Red Sox explode at the plate to sweep M's, 12-8

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Red Sox explode at the plate to sweep M's, 12-8

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- It doesn't take much to beat the Seattle Mariners these days, but just in case, the Red Sox pounded out 17 hits and gained a 12-8 win over the slumping Mariners, who lost for the 15th straight time.

A grand slam by Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan in the seventh made the final score seem respectable -- and chased starter Tim Wakefield. But the game had long since been decided.

Wakefield gave up seven runs in 6 13 innings but not before recording his 199th career win and notching his 2,000th strikeout as a member of the Red Sox. He received a long standing ovation after fanning Mike Carp for the final out in the sixth.

The Mariners grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Red Sox quickly answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning and pulled away with five more in the their half of the fifth.

Every Red Sox starter except Marco Scutaro collected at least one hit, with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each getting three hits. Saltalamacchia had four RBI.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Reddick and David Ortiz had two hits each.

Alfredo Aceves pitched the final 2 23 innings, giving up one run.

While the Mariners' freefall continued, the Red Sox won for the 17th time in their last 20 games.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Saltalamacchia collected three hits -- one of three Red Sox players to do so -- and added four RBI.

He provided a two-run single in the five-run first for Boston, then added a two-run single in the fifth when the Red Sox added another five-run frame. The four RBI represented a season high for the catcher, who is hitting .438 over his last seven games.

HONORABLE MENTION: Carl Crawford
Crawford lifted his average to a season-high .254 with a two-hit game while knocking in two runs.

Crawford came off the DL Monday in Baltimore and is 9-for-24 since returning to the lineup.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Michael Pineda

The Mariners said after the game that their rookie pitcher may have been tipping pitchers; it certainly looked like the Red Sox knew what was coming, especially in the first when everything they hit off him was a rocket.

He lasted 4 13 innings and was charged with seven runs.

TURNING POINT: In the fifth inning, the Red Sox were leading 5-3 with one out and the bases loaded.

Crawford's two-run single to left scored two and two batters later, chased Pineda from the game.

BY THE NUMBERS: While the Mariners have lost 15 straight, the Red Sox have nine in a row at home and 17 of the last 20 overall.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "This is the best lineup I've ever played for here. It's pretty solid one through nine.'' --Tim Wakefield.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.