Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

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Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Jacoby Ellsburys speed led to the Sox' first run. His power gave them their second run, as they beat the Tigers, 6-3, Friday night.

He led off the game with a single to right, taking second on his league-leading 18th stolen base of the season. He went to third on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout, and scored on Rick Porcellos wild pitch.

He led off the third with his sixth home run of the season, to tie the game. It was his second home run in as many games. Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, raising his average to .299. He is slugging .463 with a .365 on-base percentage.

I think hes a good player, manager Terry Francona said. He's good. Like always, we're thrilled when anybody hits a home run. But whatever he does powerwise is great but we don't want to talk about it. Hes a strong kid and those will come when he takes enough good swings. When he gets on base and disrupts the game that's whats important. Those home runs are going to come though.

After missing all but 18 games last season because of fractured ribs, Ellsbury is low-key about his solid start this season.

I go out there and try to help my team win every single night and prepare to play every day, he said. So its been nice to see and how well weve been playing as of late.

His teammates appreciate what he does, though.

Hes a great player, said Dustin Pedroia. We knew. We expect this of him. He can do anything. He hits homers. He steals bases. He plays great defense. Hes a special player man.

"Hes very important, said Tim Wakefield, who got the win Friday. He's our starting centerfielder. He provides not only offense but speed and defense. He's an all-around great player and he was missed last year."

Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit with one strikeout, in his rehab outing in Pawtucket Friday night. "Good velocity. Everything felt good. Bicep felt real good. Threw two-seamers and four-seamers and changeup. Sounded like everything positive, Francona said.

Jenks is expected to pitch an inning Sunday, with the possibility of being activated during the week.

J.D. Drew, who has been sidelined for the past three games with a hamstring strain, had said before the game he was optimistic about playing Sunday. But with left-hander Andy Oliver starting for the Tigers, Francona said Drew would likely not be in the starting lineup.

Carl Crawford went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the five-run third inning. In his last nine games, he is batting .429 (15-for-35) with 11 runs scored, and 11 RBI.

David Ortiz went 0-for-4, ending his eight-game hitting streak.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-5 extending his hit streak to eight games.

Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled listsince May 12 with an elbow strain, continues to progress. Fridayafternoon, he threw two innings of a simulated game, with about 40pitches.

Lackey, threw all his pitches, saying he thought hiscommand was pretty good while his velocity was close to what itshould be.

It was pretty good, he said. I felt like I waslocating my fastball pretty good today. Working on tightening up mycutter a little bit. Its gotten a little bit loose. Thats one of themain things I was working on.

I was pretty close to letting it go. Ill probably be a little sore tomorrow but it feels fine today.

Lackeyis scheduled to make a rehab start, with about 70 pitches, Tuesday inPawtucket. If everything goes well in that game, he should be ready tobe activated.

I think thats what we're thinking right now, hesaid. But definitely have to see how I feel after the real game. Idont see why I shouldnt be ready.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro hit off a tee for the thirdconsecutive day, as he makes his way back from the DL (since May 8)with a left oblique strain. He said he hasnt felt any pain in hisside, and could advance to hitting in the cage on Sunday.

Itsthe first time in his career hes been on the DL. How is he handlingit? Im bored, he said. Actually, I was bored a couple of weeks ago.

Talking about the collision at home plate that left Giants catcherBuster Posey injured and likely out for the season, Francona recalled asimilar play from his own career: Mike Scioscia got me once. He hurtme. We were facing Fernando Valenzuela, so the lefties played. BryanLittle led off with a double. I hit a ball to right center. They end upgiving me a double. They threw Bryan out at the plate. Scioscia chargedhim and just knocked him back towards third. I was standing on secondlaughing. Andre Dawson hits a base hit. The same thing happened tome. Neither one of us even got to the dirt. I slid, but he attacked me.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Rays.

 

QUOTES:

"I didn't know I could really do that.'' - Mookie Betts, who marveled at his throw from the right field corner which nailed Kevin Kiermaier -- attempting to stretch a double into a triple -- at third in the eighth inning.

"He's playing a huge role for us right now. He's stepped in, he's built his arm strength and given us almost 13 very strong innings the last two outings.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"I don't know that we ever lost faith in the talent of Clay. He was in a rut for quite some time. . . But the jolt that he's given us from the spot starts he's made, he's kept us rolling.'' - Farrell on Buchholz.

"You'd have to ask John about that. I have no idea. I've tried to make the most of (the opportunity) and if a decision has to be made, make it a hard one.'' - Buchholz, when asked if he's made a case to stay in the rotation.

 

NOTES:

* The Red Sox improved to a season-best 17 games over .500

* The win was just the fourth for the Red Sox this season when scoring two or one runs.

* The win was the first for Clay Buchholz as a starter since May 9.

* David Ortiz moved into sixth place on the Red Sox' all-time hit list, passing Bobby Doerr with 2.043 hits.

* Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games and has reached base in 16 straight.

* Andrew Benintendi recorded his eighth multi-hit game, the first Red Sox player to do so in his first 20 games since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007

* Mookie Betts recorded his 10th outdield assist, placing him third among major league right fielders.

* Craig Kimbrel has a 1.08 ERA in save situations this year and 6.06 in non-save situations.

* Kimbrel has recorded a save in each of his last five appearances.

 

STARS:

1) Clay Buchholz

To say that this was Buchholz's best start of the season is to damn with faint praise, since there haven't been many good ones. But this was very good: 6 1/3 innings, one run on five hits with a season-high nine strikeouts.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts has only been a pro outfielder for a little more than two years, but that didn't look to be the case when he fired a strike from the right field corner to cut down a baserunner at third with one out in the eighth inning.

3) Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel was dominant in the ninth, protecting a one-run lead with two strikeouts and a soft lineout to left.

 

First impressions: Buchholz's strong start helps lead Red Sox to 2-1 win

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First impressions: Buchholz's strong start helps lead Red Sox to 2-1 win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

1) If this was the last start for Clay Buchholz, it was a good one.

Buchholz was brilliant in 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run while striking out a season high nine hitters.

After contributing little in the first four months of the season, Buchholz has helped out in a big way in the last four weeks -- first out of the bullpen and more recently, in three spot starts.

He's made sone adjustments with his release point, giving him far better command within the strike zone, and unsurprisingly, far better results.

Now, the question is: how will be used going forward?

 

2) Monday night, Andrew Benintendi thwarted the Rays in the late inning. On Tuesday, it was Mookie Betts's turn.

Benintendi's catch to rob Steve Souza Jr. of a two-run homer in the eighth was the highlight seen 'round the world. But it's possible that a throw from Betts was, in its own way, just as important.

Like Benintendi's magic trick Monday, this one took place with one out in the eighth inning. Brad Ziegler retired the leadoff hitter before Kevin Kiermaier chopped a ball into the right field corner. Betts chased down the ball as Kiermaier rounded second and headed to third.

The throw from Betts, from the right field corner, was a strike as Travis Shaw slapped a tag on the runner.

Forget, for a minute, the wisdom of someone already in scoring position attempting to take an extra base while trailing by a run and instead focus on the magic turned in by the Red Sox outfield in successive nights.

 

3) Robbie Ross Jr. has become a significant part of the bullpen.

Ross took over for Buchholz in the seventh, with lefty Corey Dickerson and righthanded-hitting Bobby Wilson due.

Ross overpowered Dickerson and got him swinging at a third strike before retiring Wilson on a routine bouncer to third.

It marked the fourth straight scoreless appearance by Ross in relief and ninth straight on the road.

Ross probably doesn't have the pure stuff to become the main option in the eighth inning. But he has had enough success to be someone that John Farrell trusts in some high leverage situations and matchups.