Red Sox bats awake after interleague lull

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Red Sox bats awake after interleague lull

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com 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

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

BOSTON - Xander Bogaerts had three hits and three RBIs, Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double during a four-run seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

Rick Porcello (3-5) won for just the second time at home despite allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed five runs, four earned.

Joey Gallo got his 14th homer for Texas, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

Texas entered having won 11 of 12. The 11 runs allowed marked a season high.

Andrew Cashner (1-4) pitched five innings, allowing five runs, six hits and four walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them allowing Bogaerts to score from third and put Boston up 2-1 after three.

Dombrowski defends John Farrell after group strategy meeting on Monday

Dombrowski defends John Farrell after group strategy meeting on Monday

 

The Red Sox braintrust had a meeting on Monday's off-day to strategize with a 22-21 team that's underperforming and in third place.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told NESN's Tom Caron on the Sox pre-game show that he was part of a meeting with Farrell, assistant general managers Eddie Romero and Brian O'Halloran and vice president of baseball research and development Zack Scott.

"We sat down yesterday for over a couple hours," Dombrowski told Caron. "I [had] already talked to some of our scouts and just kind of [went] over our club to try to get it to fit together a little bit. Because some of those things, the injuries, and even the guys that are playing, like in Hanley [Ramirez's] case, it does affect what you’re trying to do. So normally at this time of year, I think you have a better pulse [of the team]. But I think we need a little bit more time. We just really haven’t flowed as a club. We haven’t played as well as I think we’re capable of and I think we need to give ourselves that opportunity."

Asked about Farrell's job security, Dombrowski defended a manager whose 2018 option was picked up over the winter.

"Well, we won a divisional crown last year," Dombrowski said. "He managed very well for us at the time. I think that John, as well as everybody else, is frustrated by our performance and that we haven’t taken off, but we’re not buried either. I mean, we’re four games out of first place and we really haven’t been in a flow. And when you look at it, it’s like, OK, last week Thursday we won two great games in St. Louis. I wasn’t with the team, I was in Salem. 

"Well I looked at the match-up on Thursday, and I’m thinking, well if [Sonny] Gray throws like he’s capable, I’m not sure what we’re going to get out of [Hector] Velazquez at that particular time. And of course, Velazquez didn’t have a very good outing. So you lose that ball game. Is that John’s fault? I can’t put that on John. 

"Friday night, you have Chris Sale, he threw the ball very well. Well the play that Trevor Plouffe made on Hanley Ramirez, I don’t know if he’s made a play like that all year long. Mookie Betts, in the ninth inning gets a line drive right at the third baseman. Well you have a chance to score five or six runs, didn’t happen. No excuses, but it’s one of those where I think to pin those things on John Farrell are just not fair. I think we’re in a position where he’s managed well, he’s managed divisional champions. I think we’re in a position, we have a good club. We just need to get in a better flow of things."

Dombrowski felt the Sox were harder to evaluate a quarter into the season than most teams would be.

"Because the reality is when you look at our ballclub, it really hasn’t been together at all at any point during the year for me," he said. "So I think when you look at it, you say OK, well, we need to improve our fourth and fifth starters. Well, David Price comes back next week — we think he’ll be back next week. So that’s a pretty big addition, that’s like making a major trade. 

"I still think Drew Pomeranz, although he has scuffled at times, should be a fourth-, fifth-type starter on a good club. … We need to straighten him out. I think he’s capable of doing that. When you talk about bullpen, our bullpen’s been good but I still think we’re going to get Carson Smith in a short time period, so that’s another addition that we have.

"Third base, you know has been a hole for us where Pablo Sandoval could be back very soon. I’m not sure where Brock Holt fits into that whole equation. So we’re really on our fifth third baseman right now when you look at it. Pablo is there, and then Brock Holt was there. Marco Hernandez is going to have surgery, we’re going to miss him for the rest of the year. Josh Rutledge has been over there."

Holt, out with vertigo, and the Red Sox are regrouping. Holt's exhausted the 20 days permitted for a minor league rehab stint, and is heading to Pittsburgh to meet concussion expert Micky Collins. Another rehab stint figures to follow eventually, barring a change in diagnosis.

Hernandez is to have surgery on his left shoulder Friday, which likely ends his season.

Hanley Ramirez can still be the DH, but his sore shoulders have relegated him to only that position, not first base. That's part of the reason Sam Travis was added to the roster Tuesday.

"There’s a couple reasons behind it," Dombrowski said of Travis' call-up.  "We’re in a position where we have a roster spot for a positional player. Secondly, we’ve talked about giving Mitch [Moreland] a little bit of a blow on his feet at times, to not play too many games. And we faced a left hand pitcher tomorrow [in the Rangers' Martin Perez]. He’s been hitting the ball well, Sam has. 

"We’re trying to sit [Moreland] a little bit vs. the left-handed pitching. Even though he’s done OK, we just don’t want him to get too tired as the year goes on. And the reality is, originally that was going to be Hanley [playing first base vs. lefties]. Well, Hanley’s not available to do that now, so we needed to make an adjustment ourself on how to do that. And with the extra roster spot, Pawtucket right down the road, we figure it’s a good chance to give him that opportunity. 

"In Hanley’s case, not playing first base, people don’t realize at times how much that changes the mix of your club. Because at some time, we are going to have Chris Young get at-bats and DH at that point."