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

Quotes, notes and stars: Price's struggles 'crushing me right now'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Price's struggles 'crushing me right now'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES
"I'm so much better than this. I've just got to get better. It's crushing me right now, but I'll get there." -- David Price

"I've just got to pitch better. That's what it is right now. It's not something else. It's not bad luck. It's me, so I've got to get better." -- Price

"We had the big opportunity with David [Ortiz] and Hanley [Ramirez] in the middle of the order and bases loaded, one out. Figure that's the time we can cash in. But that wasn't the case.'' -- John Farrell on a blown opportunity in the sixth inning

"It got a little worse; the best choice was to come out of the game.'' -- Hanley Ramirez, who left in the eighth with a strained back

NOTES
-- Jackie Bradley Jr., thrown out trying to swipe third base in the fifth, was caught stealing for the first time in his career, having been successful in his first 20 atttempts.

-- David Ortiz has reached base safely in 20 straight games.

-- The shutout suffered by the Red Sox was the first since April 19 -- also against Tampa Bay.

-- The loss marked only the third time this season that the Red Sox didn't collect an extra-base hit.

-- Boston is 2-7 agains the Rays in the last nine meetings between the two.

-- The Sox are now 5-10 against lefty starters this season.

-- David Price dropped to 1-3, 6.52 in five career starts against the Rays.

-- Price has allowed 57 earned runs this season, or three fewer than all of last year.

-- Price has allowed at least one homer in nine straight starts, a career-high streak.

STARS
1) Brandon Guyer: Activated earlier Wednesday after a DL stint for a hamstring strain, Guyer made his presence felt with a solo homer to lead off the second, then added a run-scoring double as part of the three-run third.

2) Matt Moore: The lefty entered the game with a bloated 5.04 ERA, but tamed the Red Sox with seven shutout innings. He didn't allow a base hit until the sixth and yielded just three overall.

3) Logan Forsythe: Forsythe smoked a double off Price to lead off the Tampa Bay first inning, signaling that it might be a long afternoon for the Red Sox lefty. He later singled and scored in the third.

First impressions: Tampa Bay Rays 4, Boston Red Sox 0

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First impressions: Tampa Bay Rays 4, Boston Red Sox 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

What was Jackie Bradley thinking in the fifth inning? He wasn't, apparently.

Trailing 4-0, the Red Sox had runners on first and second with two out and Christian Vazquez at the plate.

Inexplicably, Bradley broke from second base in an attempt to steal third. Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore simply pivoted and threw the ball to third, where Bradley was tagged out for the final out of the inning.

Not only did it end the threat, it guaranteed the weak-hitting Vazquez would lead off the next inning.

It was the first time in his career that Bradley was thrown out trying to steal and one that he -- or the Red Sox -- won't soon forget.

David Price didn't like the strike zone.

On at least two occasions, Price made a detour from the mound to the dugout after innings to confer with home-plate umpire John Hirchbeck, presumably about the latter's strike zone.

It may be true that Price got squeezed on some pitches, but when you give up four runs to a light-hitting lineup that had lost 12 of its last 13, it's not a good look to be placing any of the blame on the umpiring.

The Red Sox aren't the worst team in baseball with the bases loaded; it just seems that way.

The Sox threatened in the sixth when Vazquez and Mookie Betts singled and, after a flyout by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts singled, too.

But David Ortiz couldn't handle some fastballs in the strike zone, popping up in the infield, and Hanley Ramirez hit a ball off the end of the bat for an inning-ending flyout to right.

For the season, the Red Sox are 18-for-70 for a .257 batting average with the bases loaded, ranking them 17th -- or just below the middle of the pack -- in baseball.

Still, it seems that the Sox have been particularly inept in those situations of late, most memorably when they loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth against Chicago two weeks ago and improably came away with nothing.