McAdam: Calls go unanswered on road

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McAdam: Calls go unanswered on road

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- As they have already demonstrated this season, the Red Sox need no help when it comes to losing on the road.

Nonetheless, they may have received some unsolicited contributions from the umpiring crew in the opener of their nine-game road trip Tuesday night, nudging them toward their worst start to a season on the road in franchise history.

It's likely that the Red Sox weren't going to do with much against Oakland A's lefty Brett Anderson, who shut them out for eight innings before turning things over to his bullpen for a scoreless ninth in a 5-0 victory for the A's.

But every time the Sox had opportunities, a break seemed to go against them.

With just one baserunner in the first three innings, the Sox put the leadoff man on in the fourth after a walk to Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia took off for second with Adrian Gonzalez at bat, hoping to put himself in scoring position. But Anderson whirled and threw to first baseman Daric Barton, who in turn, fired down to shortstop Cliff Pennington to nab Pedroia.

Pedroia was so convinced that Anderson had balked that he could be seen shouting the word on his way to second; manager Terry Francona was so convinced he immediately was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds.

"The rule is, you can't deceive a baserunner," said Francona. "He went in two different directions. He started to the plate, changed his mind, landed toward the plate . . . For me, it was a balk all the way."

"I don't know, man . . . I don't know," said Pedroia, shaking his head in disbelief after the game. "I thought it was pretty obvious. I think I was yelling mid-run. It's hard to believe they couldn't see that.

"That's upsetting. That should have been a runner on second with Adrian up; instead, Anderson throws a nasty pitch and Adrian strikes out and he keeps rolling. It makes it tough."

Anderson then went on to retire the next nine hitters in succession and 10 of the next 11. The lone runner to reach was Gonzalez in the seventh, who hit a tapper back to the mound that Anderson first bobbled, then threw wildly to first.

Another bizarre call in the eighth, with Oakland holding a slim 1-0 lead, managed to turn against the Sox.

David Ortiz led off with a single to right and gave way to pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury. With Mike Cameron at the plate and the count full, Ellsbury took off for second.

Cameron appeared to perhaps check his swing as Ellsbury broke for second, representing the potential tying run. Ellsbury seemed to have beaten the throw, but second-base umpire Andy Fletcher made no call.

After a few seconds, it was ruled that Cameron had interfered with catcher Kurt Suzuki, resulting in a double play, with Ellsbury out at second because of the interference.

"I'm confused a little bit," said Francona, who was watching from his office in the visitor's clubhouse. "When acting manager DeMarlo Hale went out, he asked, 'Whattaya got?' and he was told interference on Cameron . . . Then Hale went out in between innings and he was told by the umpires, 'No, no interference - Fletcher called Ellsbury out on the steal attempt at second.'

"So I'd like to find out what really happened. It was hard for me in here. I never saw a call made at second on the stolen-base attempt. It looked to me like they were covering up a little bit. It looked to me like there was a little bit of ambiguity. Something was not right there.

"Cam came across the plate. But then when Hale went out after the inning, he was told they called Jacoby out on the steal. Which, clearly, he wasn't, and, clearly, they didn't make a call. So I don't know."

The Sox have been shutout in the last 20 road innings. The same offense which averaged six runs per game in the four games against Toronto didn't make the trip West.

"It's a small sample," said Francona of the road woes. "But in a 1-0 game, we needed a break and we didn't get anything."

"It's tough," concluded Pedroia. "But we'll get breaks."

Just not Tuesday night.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

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Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

QUOTES:

"He threw all four pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, (he's shown) the ability to make adjustments from pitch-to-pitch. If he gets out of whack or misses with a pitch, he's right back in the strike zone.'' - John Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"You look back at the first month and I think we've gained a lot of trust in each other up and down the lineup. That to me is the strongest attribute right now on this team.'' - Farrell on the Red Sox after one month of play.

"Pretty similar. I'm getting a lot of timely hits, and it's helping the team.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr., asked if this last week is similar to the hot streak he enjoyed last August.

"I'm comfortable. I'm in a good place, mentally and physically. I worked really hard to get where I am now and I'm going to continue to work.'' – Bradley on his hot streak.

"Much better fastball command. I've been able to execute my sinker better and that's allowed me to get ahead of hitters and if I do fall behind, I've been able to come back.'' - Porcello on cutting his walk rate by more than half compared to this point a year ago.

NOTES:

* The shutout at Fenway was the first for the Red Sox against the Yankees since May 14, 2011.

* The eight-run margin was the biggest margin in a Red Sox shutout over the Yankees since Sept. 6, 2003 when they won 11-0 in New York.

* The four triples in April for Jackie Bradley Jr. are the most for a Red Sox hitter in that month since Jose Offerman in 1999.

* In his last nine games against the Yankees, Bradley is 14-for-31 (.452) with nine extra-base hits.

* Rick Porcello's 5-0 start to the season is the best run for a Red Sox starter since Josh Beckett was 7-0 in 2007.

* The Yankees have failed to homer in seven games this season; they're 0-7 in those games.

STARS:

1) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley had three extra-base hits (two triples and a double) for eight total bases, and knocked in three runs.

2) Rick Porcello

The Red Sox starter tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only two baserunners into scoring position while issuing just one walk.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had a double in the second and a single in the sixth, good for three RBI, a season high for him.

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

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First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

* Rick Porcello doesn't seem like a weak link in the rotation now.

Porcello blanked the Yankees for seven innings and is now 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA for the season. For the fourth time in five outings, he pitched into the seventh innings.

The Yankees threatened only once - in the fifth, when they had runners at the corners and two out. But Porcello got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out, stranding two and was never in trouble again.

Porcello's command is improved over a year ago. In his first five starts last year, covering 30 innings, he walked 10. This year, he's pitched 32 2/3 innings and issued just five walks.

* Jackie Bradley is swinging it like he did last August.

Bradley went on an extra-base tear late last summer, rocketing doubles, triples and homers for a stretch of a few weeks that was completely unexpected.

The last week has been like that stretch, with seven extra-base hits in the last seven games. He knocked in the first run of the night with a double to left, then delivered another in the sixth with a triple to the triangle and two more in the seventh with a triple into the right field corner.

In the two games against the Yankees, he's got four extra-base hits, a walk and five RBI.

* David Ortiz has started 20 games this season. He's knocked in 19 runs.

Ortiz added his second homer in as many nights, to go along with a single and walk.

It's doubtful that he's going to keep up his RBI-per-game pace, but when he's locked in the way he is now, he impacts virtually the entire lineup from the cleanup position.

* If you think Pablo Sandoval was bad, maybe you haven't been watching Chase Headley.

The Yankee third baseman was a free agent the same winter that Sandoval was and some argued that he would have been a better fit for the Sox than was Panda.

But 22 games into the 2016 season, Headley has yet to collect a single base hit and has an OPS of .405. He's hitting .153 and has virtually no range to speak of at third base.

* A lot has changed for Junichi Tazawa.

A year ago, Tazawa was overworked in the first half of the season. On Saturday night, he got an inning of work in the ninth in a blowout game because he hadn't pitched since last Sunday -- thanks to strong starting efforts from the rotation over the past two series.