Sox take hard route, win in 14th, 9-8

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Sox take hard route, win in 14th, 9-8

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Red Sox certainly didnt make things easy on themselves, but a win is a win even if it takes 13 23 innings and 5 hours and 17 minutes to secure.

With two outs in the 14th, Carl Crawford doubled to left. Guillermo Moscoso then issued an intentional walk to Jed Lowrie, opting to face J.D. Drew, who was 1-for-6 with four straight strikeouts, matching a career high for the fifth time. But Drew lined a Moscoso pitch into center field, scoring Crawford for the 9-8 win.

Seemingly on their way to cruising into a nice, comfortable win what would have been their third straight over the As going back to their two-game set in Oakland in April -- the Sox instead went the challenging route.

Jonathan Papelbon blew a four-run lead in the ninth as he and catcher Jason Varitek were both ejected in the ninth, after each had heated discussions with homeplate umpire Tony Randazzo.

The As batted around in the ninth, scoring four runs to tie the game.

Papelbon faced six batters before being tossed. He need 21 pitchers before recording his first out, on his third batter. He gave up a lead-off single to Mark Ellis and a walk to Daric Barton before striking out Landon Powell. Dustin Pedroias third error of the season, on Coco Crisps grounder appearing to be a made-to-order game-ending double-play ball -- scored Ellis with the As first run of the inning. Cliff Penningtons double to left scored Barton.

It was then that Varitek and Randazzo exchanged words behind the plate, with Varitek getting run. It was the fifth ejection of his career, and the first since May 28, 2009, in Minnesota. Varitek was replaced by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Pinch-hitter Conor Jackson singled to left, scoring Crisp and Pennington to tie the game, at which point Papelbon and Randazzo got into a heated exchange, with Papelbon getting his first career ejection.

With one out, Bobby Jenks entered, giving up a single to Ryan Sweeney, sending Jackson to third. But Josh Willingham struck out, his third of the game, for the second out of the inning, bringing Hideki Matsui to the plate. Matsui was in the midst of an 0-for-18 skid, the worst of his MLB career. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, an 87-mph slider from Jenks, Matsui swung and missed. But as the ball skipped away from Saltalamacchia, Jackson crossed the plate. Saltalamacchia recovered in time, though, to throw Matsui out at first, ending the inning with the score tied, 7-7.

Alfredo Aceves, the Sox seventh pitcher of the game, went four innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He earned the win, improving to 3-1, with a 3.38 ERA.

Moscoso, who entered in the 14th, took the loss, falling to 2-1, with a 3.21 ERA.

One of the casualties of the game was Josh Becketts fifth win. He went six innings (plus two batters in the seventh), giving up three runs on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts, a wild pitch, and a hit batter. He threw 102 pitches, 58 for strikes. His ERA climbed from 1.80 to 2.01 in the outing. In 12 starts, he now has six no-decisions, despite nine quality starts.

The teams combined to use 16 pitchers.

With the win, the Sox improve to 7-3-1 in home series, 11-7-2 overall.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Alfredo Aceves
With the Sox down to one pitcher in the bullpen, Dan Wheeler, Aceves pitched the final four innings of the game to earn the win. Although Aceves, who entered in the 11th, allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base No. 9 batter Cliff Pennington on a walk and Conor Jackson on a double and let the As score the go-ahead run (albeit, temporarily, as the Sox tied the game again in the bottom of the inning.), he went four innings, allowing just the one run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He earned the win, improving to 3-1, (3.38 ERA), the 12th straight decision he has won while pitching in relief.

He comes in his first inning, and walks a guy that scores, said manager Terry Francona. And then after that, he was lights out. As the game progressed, it gets hard to see the ball. You could tell. Guys were taking some funny swings, on both sides, with the shadows and everything.

He did a really good job. Were fortunate. Hes stretched out. Hes on one day short of what would be his day to start, but hes stretched out where he could do something like that, and ended up saving us the game.

HONORABLE MENTION: Carl Crawford
Crawford went 4-for-7, with two runs scored and three RBI, raising his average from .235 to .246. His two RBI in the eighth inning accounted for the Sox' final runs in regulation. Then with two outs in the 14th, he doubled to left field and scored the winning run on J.D. Drews single to center.

Crawford, who matched his season high in hits and RBI, has driven in or scored the winning run in four of the Sox' five walk-off wins this season.

THE GOAT: Jonathan Papelbon
Although his team held on through 14 innings for the win, Papelbons implosion in the ninth inning made it much more difficult than it had to be. Staked to a four-run lead, he gave up four runs in the ninth.

Papelbon recorded just one out, giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits and a walk with one strikeout. His ERA ballooned from 3.28 to 4.32 in the outing.

Papelbon, who has acknowledged in the past that he has a different approach or a different level or adrenaline in non-save situations, entered the game with an ERA of 2.38 in save situations, 4.50 in non-save situations.

Incurring the first ejection of his career, from homeplate umpire Tony Randazzo, Papelbon was not able to see his outing through more than one-third of an inning.

I probably overreacted a little bit but its hard to say that because Im in the heat of a battle, Papelbon said. And then all of a sudden Im a base hit away from the game being tied up. Could I have done things or gone about things different? Yeah, of course. But in the heat of the battle thats a lot easier said than done. And looking back on it now, do I wish I had gone about it in a little bit better of a manner? Yeah. But between the white lines emotions always tend to get intensified and it is what it is.

THE TURNING POINT
While the debacle of the ninth inning could have proven to be the turning point if the Red Sox had lost, they held on to grind out a win the 14th inning. With two outs, Carl Crawford doubled, his fourth hit of the game, matching a career high. Jed Lowrie received an intentional walk from Guillermo Moscoso, who entered the game to start the inning, bringing up J.D. Drew, who was 1-for-6 with four straight strikeouts at that point, matching a career high. But, Drew broke his string, and deposited Moscosos second pitch, a 90-mph fastball, into center field, scoring Crawford and giving the Sox the win.

STAT OF THE DAY: 5
The 9-8 win was the Sox fifth walk-off win of the season. It was also the As fifth straight loss, their longest losing streak of the season. Jason Varitek incurred the fifth ejection of his career.
QUOTE OF NOTE
Obviously arguingballs and strikes. Actually you can't really do that and I lost my cool there I lost my cool a little bit on thestrike zonefor Pap We still got to maintain our poise out there andI lost mine today You know, it's hard to go into detail but I just felt like there were a few pitches with Papthat changed the course of that entire inning. I could've handled things a little different It's simple. I lost my cool on those things that happened in that inning where I thought Pap had made some pitches. -- Jason Varitek on his ninth-inning ejection, the reasons for it, and how he handled the situation.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.