Sox rally but can't overcome Beckett start

839491.jpg

Sox rally but can't overcome Beckett start

BOSTON Will Middlebrooks' three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh saved Josh Beckett from his 10th loss of the season.

But it was not enough to save the Red Sox from a 10-9 loss, ending the 10-game homestand with a 4-6 record, falling to 55-57 this season. The Sox are 7-12 in Becketts starts.

Beckett turned in another poor performance Wednesday afternoon, going five innings (plus two batters in the sixth), giving up eight runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts and one hit batter. His ERA went up from 4.54 to 4.97.

The eight runs were a season high. The three home runs, though not a season high, were the most since giving up five homers in his first start of the season, April 7 at Detroit. Beckett had allowed just three home runs combined in his last 14 starts, and had not given up any in his last 12.

Neither starter was around for the decision. Texas left-hander Matt Harrison lasted just 4.2 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts and a home run.

Oswalt replaced Harrison, and, after retiring the first four batters he faced, faced four more without recording an out. With the by four runs in the seventh, Oswalt gave up a lead-off single to Dustin Pedroia, an RBI double to Adrian Gonzalez, and a walk to Cody Ross, before Middlebrooks three-run blast to left to tie the score, getting Beckett off the hook.

The home run was Middlebrooks 15th of season. Tuesday against the Rangers he hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career.

But in the ninth, Clayton Mortensen, who was called up earlier in the day and who replaced Beckett, opened with a walk to Elvis Andrus and a single to Josh Hamilton, before being replaced by Alfredo Aceves.

Aceves allowed a sacrifice fly to his first batter, Adrian Beltre, giving the Rangers a 10-9 lead.

Mortensen took the loss, falling to 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA.

Alexi Ogando, who came in after Oswalt, earned the win, improving to 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

wbc-adam-jones-032417x.jpg

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones was raised, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones was raised, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.