Sox notes: Beckett's tough luck continues

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Sox notes: Beckett's tough luck continues

By Danny Picard and Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON --@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Josh Beckett cant win.

Literally.

After picking up his sixth no-decision on Saturday, he nowonly has two wins and three decisions in his last nine starts. Beckett has a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts this season, but only four wins to show for it.

Beckett allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in a9-8 win over the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. But the six-plus innings hepitched werent enough, even after leaving the game with a 5-2 lead.

I just kind of wore myself down, said Beckett, who threw102 pitches. We always talk about our lineups wearing pitchers down. I feltlike I kind of did that to myself today.

Later in the game, I thought he started to lose his command a littlebit, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. But hes been good, hes been solidevery time out.

As tough as it is to see a starting pitcher not get rewardedfor solid outing after solid outing, all of the no-decisions dont seem tobother Beckett.

I dont give two expletive who gets the win, saidBeckett, referring to his pitching staff. I do not have an arbitration case inFebruary. So that doesnt matter to me.

The win instead went to Alfredo Aceves, who is now 3-1 on the season. He pitched the final four innings for theRed Sox, allowing one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out two.

That run came on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 11th his first inning of the game and gave the Athletics an 8-7 lead. But afterthe Red Sox tied it on a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI double in the bottom of the 11th,Aceves settled down and earned the win.

He comes in his first inning, and walks a guy that scores,said Francona. And then after that, he was lights out. As the game progressed,it gets hard to see the ball. You could tell. Guys were taking some funnyswings, on both sides, with the shadows and everything.

He did a really good job. Were fortunate. He stretchedout. Hes on one day short, but he stretched out where he could do somethinglike that, and ended up saving us the game.

Saturdays 14-inning marathon lasted 5 hours and 17minutes. But perhaps it could have been ended in the ninth, as the Red Sox tooka 7-3 lead into the top of the ninth.

With the game still 7-3, Jonathan Papelbon put runners onfirst and second with one out. He then forced Coco Crisp to hit a ground ballto Dustin Pedroia up the middle.

It was a perfect double-play ball that would have ended thegame, but it went through Pedroias legs and into the outfield, scoringOaklands fourth run of the game.

It marked Pedroias third error of the season.

If I field that ball, I mean, were out of here four hoursago, said Pedroia. Thats just the way it goes. But we found a way.

He just didnt make the play, said Francona. Maybe Illgo buy a lottery ticket.

John Lackey isscheduled to start Sunday in the series finale against the As. It willbe his eighth start of the season and first start since a May 11 lossin Toronto. Francona expects Lackey to throw about 90 pitches, butwould not overdo the right-hander.

Shortstop MarcoScutaro, on the disabled list since May 8 with a left oblique strain, started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday. ThePawSox are in Durham for a 12:05 p.m. game Monday, facing the RaysTriple-A affiliate. Scutaro is expected to play in threegames with the PawSox then join the Red Sox Monday night in NewYork.

The New Kids on theBlock and the Backstreet Boys (NKOTBSB to those in the know) were atFenway before the game doing promotions for their upcoming concert atthe park.

With the Bruins inhe Stanley Cup Finals, former B's Ken Hodge, Sr., and Ken Hodge, Jr., wearing their Bruinssweaters, threw out the ceremonial first pitches.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.