Notes: Miller mediocre at best in Sox win

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Notes: Miller mediocre at best in Sox win

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

CHICAGO -- Andrew Miller has just one win in his last four starts -- he earned his second-straight no decision in the Red Sox' 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday -- but both the pitcher and his manager thought were encouraging signs about his outing.

Miller went 5 23 innings -- he's yet to pitch past the sixth inning in any of his eight starts for Boston this year - and gave up 10 hits. But he also struck out a season-high eight and walked just one.

"The ball came out of his hand better than we've seen in a while," said Terry Francona. "Saying that, he gave up some hits. But I still thought he threw the ball pretty well -- a little bit of bend, but don't break."

Miller didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning, but, again, forced his pitch count up. He threw 106 pitches to get just 17 outs, but it all resulted in a win.

"Runners in every inning is not how you draw it up," he conceded. "But I was able to get out of (some jams) in the end and give us a chance to win. Fortunately, those guys in the bullpen, as always, just came in and shut them down.

"It was a battle at times. But ultimately, we won the game."

One ominous note: Miller has given up 41 baserunners in his last 21 23 innings -- nearly two baserunners per inning.

"I gave up a lot more hits than I'd like to," said Miller, "but I think a couple of them were broken bats. Once the ball leaves my hand, it's out of my control so I have to just pitch around whatever happens next."

What might happen next is Miller could be pushed from the rotation, following the acquisition Sunday of Erik Bedard.

"I'm concerned with how I pitch," he said. "I think that's out of my control. I can't worry about that. It is what it is."

For the time being, it seems, Miller is safe as Theo Epstein broadly hinted that the Sox might go with six starters for the next few turns through the rotation.

The Sox welcomed the acquisition of Bedard. Some found out about the deal in the dugout while others didn't hear until after the game in the clubhouse as they packed and got ready to return to Boston.

"Right on . . . awesome," said Dustin Pedroia. "He's got great stuff. I'm excited to have him. He's going to help us a ton. We've had some injuries on our pitching staff. He's going to come in here and help. Hopefully, he does a great job for us. We're excited to have him. It's going to be a fun rest of the season."

"He's a very effective pitcher," said Kevin Youkilis. "He can get guys out if he's using his slider and fastball well. He's definitely a good pitcher who can get guys out. Hopefully, he can do that here in Boston. We'll find out sooner than later."

Bedard pitched in Baltimore for several seasons, but he last was there in 2008.

"I think the whole division's probably changed (since then)," Youkilis said. "This team has changed dramatically, so, I don't think (familiarity) with pitching in the AL East (isn't necessarily important). The big thing is if he has his stuff, throws strikes and gets guys out, that's all that matters."

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

Quotes, Notes and Stars of the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Angels

Quotes

"It's a joke. That's a brutal call for whoever's back in New York looking at it.'' - Mike Scioscia on decision not to cite fan interference on ground-rule double in the ninth.

"We played with 26 players tonight. I was like, 'Yes!''' - David Ortiz on the fan who touched Daniel Nava's double.

"If I had to go back and do it all over again, I probably would have just thrown a knuckleball. I didn't want to walk a guy, but I've got to think about the bigger picture and just swallow the walk.'' - Steven Wright, on the fastball thrown to C.J. Cron, who hit a grand slam.

Notes

* David Ortiz moved into 19th place all-time in home runs with No. 522, breaking a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

* Ortiz collected his 2,000th hit as a member of the Red Sox, something only six other players in history have accomplished.

* Ortiz also passed Thomas in career RBI with 1,704, good for 23rd place.

* Ortiz extended his Fenway hitting streak to 18 games. He's reached base at home in every home game since April 29.

* Steven Wright has allowed just six homers all season, but three have come in the last four games. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox teammates to record 100 hits each before the team's 81st game since 1988 when four players did so - Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Marty Barrett.

* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the Angels.

* The game marked the 47th time in first 79 games that the Sox have collected 10 or more hits. That leads the majors, with Kansas City and Detroit next at 39.

* The Sox are 23-9 in Brock Holt's starts.

Stars

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz had a three-hit game with two singles and a homer, the last of which was his 2,000th hit in a Red Sox uniform. The homer also was career home run No. 522, moving him past three Hall of Famers into 19th place all-time.

2) Brock Holt

Holt announced his presence loud and clear with two doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and an assist from the outfield.

3) C.J. Cron

Cron made things mighty interesting with one swing of the bat in the sixth, driving a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam that brought the Angels back to within a run.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels

* John Farrell faced a tough call with Steven Wright in the sixth.

Wright doesn't fare well in wet weather, as the Red Sox learned earlier this season when he tried to pitch in a steady rain against Houston. With a downpour, Wright wasn't able to grip his signature knuckler, and the results showed.

In the fifth and into the sixth, the rain was picking up. By the start of the sixth, the rain intensified, and Wright began to struggle. He allowed a leadoff double to Albert Pujols, hit Jefry Marte and walked Daniel Nava to load the bases.

Farrell had Matt Barnes warming, but the manager was clearly trying to get his starter through the sixth and limit the bullpen workload, having gone to the pen in the third inning Monday and the seventh inning Wednesday.

The move backfired when C.J. Cron hit a grand slam. Wright has been terrific this season, but his inability to pitch when there's any rain at all creates a unique challenge for his manager.

* Brock Holt made his presence felt right away.

Holt missed more than a month with a concussion, and admitted before Friday's game that he still wasn't 100 percent recovered.

But that hardly seemed the case Friday night. In the field, Holt fielded a line drive in the corer by C.J. Cron and fired a strike to second, cutting down Cron attempting to stretch a single into a double.

At the plate, meanwhile, Holt clubbed two doubles to left.

Holt used that same inside-out swing both times to take pitches the other way, expertly using the Wall and Fenway to his advantage.

For the past week, the Red Sox were shuffling a few outfielders, none of whom had had much experience -- or success -- at the big league level. Even if he's not 100 percent and can't be counted on every day yet, Holt could provide a nice jolt to the bottom third of the order.

* Ortiz continues to pile up records.

His solo homer in the fifth - a line shot that curled past the right field foul pole, into the box seats -- was No. 522 of his career. That enabled Ortiz to move past three Hall of Famers: Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams -- with one swing.

Ortiz had been tied with the trio in 19th place for most career homers.

The homer also marked his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox. He became the seventh player to amass 2,000 hits in a Red Sox uniform. The others: Williams,  Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Bobby Doerr and Wade Boggs.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam