Wakefield focused on team, not milestone

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Wakefield focused on team, not milestone

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON --Its been over a month since Tim Wakefields last win. Andhis next one wont be just any old victory. It will be the 200th of his career.

Unfortunately for the veteran knuckleballer, hes beensearching for that personal milestone since his last win, back on July 24against the Seattle Mariners. And whether he admits it or not, that searchseems to be turning into a never-ending weight on his shoulders.

But after Friday nights 15-5 loss to the Oakland Athleticsat Fenway Park, in which he picked up his sixth loss of the season, Wakefieldinsisted that his biggest disappointment was the fact that he made Red Soxmanager Terry Francona dip into the bullpen before Saturdays double-header.

I think thats my biggest disappointment, knowing that wehave a double-header tomorrow, and I was only able to go four innings tonight,said Wakefield.

I think the biggest disappointment is that I didnt getdeep in the game. Ive got to take my personal numbers and throw them out thewindow right now. Were trying to hold onto a one-game lead in the East, andthe biggest thing coming off a long road trip like that, is to try to win thegame, for us, for the team, not for me personally.

That 200th win will eventually happen, hopefully, addedWakefield. But I think the thing I pride myself most in, is to try to give theclub quality innings and get deep in the game, and not have to use the bullpenlike we did tonight.

Wakefield lasted only four innings on Friday night, while allowingeight runs (four earned) on eight hits, two walks and two home runs.

Most of the damage was done in the top of the fourth inning,as Oakland scored six runs with two outs. Sizemore ripped a two-run home rundown the left-field line to extend the Athletics lead to 4-1.

Jemile Weeks then struck out, but a passed ball by JarrodSaltalamacchia allowed Weeks to get to and extend the inning. After Coco Crispwalked, Hideki Matsui drilled a double off the wall in center field, scoringtwo more runs and giving Oakland a 6-1 lead.

Josh Willingham added insult to injury in the next at-bat byhitting a two-run home run into the monster seats in left-center to make it8-1.

Not a real good night, said Francona. Kind of aninconsistent knuckleball tonight. Some he threw so well, and had sharp break.And then some were up that got hit.

We get the third out in the fourth inning, and the ballgets by Salty, because it is moving. Then they tack on four more. It was justkind of a rough night all the way around.

Thats just the way the fourth inning went, saidSaltalamacchia. Theres nothing really on his part. He still threw the ballthe same way. They just did a great job fighting pitches off, fouling them off,fouling them off, and not really trying to pull it too much.

So heres Wakefield. Six starts since win No. 199, and an0-3 record in those six starts. Friday night marked his shortest start of theseason, but Wakefield insists I has nothing to do with how he feels physically,or any type of pressure thats come with the search for his 200th win.

I take a lot of pride in trying to stop the bleeding theretoo, and trying to pick up my teammates, said Wakefield. I wasnt able to dothat tonight. Unfortunately I couldnt stop the bleeding there in the fourth.

I feel great, added Wakefield. I thought I had somepretty good movement on the ball, except for the end of the fourth inning, andthe ball started leaving the ballpark.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.