Sox take fizz out of Brewers, 10-4

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Sox take fizz out of Brewers, 10-4

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- The Red Sox returned to Fenway Park, maintaining the red-hot momentum that propelled them through their best nine-game road trip since 1977, by beating up on the Brewers 10-4.

The Brewers, making their first appearance at Fenway since 2008 (when the Sox swept the three-game series), had little to like in their return. Starter Shaun Marcum lasted just one inning, needing 44 pitches.

John Lackey got through an up-and-down first three innings to even his record at 5-5. Lackey needed 25 pitches (16 strikes) facing six batters in the first inning, when he gave up two runs. In the second, though, he retired the Brewers in order, using just nine pitches (seven strikes). He came back to face six batters again in the third, allowing two more runs, on 24 pitches (17 strikes).

But after a no-out RBI single to Prince Fielder in the third, Lackey retired the next 15 batters three on strikes, two fly balls, and the rest infield grounders before allowing a one-out single to center by Nyjer Morgan.

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats including his 15th home run of the season, into the first row of Monster seats to lead off the fifth needing a triple to complete the cycle. But, Gonzalez, who has 10 career triples and two this season, grounded into an inning-ending double play in the sixth and walked in the eighth. He scored each of the first three times he reached base.

With the Brewers leading 2-0 in the first, Jacoby Ellsbury cut the lead in half with his eighth home run of the season, into the Sox bullpen. With one out, Gonzalez singled to center and scored on David Ortizs double to right.

The Sox added two more in the second. With two outs Dustin Pedroia walked and went to third on Gonzalezs double. With both scoring on Kevin Youkilis single to center, giving the Sox a 4-2 lead.

But the Brewers scored two of their own in the next inning. Rickie Weeks, Morgan, and Braun led with consecutive singles, Weeks scoring on Fielders single. Casey McGehee grounded into a double play, scoring Morgan, setting up Lackeys string of 15 Brewers retired.

After Gonzalezs solo homer in the fifth, the Sox added two in the sixth and three in seventh, securing the win.

Lackey got the win, going eight innings, giving up four run on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Marco Estrada, who replaced Marcum in the second inning, took the loss, falling to 1-4.

Matt Albers, making his first appearance since June 9, pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out Fielder and McGehee.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, and an RBI. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats, scoring each time. He grounded into an inning-ending double play in the sixth and walked in the eighth. He improved his league-leading average from .347 to .352, while his slugging percentage (fourth in the AL to start the game) went from .596 to .612, and his on-base percentage of .402 (fifth) improved to .408.

His home run to lead off the fifth his 15th of the season into the first row of Monster seats, put the Sox ahead, 5-4, proving to be a decisive run on the way to a 10-4 win.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia went 1-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. But it was his defense that that was the difference in this game. He had six assists, including the front of a double play on Casey McGehee in the third to start Lackeys string of retiring 15 consecutive batters. He also made a highlight-reel play with a diving stop on Jonathan Lucroys grounder in fourth inning.

THE GOAT: Shaun Marcum
Although he was not involved in the decision, Marcum needed 44 pitches to get through the first inning. Staked to a 2-0 lead, he quickly allowed the Sox back into the game, giving up a lead-off home run to Jacoby Ellsbury. In addition to the 44 pitches, he gave up two runs facing eight batters, on four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. Marcum was done after just one inning, leaving with a left hip flexor strain.

"Right off the bat, were back in the game, Francona said of Ellsburys home run. I think its huge. I know we followed it up, got the other run, and were playing even. I thought that was really important."

THE TURNING POINT
Lackey allowed consecutive singles to the first four batters he faced in the third inning. With no outs, one run already in, the bases loaded, and the Sox leading by one run, Lackey appeared to be on a tightrope. But Casey McGehee hit a sharp grounder to Dustin Pedroia, who converted the double play. Although a run scored, it started a string of 15 consecutive batters set down by Lackey. The Brewers could muster just one hit an eighth-inning single by Nyjer Morgan after that.

"Theres nobody out, bases loaded, thats going to be a couple runs and maybe second and third, manager Terry Francona said. That was the biggest play of the game. Thats the way Pedey plays. I dont think anybody else makes those plays."

STAT OF THE DAY: 54
The Red Sox have won 12 of their last 13 games, outscoring opponents by 54 runs in that span, 100-46.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. I'm not even thinking about that. I would have to have the triple firstfor me to even consider that. --Adrian Gonzalez, who needed a triple after his first three at-bats to complete the cycle.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.

 

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.