Red Sox bats awake after interleague lull


Red Sox bats awake after interleague lull

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- With three-fifths of their Opening Day starting rotation on the disabled list, the Red Sox could be in panic mode.

Instead, they're in first place in the American League East.

The Sox offense more than picked up the slack Thursday night, combining for six home runs as they pounded their way to a 10-4 win over the Orioles that, coupled with the Yankees' loss to the Rays, moved them back atop the A.L. East. They hadn't hit that many homers in a game since July 4, 2003, at Yankee Stadium, when they connected for seven.

The biggest blast came from the smallest player in a Sox uniform. Dustin Pedroia hit his ninth homer of the season, a three-run shot in the third that cleared the Green Monster and landed on the parking deck across Lansdowne Street, turning a 2-0 Baltimore lead into a 3-2 Boston advantage. In the seventh inning, David Ortiz and Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hitback-to-back-to-back solo home runs as the Sox blew it open.

The guys did a great job, said manager Terry Francona. We scored and we added on. Pedey with a big hit early, put us back in it. Kept fighting and getting big hits the rest of the way.

I just got a ball, it was actually up and in, Pedroia said. It was out of the strike zone but I was able to get the barrel on it. So it worked out for us tonight.

Adrian Gonzalez had a solo shot in the fifth, his 17th of the season, and Jacoby Ellsbury added a two-run shot in the sixth.

In all, the Sox clubbed 13 hits, shy of their season-high of 20 but more than enough to get the job done.

Its a very good offense and I think we all talked about it before the season started, said Gonzalez, who collected his 17th homer of the season. Were just capable of putting up a lot of runs.

We saw the ball well today. It was a good game to start the series. Hopefully, we can continue Friday.

Which of the six home runs was most impressive? It depends on whom you ask.

I dont know, said Pedroia. We put some good swings. I dont know. You guys can figure that one out.

Ill take them all, said Ellsbury. We had a variety. One monster ball, two to dead center, a few to right. They were all pretty good swings. You can't go wrong with any one of them.

Pedeys, said Gonzalez. That one just because of the situation, putting us ahead. It put us ahead and we didnt look back after that.

The Sox have now won three in a row and seven of their last eight games. Finishing with interleague play, getting their DH back is a big factor.

I think getting out of the National League is helpful, said Saltalamacchia. We had nine games in a row without David. Thats our DH. We need him. So obviously that kind of killed what we had going beforehand. But now were back in our park and we got him back in there.

After some post-interleague struggles -- entering Thursday night, he was 2-for-28 since June 21 -- Ortiz went 2-for-4 against the Os. His home run, a laser to straightaway center field, was the 145th of his career at Fenway, tying him with Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr for fifth all-time.

Hes back, he said, in the groove he wants to be in.

Im back to normal, he said. And the more I play, the better I feel.

The homer, his 18th of the season, came off left-hander Pedro Viola, a sign of good things. It was just his fourth home run against a left-handed pitcher this season.

That swing against a lefty, thats pretty indicative, Francona said. When you hit a ball like that against a lefty you got to have a good swing."

Francona understood Ortiz' recent struggles, which were due in large part to being relegated to mostly pinch-hitting duties during the nine interleague road games.

"We did the best we could in interleague," said Francona. "We knew it was going to be tough.

But, now they are back in the American League, back at Fenway, and in first place.

What I want to do, said Francona, is win tomorrow.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."