Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

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Sox rally for 7-5 win over Astros

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- For six innings, the Red Sox, with their bats silent, seemed headed for another embarrassing loss to an inferior National League team.

Then came the comeback.

The Red Sox rallied for six runs in the seventh inning and stole a 7-5 win from the Houston Astros.

Dustin Pedroia hit a cue shot to right with the bases loaded to tie the game and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a two-run double to left-center, giving the Red Sox their first
lead since the top of the first when Marco Scutaro led off the game with a home run.

Astros starter Bud Norris shut the Sox down after Scutaro's homer and didn't allow a second hit until J.D. Drew's leadoff single in the fateful seventh.

After Tim Wakefield was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in 5 13 innings, five Red Sox relievers combined to shut out Houston for the final 3 23 innings.

The victory was the second in a row for the Sox, marking their first time they'd won consecutive games since June 19-20.

STAR OF THE GAME: Adrian Gonzalez

There's a reason Gonzalez leads the majors in RBI this season.

After looking overmatched in his first three at-bats (two strikeouts and a double play), Gonzalez used his patented inside-out swing to drill a two-run double to left field as part of the Red Sox' six-run seventh inning.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia was on base three times, but his best at-bat came in the seventh, right before Gonzalez put the Sox up by two.

With the bases loaded, Pedroia hit a cue shot in between first baseman Brett Wallace and the first-base bag, scoring two runs and giving the Red Sox a fresh start with their 5-5 tie.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Sergio Escalona

After Houston starter Bud Norris tired, Brad Mills went to his bullpen -- with disastrous results.

Escalona was the first (and worst) culprit. First he gave up a rocket that ate up shortstop Clint Barmes. Then, he managed to hit Darnell McDonald (hitting all of .115 at the time), loading the bases and leading to Pedroia's and Gonzalez's heroics.

TURNING POINT: When Escalona hit the light-hitting McDonald,

It loaded the bases, extended the inning, forced Brad Mills to make another pitching change and gave the Sox the opportunity to complete their comeback.

BY THE NUMBERS: 74
The Red Sox have scored 74 runs in the seventh inning this season; no other team in Major League Baseball has more than 47.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
"We bailed ourselves out of that miserable start and we certainly have a long way to go. But we're playing better.'' -- Terry Francona assessing the Red Sox season at the halfway point.

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

New season, new pitcher, new persona: The evolution of Rick Porcello

New season, new pitcher, new persona: The evolution of Rick Porcello

BOSTON -- Just over a year ago, Rick Porcello made his return from the 15-day disabled list, and the righty's not only been a new pitcher, but a new person at times.

“Pretty Ricky” is still the mild-mannered, well-spoken pitcher off the field, but between the white lines the 27-year-old's unexpectedly shown a gritty side of late.

Part of his alter ego is his sweat-crowned cap that's helped him find a way into Red Sox Nation’s heart by indirectly paying homage to Trot Nixon, one of Boston’s most hard-nosed players in recent history.

“I don’t know how that happens,” Porcello said bewildered by his unsightly, yet lucky hat. “It’s disgusting. Trust me, I don’t even want to put it on.

“I wear the same hat throughout the course of the season if things are going well, and if they’re not I change it out.”

His hat is one of the more glaring changes to the 2016 version of Rick Porcello -- given the contradiction with his nickname. But what’s also come to surface with his Cy Young-caliber pitching is his toughness.

And we’re not talking about his ability to get out of jams -- although that’s been the case too. We’re talking about his frustration every time he gets pulled in the middle of an inning, and, even more so, chirping at opposing players -- like he did Chase Headley, giving some life to the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry that’s been in a lull the last few seasons.

“I’m not really sure why I did it [to Headley] and in Detroit,” Porcello said his recent change in behavior. “I don’t like to be vocal like that. I like to just try to go out there and do my job. That’s really it. I’m not a guy that screams at guys on the mound.

“But I think there are times, when, if you feel strongly about something that’s going on, then you need to speak up instead of just letting it continue. That’s all that was.”

If you haven’t heard Rick Porcello in the postgame interview following his starts, those reactions on the mound aren't something anyone would expect from him. He’s always one to take his time articulating his points in detail -- far from some of the shoot-from-the-hip players Boston’s had in the past.

“I don’t think that’s really indicative of my personality or anything like that,” the righty said on his changing mound presence. “I mean, when I’m between the lines, I’m definitely not trying to make friends with the other team. I’m trying to beat ‘em. That’s really all I care about, is us winning games. If I feel like they’re doing something to alter that -- and it’s not right -- then I’ll say something. But I don’t fell like I’m running around like a hothead just screaming at everybody.

“It’s a little bit different when you’re between the lines and you’re competing. We’re in a race right now. You’re emotions are going to be running high. Certain things at certain levels that you get to on the field you don’t get to in any other aspect in your life. Whether it’s the adrenaline or just the emotion that comes through, those sorts of things. I think a lot of guys when they’re competing and they get into that moment, they turn into a bit of different person or a different animal. That’s all that is.”

The Cy Young candidate also mentioned the recent outbursts were more situation-based, rather than results of playing both Boston’s greatest rival or his old team.

While it’s made his already impressive starts even more entertaining, Porcello doesn’t want his competitiveness to mistaken for disrespect towards the game or his opponents. But he intends to get the message across that he’s not only passionate about winning, but will speak up if he deems it necessary.

“It’s a fine line between being composed and when something goes down then you say what you need to say or you’re just running around like a hothead,” Porcello said. “I definitely don’t want to be the latter. But I’m passionate about what we’re doing and I’m passionate about our team and winning. Anything can happen when you’re out there and those things are at stake.”

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar

Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

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Quotes, notes and stars: Barnes takes the blame in loss

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

QUOTES

“That one’s one me. I’ve got to do a better job of securing that lead and getting out of that inning.” - Matt Barnes on giving up the lead.

“When he tries to go down and away to right-handers, the ball’s leaking back to the middle a bit. That was the case against [Lorenzo] Cain [and Raul] Mondesi in this case tonight. It’s on the plate first pitch, bases loaded he’s trying to get a strike to get ahead. But in general, Barnes has pitched to the edge at times and missed, and then when he’s on the plate it’s probably found the middle of the plate a bit too much.” - John Farrell on Barnes’ outing.

“I think everybody in that bullpen believes in every single person down there.” - Barnes said on the bullpen.

“It was good, everything was good . . . Just the fastball command was a little out of control.” - Eduardo Rodriguez on his left hamstring and his performance.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz launched his 31st home run of the season, which also marked the 534th of his career, tying Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the all-time home run chart.

* Mookie Betts recorded his Major League-leading 56th multi-hit game of the season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. finished 1-for-2, bumping his average to .317 (77-for-243) at Fenway this season.

* The Red Sox grounded into four double plays, tying their season high on 6/12 against Minnesota.

* Matt Barnes’ ERA jumped from 3.68 before Sunday’s game to 4.45 after giving up 5 runs without recording an out.

 

STARS

1) Raul Mondesi

Mondesi’s bases-clearing triple in the sixth opened the floodgates and gave Kansas City the lead they would continue to build off.

2) Matt Strahm

 Strahm relieved Yordano Ventura after his short 4 and 1/3-inning outing. He held the Red Sox scoreless through 2.2 innings to earn his second win of the season.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez launched his sixth home run in his last eight games against Boston. He became the Royal to homer in three-straight games at Fenway since Billy Butler did in 2011.