Notes: Peace of mind sparks Pedroia's surge

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Notes: Peace of mind sparks Pedroia's surge

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Since finding out that nothing is structurally wrong with his right knee, Dustin Pedroia has been a different player.

Pedroia missed the final game of the series in New York to have a scope procedure, and rejoined the club Friday here. He was 3-for-4 with a walk Friday and Saturday, was 3-for-5 with another walk.

In the last two days, Pedroia has bumped his average 16 points from .247 to .263.

Secure in the knowledge that he can't do any more damage to the knee, Pedroia has made some adjustments at the plate the last two days.

Of course, it helped that, as Pedroia disclosed for the first time Saturday, he received a shot of Synvisc, a lubricating gel, for his knee, easing the discomfort he felt from the bruised kneecap.

And knowing that he can put shift some weight to his back (right) knee at the plate has allowed Pedroia to break some bad habits he had developed over the last month.

"I actually feel better,'' said Pedroia. "If I feel better, I can use my back side more and that helps me out a lot because I can get pretty out there on my front stride. This helps me stay back and I'm able to let the ball come to me.''

"We all know Pedey can deal with pain or hurting,'' said Terry Francona. "But I think the idea that he's not hurting himself really cleared his head a lot.''

Exactly a month after he was shelled here for nine runs and later uttered that "everything in my life sucks right now,'' John Lackey returned to the Rogers Centre with a much healthier right elbow and, it would seem, a better frame of mind.

It showed on the mound, too, as Lackey picked up his second win in as many starts since going on the DL with elbow inflammation. He allowed four runs over six innings to improve to 4-5.

"It felt like it was a step forward,'' he said. "I'm still building some arm strength, but the guys swung the bats pretty good and made it pretty easy for me.''

Lackey said his slider is much better since his DL stint.

The runs off him came bunched together, with a two-run double from Rajai Davis in the fourth and a two-run homer from Edward Encarnacion in the sixth, his final inning.

Otherwise, Lackey had a stretch where he retired 10 of 11 hitters so that when the team provided him with run support, he got them back into the dugout quickly to go for some more.

"I'll sit there all day if they want to keep scoring runs,'' said Lackey. "That's not something I'm ever going to complain about.''

He entered the game with a career ERA of 5.07 of Toronto, but made some adjustments Saturday.

"I'm definitely trying to change some patterns and some sequences,'' he acknowledged. "There were definitely some adjustments.''

In a lineup that bashed out 18 hits, shortstop Marco Scutaro -- getting a start with Jed Lowrie shifting to third in place of Kevin Youkilis -- had the most of anyone, recording his first four-hit game of the season.

Scutaro missed several weeks because of a strained oblique, but almost from the beginning of a brief three-game rehab assignment in the minors, has been swinging a strong bat.

"I'm swinging the bat pretty good right now,'' ackmnowledged Scutaro. "Everything's kind of settled down for me. My timing is back. That's pretty much the difference. Even before I got hurt, I was feeling a little better at the plate. You know how hitting is -- sometimes you lose the feeling and it takes a while to get it back.''

"It's huge for us,'' said Francona of the contributions of Scutaro and what it means for depth. "It's hard to go through the whole season and not have guys get nicked up or miss some time. This will really help us.''

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

Red Sox place Chris Young on DL, recall Bryce Brentz

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Red Sox place Chris Young on DL, recall Bryce Brentz

To no one's surprise, the Red Sox have placed outfielder Chris Young -- who collapsed Thursday on the basepaths after suffering a severe right hamstring strain and had to be helped off the field -- on the 15-day disabled list.

The team recalled outfielder Bryce Brentz from Pawtucket as a replacement. Brentz will be with the Sox tonight in Texas when they open a six-game road trip.

Young had taken over as the Sox' everyday left fielder after a concussion forced Brock Holt to the DL, and was hitting .277 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI in 130 at-bats. He had played so well that manager John Farrell talked of moving Holt back to his infield-outfield, super-utility role when he returns and giving Young a large portion of the playing time in left.

Now, however, he appears to be facing a lengthy absence and Holt, who's been on a rehab assignment with the PawSox, may once again take over as the primary left fielder.

Brentz, who last played for in the Red Sox in September 2014, played 12 games at Double-A Portland this year before being sent back to Pawtucket. He has a combined average of .261 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI in 184 at-bats. Brentz was the Red Sox' No. 1 draft choice in 2010.
 

McAdam: Sox' desperate measures pay off with much-needed win

McAdam: Sox' desperate measures pay off with much-needed win

BOSTON -- By the end, scattered throughout the batting order were names like Marrero and Leon and LaMarre.

If you looked at the lineup card, with the names crossed out and late-inning replacements penciled in, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled into an early March spring training game, a road game from which the regulars had been spared a long bus ride.

But it was nothing of the sort. John Farrell was playing for keeps.

It wasn't March at all. It was late June. But Farrell was managing like it was September.

He ran through all his position players, having emptied his bench out of necessity while putting a pretty good dent in his bullpen, too.

Craig Kimbrel was pushed for two innings for the first time this season. Travis Shaw, too sore to start at third base early in the afternoon, eventually found himself in left field for the first time since spring training.

The Red Sox were desperate for a win and, after they had outlasted the Chicago White Sox, 8-7 in 10 innings, weren't ashamed to admit it.

Well, maybe not "desperate,'' per se. But they acknowledged that the game carried with it an unusual sense of urgency.

"Yeah, very much so,'' said Farrell. "We're staring at (the possibility) of a four-game sweep at home and that's never a good thing. So you find a way to pull out all the stops. We all sensed that. We did some things that . . . you know what? You do what you can with what you have in the moment.''

And the Red Sox, at times, didn't have much. They lost outfielder Chris Young to a significant hamstring strain that will put their third left fielder on the DL in the last month. They got just 5 1/3 innings from starter Rick Porcello, requiring repeated calls to the bullpen.

But they played and managed with a heightened sense that, damn the calendar, this was one they could not afford to lose.

The White Sox had come here scuffling, too, but had gotten better by beating up the Red Sox for the first three. A sweep at the hands of the thoroughly mediocre White Sox would have been too much for Boston to take.

You seldom hear baseball players attach much significance to a single game, especially one weeks before the All-Star break. Usually, there's the usual cliches about it being a long season, with plenty of baseball to be played.

And it is, and there will be. But the Red Sox dropped their guard after the win and admitted that, yes, they needed this one in the worst way.

"For sure,'' agreed Xander Bogaerts, who sent a flare into shallow center that scored the winning run. "We all were (feeling desperate). We've been one base hit away. Chris Young's home run (a foot from being fair in the late innings Wednesday night) . . . The games had been so close (in the series) and everything seemed to be on their side. It was on our side today.''

One win -- no matter how hard-fought, or how dramatic -- won't turn around the Red Sox season.

There's still a black hole in left field that must be filled until Brock Holt can return. The bullpen has been exposed in recent weeks and re-inforcements must be found, either internally or externally.

And even after 14 runs scored in the last two games, the offense still has the disquieting habit of stranding runners at the worst possible time.

Those issues aren't going away because the Red Sox, for an afternoon, willed themselves to a victory.

There are no guarantees, in short. The Sox play their next six on the road, the first three of which are against the team (Texas) with the best record in the American League.

But none of that mattered Thursday, when the Red Sox seemed willing to do just about anything for a single win.

Quotes, notes and stars: Sox' 17th come-from-behind win of season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Sox' 17th come-from-behind win of season

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 8-7 win over the Chicago White Sox

 

QUOTES

"Just a hell of a job on his part, given the situation.'' - John Farrell on Craig Kimbrel's escape from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th inning.

"Yes, very much so. We're staring at a four-game sweep at home and that's never a good thing. You find a way to pull out all the stops. . . We all sensed that.'' - Farrell, when asked if the game had a greater sense of urgency for the Red Sox.

"For sure. We all were.''  - Xander Bogaerts, when asked if the Red Sox were feeling a sense of desperation.

"In a situation like that, you've got to take it one pitch at a time.'' - Craig Kimbrel on the 10th inning.

 

NOTES

* The win was the Red Sox' 17th come-from-behind win of the season and second walk-off victory.

* The Red Sox have spotted a lead to the opposition in eight straight games, going 3-5 in those games.

* Xander Bogaerts supplied his fourth career walk-off base hit.

* Nine of Sandy Leon's 11 RBI have come from the fifth inning on.

* David Ortis has reached base safely at home in 27 straight games.

* Since joining the Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez is hitting .307 in day games and .232 at night.

* The Sox improved to 5-3 in extra innings.

* Chris Young (hamstring) is heading for the disabled list. The Red Sox did not announce a corresponding move.

 

STARS:

1) Xander Bogaerts

After his progression last year as a hitter in big spots, there's no one -- other than David Ortiz -- the Red Sox would want at the plate with the winning run in scoring position. Sure enough, Bogaerts delivered a game-winning single.

2) Dustin Pedroia

Maybe the night off last Monday did him some good. Since returning, Pedroia has had three straight multi-hit games and was on base five times Thursday.

3) Craig Kimbrel

After a spotless ninth, Kimbrel made a mess for himself with two walks sanwiched around a single in the 10th. Then, impressively, he bailed himself out, leaving the bases loaded and buying the Red Sox more time.