nick Martinez (1-3) early.

Bogaerts hit a two-run homer in the third to put Boston ahead 4-0. Despite finishing with 21 home runs last year, Bogaerts needed 46 games to connect for the first time this season.

"Good to get one over the wall and get it out of the way," Bogaerts said.

Mike Napoli struck out four times while Pete Kozma and Andrus went down three times each. Every Ranger starter struck out at least once.

"Pomeranz was throwing well," Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "Obviously their bullpen came in and threw well also and they played better than we did overall tonight."

Marrero homered in the eighth off Alex Claudio.

Martinez gave up four runs in five innings and is winless in four starts against Boston with a 6.46 ERA.

Andrus cut Boston's lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning with the homer, snapping an 0-for-9 drought.

Moreland tied his career high by driving in at least one run for the sixth straight game and extended his hitting streak to seven games, batting .393 in that stretch.

Boston swept Texas for the first time at Fenway Park since 2008. Since 2009, Texas has the best winning percentage at Fenway Park in the major leagues at .600.

STRIKING SUCCESS

Pomeranz recorded his 500th career strikeout when he whiffed Napoli for the final out of the fourth inning, his eighth of the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre will play in extended spring training games in Arizona the next three days after being sidelined all season with a calf strain.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was removed from the game after five innings for precautionary reasons due to left knee pain. He is listed as day to day. ... LHP David Price will make his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox despite surrendering six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings over his last two rehab starts. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval is 3 for 13 in four rehab games.

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP A.J. Griffin (4-1) in the opener at Toronto.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1) looks to win his fourth straight decision when they entertain Seattle on Friday.