Saltalamacchia gives Red Sox offense extra cushion

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Saltalamacchia gives Red Sox offense extra cushion

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; With runners on the corners and two outs, combined with JonLesters presence on the mound and No. 9 hitter Jayson Nix at the plate, allsigns pointed towards letting the Blue Jays have second base if they wanted it.

Not to say that the Red Sox should have completely ignoredJuan Rivera at first base while second was open, but with Lester on the moundwith two outs in the second inning of a scoreless game, you would thinkBostons major focus would be on Torontos No. 9 hitter.

Instead, Rivera got a bad jump, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia decidedto make the throw to second. The throw was off target, but still had enough onit to get Rivera caught in a rundown for the third out. Problem was, the throwto second gave Aaron Hill plenty of time to score from third and give the BlueJays an early 1-0 lead.

Well take the chance of allowing a run to score to come off the field,said Red Sox manager Terry Francona after the game. That throw, we didntexecute exactly like we wanted, but well come off the field at any time.

Francona took full responsibility for making the decision tothrow to second on the play, taking any heat that could have been put onSaltalamacchia for essentially giving Toronto a run.

It was one of those things where Ive got to peek at therunner at third, and I didnt, said Saltalamacchia after the game. I justkind of saw Rivera get a bad jump, kind of came up throwing it. I knew whatthey were going to do in this situation. Luckily it didnt kill us today.

It didnt kill the Red Sox because that was the only runthey allowed on the afternoon. And they went on to score eight runs of theirown. Saltalamacchia drove in three of those -- his most RBI in a game since driving in four runs in May of 2009 with the Texas Rangers -- which included his second-inning RBI single that got the party started for Boston's offense, in the half inning after the BlueJays scored on his poor throw to second.

With runners on first and third and one out in the bottom ofthe second, Saltalamacchia hit a ground ball to the right side of the infieldthat just got past Hills lunging attempt and rolled into the outfield.

Jed Lowrie was able to score easily on the play, tying thegame at 1-1.

In the very next at-bat, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in J.D. Drewand Saltalamacchia with a three-run home run that gave the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.But even at that point, no three-run lead was safe, seeing that on Fridaynight, Boston blew an early 3-0 lead to Toronto and lost, 7-6.

That wasnt something anyone wanted to deal with on Sundayafternoon. So Saltalamacchia's two-run single with bases loaded and two outs in the bottomof the sixth gave the Red Sox a 6-1 cushion that they were dreaming of, inorder to not have to use Jonathan Papelbon for three straight days.

Saltalamacchia ripped a 2-and-2 slider to right field off ofToronto starter Jesse Litsch, driving home David Ortiz and Lowrie. It was aperfect example of what Saltalamacchia and Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadantalked about on Saturday, while Saltalamacchia had the day off.

Just trying to slow it down a little bit, not jumping toomuch, not trying to crush the ball every time, said the Red Sox catcher after Sundays 8-1 win overToronto. Just stay within myself, like I was in spring training.

He seemed to stay within himself with two strikes on him inthe bottom of the sixth, sat back on an 83 mph pitch that tailed back over theplate at the last second, and ripped it to right, ending Litschs afternoon.

I think the more anybody relaxes, the better theyre goingto be, said Francona. I mean, the game sometimes can look a little bitquick.

In the past, Ive felt comfortable with two strikes, saidSaltalamacchia. I dont know if I just kind of bare down a little bit more anddont try and over-due it. But in that situation, I was just looking for a ballup that I could put good wood on.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

CHICAGO -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox:

 

QUOTES

"I think the most encouraging thing was after a couple of hard-hit balls early on, he was still in attack mode.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"The biggest thing centers around his fastball. First inning, he might have been up a little bit. But after that, he was down in the zone and the curveball was a good compliment to that.'' - Farrell.

"Man, I tell you what -- he does it in such big moments.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz.

"If you could paint a picture, I think tonight would be just about what everybody would want to do.'' - Buchholz on his outing.

"I think everybody would be lying if they said they didn't see your numbers; you see them every day. (Being) 0-3 with a six-something (ERA) is obviously not where you want to be.'' - Buchholz.

"Hopefully, this is the start of something good coming out of him.'' - Ortiz on Buchholz.

"You feel like the luckiest man on planet earth - finally hitting the ball where no one's at!'' - Ortiz on beating the shift with a single through the shortstop hole in the seventh

 

NOTES

* When the Red Sox homer, they're 11-6.

* Clay Buchholz's win was his first since last July 10.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

* Mookie Betts has scored at least one run in 10 of his last 14 games.

* David Ortiz is now one homer from tying Carl Yastrzemski for second-most homers in franchise history at 452.

* Ortiz tied Gary Sheffield for 25th place all-time in homers with 509.

 

STARS

1) Clay Buchholz

After five straight poor outings, Buchholz turned in a gem, giving up two runs in the first, then nothing else for the next six innings.

2) David Ortiz

As he so often does, Ortiz delivered when the Red Sox needed him most, clocking a two-run homer in the fifth to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.

3) Jose Abreu

The White Sox slugger belted a two-run homer in the first to give him five RBI in the two games in this series.

 

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.