Gonzalez saves his best for last

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Gonzalez saves his best for last

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- You could make the argument that the Red Sox five-run sixth was the most important inning of Monday nights 8-7 win over theBaltimore Orioles. It cut Baltimores lead from 6-0 to 6-5 in the blink of aneye.

But as crucial as Jed Lowries RBI double, Jason VariteksRBI single, Adrian Gonzalez RBI single, and Kevin Youkilis two-run doublewere, when it was over the Red Sox still trailed.

They were even losing after Variteks RBI single in theseventh inning, which cut Baltimores lead to 7-6.

Through 8 12 innings, the Sox had stranded 15 baserunners, were 5-for-22 with runners in scoring position, and were three outs from defeat.

They needed a hero.

Enter Adrian Gonzalez.

Boston's newest baseball king stepped to the plate against Orioles closer Kevin Gregg -- who had just walked Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia -- with runners at first and second and one out in the bottom of the ninth. And he used his picture-perfect inside-out stroke, which had helped produce five home runs in the four games prior to Monday night, to blast a first-pitch slider off the wall in left, driving in both runners and giving the Red Sox an improbable, come-from-behind 8-7 victory.

I was just looking for a fastball middle away and tried tostay behind it, said Gonzalez, who had his team-leading sixth three-hit game of the season (3-for-5), with a double, a walk, a run scored and three RBI. He ended up throwing a slider that was kind ofone of those get-me-over sliders, and I was able to put a good swing on it.

It was Gonzalez fifth-career walkoff hit, and hisfirst as a member of the Red Sox. He now has 37 RBI in 41 games, and the last two couldnthave come at a better time.

It was one of those games where it came off slow, especiallywith Daisuke Matsuzaka getting hit, said Gonzalez. It kind of slowed thepace down, and especially after coming in late last night after the Sunday night game in New York, it kind of took alittle bit for us to get going.

I actually thought we deserved to win that game, said manager Terry Francona. We battled back. We had some really good at-bats. We werent rewarded for all of them. And we kept battling, and something good happened. A tough game to win . . .

Theres something to be said for just continuing to play, added Francona, referring to the fact that the Sox trailed 6-0 in the sixth. And we got to hit last, and we had a really good hitter at theplate.

That they did.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

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First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”