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

Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

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Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON — Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has extended his hitting streak to 28 games with a second-inning double Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

It's the longest hitting streak in the majors this season and tied with Wade Boggs (1985) for the fifth-longest in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio holds the franchise record with a 34-game streak in 1949. DiMaggio's brother, Joe, hit in 56 straight games in 1941 for the major league record.

Bradley lined the first pitch he saw from Jorge De La Rosa into left field to keep the streak going.

Red Sox confident in Smith-less bullpen, plan no moves at this point

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Red Sox confident in Smith-less bullpen, plan no moves at this point

BOSTON -- The loss of reliever Carson Smith for the rest of this season -- and the start of next year, too -- is potentially a significant blow for the Red Sox bullpen.

But both vice-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell expressed confidence that the Sox can survive -- and even thrive -- without the hard-throwing right-handed reliever, who underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday and will be sidelined until at least the middle of next season.

"Unfortunately, we really haven't had Carson much this year,'' noted Dombrowski, referring to the total of 2 2/3 innings Smith has pitched, "so our bullpen now has the ninth, eighth and seventh innings set with Craig [Kimbrel], Koji [Uehara] and [Junichi Tazawa]. [Matt] Barnes and Heath [Hembree] have both had opportunities to step up and pitched well for us. We'll continue to see if they do that.''

"I really like our bullpen,'' echoed Farrell. "We've had depth emerge with Hembree and Barnes, and we're able to distribute the workload evenly to protect Taz and Koji.''

But the Sox' high-leverage set-up crew features a 41-year-old (Uehara) and Tazawa, who has faltered badly in the August in each of the last two seasons because of overwork.

"I guess it's something we'll continue to watch,'' said Dombrowski. "There's still quite a bit of time before the [Aug. 1] trade deadline. So you continue to watch that. I feel comfortable with the way it is now, but we'll have to wait and see. We didn't anticipate this and that's really why we got Carson -- to give us more depth in case something did happen. But we'll continue to see what takes place.''

Dombrowski said it was too soon to begin exploring outside trade possibilities, given that talk doesn't intensify until after the draft in June.

"If something [else] were to happen,'' Dombrowski said, "I guess we'd be more aggressive. But right now, the way Barnes and Hembree (are pitching), along with [Robbie] Ross Jr. and [Tommy] Layne . . . we feel pretty good about our bullpen -- right now.''

"I really like our bullpen,'' noted Farrell. "We've had depth emerge with Hembree and Barnes and we're able to distribute the workload evenly to protect Taz and Koji.''

One possibile option could be taking a look at Joe Kelly in the bullpen. Kelly was sensational Saturday, allowing one hit in 6 2/3 innings in his first start back from a shoulder impingement. But it's long been thought that his stuff would translate well to the bullpen, and the Sox will have six starting pitchers when Eduardo Rodriguez returns.

"It's a great question, but it's not one I'll approach at this time,'' said Dombrowski. "We haven't specifically talked about putting Joe Kelly in the bullpen. But we're also aware that we're not going to use six starters.''

Smith is expected to miss the next 11-14 months, the typical recovery time from Tommy John surgery.

He was first injured on March 21, when he left the mound in Jupiter, Fla. during a Grapefruit League game. The diagnosis was a strained flexor muscle in the forearm, and he returned to action earlier this month. But he continued to experience discomfort, and a followup MRI Friday revealed a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

Dombrowski said "there was nothing at the time in March (that suggested a torn UCL). Flexor muscles, sometimes that leads to (torn UCL's). But not always. It's an alert that goes up in your mind when dealing with elbow. But you can't spend time obsessing about it, because then you wouldn't sleep on any night.''

Dombrowski said there were no red flags at the time of last December's trade with Seattle that Smith may be pre-disposed to this kind of injury with his cross-fire, three-quarters delivery.

"I think when you look at his delivery,'' acknowledged Dombrowski, "you'd say it's an unusual delivery. It's probably more apt to have injury. We had the medical information and we thought he'd be fine.''

Tuesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineups: Shaw sits out for first time all year

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Tuesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineups: Shaw sits out for first time all year

BOSTON -- For the first time since last season, Travis Shaw is not in the Red Sox' lineup.

Shaw, suffering from a minor left-hand injury, will sit out Tuesday night's game against Colorado, snapping a string of 76 consecutive starts. Josh Rutledge will play third base in his place.

The lineups:

ROCKIES:
Charlie Blackmon CF
Trevor Story SS
Nolan Arenado 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Ryan Raburn DH
Gerardo Parra LF
Dustin Garneau C
DJ LeMahieu 2B
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Jorge De La Rosa P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Josh Rutledge 3B
Christian Vazquez C
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David Price P