Crawford gives Red Sox walk-off win in 11th, 2-1

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Crawford gives Red Sox walk-off win in 11th, 2-1

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Carl Crawford looked like a minor leaguer during his first month in a Red Sox uniform, but he seems to have found his swing in May. His double off the Green Monster in the 11th inning scored pinch runner Jose Iglesias from first base and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Twins on Monday night.

Josh Beckett turned in another outstanding performance for the Red Sox, going seven scoreless innings. He allowed six hits and a walk with five strikeouts, lowering
his ERA to 1.99.

The Sox took three out of four from the Twins, going 6-5 on the 11-game homestand. They improved their record to 17-18. The last time they were a game under .500 was May 3, at 14-15, before losing the next three games.

Only Luke Hughes past first base while Beckett was on the mound, doing so twice. In the third inning he singled and took second on a walk to Denard Span, Becketts only free pass of the game. In the fifth Hughes singled and stole second, his first steal of the season.

Despite his dominance, Beckett was unable to earn a win, as Alfred Aceves and Jonathan Papelbon combined to allow the Twins to tie the game at 1-1 in the eighth inning.

The Sox scored their first run in the fifth. Jason Varitek led off with a double to left, taking third on Jacoby Ellsburys groundout to second. After Dustin Pedroia grounded out, Adrian Gonzalez singled to left, scoring Varitek. It was Gonzalezs team-high 25th RBI of the season.

Alfredo Aceves came in for the eighth, giving up a one-out single to Span then balking him to second. After Aceves got Matt Tolbert to foul out to Kevin Youkilis at third, manager Terry Francona brought in Jonathan Papelbon to face left-handed hitting Jason Kubel, who entered the game hitting .351 (40-for-114) with three home runs.

Before the at-bat, Kubel had been just 2-for-10 (.200) with two outs and runners in scoring position. But, he got the better of Papelbon. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Kubel singled to center, scoring Span, tying the game. It was Papelbons first blown save of the season.

The Red Sox had a chance in the ninth when Varitek reached base for the third time in the game, on second baseman Hughes two-out error. Darnell McDonald pinch-ran for Varitek, but was caught stealing, ending the inning.

In the 11th, with Jim Hoey on the mound for the Twins, J.D. Drew opened the inning flying out to center, before Jed Lowrie walked. With Iglesias pinch-running, Crawford doubled off the Wall in left-center, scoring Iglesias.

It was Iglesias first major league run scored. Crawfords hit extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Hideki Okajima (1-0, 4.32 ERA) earned the win, going two innings, giving up two
hits and two walks with three strikeouts, throwing a season-high 43 pitches.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

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Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

David Ortiz makes his return to the Red Sox lineup after being a late scratch on Sunday due to a sore left foot is sore after getting hit by a pitch Saturday. However, Hanley Ramirez is getting the day off, with Travis Shaw getting the start at first.

The lineups:

ORIOLES:
Adam Jones CF
Hyun Soo Kim LF
Manny Machado SS
Chris Davis 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nolan Reimold RF
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
--
Tyler Wilson P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 1B
Blake Swihart LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Marco Hernandez 3B
---
Steven Wright P

Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

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Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

Through the first sixteen series of the season, the Red Sox are 9-5-3 (two ties coming from two-game sets) en route to their AL East leading 30-20 record.

Boston’s only mustered up two series sweeps -- taking two in Atlanta and three from the Yankees at Fenway -- but they’ve avoided the dreaded broom in each of their five series losses.

In fact, in four of their five series losses the Red Sox earned their lone victory in the final game, with Sunday being the most recent instance.

None of the series finale, sweep-defying wins were cakewalks either. Three of the four were decided by three runs or less -- the other being decided by four.

Boston’s MLB-leading 5.9 runs per game offense scored below its average each time -- so Red Sox pitching didn’t have the same gigantic cushion it’s used to.

Prior to his injury, Joe Kelly was the first savior, chucking five innings allowing two earned runs against a Baltimore Orioles team that was undefeated at that point in the season’s youth. Fast forward to the series at Yankee Stadium and Steven Wright nearly through a shutout, holding the Yankees to one run through nine innings.

In the two most recent cases, David Price’s turn came in the lineup -- and he’s answered the call. Boston’s ace held down both the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays -- on the road -- limiting both offenses to two runs each. Both starts have come the day after one-run losses, too.

So while Price’s “stuff” hasn’t been at its best, admitting Sunday it usually isn’t against the Blue Jays, he’s displayed the intangible aces are supposed to have – guts.

Now on any other team, they might be in trouble given Boston’s offense is the best in baseball. Because a bad scoring day for the Red Sox is better than almost half the league’s average day. But they aren’t on any other team, so that’s not the issue.

For all the struggles the Red Sox’ starting pitchers have dealt with, they’ve managed to get the job done when they’ve needed it.

Those wins add up, too.

If the Red Sox are swept in these four series, they sit at 26-24 right in the middle of the AL East -- and this season has an entirely different feel to it.

In an age where numbers have become the central focus of the game, Boston’s starting pitchers have managed to lock-in when the club needs it most -- and must continue to do so.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.