Pitching struggles in latest loss

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Pitching struggles in latest loss

BOSTON -- It's been a while since Felix Doubront has earned a win. July 18 to be exact.

Friday night marked Doubront's seventh consecutive start without a win, while picking up his eighth loss of the season. He allowed five runs on six hits, two walks, and two home runs in four-plus innings.

"They're a home-run hitting team, and we were trying to stay away from the home run," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after Boston's 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

And the home-run ball did Doubront in.

After allowing one run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, Doubront allowed a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the third inning, and a two-run shot to Moises Sierra in the fourth that put Toronto up 4-0.

The fifth run charged to Doubront came in the fifth inning, as Clayton Mortensen replaced him following a Colby Rasmus triple to lead off. Mortensen then allowed a Yunel Escobar single that scored him.

"I think his stuff's pretty good," said Valentine about Doubront. "The first run of the game there, he jammed all four hitters and he gave up a run. The two-run inning, he got the first two guys out in nine pitches. Then he just kind of lost the concentration. So I think his stuff's alright. He says his arm's fine. He's just got to bust through those middle innings there."

Mortensen settled down though, and pitched two full innings while allowing just that one hit and striking out four.

"He got a lot of swings and misses, and continued to be a good pitcher for us," said Valentine.

Essentially, the Red Sox could have tied the game at 5-5, thanks to Mauro Gomez' two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. But reliever Daniel Bard had previously allowed a two-strike, two-out home run to Rasmus in the top of the ninth that provided that extra cushion for Toronto.

Bard got ahead of Rasmus 0-2, and then Rasmus ripped a 2-2 pitch into the seats in right field.

"Two-strike pitches at the end there and Daniel's one pitch away from getting out of that darn thing," said Valentine. "And he left a slider up."

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.