Notes: Red Sox not too high on Sunday's win

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Notes: Red Sox not too high on Sunday's win

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON After an outstanding performance by Josh Beckett Sunday night and taking two of three from the Yankees over the weekend for their first wins of the season, it would be understandable if the mood in the Red Sox clubhouse Monday afternoon were a little more upbeat.

But, manager Terry Francona hopes observers see no difference.

As much as we love to win, I hope that when we come into the clubhouse the next day it's hard to tell, he said. That's what were striving for because it's a tough way to go through the year. If you walk through the clubhouse the next day and you're basing your feelings on what you did the night before, it's hard. Try to come in the same way every day. But when you see Beckett pitch like he did, it's exciting.

But, he was happy for his team to start settling into the routine of the regular season, putting Opening Days and the Yankees series behind them.

Its nothing against the media but theres a lot of people that you see once and they all want part of your day, he said. Itll be nice to be able to go out and play. Yeah, I agree with that. Whether you call it getting into the grind or whatever, but getting into our normal routine and taking our BP at our normal time, theres not a lot of stuff going on. Yeah, it does help.

With the win Sunday, Beckett improved to 1-1 (2.08 ERA). It was his 11th career game with 10 or more strikeouts, sixth with the Red Sox, and first since July 27, 2009, against Oakland.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is making his 100th career start, posting a record of 46-28 overall, with 544 strikeouts. Since 1919, he only Red Sox pitcher with more strikeouts at that point in his career in Roger Clemens with 646. The only pitchers with more wins are Clemens (56), Boo Ferriss (55), Tex Hughson (50), and Mel Parnell.

Matsuzaka enters the game with a career record against the Rays of 2-6 (5.09) in 12 starts. In three starts in 2010, he was 0-2 (8.62).

Francona said Adrian Gonzalez, who was hit on the left hand and the right pinky and ring finger by a CC Sabathia pitch, was fine.

Carl Crawford is equally surprised by his current teams and old teams starts.

"I'm surprised about that, he said. It's funny the way things work out.

He still keeps tabs on his former team and teammates.

"It's my former team so you watch them a little bit, he said. I'm close to the guys over there so you watch them a little bit. We're friends. At some point we're going to play better just like I think they're going to play better. They have a good pitching staff. Their starters are really good. They got guys in the lineup who can hit. Just got to be careful with them."

Crawford, who is hitting just .132 entering Mondays game, doesnt feel that he has been pressing at the plate, but might have been earlier in the season. Although he went 0-for-5 yesterday, he hit the ball hard in several of his at-bats.

"I wasn't pressing yesterday, he said. Hitting ball well. Just got to find the hole. I hope I'm turning the corner. Things haven't been going my way so far. Just have to keep playing.

Francona, likewise, does not see his lead-off hitter pressing.

Francona sees a couple of reasons for his teams struggles with runners in scoring position.

One is you probably try to do maybe a little too much, he said. The other things is like last night Sabathia, hes a pretty smart pitcher too. The things we talk about when we go into a series, theyre doing the same thing and hes able to navigate around some people. Thats just the nature with good pitchers. Theres certain guys theyre going to stay away from and theres not much you can do about it.

Crawford will receive his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in an on-field pregame ceremony. It was the first time he has earned each honor.

With left-hander David Price starting for the Rays Tuesday, Francona said outfielder Mike Cameron may get a start.

Jason Varitek turns 39 today.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Drellich: Red Sox play the waiting game as deadline approaches

Drellich: Red Sox play the waiting game as deadline approaches

BOSTON -- Doug Fister’s start on Thursday was the clearest reason an 8-6 Red Sox loss to the Blue Jays felt like a bridge day. He was there to give some rest to the other starters, which was a worthy idea. But Fister’s command was poor enough to make that decision questionable.

Presumably, Fister’s time as starter for the Sox is now over, although manager John Farrell was noncommittal afterward.

MORE RED SOX

Add it to the list of reasons the Red Sox look like a team in limbo at the moment. They’re in first place, while simultaneously playing a waiting game.

Whom the Sox acquire before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month, and how long they wait to pull off a deal, looms large. Because even though the offense has looked better the last two days, it was still the primary drawback during a 4-4 homestand within the division.

Chris Sale and David Price will be on the mound to start a three-game weekend series against the Angels in Anaheim, so at least a feeling of normalcy should return.

“Back to the top of the rotation,” Farrell said. “We’ve got a chance to hopefully catch up with some recovery days down that bullpen. Anytime Chris and David are walking to the mound, we feel like we're extremely confident.”

But now, someone new needs to walk through the clubhouse door. Someone will, too -- it’s just a matter of when, lest Dave Dombrowski’s m.o. all of a sudden changes 40-plus years into his career.

There’s no confusion about what should be done.

As nice as it is that Christian Vazquez is capable of playing third base, the Red Sox need to find a situation where they have a third baseman who can start the game and finish it -- where they have someone whose bat is good enough to do so.

Vazquez manning third at the end of Thursday’s game is symbolic of the position on a whole: it’s been left to the warmest body at the moment, rather than someone who truly has a handle on the job.

Top prospect Rafael Devers has been hitting very well in his brief stint at Triple-A Pawtucket, going 8-for-22 (.364) in six games, with a .440 on-base percentage and a pair of home runs. He has four strikeouts compared to three walks.

But considering the way Dombrowski has spoken all season, the Sox seem intent on doing what’s best for Devers’ development rather than rushing the 20-year-old to aid the major league team. And what was right for Devers’ development thus far this season, as the Sox saw it, was three months at Double-A.

Spending only a week in Triple-A, or really anything less than a month, then, would seem hasty. Even a late August or September call-up would be a quick move, relatively speaking.

Barring a change of heart, then, help still needs to come from the outside. Even if the Sox believe in Devers for this year, he would still be an unknown commodity in the big leagues, and the Sox at this point need something more than that.

There’s a piece missing, at least one. Everyone’s waiting to see what comes next, including the clubhouse.

Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

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Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

BOSTON -- Steve Pearce blooped the ball to the edge of the outfield grass, and Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt was there.

He planted his feet. He raised his arm to catch it.

But something wasn't quite right.

Holt lost the ball in the sun, allowing it to glance off his glove for a two-run single that tied the game as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied from an early deficit to take the lead for good and hold on to beat the Boston Red Sox 8-6 on Thursday.

"As weakly as I hit it, I didn't" expect it to fall, said Pearce, who had three hits. "When you put the ball in the air, sometimes (the fielder) just can't do it. Day game, clear sky. It was a great time for it."

Ryan Goins followed with a two-run single to give the Blue Jays the lead. Justin Smoak homered twice, but it was a 140-foot duck snort that turned things around and allowed Toronto to leave Boston with a split in the four-game series.

"I don't care how hard it's hit, it's a two-RBI knock. Then Goins comes right behind me, keeps things rolling," said Pearce, whose team lost nine of the first 10 games of the season and haven't been above fourth place since. "We've had a lot of things going against us, so it's nice to finally have something go for us."

Dustin Pedroia had three hits, including a three-run homer, while serving as designated hitter on a 90-degree day at the end of a grinding homestand. Including the 15-inning game on Tuesday with Toronto, the AL East-leading Red Sox played 76 innings in about 144 hours - the equivalent of 8 1/2 games in six days.

But it was the sun more than the heat that was the problem, especially for the right fielders and anyone else who tried to field a popup.

"During day games it's always pretty bad for the right side of the field - second basemen, right field," Holt said. "It was one of those balls that wasn't really high enough where I could do anything to move myself and maneuver myself to get that out of the sun. ... I tried to stay with it as long as I could and unfortunately couldn't make the play. So that one's on me."

Dominic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Toronto starter Francisco Liriano got just five outs, allowing three runs in the second, but the Blue Jays came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fister (0-4).

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Smoak has 26 homers and 62 RBIs this season. His previous career highs were 20 and 59.

"We still have 2 1/2 more months left in the season so I just try to keep my head down and keep going," he said.

Smoak's RBI single in the sixth gave Toronto a 7-3 lead, then Pedroia's homer in the seventh made it a one-run game. Smoak added his second homer in the ninth.

Mookie Betts had two hits and two RBIs for Boston.

FOR STARTERS

Liriano gave up three runs - two earned - five hits and a walk, striking out one. He gave up back-to-back doubles to Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon, and Betts scored two with a single to give Boston a 3-1 lead in the second.

But the Blue Jays came back with four in the third, when Fister walked four batters and also gave up run-scoring singles to Pearce and Goins. Fister allowed six runs, seven hits and four walks, striking out three in 4 1/3 innings.

SELF DEFENSE

Goins ended the fifth inning when he raised his bat to protect himself from an inside pitch and wound up grounding it back to reliever Fernando Abad. Home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman signaled a fair ball, Abad made the casual throw to first, and Hanley Ramirez, seemingly confused, paused before stepping on the base. Goins remained on his knees in the batter's box, smiling, long after the rest of the players cleared the field.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez left Wednesday night's game with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

Red Sox: Leon was hit in the left foot by Russell Martin's foul tip in the fourth inning. The training staff came out to look at it, and the Boston catcher remained in the game.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Marco Estrada (4-6) faces Trevor Bauer (7-8) in the opener of a three-game series against Cleveland.

Red Sox: Chris Sale (11-4) will start the opener of a three game series against the Angels, facing Ricky Nolasco (4-10).