Lester exorcises demons, Sox roll, 10-2

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Lester exorcises demons, Sox roll, 10-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- No team had been a tougher opponent for Jon Lester than the Chicago White Sox.

In the last two matchups with him, the White Sox had belted him around for 15 runs over a span of 9 23 innings.

But Saturday, something changed. Lester limited the White Sox to two runs on four hits over eight innings while the Red Sox snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Chicago, 10-2.

The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the White Sox and was just their second win in the last 13 head-to-head meetings.

The Sox took a healthy lead in the fifth with four runs on an RBI-double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, sacrifice flies from Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia and a broken-bat single from Kevin Youkilis.

Home runs from Adrian Gonzalez (two-run shot) and Kevin Youkilis (solo) helped create a five-run ninth as the Sox blew the game open.

Gonzalez's homer was his first since July 7.

Both runs off Lester were late in the game solo homers: Paul Konerko in the seventh and Gordon Beckham in the eighth.

Lester's win was his first in exactly a month, dating back to June 30.

Dan Wheeler finished up with a scoreless ninth.
STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
In his second start since coming off the DL, Lester was masterful, going eight innings while allowing just two runs on four hits.

He needed just 64 pitches through the first six innings, facing the minimum number of hitters in five of the frames. All of this against a team which had had success with Lester in the past, scoring 15 runs off him in his last two outings.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
After homering for the third time in his last seven starts Friday in the series opener, Saltalamacchia had two doubles and two RBI in Saturday's win.

Over his last eight games, Saltalamacchia is hitting .364 with 10 RBI.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Alex Rios
Rios went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .207, further enraging White Sox fans who have let him know that underachievement and oversized paychecks aren't a good combination.

Rios made things worse when he fielded a single from Marco Scutaro and lobbed a throw back in to the cutoff man as Josh Reddick managed to score all the way from first.
TURNING POINT:
Although they were already relatively comfortable with a 5-2 lead, the back-to-back homers from Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, accounting for three more insurances runs, helped in the ninth.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6
Adrian Gonzalez, in addition to hitting his first homer since July 7, posted his sixth consecutive multi-hit game, a career-high.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"It's always about executing, regardless of the lineup. I was able to keep the fastball down. When you're able to do that, good things happen.'' Jon Lester on beating the White Sox, against whom he had a career ERA of 5.94

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.