Unlikely heroes lift Sox over Royals, 7-1

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Unlikely heroes lift Sox over Royals, 7-1

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
By Joe Haggerty

KANSAS CITY Its beginning to look like Kansas City was the perfect place for the road weary Red Sox to start catching their breath.

For the second straight night the Sox received quality pitching and steady offense, and for the second straight night the Sox took home a road win this time a 7-1 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

The victory allowed the Sox to keep pace with the Yankees and remain a game back in the AL East standings.

The Sox offense was paced by a three-run Jarrod Saltalamacchia home run to deep left field on an 0-2 pitch in the top of the fifth inning off Royals lefty Jeff Francis, who will forever be linked to the ill-advised security stop of Dustin Pedroia at Coors field during the 2007 World Series. The three-run bomb by Saltalamacchia means the Sox backstop will also have a ready made line if he ever has a problem getting into the Kansas City ballpark.

Saltalamacchias home run drove the game out of reach, and allowed spot starter Andrew Miller plenty of room to work with.

Miller was simply effective in his first start since July 31 and allowed only three hits and a single run in 5 13 impressive innings before handing the ball off to Alfredo Aceves. The Sox righty finished out the final 3 23 scoreless innings for his second save of the year to go along with eight wins.

Miller and Aceves combined to hold a strong Royals offense to only four hits on the evening and virtually no sniff of offense after threatening early in the game.

Aside from Saltalamacchia and Miller, Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez busted out of an 0-for-14 slump over the last four games with a three hit performance after shaving off his goatee prior to Friday nights tilt against the Royals. The Sox offense pounded out 13 hits and five extra base knocks and served notice that they should be just fine without Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz for the next couple of weeks.

Ryan Lavarnway even chipped in with his first big league hit to right field after leaving the bases loaded in both the first and third innings when it was still a scoreless ballgame.

The Royals actually scrapped for the first run in the bottom of the third frame against Miller, but it was all Sox against Francis and the Kansas City bullpen after the third inning.

Player of the Game: Andrew Miller didnt show any rust despite being out of the Sox starting rotation since July 31, and instead held down a strong Royals offense to three hits and a single run in 5 13 innings of work. Miller improved to 5-1 this season for the Sox and appeared to turn a corner after making some mechanical tweaks to his delivery during a bullpen session with Curt Young several days ago. It may be awhile before Miller makes another start for the Sox, but he gave the rotation a much-needed day of rest while pushing all of the other starters back one additional day.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Gonzalez snapped an 0-for-14 slump with a double in the top of the first inning, and collected three hits to add to his Major League leading total of 172 hits. Gonzalez also spiked his batting average back up to .346 while creating a little bit of space between himself and Texas Rangers slugger Michael Young in the process. Gonzalez said his timing felt a little better in Fridays win than it had in the previous days, but hes still not feeling all the way back to himself quite yet.

The Goat: Jeff Francis will forever be the punch line to one of the great Dustin Pedroia stories of all time from the 2007 World Series, and he once again couldnt get through the Sox offense as a member of the Kansas City Royals. He allowed 11 hits and five earned runs to a Sox offense without Kevin Youkilis or David Ortiz, and served up a changeup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia that the Sox catcher took deep over the left field wall.

Turning Point: Darnell McDonald has struggled mightily with his bat this season, but he cracked his first triple of the season in the fourth inning to knock in Carl Crawford as the tying run. The three-base hit ended with McDonald scoring on a Jacoby Ellsbury sacrifice fly, and took away all of Kansas Citys momentum following their first run of the game.

By the Numbers: .378 Jed Lowries batting average against left-handed pitching (31-for-82) this season after collecting three hits in Bostons Friday night win over the Royals.

Quote of Note: I didnt even see where it went. I hit it good and I knew if I hit it to that part of the park it was gonna be gone. I was just running at point I was jogging. Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia talking about his mammoth three-run homer over everything in left field in the fifth frame that put the game out of reach.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.