Boston Red Sox

Saltalamacchia on Doubront: 'The stuff he's got is best in the league'

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Saltalamacchia on Doubront: 'The stuff he's got is best in the league'

MIAMI -- Felix Doubront followed his worst start of the season with one of his best.
Five days after being clubbed for six runs against the Washington Nationals, Doubront took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went seven fulls innings for the first time in his career, limiting the Miami Marlins to two runs in a 10-2 Red Sox victory.
"He had all of his arsenal tonight,'' marveled Bobby Valentine. "With an explosive fastball, his curveball was thrown for strikes, a good changeup and a cutter...Wow, that's good pitching. He was very good tonight.''
Doubront has been mostly good all season and is tied with Clay Buchholz for most wins (seven) on the Red Sox staff. But his last outing was uncharacteristic for him and he was determined to put it behind him.
The lefty issued a one-out walk in the first, but then retired the next 16 Marlins he faced. He struck out the side in the third, and fanned the first two hitters he faced in the sixth and still hadn't allowed a hit.
That changed when Jose Reyes, who hit triples in each of the first two games of the series, laced a homer into the seats in left, spoiling the no-hitter and shutout in one swing.
"I was feeling that something was going on,'' said Doubront, "but I was just enjoying it and focusing on winning.''
Doubront said he focused on making some adjustments from the start against the Nationals, with a special emphasis placed on doing a better job keeping the ball down in the strike zone.
"I wanted to do better and get my confidence back,'' said Doubront. "I was ready to focus on what I was doing.''
Doubront stumbled some in the seventh, allowing a leadoff single to Hanley Ramirez and a double to Giancarlo Stanton, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
Valentine visited him on the mound, reminding him to stay focused, and let him get through the inning, retiring the next three hitters.
Never before had Doubront completed the seventh inning.
"I was waiting for that,'' said Doubront, who improved to 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA. "Finally.''
"I don't think he was looking at it, thinking, 'If I don't (get through the seventh), it's a bad start,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "But it's a good thing from a personal standpoint. It's like, 'I'm getting better, I'm starting to get there, and get my pitch count down.' Which is what we want.''
Saltalamacchia isn't surprised with the success Doubront has enjoyed this year.
"The stuff he's got is the best, best in the league,'' said the catcher. "He's up there with CC (Sabathia) and Jonny (Lester) and all those guys as far as lefthanded pitchers go.''

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.