Red Sox power surge beats Orioles, 10-4


Red Sox power surge beats Orioles, 10-4

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- Baseball's Home Run Derby doesn't take place until next Monday in Phoenix, but the Red Sox gave fans a sneak preview Thursday night at Fenway.

The Red Sox belted a season-high six home runs -- including three in a row in the seventh inning -- to defeat the Baltimore Orioles, 10-4.

Coupled with the Yankees' loss to Tampa Bay, the win vaulted the Sox into first place in the American League East by half a game. The win was Boston's seventh in its last eight games.

The Sox got a three-run shot from Dustin Pedroia in the third, a solo blast from Adrian Gonzalez in the fifth and a two-run homer from Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth.

They then greeted lefty reliever Pedro Viola with back-to-back-to-back homers in the seventh from David Ortiz, Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Andrew Miller walked four in five innings and spotted the Orioles a quick 2-0 lead in the first, but limited them to just one run over his final four innings.

Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison and Bobby Jenks finished up for the Sox.

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Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.