Notes: Crawford finally hits first Fenway homer

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Notes: Crawford finally hits first Fenway homer

By MaureenMullen and Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Early Saturday morning Carl Crawford mentioned how nice it would be to hit his first home run at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox. He didnt exactly consider the fact that he had not yet done so to be a monkey on his back, but he was looking forward to it.

He can finally check that off his 2011 season to-do list.

With no outs in the second inning, David Ortiz on second and Jed Lowrie on first, Crawford took the first pitch from Brett Anderson and blasted it into the Red Sox bullpen, giving the Sox a 3-0 lead. He entered the game just 2-for-10, with two strikeouts and no extra-base hits in his career against Anderson.

We had a man on first and second so I was just looking to get a run over and pull the ball when he threw me a pitch I could handle and I was able to put good wood on it, Crawford said.

It was a good feeling to get his first Fenway homer.

Yeah, said Crawford, who had not homered at Fenway since May 26, 2006, while with the Rays. Because I was starting to wonder for a while, you know.

That was coming right out of the chute today, said manager Terry Francona. We hit in the cage before the game and werent even on the field and he rifled it. That was a great swing. And thats a guy Anderson thats really been tough on us. We had nobody with numbers against this guy and he kind of had his way with us . . . But, you score first and you score more than one thats a good formula for winning.

His teammates knew it would just be a matter of time before Crawford who had back-to-back three-RBI games for just the second time in his career sent one out of Fenway.

This guy, he hit a few balls the past couple series that I was like, No way, said David Ortiz. I know the right field fence for Fenway is kind of tricky but he crushed some balls and the ball didnt go nowhere. I was like, Well, man, welcome to my club.

A solution? Ortiz suggested Crawford lobby to have the right-field fences moved in.

Well, he should ask about it, Ortiz said. I asked about it a few years ago. Now, its his turn. Maybe theyll do for a guy with another 20 years left here.

With the three-game sweep of the As, after losing four straight, the Sox have swept five series this season, three at home. Their previous sweeps, though, had been of series less than three games. It was the Sox first sweep of the As at Fenway since Aug. 1-3, 2008. They have not lost any of the four homestands this season, winning three and splitting another.

John Lackey earned the win, the first Red Sox starting pitcher to get a win since Tim Wakefield on May 27 in Detroit.

Jarrod Saltalamacchias eighth-inning triple was just the second of his career, and first since 2007 while with Texas.

Daniel Bard pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth career save, and first since June 18, 2010, against the Dodgers.

Clay Buchholz willbe given two extra days' rest because of his back soreness and willpitch Friday in Toronto rather than Wednesday in NewYork.

TimWakefield will go Wednesday in hisplace.

"We'll kind of let Buchholz start his five-day cycle," saidTerry Francona. "I think that will do him a little bit of good. Wetalked to him a bunch Saturday and tried to get a feel for where hewas. I just think it makes sense.

"His back wassore. He's battled that for a while. His last outing, I don't think itinterfered with his pitching beside the fact that he was holding backat times -- that's probably the best way to put it. It just looked likehe was not quite reaching.

"Buck owned up to that.He said, 'It didn't hurt but I thought it was going to hurt.' We've allkind of been there. So rather than keep going like that, I think it'shard to pitch successfully like that, we'll give him an extra couple ofdays and I bet it will really help him . . . He knows it's in his bestinterest."

The Red Soxactivated Lackey, Sunday's starter, before the game and optioned outfielder JoshReddick back to Pawtucket to make room forhim.

The move leaves the Red Sox, temporarily, withjust 12 position players, but that will likely change intime for the series in New York, which begins Tuesday.

The Soxplan to activate Marco Scutaro (oblique) and would likely return apitcher to make room for the infielder.

Francona spokeabout his philosophy for pinch-running for two of his slower sluggers-- David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez -- in Saturday's extra-inning win. He pinch-ran for Ortiz in the eighth and Gonzalez in the 10th, and thus had Drew Sutton batting third and Mike Cameron fifth for the last four innings of the game.

"Wedon't do it very often," Francona said. "I think we thought it was ourbest chance to win. If I think it gives us the best chance towin, we do it. We just try to use common sense. We certainly don't tryto overdo it, because we don't like taking our best hitters out of thegame. But I think sometimes you need to."

Franconasaid he prefers to wait until Ortiz or Gonzalez are in scoring position"when they're the trail runners. In this instance, this is the go-aheadrun, so we needed to have better speed so hopefully we can gofirst-to-third or move up on a ball in the dirt, or whatever."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”