Lester fights through soggy conditions

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Lester fights through soggy conditions

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Jon Lester expected rain during Saturdays doubleheader. With Hurricane Irene on the way, it was in the forecast for Boston. He just didnt count on it causing significant delays when he was pitching.

I figured coming in that my game was going to be fine, he said following the Red Sox 9-3 win over the Oakland Athletics. I knew obviously that tonight we had the threat of some rain, but I figured that this afternoon was going to be fine and it wasnt going to be a problem. But obviously I was wrong on that.

Lester threw six innings, which included passing showers, and limited the As to just three hits and one earned run (he gave up a homerun to Brandon Allen in the second inning).

But by the time Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA) took the mound to start the seventh inning with a 9-2 lead, the downpours had intensified. He noticed problems gripping the ball as he continued to warm up.

They were bad, he said of the conditions. The mound wasnt that bad. It was just any time you took the ball out of your glove, it was wet. Just had no grip. I was trying to explain that to the umpires and I think after I threw the second one off the backstop, I think they finally got the idea that it wasnt safe to be out there at that time.

Lester added, I know what theyre (the umpires are) trying to do -- theyre trying to get the game in -- and I understand that. But theres a point where you have to kind of say ok enoughs enough.

The umpires called a rain delay before the top of the seventh inning which lasted 45 minutes. Dan Wheeler came in for Lester once play resumed, but torrential rain forced another delay after the inning was completed. This time, it lasted two hours and 15 minutes.

Although the second game of the doubleheader was scheduled to start at 5:00pm, the umpires ruled the first game had to be completed before the second could begin. Game 2 began at 6:52pm.

Following Game 1 Umpiring Crew Chief Tim McClelland told a pool reporter he consulted with Joe Torre, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, on the decision to complete the first match up. During a doubleheader between the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in 2009, an unevenly scored first game was called after seven innings (the Red Sox won, 10-1) to let the rain clear up for the second game.

That was an aberration, said McClelland. According to the rules, that cant happen or shouldnt happen. They (Major League Baseball) didnt want that. They wanted this game to finish.

When asked about the decision to complete Game 1, Terry Francona took it all in stride.

I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule or if it's judgment, he said. I dont know. We just go where they tell us.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comJCameratoNBA

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.