Red Sox slug way to win in Kansas City, 11-5


Red Sox slug way to win in Kansas City, 11-5

KANSAS CITY -- Unleashing the long ball as their preferred weapon of choice, the Red Sox belted four homers -- accounting for all but one of their runs -- and dusted the Kansas City Royals, 11-5 to snap a five-game losing streak.

The win was Boston's seventh in their last eight games on the road following another disappointing homestand.

Rookie Will Middlebrooks, hard on the heels of his grand slam Sunday at Fenway, knocked in five runs with a three-run homer in the first which jumpstarted the offense and a two-run homer in the eighth when the Royals were closing in. He also had a double.

Dustin Pedroia -- two-run homer in the fourth -- and David Ortiz -- solo shot in the third -- also homered for the Sox, who pounded out 16 hits.

Felix Doubront, whom the Sox needed to give them some length after Sunday's 17-inning marathon, went 6 13 before fading in the seventh, having thrown a career-high 111 pitches.

He had retired 12-of-13 entering the seventh, but faltered with singles and a bases-loaded walk.

Vicente Padilla bailed the Sox out of that jam when he got Billy Butler to ground into an inning-ending double play, then went on to throw two more additional scoreless innings.

Over the last 14 games, the Red Sox bullpen has compiled a 1.44 ERA, with just nine earned runs over the last 56 13 innings.

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched


Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."