Notes: Gonzalez breaks his homerless drought

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Notes: Gonzalez breaks his homerless drought

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez had been one of the Red Sox' hot hitters before Tuesday night with a nine-game hitting streak, a .310 batting average and a team-high 18 RBI.

What he hadn't done is hit home runs. Going into Tuesday, in fact, Gonzalez had hit just one homer in 28 games -- and that came in the fifth game of the year.

By the time Gonzalez hit his second homer of the season in Tuesday night's 7-3 win over the Angels -- his first at home -- 96 at-bats had passed.

"Was I concerned?'' said Gonzalez, repeating a reporter's question. "Well, I thought I'd hit another before the end of the year.''

Gonzalez had talked about his homer drought last week in Baltimore and maintained that the long stretch without a long ball had nothing to do with his surgically-repaired shoulder and everything to do with a mechanical flaw in his swing.

''Since that day in Cleveland when he hit the first homer I was just focusing on hitting balls away,'' said Gonzalez Tuesday night. "But I've been moving in the right direction.''

Carl Crawford is showing signs that he's slowly but surely coming around at the plate.

The slumping outfielder had two hits again Wednesday, marking the third straight game in which he's collected two hits.

Crawford singled in the third inning for his 1,500th career hit, two years to the day afterhe tied modern major-league record with six stolen bases against theRed Sox. He is the fourth modern big leaguer ever to collect 1,500 hitsand 400 stolen bases before turning 30, joining Cesar Cedeno, Ty Cobb,and Eddie Collins.

In the seventh, Crawford singled again, then rode home all the way from first on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's wall-scraping double.

With the two hits, Crawford is now hitting .194, his highest average in weeks.

"It was just a matter of time,'' said Terry Francona of Crawford's emergence. "He's a good player. I think he's just starting to relax at the plate.''

The Red Sox are 6-0 against the Angels this season, outscoring them 36-13. The Sox are 15-1 against the Angels since the start of the 2010 season.

Its a good ballclub, said L.A.'s starter Tuesday night, Dan Haren. Its not losing 15 out of 16 to, no disrespect, like the Mariners or the Pirates. Its the Boston Red Sox --theyre a good ballclub.

In order to do 15 out of 16 you gotta have a little luck on your side. A lot of things have to happen because its not that easy. We got to just hope we can scratch one out tomorrow and then go from there.

Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 12-games a team high with a sixth-inning double.

Marco Scutaros eighth-inning home run, his first of the season, passed a video review. It was the 10th time instant replay has been used at Fenway, the second time this season. It was the fourth time the on-field call has stood.

Kevin Youkilis was scratched from the lineup just before game time because of illness.

Jonathan Papelbon threw 24 pitches in the ninth inning a non-save situation three shy of his season high of 27 on April 3 in Texas, also a non-save situation, a 5-1 loss.

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

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

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First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park:

*The Red Sox got some much-needed contributions from the bottom of the order.

Aaron Hill was 0-for-20 when he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but slapped a tie-breaking single to right to put the Red Sox ahead to stay.

Batting ninth was Jackie Bradley Jr. who was 3-for-17 when he singled in the fifth, homered in the sixth and doubled home a run in the ninth, right after Hill's heroics.

The Sox have been carried offensively by the top four or five in their lineup, but that's a tough way to win.

At some point, others in the batting order have to contribute. The timing couldn't have been better than for that to start on Wednesday afternoon.

* Why was Junichi Tazawa throwing fastballs ahead 0-and-2?

Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and Logan Forsythe due. After two quick strikes, Tazawa kept throwing fastballs to Forsythe, who took the second one and lined it back up the middle for a two-run single.

Tazawa's best pitch is his split-finger, and it seemed like that would have been the more prudent choice there -- to get Forsythe to chase a pitch out of the zone.

It's doubtful that there were concerns about a split bouncing in the dirt and getting away from catcher Sandy Leon.

Strange.

*Hustle counts.

The Rays lost out on a run in the third inning and it changed the game.

 With two outs, the Rays had Tim Beckham at second and Logan Forsythe at first when Kevin Kiermaier stroked a line drive to the gap in right-center.

Beckham jogged toward the plate, but at the same time, Kiermaier attempted to stretch a single into a double. His throw arrived in time for a tag to be placed on him as he slid into second.

Worse, from the Rays' standpoint, Beckham hadn't crossed the plate before the tag was applied at second, so what should have been an automatic run was not a run at all for Tampa Bay.

 

 

 

 

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

BOSTON - Without saying so directly, John Farrell broadly hinted that the Red Sox appear ready to call up Yoan Moncada as rosters expand from the current 25-man limit Thursday.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the chances of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion would be similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox have already held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

The Red Sox try to end their short homestand at 3-3 and take two of three from the last-place Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale this afternoon at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18 ERA), who allowed five first-inning runs to the Kansas Royals in his last start - his first since coming off the disabled list - is on the mound for the Red Sox. Left-hander Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80) starts for the Rays.

The Red Sox begin a nine-game road trip to Oakland, San Diego and Toronto on Friday night. 

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier 2B

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller DH

Nick Franklin RF

Logan Morrison 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Corey Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Drew Smyly LHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF