Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox

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Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Andrew Miller didnt waste words. This was not what he had been expecting, and certainly not what he was hoping for.

After two strong outings, during which he gave up just one run over 11 23 combined innings in Kansas City and Texas, his outing against the Rangers Friday night at Fenway Park was, in his words, a pretty poor performance. He lasted just 1 13 innings, giving up six runs on five hits and four walks, with one strikeout and a balk. After a three-run homer to Kinsler in the second, he departed, leaving the bases loaded for Michael Bowden.

He faced 13 batters, throwing 52 pitches (26 strikes). Millers record fell to 6-2, while his ERA jumped to 5.27. He threw 30 pitches in the first inning, just 16 for strikes.

We fell behind some guys and we couldnt really zone in, said catcher Jason Varitek. Not to make excuses, but its been a while (Miller's last appearance was Aug. 25) since hes been on the mound. They didnt really give him much room and once that happened they stepped on the gas pedal pretty good.

In the first inning, after walking Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, Miller committed a balk before striking out Josh Hamilton, looking at a slider. But Michael Youngs single scored Kinsler, and Adrian Beltres sacrifice fly scored Andrus before Mike Napoli grounded out to end the inning.

In the second, after Yorvit Torrrealba and David Murphy led off with singles, Craig Gentry moved them over with a sacrifice bunt, which would prove to be the only out Miller could get in the inning. Kinsler followed with a three-run blast over the Monster. Andrus walked for the second time, and Hamiltons single and walk to Michael Young loaded the bases, ending Millers night.

Michael Bowden entered in the unenviable position. After getting Beltre to fly out, Bowden walked in Andrus, before getting Torrealba to popout to Dustin Pedroia. All the runs were charged to Miller, giving the Sox' woeful offense (two hits) a hole it couldnt remedy.

He started out on the first couple of hitters not commanding and it turned into a couple of runs in the first inning, fortunately just a couple, manager Terry Francona said. Second inning, ball to shortstop Jed Lowries left and couldnt get to, and a ball, kind of a roller gets by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Then he leaves a ball over the middle and it goes a long way. They spread it out and then we couldnt stop it from there. so it was kind of a bad night all the way around. They did a lot offensively. We did very little. Just a tough night.

it was not the kind of outing Francona was expecting from Miller after his two previous outings.

We got awfully excited about Miller after his last couple of starts, Francona said, "and then today coming out of the chute, he was just leaving a lot of balls up, especially arm side, and then when he did bring it in to the plate it was in the middle and got hit.

Facing the Rangers in back-to-back starts -- his Aug. 25 appearance was in Texas -- was not an issue, Miller said.

No, it was one of those times I went out and walked the first two guys and kind of put us back on our heels and never really made the correction, he said. I certainly thought after getting through the first not the way I wanted to go felt like I still had plenty to go to be able to keep us in the game long enough. A couple of ground ball hits to start the inning . . . Pitch was supposed to be in to Kinsler. Im assuming it wasnt. Things snowballed from there. Just never made the correct adjustment.

His pregame warmup gave him no hint of what was to come.

Felt great in the bullpen, he said. Felt good in my warmup pitches right before the game, just kind of came out and didnt have the zone right away. Ended up costing.

His inconsistencies from his previous two starts to this, though, are not completely unexpected. He has had similar stretches in his 13 starts with the Sox since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in June. But, given his previous two outings -- allowing just six hits and four walks with nine strikeouts this one is even more frustrating.

Disappointing, he said. Felt like I had been throwing the ball well. I had gotten opportunities, certainly didnt do that tonight. From here you kind of dust yourself off and Ill be prepared the next time I get an opportunity. But pretty poor performance tonight.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.

 

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.