Notes: Pedroia's HR extends hit streak in final AB

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Notes: Pedroia's HR extends hit streak in final AB

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON Things didnt look good for Dustin Pedroia in his final at bat of the day.

It looked like the Sox second basemans hitting streak might be over when he ambled up to the plate already 0-for-2 with a walk in the eighth inning of Thursdays 4-3 loss to the Royals.

But it should have been a harbinger of good things to come when the Fenway Faithful interrupted the traditional singing of Sweet Caroline between halves of the eighth inning to support their little infield general. While the excitement was tempered because the Sox had dropped the game, Terry Francona still recognized the special moment that took place between his diminutive franchise player and the crowd thats adored him so thoroughly during his career in Boston.

I do think our fans are pretty special," Francona said. "They react to things like Dustin Pedroias hit streak. Thats what makes them so great. We dont need President races or mustard racing ketchup. Our fans love baseball and I think thats pretty cool . . . nothing against mustard.

The cheering and ovations began before Pedroia was even announced as the first batter of the inning, and he followed with a dramatic at bat. Pedroia fouled off a couple of nasty outside fastballs from Greg Holland before working the count full.

Then Pedroia found a fastball right around the letters and crushed the 96-mph offering into the Green Monster seats for a solo home run to extend the hitting streak to a career-high 25 games.

I was just trying to get on base," Perdria said. "Holland has great stuff and Im already at a disadvantage there. I just wanted to put together a good at bat. With a 3-2 count I was looking for a fastball and I was just lucky to get the barrel of the bat on it.

Were down two runs. Were trying to win the game. Thats the most important thing we were trying to do there.

The 25-game hitting streak is the longest hitting tear in the American League this season and the third longest in the big leagues. Its also tied for the third-longest by an American League second basemen since 1919, and the longest since Joe Gordons 29-game hitting streak in 1942.

Outfielder Carl Crawford has been playing through a strained left elbow since coming off the 15-day disabled list this month, and was out of the starting lineup over the last two days due to a cortisone shot administered to the elbow on Tuesday.

Crawford said he originally hurt the elbow while continuing rehab from the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL, and it finally got to the point where he needed some medical attention.

The Sox left fielder said hes never had a cortisone shot in his elbow before, and was hoping hed never need another one.

During rehab when I was throwing it got kind of sore when I was doing long toss, said Crawford. I was hoping it would go away at some point and it didnt. So thats why we got the shot."

Crawford pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning of Thursdays loss to the Kansas City Royals, and said he should be ready to return to full-time duty this weekend against the Chicago White Sox. His at bat in the ninth inning nearly became the game-winner when he lifted a Joakim Soria breaking ball deep to the right field warning track, but somehow the ball died with the wind blowing despite the cheers and coaxing from the entire Sox bench.

A Crawford home run would have given the Sox a walk-off win against the Royals, but instead Jeff Francouer tracked the ball back in the sun and somehow made a basket catch of the ball.

In that situation you just try to put everything in the past and focus on getting a hit, said Crawford. Normally when I hit it like I thought it was good enough for a home run. I dont know if it died or if I didnt hit it as well as I thought I did . . . I dont know what happened out there.

There is no update yet on right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain. He is expected to see a specialist within the next few days.

The best way I think I can answer that is that its not been the simplest muscle strain, said manager Terry Francona. I think thats pretty obvious. I meant what I said yesterday: he threw great. He really did. It looked like he was in midseason form but its not been the simplest muscle strain Ive ever seen. Were serious, we want to have everything answered before we turn him loose because if we turn him loose, we dont want to turn back. At the same time we want to take care of him. Thats kind of how I felt yesterday and still feel that way and I think our medical people do too.

Francona is not concerned, for the time being, that Buchholz would not pitch again this season.

Hes a really good pitcher, Francona said. Its hard to answer questions like that. If you asked me when Carl was outCarl is one of our best playersbut the way Josh Reddick played. The guys hitting .430 in his absence. So you never know. Dont want to ever have anybody out.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro was also out of the starting lineup for the finale. He was the only member of the starting lineup who did not get a hit in Wednesdays 16-hit win over the Royals.

I think it'll be good for him, Francona said. Some of the guys have gotten a day. Carls got a couple now, Jacoby a half. Youk. Think well go into Chicago feeling a little bit better.

With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, Francona said he has not noticed the anxiety level in the clubhouse to be as high as it has in past years.

The guys know if they've been around here how things work, Francona said. That were always going to try to get better, which I think players probably appreciate. Theres probably a certain level of excitementin those things.

It used to be on the flip side when I was with the Phillies, knowing that we were kind of on the outside looking in, a little bit envious. I think the guys that there is some anxiety is when theyre reading their name and its probably not every guy, but certain guys I can understand that. Its affecting your livelihood, where you're going to work, things like that. I think its nice when it settles down. This yearit hasnt seemed like its been front and center.

Several reports have linked the Red Sox to Seattle Mariners lefty Erik Bedard (4-6, 3.00 ERA) in trade talks, and a source confirmed to CSNNE.com that indeed there have been discussions between the two teams about the oft-injured Canadian southpaw. Seattle sent scouts this week to Pawtucket and Portland to evaluate younger players potentially available for the southpaw starter, and the demand may become much greater for a starting pitcher in Boston if Clay Buchholzs back condition doesnt improve considerably.

The Sox have also been linked to Hiroki Kuroda, Rich Harden and Ubaldo Jimenez in trade talks over the last weeks, but dont appear willing to spend top dollar to acquire any of them. With Andrew Miller and Tim Wakefield both struggling and John Lackey unreliable against elite offensive lineups, the Sox may be forced to do something with Buchholzs continued status as a health question mark.

Sox reliever Matt Albers pitched an inning of scoreless relief in Thursdays loss to the Kansas City Royals and extended his season-high scoreless streak to 13 13 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts over a career-high 10 straight scoreless appearances dating back to July 1. Albers has basically stepped into the bullpen role originally designated for Bobby Jenks before the season began, and never looked back with a 2.09 ERA this season.

The two-run single for Jacoby Ellsbury in the third inning gave the center fielder a career-high in RBI with 62 RBI on the season, and more than two months of games left to go. Ellsburys previous career-high for a season was 60 RBI in the 2009 baseball season.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:

QUOTES

* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.

* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.

* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save

* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.

* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.

NOTES

* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.

* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI. 

* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.

* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.

* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.

STARS

1) Mookie Betts

Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback. 

3) Koji Uehara

Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Texas Rangers:

Boston’s offense is always in striking distance.

The Red Sox had an uphill battle from the get-go thanks to David Price’s tough outing.

But somehow they took advantage of Texas’ equally bad pitching—that just happened to be more spread out than Boston’s bad pitching.

If Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t earn a walk, or Sandy Leon doesn’t fight tooth and nail for a two-out double in the ninth, that Mookie Betts homerun can’t happen.

The Red Sox need another long outing from Steven Wright.

Obviously they’d prefer a strong performance -- but the knuckler may need to bite the bullet if he’s off Saturday night.

Boston’s bullpen has been used and abused of late, and needs some rest following the Chicago series and a 2.1 inning outing from Price.

Price continues to struggle against the Rangers in his career.

Even when he was able to walk out of the first with just the one run after a bases loaded double play, but couldn’t clamp down with two outs.

The biggest reason he struggled wasn’t his velocity—although it seemed down most of the night—but his location. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Texas is not the team you can do that with.

Although Price was bound to have a rough start, this start went worse than anyone could’ve anticipated. To say this was a bad start is putting it nicely.

Texas gave him a nice wake-up call. He still has room to grow.

Matt Barnes had a solid performance.

It wasn’t his best, but given the situation, he did well. First off, the Rangers are a very hot team and swing early in the count. Barnes left the ball up time after times, but only surrendered the one run.

Additionally, he entered the game far earlier than he’s used to -- in the midst of a blowout where his team was on the wrong end. That’s not an easy thing to walk into for a reliever, especially one who’s used to pitching late in tight ballgames.

He gave Boston a chance when the offense started to gain momentum.

Hanley Ramirez’s power continues to show.

Although he’s not hitting at the rate he did to start the year, Ramirez laced another homer against the Rangers Friday night.

This homerun may have been his most impressive, coming on a 1-2 slider away, driving it to straightaway center -- the deepest part of the ballpark.

Boston just saw what they look like when they almost blow games.

All season the talk around the league has been how explosive the Red Sox lineup is.

Well, the Rangers offense is right there with them. The league’s hottest team didn’t waist any time scoring, and had 15 hits before Boston pitching recorded an out in the fifth inning.

Although the Red Sox outslugged Texas late, they saw what a potent offense outside the AL East can do -- and how bad pitching can undo all of that.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar