Red Sox lose, season ends after Rays walk-off win

Red Sox lose, season ends after Rays walk-off win

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

BALTIMORE -- Capping a night of incredible drama, the Red Sox blew a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, losing to the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3. Minutes later, the Rays' Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run -- his second of the game -- in the bottom of the 12th inning to vault the Rays into the postseason, and seal the Red Sox' fate.

Robert Andino lashed a line single to left that Carl Crawford couldn't quite hold onto as Nolan Reimold's, who had smacked a game-tying double, scored from second.

Until Wednesday night, the Red Sox had been 77-0 in games in which they led after eight innings.

The Red Sox scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth, with Dustin Pedroia knocking in two of the runs -- on an RBI-single in the third and another on a solo homer in the fifth.

Marco Scutaro, who doubled in the fourth and took third on a groundout, scored the other run on a balk from Alfredo Simon.

Jon Lester, pitching on three days' rest, limited the Orioles to two runs on four hits.

J.J. Hardy hit his 30th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third, to account for the only Orioles' runs of the night.

Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon each contributed a scoreless inning of relief.

Scutaro should have scored an insurance run in the eighth, but he inexplicably broke back to second for an instant when Carl Crawford doubled to the left-center gap.

The split second reversal cost Scutaro when he was thrown out in close play at the plate.

The Sox had the bases loaded with one in the ninth but couldn't push across a run.

The game featured an 86 minute rain delay in the middle of the seventh inning, during which the Tampa Bay Rays erased a 7-0 deficit, tying the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and sending their game with the New York Yankees into extra innings, leaving the Sox uncertain of their fate -- until just after they had lost.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner


Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”