Pitching duel ends in play at the plate

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Pitching duel ends in play at the plate

SEATTLE -- The baseball and the baserunner were on a collision course, hurdling toward home plate, from opposite directions. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had to keep an eye on both.
In a scoreless tie in the bottom of the ninth, only everything was on the line.
"The ol' bang-bang play,'' Bobby Valentine called it.
While blocking the plate from baserunner Casper Wells, Saltalamacchia thought he had the ball in his glove as he went to apply the tag.
More than a half-hour after the play had taken place, the Red Sox' catcher wasn't exactly sure what had transpired.
Did he tag Wells, only to have the ball jar loose on contact?
Did he never fully have control of the ball?
In reality, it didn't matter. Wells was safe, scoring the only run in a brilliant pitching duel, and the Red Sox lost to the Mariners, 1-0.
Wells was on second after a leadoff double, and the Sox elected to watch Justin Smoak with first base open.
Seattle pinch-hit Jaso for Miguel Olivo, and Jaso laced a hard single to right, which right field Cody Ross charged.
"We practice that play quite a bit,'' recounted Ross. "It's a do-or-die play. I know he's going to go (for the plate) right there. He can run pretty good. I charged it and came up clean. You're trying to keep the ball down; you don't want to air-mail it and not give your catcher a chance.''
But somewhere between Saltalamacchia fielding the throw and the application of the tag, the ball got away."It's just the way this game is,'' said Ross. "It's crazy.''
"The ball was hit off the end of the bat to right,'' said Saltalamacchia. "I knew Cody was going to make a great throw, and he did. It was right on the money. I've just got to do a better job of holding onto it in a big situation like that.
"It was a good throw, low, on-line, so I was trying to stay low with it and then as the ball was coming closer, I was trying to block the plate to make sure he didn't get to it. And I think as I was doing it, I was swiping in, trying to block the plate so he didn't get near it and I think it just rattled around in my glove.
"I think he tagged him in the helmet. But either way, he went way around home plate. I had a chance to back and tag him if I had held onto the ball.''
But he didn't. End of game.

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

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Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

BOSTON - Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Jake Arrieta during a five-run first inning and the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Friday night.

Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez also drove in a run each.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (2-1) got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. in the early innings before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.

Arrieta (3-1) logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

BOSTON - It's a tad ironic the Red Sox met with David Ortiz on Tuesday about his post-playing career, and then the offense went out and did nothing and Xander Bogaerts was publicly lamenting Ortiz's absence two days later.

John Henry, Tom Werner, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met at Fenway Park on Tuesday to discuss the retired slugger’s future role with the organization, team president Sam Kennedy said. 

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Nothing's imminent, but there's one thing Ortiz is unlikely to do with the Sox in the near future: broadcasting. He could still do some of that in the postseason for say, FOX, but it appears an arrangement with NESN isn't in the cards for now, per Kennedy.

Ortiz's role with the Red Sox is still expected to be wide-ranging, something bigger than the standard alumnus agreement. He seems set on taking his time, enjoying his retired life, saying over the weekend he wants to be able to give the job the time it deserves. 

Kennedy in April was unsure if anything would get done this year. 

As for the team's play without Ortiz, and Bogaerts' comments?

"This is an incredibly talented ballclub," Werner said Friday at a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later. "I’m really not terribly concerned. Like all fans, I’m a bit frustrated when we don’t give great pitching run support.

"We struggled the last couple of nights. It’s frustrating to think that Chris Sale, who I think is the best pitcher in the American League, doesn’t have much run support. But it’s April. I've been taught to not really look at the standings 'til July. Frustrated by the past two days, but look at the standings, and we’re only one win behind the Cubs. So you know, I mean I wish we were playing a little bit better,  but the team is going to bounce back."

Werner reiterated the Sox have room in their budget to add players ahead of the trade deadline.