Red Sox drop third straight after 5-3 loss to Tribe

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Red Sox drop third straight after 5-3 loss to Tribe

CLEVELAND Bobby Valentine said before Thursdays game that his Red Sox club was going to go on a run because theyre due for some good luck.

Looks like theyll be waiting for another day for their balance to come due as they once again fell just short in a 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Its Bostons third loss in a row and drops them three games under .500 on the season.

Felix Doubront, Bostons most consistent starter all season, appeared to wear down in the fifth in his second straight disappointing start. Doubront went just 4.1 innings giving up four runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out four.

Meanwhile the Sox looked like the keystone kops running the bases in the final innings attempting to eke out a single run.

Things didnt start all that groovy for the Sox early when Jason Donald served as a last minute lineup replacement in the leadoff spot, and kicked the game off with a solo blast to right field.

Doubront wiggled his way out of a two-out jam to end the first inning, and then cruised through the next five while waiting for the Sox offense to get things going.

That finally happened in the fourth inning when the red-hot Dustin Pedroia led off with a single, and Adrian Gonzalez launched a 395 foot bomb into the right field stands to give the Sox a one-run advantage.

For those scoring at home thats six home runs and 29 RBI for Gonzalez since the Major League All-Star break. The Sox tacked another run on an RBI double from Pedroia serving as the designated hitter for the first time in his career in his 14th straight game played -- in the top of the fifth. They needed it when Doubront appeared to tire in the fifth inning and got knocked out of the game after a pair of walks got the rookie lefty into a bases loaded jam.

Run-scoring hits from Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana tied things up, and a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly off reliever Andrew Miller pushed the Tribe to a 4-3 lead over the Sox. Ubaldo Jimenez had one of his best starts of the year for Cleveland as he sailed through six innings of work and fanned a season-high 10 Sox batters while outpitching Doubront.

The Sox had a fine situation to potentially tie things up when Pedro Ciriaco led off the seventh inning with a double to right field, but careless base-running led to Ciriaco and Carl Crawford getting gunned down in a rally crushing double play.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Tony Massarotti in the Cumberland Farms lounge believes there is 0% chance David Ortiz comes out of retirement.