Drew turns negative day into positive finish

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Drew turns negative day into positive finish

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could look at the positives. Or, you could look at thenegatives.

Prior to his seventh at-bat of the night in the bottom ofthe 14th, youd be hard-pressed to find anyone pointing out that J.D. Drewdrove in a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Thats because he struck out four times before hisgame-winning heroics in his seventh at-bat.

But his walkoff, RBI single in the 14th inning that willmake everyone in the Red Sox clubhouse forget about those four strikeouts.

That was a good swing, said Red Sox manager Terry Franconaafter Bostons 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. I think he wasready to go home. We all were.

The Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth, as JonathanPapelon in a non-save situation allowed four runs (three earned) on threehits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.

After the Athletics took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 11th,the Red Sox kept the game alive, thanks to a pair of two-out doubles fromJarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury.

It got all the way to the 14th, when Carl Crawford doubledto left field with two outs. The Athletics then decided to intentionally walkJed Lowrie to get to the struggling Drew.

And he didnt disappoint, lining an 0-and-1 fastball toright-center to drive in Crawford easily from second base forhis fifth-career walkoff hit, and his first since April 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Just a fastball down the middle, said Drew after the game.Got the barrel to it, hit it short right-center field, which was a perfectspot for it.

When I hit it, I knew there was no doubt, so its a greatdeal, especially after an afternoon like that.

Drew admitted after the game that hes been searching alittle bit with regards to his production at the plate. That searching seemedto continue after four strikeouts through his first six at-bats on Saturday.

But he stayed short with his swing in his final appearanceat the plate, and it paid off. Now, Drew hopes its something to build on.

You dont want to strike out four times in a game, saidDrew. But Ive had my scuffles, and tried to just battle through them. Eventhough I stuck out four times in those at-bats, I felt like I had some reallyquality swings in those at-bats. In those situations right there, with men onfirst and second, you have an opportunity to try to shorten up just a littlebit, but continue being aggressive in the zone. And it worked out.

Well, the musics playing after a Red Sox home win, so theres something to be saidfor persistence, said Francona. I dont know if its exactly like we drew itup, but were playing at home, and as weve said a lot on the road, when youget in games like that, theyre easy to lose when youre on the road.

I know the ninth inning wasnt the way we drew it up, but Inever felt like we were going to lose. Maybe thats because we have goodplayers . . . But I think we all felt like we were going to win. Its a goodfeeling.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.