Third time's a charm for Red Sox' Aceves

728244.jpg

Third time's a charm for Red Sox' Aceves

TORONTO -- Before Monday's game, embattled closer Alfredo Aceves wrote manager Bobby Valentine a note, reflecting on trust and confidence in the face of the Red Sox' hard times.

Valentine responded by telling Aceves he would get the ball if a save situation arose, and when it did, after the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, Aceves made sure to make the most of it.

After failing to retire a single one of the five hitters he faced over two brutal outings in Detroit, Aceves turned back the Toronto Blue Jays with ease, retiring all three hitters he faced to record his first save and give the Red Sox their first win of the season, 4-2.

"We stick together," said Aceves. "One of the (important) things is trust. Whatever you want to trust, just trust. I need to keep that in mind I have to trust my stuff. It's the same for everyone."

The Sox rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning off Toronto closer Sergio Santos, and Aceves came in for the save opportunity.

He retired Brett Lawrie on a groundout, struck out Eric Thames and got J.P. Arencibia to groundout for the final out.

Aceves thanked Valentine for maintaining confidence in the team even after three tough losses against the Tigers over the weekend.

His teammates maintained their confidence in him even after his stumbles in the first three games.

"Of course," said David Ortiz. "He a great pitcher. He's got great stuff. The first you go in a game, you've got butterflies going through and you want to execute.

"But today, it seemed like he was more patient, taking his time and executed better."

And Aceves was especially grateful to get another chance to close out a win after blowing a ninth-inning lead Sunday at Comerica Park.

"Of course," said Aceves. "Yeah. Every time I get a chance to play, I want to play, man. I stay positive."

"He threw pretty much the same pitches (as he did the last two outings)" said Valentine. "They were all quality -- up in the zone, away in the zone . . . His breaking ball was really good. His fastball was crisp."

Valentine also dryly noted that, as hitting coach Dave Magadan observed, Aceves got something else to go along with his first save: an actual ERA.

When Aceves failed to retire a hitter over his first two appearances, he was left, technically, with an ERA of infinity. Following Monday's win, his ERA is still a bloated 27.00 -- but that beats what it had been.

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

bruins-stars-backes-benn-fight-022617.png

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.