By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox 7-5 loss to the Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park could be their most discouraging loss of the season, falling to the team with the American Leagues second-worst record and the third-worst record in baseball.
There were plenty of reasons for the loss poor pitching, lack of timely hitting (the Sox were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position) and sloppy defense.
Nursing a tenuous one-run lead in the eighth inning, Daniel Bard gave up two singles with a strikeout in between, before being lifted for Jonathan Papelbon. After another strikeout, Papelbon loaded the bases before giving up the devastating three-run double to O's lead-off batter Robert Andino that crushed the Sox.
The performance of starter Erik Bedard did little to inspire confidence in the starting pitching that has been horrendous this month. Bedard lasted just 2 23 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with no strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches 51 in the third inning, tying a major-league high for one inning this season. Despite his performance, Bedards outing actually lowered the ERA of Sox starting pitchers in September from 6.87 to 6.77.
With one run already across in the top of the third, Josh Reddicks error on what would have been the third out instead opened the door for the Os to add three more runs.
The only thing to mitigate the sting of such an embarrassing loss was the Rays loss to the Yankees in New York, cutting the Sox magic number to clinch the AL wild card to seven.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.
OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.
The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.
Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.
Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.
Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.
With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.
Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.
Fox Sports first reported the agreement.
Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.
The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.
"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."
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