Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

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Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- For six innings, the Red Sox, with their bats silent, seemed headed for another embarrassing loss to an inferior National League team.

Then came the comeback.

The Red Sox rallied for six runs in the seventh inning and stole a 7-5 win from the Houston Astros.

Dustin Pedroia hit a cue shot to right with the bases loaded to tie the game and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a two-run double to left-center, giving the Red Sox their first
lead since the top of the first when Marco Scutaro led off the game with a home run.

Astros starter Bud Norris shut the Sox down after Scutaro's homer and didn't allow a second hit until J.D. Drew's leadoff single in the fateful seventh.

After Tim Wakefield was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in 5 13 innings, five Red Sox relievers combined to shut out Houston for the final 3 23 innings.

The victory was the second in a row for the Sox, marking their first time they'd won consecutive games since June 19-20.

STAR OF THE GAME: Adrian Gonzalez

There's a reason Gonzalez leads the majors in RBI this season.

After looking overmatched in his first three at-bats (two strikeouts and a double play), Gonzalez used his patented inside-out swing to drill a two-run double to left field as part of the Red Sox' six-run seventh inning.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia was on base three times, but his best at-bat came in the seventh, right before Gonzalez put the Sox up by two.

With the bases loaded, Pedroia hit a cue shot in between first baseman Brett Wallace and the first-base bag, scoring two runs and giving the Red Sox a fresh start with their 5-5 tie.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Sergio Escalona

After Houston starter Bud Norris tired, Brad Mills went to his bullpen -- with disastrous results.

Escalona was the first (and worst) culprit. First he gave up a rocket that ate up shortstop Clint Barmes. Then, he managed to hit Darnell McDonald (hitting all of .115 at the time), loading the bases and leading to Pedroia's and Gonzalez's heroics.

TURNING POINT: When Escalona hit the light-hitting McDonald,

It loaded the bases, extended the inning, forced Brad Mills to make another pitching change and gave the Sox the opportunity to complete their comeback.

BY THE NUMBERS: 74
The Red Sox have scored 74 runs in the seventh inning this season; no other team in Major League Baseball has more than 47.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"We bailed ourselves out of that miserable start and we certainly have a long way to go. But we're playing better.'' -- Terry Francona assessing the Red Sox season at the halfway point.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.