Boston Red Sox

Sox bullpen offers glimpse of dominance

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Sox bullpen offers glimpse of dominance

BOSTON Although their outings went for naught, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, and Mark Melancon each pitched a perfect inning from the eighth through the 11th, respectively -- in Saturdays 12-inning loss to the Orioles at Fenway Park.

It was just the second time since 1920 that the Sox had four consecutive pitchers throw at least one perfect inning. The other time was Sept. 30, 2007, against the Twins, when Jon Lester, Mike Timlin, Manny Delcarmen, and Eric Gagne did so.

Well, were all very talented, said Melancon. But its been really a frustrating year all the way around, because we all have the talent to do that. But for some reason it just seems like everybodys had a taste of humble pie. We need to finish strong. I dont know. Its just frustrating.

The Sox got their slice of humble pie in the 12th inning, when Alfredo Aceves gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, to serve up the Sox fourth straight loss, guaranteeing a loss of the season series to the Orioles for the first time since 2004.

They pitched their butts off, said manager Bobby Valentine.

The bullpen was awesome, said catcher Ryan Lavarnway. They slammed the door. They were unhittable for a while.

A while. But, not to the point that Valentine wanted to leave any of them in beyond the one inning they each pitched.

Not this time of the year, no, he said. I mean, theres a temptation. Maybe if the shoe was on the other foot. But I cant see that being a productive thing right now.

If the shoe were on the other foot. Meaning if the Sox, like the Os, were fighting for a play-off spot. Instead, the Sox are fighting to finish the season with a bit of respectability.

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.