Boston Red Sox

Red Sox happy with recent home success

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Red Sox happy with recent home success

BOSTON It was the kind of win the Red Sox needed. Contributions from all parts offense, defense, starting pitching, and the bullpen.

Perhaps it was enough to fend off the naysayers. For the time being.

Its very encouraging, said manager Bobby Valentine, who celebrated his 62 birthday with a 12-1 win over the Indians at Fenway Park.

Especially at home because there was some question after game one of the four-game series that wed never play well at home again, and that there was a mental state that we couldnt break through, and la-de-da-de-da-de-da.

When you see the guys in the clubhouse thats a good thing for me. Its good. And I think we had a good thing most of the year, its just frustrating because wed get so close and it would slip away. And now were just banging the door down. Were not letting the door shut the last couple of games. Its really been good.

While Daniel Bard was not at his sharpest, it was enough to hold the Indians at bay. The four-run lead his offense handed him in the first inning certainly helped. Bards outing, along with Clay Buchholz on Friday and Felix Doubronts on Saturday, gives the Sox a streak of three straight quality starts for the first time this season.

The bullpen once again came through, with three scoreless innings, one each from Rich Hill, Matt Albers, and Scott Atchison.

The 11-run margin of victory was the Sox largest of the season, and largest since an 18-6 win over the Blue Jays on Sept. 13. The Sox have scored 10 or more runs nine times this season, the most ever in the teams first 34 games of a season.

The offense batted around twice, in the four-run first and in the six-run seventh. Jarrod Saltalamacchia led the offense going 3-for-4 with a season-high five RBI, the second most of his career, and a his fifth home run of the season.

It starts with pitching, said Saltalamacchia. Pitching and defense wins games. So last three starts have been great. These guys have been going after the guy, really commanding the plate, commanding the zone, kind of setting the tone for us and then with our offense were going to be able to put some runs on the board. And a day like today where Bardo battled and just going after these guys and didn't give in, that was what picked everyone up.

Rookies Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks combined to go 4-for-5 with six runs scored, five RBI, a home run, two doubles, a walk, and Nava twice getting hit by a pitch.

Its awesome. It really is, Saltalamacchia said. Thats whats going to happen throughout the year. You get guys that are injured, guys that get called up and step in like theyve done. Its not easy to come to Boston and step in like they've done and do a great job.

Perhaps a game like this will make it easier to play, at least for the final two games on the six-game homestand.

Youve just got to take it all in, Saltalamacchia said. Its the best place in the world to play and obviously if were not playing well, they're going to let us know and thats part of the game. But a day like today, we put some runs on the board, but it was awesome.

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.