Sox balk three, lose 2-1 to Rays to end streak

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Sox balk three, lose 2-1 to Rays to end streak

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. How bad was the opener of the Red Sox' eight-game road trip Wednesday night? Put it this way: the Sox had nearly as many balks and hit batsman (five combined) as base hits (seven).

After averaging nearly seven runs during their home winning streak, the Sox were silenced by Jeremy Hellickson and three relievers as the Tampa Bay Rays held off the Sox, 21, snapping the Sox' streak at five games.

The Rays scratched together the go-ahead run in the sixth after starter Clay Buchholz put the first two runners on the corners.

Andrew Miller got Luke Scott to hit a routine fly ball to shallow right, but with the Tropicana Field roof as his backdrop, Cody Ross had difficulty picking up the ball.

As he twisted and made the catch, Ross was off-balance and was in no position to get much on his throw to the plate and Matt Joyce scored easily from third.

Buchholz committed one balk and reliever Franklin Morales committed two, giving the Red Sox five balks in the last eight games.

The lone Red Sox run came in the fourth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia slammed a double to right, and after a walk to Cody Ross, scored on a single to left by Daniel Nava.

Boston was 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays had grabbed a 10 lead in the second when Carlos Pena singled, took second when Luke Scott was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a double play and was awarded home on a balk by Buchholz.

That was just the first of three balks charged to Red Sox pitchers on the night. Morales was called for one in the seventh, though it didn't result in a run. The lefty added another an inning later.

More to come . . .

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.