Boston Red Sox

Red Sox get it done on road trip

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Red Sox get it done on road trip

CHICAGO -- It wasn't a perfect road trip for the Red Sox, but it was close.

The Sox won their first six games on the trip, sweeping three from the Minnesota Twins and the first three from the Chicago White Sox before falling 4-1 Sunday in the final game of the trek.

A win Sunday would have given the team its best road trip since 1977, when the Sox were 9-0 on a West Coast trip. But 6-1 is nothing to toss back.

"The guys played their butts off," said manager Bobby Valentine. "This was a tough seven days. We battled the travel, battled the weather. They're a tough group."

When the Red Sox left Boston a week ago, they had lost five straight, topped by a debacle against the Yankees in which they failed to preserve a 9-0 lead.

But as it turned out, the time on the road was good for the Red Sox. They got out from underneath the scrutiny of playing at home and found themselves, gaining confidence with each successive win.

"It was a pretty good road trip as a team," said Josh Beckett, who took the only loss on the trip. "Anytime you can sweep one (series) and take three-out-of-four in another one . . . Four-game series are tough enough. Their pitchers get to see our hitters a lot more than our hitters get to see their pitchers."

"I'm really happy for the guys and the way we played this whole road trip after a tough homestand," said outfielder Cody Ross. "We played our hearts out. It would have been nice to sweep the whole road trip, but realistically, that's tough to do. But it gives us a lot of confidence to get back home and we're all excited to get back home."

The offense carried the way earlier in the trip as the Sox averaged eight runs per game in the sweep against the Twins before reaching double figures in runs scored in each of the first two games at U.S. Cellular Field.

In Chicago, the pitching staff took over, allowing a total of 10 runs in the four games.

"This week, it seemed like things were coming together nicely," said Valentine, "mainly because of the starting pitching, obviously. And the bullpen fell in nicely."

Indeed, the Sox got four quality starts in a row in the final four games of the trip from Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

Moreover, the bullpen, which seemed in tatters on the homestand, allowed just two earned runs over 17 innings of work on the trip.

"Those things ended up working themselves out in the bullpen," said Beckett. "Those guys are going to be fine."

"We knew it would just take a good winning streak to get right back where we need to be," said Ross. "It's starting to come together now. We've played 21 games now and we're starting to figure out our team and hopefully now we can just start rolling."

"We're feeling comfortable with things," concluded Valentine. "It's still a work in progress, I believe."

But light years better than it was only a week ago.

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.