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

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland put up mediocre numbers and won a Gold Glove in a walk year. For his efforts, he received a one-year, $5.5 million contract on the open market. 

That’s not a lot. Maybe his .233 average stood out to teams more than his 22 homers, but either way it’s somewhat surprising that a one-year deal on low money is the best he could do given the fact that his career average was .258 prior to last year and he’d hit .275 or higher in two of his previous four seasons. 

The contract might not be a major score for Moreland, but he said choosing Boston was. 

“I had a couple options, but really just the whole fact that it’s place that I really wanted to play,” he said of Boston. “Getting an opportunity to come here and be a part of a winning environment, being part of a winning environment and having a chance to go out and play for a championship is huge to me, personally, and this is a great option. 

“What they were able to do last year, you know you were in for a fight when you were playing these guys. It was a gritty group of guys that had a ton of talent. I like to think of myself as that type player, as a gritty type player and hopefully I felt like I could fit in here and move forward and try to help out and make that goal happen of winning a championship. 

“That’s the main goal as far as playing this game for me. I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity here, and that was before the [Chris] Sale news broke, too, you know? So seeing that also, it just shows you that we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.” 

It doesn’t hurt that his batting average is higher at Fenway Park than it is in any other stadium in which he’s had at least 30 at-bats. Moreland has hit .341/.378/.683 with four homers and eight RBI in 41 career at-bats at Fenway. Asked to explain his success in Boston, he noted that “comfortable” was the only word that came to mind. 

So what is the Red Sox’ plan for the former Rangers first baseman? To play him at first against righties and let Hanley Ramirez DH, John Farrell said. 

Farrell did also point to Moreland’s recent work against lefties. Last season was one of two in his career (the other being 2013) in which Moreland had a better average against lefties than against righties. Moreland hit .277/.320/.479 against southpaws last season, with .221/.293/.407 marks against righties.

“Against right-handed starters, Mitch will be the first baseman,” Farrell said. “That gives us the flexibility to DH Hanley in that spot. One thing I also mentioned to Mitch is we’re certainly open to his at-bats growing in number against left-handers, last year was his best year against left-handers in his big league career.

"With Mitch, getting everyday at-bats against right-handed starters at first base and Hanley moving to the DH slot, that alignment, we also have the ability against quality left-handers, where Hanley would go back to first base and then we’ve got the ability to rotate some guys through the DH slot. 

Added Farrell: “His strengths as a player are many, but we feel this is a very good fit in a number of ways, and positionally first and foremost.” 

Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

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Red Sox make Mitch Moreland signing official

The Red Sox officially announced the signing of first baseman Mitch Moreland Thursday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team designated left-handed pitcher Williams Jerez for assignment. 

Moreland has played his entire career with the Rangers, winning a Gold Glove at first base last season. He hit .233/.298/.422 with 22 homers and 60 RBI for the Rangers last season before becoming a free agent. He has a career batting average of .254, with a career-high 23 homers in both the 2013 and 2015 seasons. 

A second-round pick of the Red Sox in the 2011 draft, Jerez started his professional career as an outfielder before being moved to pitcher.