Game Story: Red Sox get one in Pittsburgh, 4-2

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Game Story: Red Sox get one in Pittsburgh, 4-2

PITTSBURGH The Red Sox avoided a sweep, salvaging the finale of their three-gamer series with the Pirates, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Andrew Miller earned the win, his first in his second start with the Sox, going six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts and a hit batter. Millers record is now 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA.

James McDonald Darnells cousin started for the Pirates but was not involved in the decision. He went six innings, giving up two runs (none earned) on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Tim Wood took the loss for the Pirates, facing one batter in the seventh, Marco Scutaro, who walked and eventually scored the go-ahead run.

The Sox scored two runs in the seventh without a hit. Sending seven batters to the plate, they had three walks (one intentional), a sacrifice bunt combined with an error, and a sacrifice fly.

Jonathan Papelbon earned his 14th save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

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First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

CHICAGO -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the White Sox:

* Henry Owens doesn't throw enough strikes to remain in the rotation.

Owens's time was coming to an end anyway, what with the imminent return of Eduardo Rodriguez.

But Owens may have pitched his way out of another start with his outing Thursday night. He faced 16 hitters and walked six hitters.

In every inning he began, he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach. This, despite his teammates scoring runs for him in every previous half inning.

* For a team without a lot of homers, the Red Sox hit their share Thursday night.

The Sox came into the game tied for 11th in homers in the American League, then hit three in the first six innings.

Each one of the homers -- by Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley - came with the bases empty, but together, they helped the Red Sox hold off the White Sox.

Ramirez's homer was particularly encouraging, since it was his second in the last three nights, and like the one he hit on Tuesday, was hit to the opposite field.

* The bullpen picked up a lot of slack.

When the Henry Owens Walkfest mercifully ended in the fourth inning, the Red Sox still had 18 outs to get.

Heath Hembree stumbled some, allowing a run on five hits -- the first run he's allowed this season -- but Matt Barnes, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross. Jr took it from there, chipping in for the final 4 1/3 innings, all scoreless.

Thus far this season, the Red Sox have won four games in which their starter failed to get to the fifth inning. Some of that is a tribute to the offense, which has rallied a few times to make up early deficits.

But it's also due in part to the bullpen, which has provided quality relief and bought time for the offense to catch up.

* The Sox continue to play well on the road.

Through the first four road series, the Red Sox are 4-0-1, having done no worse than a split in their road sets to date.

Learning to win on the road now can be a useful trait for this team in the second half, when the schedule has them playing far more games away from home in the final two and a half months of the season.

* Boston had a balanced offensive attack.

Every member of the starting lineup except one Thursday had either an extra-base hit or a sacrifice fly. Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, who continues to run hot and cold, was the only starter without one or the other, though he did have a single, walk twice and score a run.

In all, seven different players recorded one RBI.

Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

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Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

Dan Shaughnessy joins Arbella Early Edition to discuss David Ortiz’s impressive start to the season and whether he thinks Hanley Ramirez can fill his shoes at DH next season.

Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

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Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

Michael Felger says he would take David Ortiz on his team over Ted Williams.

Dan Shaughnessy sounds off on why he thinks that is an absolutely ridiculous thing to say.

Watch the video above.