Firepower leads Sox past Orioles, 10-3

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Firepower leads Sox past Orioles, 10-3

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON An offensive explosion in the first and an explosion of a different type in the eighth marked the start and finish of the Red Sox thumping of the Orioles, 10-3, Friday night at Fenway Park.

Sending 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, with eight of them scoring, there was little else the Red Sox had to do in beating the Orioles, 10-3, for the second straight game at Fenway Park.

The Sox battered Orioles left-hander Zach Britton for six hits in the first, including a three-run blast by David Ortiz, his 19th of the season. Britton lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits and two walks with one strikeout.

Dustin Pedroia added a solo shot leading off the sixth off Chris Jakabauskus

Josh Beckett, who left after the fifth inning for precautionary reasons, with a mildly hyperextended left knee, earned the win improving to 7-4 with a 2.27 ERA. He gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Matt Albers followed Beckett, with four strikeouts in two innings.

Two bench-clearing brawls, with four ejections, in the eighth inning, triggered by a David Ortiz-Kevin Gregg showdown marked the end of the game. Ortiz, Gregg, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jim Johnson were all ejected.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
Ortizs three-run homer in the first inning off starter Zach Britton was the big blast in the Sox eight-run barrage that inning. It was his team-leading 19th home run of the season, second in as many nights against a lefty, and 146th of his career at Fenway Park, passing Bobby Doerr for sole possession of fifth all-time. It was the seventh time he has homered in back-to-back games this season four more than he did all last year.

Ortiz went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and is now 6-for-17 with three doubles, two home runs, and five walks in five games on the homestand.

But, it was his eighth-inning fireworks that provided Ortizs signature to the game. Ortiz and Os reliever Kevin Gregg sparked two bench-clearing brawls, with the second resulting in haymakers thrown by each and four players ejected Ortiz, Gregg, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and the Os Jim Johnson.

Ortiz initially took exception to three inside pitches from Gregg that jackknifed the Sox DH, emptying both dugouts and bullpens. After flying out to center field, Ortiz objected to Greggs directions for him to run out the play to first base. Ortiz charged the mound, with an all-out brawl ensuing.

It was the ninth career ejection for Ortiz, and first for Saltalamacchia.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia
For the second straight game, Pedroia blasted a titanic home run. Unlike his home run on Thursday, though, his Friday night shot leading off the sixth inning -- stayed in the park only because it hit the signage high above the Green Monster.

Pedroia went 2-for-4, raising his average to .281, with three RBI and a home run, his 10th of the season. It was the first time hes hit back-to-back home runs in consecutive games since April 10 and 11. He has homered in three of his last four games.

His first-inning single to center field extended his on-base streak to 22 games going back to June 15, the longest active streak in the AL. In that time he is 30-for-86, batting .349, with 17 walks. His eighth-inning walk was his 62nd of the season, passing Mark Bellhorn for most by a Sox second baseman prior to the All-Star break since 1946.
THE GOAT: Zach Britton
With less than a full inning of work to show for it, Britton left his team in a very deep and very early eight-run hole. It was more than the Orioles climb out of. After getting Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out to Adam Jones in center field one of two stellar catches the Os centerfield made on his Sox counterpart in the game -- to open the inning, Britton allowed the next seven Sox batters to reach base before he could record another out.

Britton went just two-thirds of an inning, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits and two walks with a strikeout, and a home run. His record fell to 6-6 while his ERA climbed from 3.47 to 4.05.

THE TURNING POINT
Fans were still trying to find their seats at Fenway Park when the game was all but over. The Sox sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, with eight scoring. The last time the Sox scored as many runs in the first inning was on Aug. 12, 2008, against Texas, when they scored 10.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off against Zach Britton, flying out to Adam Jones, who made a nice catch, running into the triangle in center field. Dustin Pedroia singled to center Adrian Gonzalez walked. Kevin Youkilis singled through the shortstop hole, scoring Pedroia, sending Gonzalez to second. Ortiz blasted a three-run homer to right. Jason Varitek walked. Marco Scutaro singled to center, with Varitek taking third. Darnell McDonald doubled to left-center, scoring Varitek and Scutaro. Yamaico Navarro struck out. Ellsbury singled to left, scoring McDonald, and ending Brittons outing.

Brad Bergesen came in for the Os. Pedroia reached on an error by shortstop J.J. Hardy. Gonzalez singled, scoring Ellsbury, sending Pedroia to third. Youkilis grounded out to third, ending the offensive explosion.

The total: One inning, 13 batters, eight runs (seven earned), seven hits, two walks, one strikeout, one error, two runners left on base, and two pitchers. And one game virtually in the win column.

STAT OF THE DAY: 18
Sending 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, it was the 18th time the Sox have batted around this season, extending their major league lead

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I was pretty close. I was on the little bench, the one where titos always in. so when the thing happened I guess I was the first guy. So, I was just trying to hold him. Hes so tall and I was just trying to hold him and I couldnt even reach the ground, just jumping on his back. -- Marco Scutaro, listed at 5-feet-10, who jumped on the back of 6-feet-6 Os pitcher Kevin Gregg during the eighth-inning brawl.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”