Boston Red Sox

Red Sox win first, beating Yankees in home opener

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Red Sox win first, beating Yankees in home opener

ByArtMartone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Forsix games, they were the gang that couldn't shoot straight. On therare occasions when they hit, they couldn't pitch. When they pitched,they couldn't hit. Bad defense? Boneheaded plays? Check, andcheck.

Then they came home. And everythingchanged.

Oh, they still had some pitching problems-- John Lackey's six-runs-allowed-in-five-innings performance was ablast from the (recent) past -- but the Red Sox had little else tocomplain about in Friday's 9-6 victory over the Yankees in the FenwayPark opener.

They gotfour shutout relief innings from Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, DanielBard and Jonathan Papelbon. After going 1-for-14 with runners inscoring position on Wednesday and Thursday in Cleveland, they went6-for-9 on Friday . . . and most of the damage came with two outs.Dustin Pedroia led the 12-hit attack with a home run and two singles,and Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchiaalso had multihit games.

And when it was over, theywere off the schneid. The Sox beat out the Rays in the race to avoidbeing baseball's last winless team.

Player of the Game: DustinPedroia

He'd been hard on himself for letting the team down inclutch situations recently, but that came to an end Friday. He hit afirst-inning home run, cutting the Yankee lead to 2-1. He delivered atwo-out, two-run single in the second, giving the Sox a 4-3 lead (andlater scored himself, sliding home at right on a single by AdrianGonzalez). And he added a third hit, another single, in the eighthinning.

His 3-for-5 performance lifted his averagefrom .227 to .296, and it helped his team lift its winning percentagefrom .000 to .143. Not much . . . but you have to startsomewhere.

Honorable mention: Jonathan Papelbon, AlfredoAceves, Bobby Jenks and DanielBard

Papelbon (left) finally got a savesituation, seven games into the season, and he ran with it: He struckout Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter and got Mark Teixeira on a lazy flyto center to end it.

But he wouldn't have had theopportunity were it not for his 'pen mates. Aceves came on in the sixthin relief of John Lackey with a 7-6 lead and held the Yanks scoreless(with the help of a double play). Jenks walked the leadoff hitter inthe seventh but got the next three batters. And Bard was theGood Bard, recording a 1-2-3 eighth.

Just like theydrew it up. Finally.

The goat: PhilHughes

The Yankee starterwas going up against a team that entered the game with a .181 battingaverage, 10 extra-base hits in 193 at-bats, and was averaging2.6 runs pergame. Against him, the Red Sox hit .636 (7-for-11) with six singles anda home run, and scored seven runs in two innings . . . which comes outto a 28-run-per-game pace. Which means that Hughes' 11.25 ERA went upduring the course of his brief -- but, for Boston, fruitful --appearance.

The turning point

The Red Soxhad gone 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position over their last twogames in Cleveland, and it looked like it would be more of the samewhen Carl Crawford -- batting in the second inning with runners atfirst and second, one out, and the Sox trailing, 3-2 -- grounded out toshortstop. That moved runners to second and third, but it also movedthe Yankees to within one out of getting out of the inning with thelead.

Instead, the Sox gotfour straight men on base -- via three hits and a walk -- and scoredfour runs. It started with Dustin Pedroia's two-runsingle, and it was followed by an RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez, awalk to Kevin Youkilis, and an RBI single from David Ortiz (right).

The 6-3 lead didn't hold, thanks to John Lackey(who allowed single runs in each of the next three innings to allow theYankees to tie the score), but the Boston offense had come alive.Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-out RBI double in the fifth put the Soxahead to stay, and J.D. Drew delivered a pair of insurance runs in theeighth with a two-run single.

Stat of the Day: 6-for-9

Thatwas the Red Sox' average with runners in scoring position Friday, aftergoing 1-for-14 with RISP on Wednesday and Thursday and Cleveland.Dustin Pedroia had one of the biggest of the six hits, a two-run singlein the second (right) that gave the Sox a 4-3lead.

What's more, the Sox went 4-for-6 with RISPand two out, as five of their nine runs Friday were scored with twoout.

Quote of the day

"I never sawa team so happy to be 1-6.'' -- Terry Francona

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com

BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

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BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

1:00 - Shaughnesy, Drellich and Merloni give their leading off impressions regarding the Red Sox

4:00 - Dan Shaughnessy explains why he is still skeptical about the Red Sox team, and why he will not be able to feel confident until he sees them play in the postseason

9:00 - Does our Baseball Show crew have a problem with the Red Sox letting Chris Sale pitch the 8th inning so he could get his 300th strikeout?

15:00 - Jared Carrabis joins the Baseball Show crew to discuss what matches he likes for the Red Sox in the playoffs. 

17:00 - Jared Carrabis on how would the Red Sox match up against the Yankees in the playoffs

20:00 - How does Jared Carrabis think about the use of David Price as a relief pitcher?

Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

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Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

CINCINNATI -- Mookie Betts wasn't about to stop. Neither are the Red Sox, who are heading home with a chance to win another division title.

Betts doubled with the bases loaded to tie it in the eighth inning and dashed home from second base on an infield single, rallying the Red Sox to a 5-4 victory Sunday that moved them closer to an AL East championship.

By winning 14 of its last 17 games, Boston has left virtually no opening for the second-place New York Yankees to catch up. The Red Sox, already assured a playoff spot, completed an 8-1 road trip that put them in excellent position to win a second consecutive division crown, something they've never done.

Coupled with New York's 9-5 loss in Toronto, the Red Sox reduced their magic number to three. They lead the Yankees by five games with seven to play.

That means Fenway Park can start preparing for a potential celebration. Boston finishes the regular season at home with three games against Toronto and four vs. Houston.

"We're learning a lot about ourselves," said Doug Fister, who pitched into the sixth. "We can put ourselves in a corner early and fight back. If we need a touchdown, the boys can put up a touchdown."

Boston inched closer with more late-game flair. The Red Sox lead the majors with 11 wins when trailing after the seventh inning.

They loaded the bases against Raisel Iglesias (3-3), who had blown only one save chance all season. Betts had fouled a ball off his foot on Friday night and missed one game. His double tied it 5-all, and he sprinted home on the still-sore foot - diving headfirst into the plate - on Rafael Devers' infield single.

"I felt he had a chance to beat it, and with me running it was going to be a tough play at the plate," Betts said.

Robby Scott (2-1) got the win, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 39 chances. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances.

Billy Hamilton helped the Reds go up 4-1. He tripled home a run and brought the crowd to its feet by scoring after getting caught in a rundown between first and second. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a wild throw, and Hamilton kept going when nobody covered home.

"In my whole career, that's one of the best ones, especially since I was in a rundown and just trying to get to second base and then I end up scoring," Hamilton said.

GOT THEIR BACKS

Red Sox and Reds players stood for the national anthem. Boston manager John Farrell said if any of his players decide to follow the example of other athletes and make a statement during the anthem, he'll support them. "We strive to create an environment that's inclusive," Farrell said. "We would have their back as an organization if that's the expression they chose. It's their constitutional right."

INTERLEAGUE

The Red Sox are 12-1 against the Reds all-time in the regular season and have won nine straight, their longest winning streak against any NL team since interleague play started in 1997. The Reds beat the Red Sox in seven games for the 1975 World Series championship. Overall, Boston is 16-4 in interleague play this season. The Reds are 5-15.

90 LOSSES AGAIN

The Reds reached the 90-loss mark for the third straight year. They lost 98 games in 2015 and 94 last year. It's the first time they've had three straight 90-loss seasons since 1930-34.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez ran the bases before the game, his next step in recovering from a sprained knee.

Reds: Hamilton was back in the lineup after getting a day off. He's played twice since returning from a broken left thumb.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (16-5) faces Blue Jays LHP Brett Anderson (1-2) on Monday night. Pomeranz is 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break.

Reds: After a day off, they finish with three games in Milwaukee and three at the Chicago Cubs. Deck McGuire (0-0) makes his first major league start Tuesday night against Zach Davies (17-9).

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