Boston Red Sox

Pap leaves Boston in the rear-view mirror

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Pap leaves Boston in the rear-view mirror

Jonathan Papelbon made it very clear he's happy to be in Philadelphia.

Sorry to be leaving Boston? That wasn't nearly as evident.

The Phillies' new closer said virtually nothing about the Red Sox -- good, bad or indifferent -- despite being given multiple opportunities to do so in his introductory press conference Monday as a member of the Phils. If he was at all affected at no longer being with the only team he's ever played for, he hid it perfectly.

But he sure dropped some hints.

"I'm loyal to those who are loyal to me," he said in explaining why he signed so quickly with the Phillies, adding it was "evident to me how classy this organization is."

"The Phillies showed that they were interested in me and you know I wanted to make this decision quick and get it over with," he said. "I didn't want to sit there and debate whether I should go back to Boston. The Phillies showed they wanted me and showed me the respect, and I showed them the respect back."

Loyalty. Respect. Class. All words Papelbon used to describe the Phillies. All words he failed to use to describe the Red Sox.

"It didn't really boil down to going back to the Red Sox," he said. "I knew that these guys wanted me and I made my decision right then and there."

New Sox general manager Ben Cherington said last week that the team hadn't made an offer to Papelbon, which he confirmed Monday.

"There were no talks with the Red Sox as far as getting something done and both of us agreeing on," he said. "There were talks, but I don't think that anything evolved."

Stunning by its absence was any reference, of any kind, to the Sox. No goodbyes to anyone. (When asked if the departures of general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona had any effect on his decision, he dismissed it by saying: "That's part of the nature of this game. Players come and go every year, coaches come and go every year.") No perfunctory, "I had a great seven years there". Nothing about the fans . . . except to obliquely compare Phillies fans to Red Sox fans when talking about how much he'll enjoy the atmosphere in Philadelphia. It's as if he's arriving in Philly from nowhere, with no past to reference and no memories he'll cherish.

He's gone. And it doesn't sound like he'll miss anything he left behind . . . including the song ('I'm Shipping Up To Boston' by the Dropkick Murphys) that greeted him whenever he entered a game at Fenway Park.

"Yes," he said with a smile, "I will change my entrance song for sure."

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.