Sox strand runners, silenced by Sabathia

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Sox strand runners, silenced by Sabathia

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON It was only a matter of time before the real CC Sabathia, who went 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in his first four starts against the Red Sox this season, showed up.

That time came Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as the Yankees beat the Sox, 5-2. Sabathia stifled the Sox, going six innings, giving up two runs on 10 hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts and a home run.

Although the Sox offense had runners on base in every inning against Sabathia, it could do very little against him. The Sox scored both runs in the fourth inning. Carl Crawfords 10th home run of the season and 1st in 70 plate appearances against Sabathia accounted for one run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Darnell McDonald followed that with consecutive singles, with Saltalamacchia scoring on Marco Scutaros double.

Sabathia threw 128 pitches (81 for strikes). He got his final batter, Adrian Gonzalez, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, to ground out to short to end the sixth. Sabathias last pitch registered 96 mph.

They worked CC hard, made him throw a lot of pitches, said manager Terry Francona. But when he needed to, he made pitches. We stranded, certainly, a ton of runners. We had our chances. And weve done a really good job of making him work for everything he gets. But tonight, his stuff was tremendous tonight. His fastball had some life to it. The changeup, breaking ball, as a hitter, you almost have to pick a pitch, because he can command everything. He can come in a hard and go away soft. and when he needed to he was able to do it.

As a team, the Sox left 16 runners on base, while hitting just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Saltalamacchia left seven runners on base, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Gonzalez each left five.

I went in with a game plan to see some pitches and right off the bat took a fastball way, Gonzalez said. It was off the plate away. It was called and put me more in a swinging mentality. So I chased a lot of pitches out of the zone after that. I feel that Ed Rapuano is a great umpire but tonight he was calling pitches off the plate away to lefties and it made it a lot tougher.

We didnt play a great game overall, defensively, offensively, on the bases. It just wasnt our best game. Maybe the two days off showed a little rust but hopefully well come back tomorrow and win.

Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

He was great tonight, Pedroia said of Sabathia. Geez, he was locating his stuff. Hes got great stuff. He struck me out I think on a changeup and a slider. His stuff was late. He did a great job. We tried our best to wear him down but he kept making pitches. So you tip your hat, come out tomorrow and try to win tomorrow.

For Pedroia, there was not much difference in Sabathia Tuesday night and in his previous starts. The difference was in the Sox bats.

Hes always looked like that, Pedroia said. We just, the times we got guys on base in the previous games, we got that big hit. Tonight we didnt do that.

The Sox had their chances against Sabathia. They left the bases loaded in second, and runners at second and third in fourth and fifth. Knowing the opportunities were there makes it all the more frustrating.

Yeah, for sure, Pedroia said. We battled. I think he had like 120-something pitches. So, we definitely gave him a fight.

This time, though, Sabathia earned the win.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

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First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

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Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
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Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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David Price LHP