Bruins win battles in front, goals follow

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Bruins win battles in front, goals follow

WASHINGTON Claude Julien was looking for offense out of the Bruins, and he finally found it in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals.

Sure, the big noticeable move was switching out Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on the two forward lines and effectively breaking up a BergeronBrad Marchand combo thats been together for two years.

It was good. Krejci is obviously a skilled guy. I havent played with him much, but hes a good guy to skate with, said Marchand. When things arent going your way changes happen. We didnt get a ton of chances in the first couple of games. Sometimes you change things up and see how it goes to see how different things connect.

That didnt spark any of the top six forwards aside from Rich Peverley potting a second period goal that got the Bruins on the board in the game. But what did spur the Bs offense to four goals was exactly what the team has been talking about for the entire series: getting bodies to the front of the net at the proper time and collecting some of the rebounds that Braden Holtby has been allowing near his doorstep.

Daniel Paille did that in the second period when Holtby kicked out a shot to the front of the net, and Brian Rolston did it again in the third period when the Caps goaltender couldnt control a Chris Kelly shot rifled at the net.

In both cases it was Bs forwards being in the right place at the right time and winning battles in the offensive zone at the key point in the game. In most cases it also came down to the defensemen snaking shots through the bodies in front of the Washington net, and helping to create those chances for the Boston forwards in the crease that werent materializing in Games 1 and 2.

After winning the blocked shots battle in the first two games, the Bruins actually blocked more shots than the Capitals by a 21-15 count in Game 3 of the series.

The defensemen did a great job of getting shots through and creating opportunities for the guys in front to get rebounds, said Marchand. As long as we continue to battle in front there and win those loose pucks, hopefully well continue to score goals.

With the pilot light finally getting flickered with the Bs forwards battling around the crease area and Holtby finally staggered with unrelenting pressure within the final 40 minutes of Monday nights contest, the Bruins are realizing it was less about big line switches and more about getting back to whats made them the second-ranked offense in the NHL this season.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.