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How Nava gave Beltre goose bumps, saved a season

08.19.10 at 12:03 pm ET
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It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

That was never more true than on Wednesday night as Daniel Nava made a spectacular diving grab off a fast-sinking liner to left off the bat of Maicer Izturis to end the eighth inning.

With two outs and runners on first and second and the Red Sox clinging to a 6-5 lead over the Angels, if the ball hits the grass, the game would surely be tied.

The speedy Alberto Callaspo, who had already annoyed the Red Sox with three great defensive plays, would surely score from second and pinch runner Brandon Wood would have made it to third base and Daniel Bard and the Sox would be in deep doo-doo. But the catch nearly didn’t happen because of a mistake a lot of outfielders make, even when they’re kids.

“I did the old Little League thing, first step back and then once I saw it, I was like, ‘I’ve got to get moving,’ ” Nava said. “Yeah, initially I went back but then I had to cruise on in.”

Leave it to Nava, a Californian, to put it in those terms. Just like his personality, laid back and smiling all the while.

After taking a misstep backward, Nava quickly corrected himself and took off with everything he had. He dove at the last possible moment and extending his right arm, he caught the ball just before it hit the ground. Inning over. Threat averted. Game saved. Season still alive.

And for those thinking that’s hyperbole, consider the Red Sox would have fallen 6 1/2 games behind the Rays and Yankees in the AL East and seven games back in the loss column.

“That was huge,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “That gave me goose bumps right there. It was a huge turnaround right there it would’ve been a tie ball game right there and somebody else coming up to hit. That was huge. Might have been the play of the game right there.”

Francona agreed with his third baseman’s assessment.

“He might have taken one step back but he recovered with the timing of it, guys on base, probably play of the game,” Francona said.

Nava didn’t just do it with his glove. He used his whole body on Wednesday. Pinch-hitting for Darnell McDonald in the seventh and the bases loaded in a tie game, Nava fell behind two strikes to flame-throwing Kevin Jepsen but then the Red Sox caught a huge break. Jepsen came inside with a 95 mph heater. It drilled Nava in the right rib cage, a sensitive area for the Red Sox this season to be sure. But it forced in David Ortiz with the go-ahead run.

“Don’t know how great an at-bat it was,” Nava admitted. “I was in an 0-2 hole. Anytime they want to hit me, I’m happy to take it in that situation.”

Read More: Angels, daniel nava, Maicer Izturis, MLB

Boxscore Breakdown: Notes From Wednesday’s Win

08.19.10 at 9:15 am ET
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A few notes from the 9th straight win over the Halos:

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* – No team since at least 1920 has gone winless against the Red Sox while playing more than 4 games in a season. But the Angels could become the first one today. Here is the list of teams that have gone 0-10 or worse in a season series:

0-13 – Colorado vs. Atlanta (1993)
0-12 – Baltimore vs. Toronto (2010*)
0-12 – Minnesota vs. Texas (1999)
0-12 – Detroit vs. Cleveland (1996)
0-12 – Sand Diego vs, Montreal (1994)
0-12 – NY Yankees vs. Oakland (1990)
0-12 – Baltimore vs. Kansas City (1988)
0-12 – Kansas City vs. Baltimore (1970)
0-11 – Oakland vs. Baltimore (1978)
0-10 – Kansas City vs. NY Yankees (1998)

* – still games to be played

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* – Last night, Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It was just the 41st bases loaded plunking in the majors this season and the first time a Red Sox player has been hit in such a situation. What’s more, it was an 0-2 pitch that got Nava. There have now only been 4 Red Sox players hit with the bases loaded on an 0-2 pitch since 1994. The last was Jason Varitek in 2008. Finally, it broke a tie. The last time ALL THAT happened to a Red Sox player prior to last night? John Valentin in 1994.

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* – Jonathan Papelbon struck out all three batters he faced last night. It was the 5th time in his career that he has faced at least 3 batters and struck them all out, tied with Lee Smith for the most ever by a Red Sox pitcher. Billy Wagner holds the major league record for the most such outings in a career with a whopping 32.

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* – Wednesday night marked the 50th time that an opposing starter has lasted 5 or fewer innings against the Red Sox. The most ever in a season is 67, against the 1987 squad.

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* – The Red Sox put 20 runners on base last night. It was the 14th time this season that they’ve done it (during regulation, 9-inning, games only) and the 4th time against the Angels. Boston’s OPS against the Angels this season is 1.028, on pace for the highest ever by any Angels opponent in a season (min. 6 games played versus Angels):

1.028 – Boston Red Sox, 2010
.950 – Detroit Tigers, 1994
.949 – Baltimore Orioles, 1994

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* – Last night, Marco Scutaro grounded out leading off the bottom of the 1st inning. It marked the 15th consecutive game that the Red Sox first batter of the game has been retired.

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* – Wednesday’s night the Red Sox scored 3+ runs for the 18th straight time against the Angels. It’s their longest current streak against any team. Their longest all-time streaks (since 1950):

33 – vs Baltimore Orioles (2006-08)
29 – vs Los Angeles Angels (1993-96)

Obviously, that streak doesn’t include last year’s ALDS.

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* – David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 9 games last night. The longest streak by a Red Sox player this year is 14, by Adrian Beltre. If that stands, it would be the fewest games as the longest hitting streak by a Red Sox player in a season since Wade Boggs and Dwight Evans each had 14 game streaks in 1982. The last time that the longest streak was fewer than 14 games was way back in 1972, when Carlton Fisk and Rico Petrocelli led the team with 12 game streaks.

Photos: Slide show of another Red Sox rally for a win

08.19.10 at 8:23 am ET
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Daniel Nava took a 95 mile-per-hour fastball to the ribs with the bases loaded to break a 5-5 tie and then made a sensational diving grab of a sinking liner as the Red Sox erased a 5-2 deficit and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 7-5, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. WEEI.com’s John Vu was at Fenway to capture some images from the win. Click on the image below to launch a slide show.

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Fan injured in fall off Fenway staircase

08.19.10 at 6:44 am ET
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According to multiple reports, a fan was taken to the hospital with head and neck injuries after falling off a staircase and about 15 feet to the ground during Wednesday’s Red Sox game. Witnesses said the man was unconscious and lying in a pool of blood, with cuts on his face, after he fell off the stairwell by the right field roof deck and landed face-first on the ground.

“He had blood on his eye. … It looked like he was hit by a foul ball,” one witness told WHDH-TV (Channel 5).

Read More: fall, fan, Red Sox,

Some Sox: Sure, we’re scoreboard watching

08.19.10 at 12:21 am ET
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One of the great cliche questions posed to any player or coach on a team playing catch-up in a pennant race  is whether they’re scoreboard watching.

And, predictably, most times the reply is along the lines of, “We just have to take care of our own business.”

But following an emotional come-from-behind 7-5 win over the Angels on Wednesday night at Fenway, several Red Sox players admitted that indeed, they are paying attention to the two clubs that sit above them on the Green Monster scoreboard daily standings.

Bill Hall hit one of the longest homers this season by any Red Sox player at Fenway Park. His blast in the fourth tied the game, 2-2. The blast sailed over the Volvo sign in deep left-center, about 60 feet to the right of the scoreboard that showed the Rays on top in the AL East at the start of Wednesday’s Red Sox game, with the Yankees just behind by a half-game.

The Rays won their game and the Yankees beat the Tigers as the Red Sox were handling the Angels for a ninth straight time this season. So, the Red Sox remained 5 1/2 games behind the Rays and Yankees in both the AL East and the wild card, six back in the loss column.

“We feel like every time we win, they win and every time they lose, we lose,” Hall said. “It’s been a little bit of a tough run for us lately but we’re paying more attention now. It’s that point of the season now where you start to look at what the teams ahead of you are doing because you know where you want to be and where you want to get to.

“Obviously, those two teams are where we want to be and so we’re watching every single day.

[Click here to listen to Bill Hall admit to scoreboard watching the Yankees and Rays.]

Hall said if the Red Sox respond to the pressure down the stretch, they’ll earn their reward.

“We know Tampa put a little pressure on us, they won early, they had the early game,” Hall added. “We could obviously look out there in left field and see that the Yankees won, too. It puts a little pressure on us because we know we need to win ball games but at the same time, we can’t worry too much about what they’re doing on a daily basis. If they’re losing a game, we can’t worry about trying to make up ground, we just have to go out and win. Winning is the most important part. We feel like if we win, they’re going to lose enough games the rest of the season that we’ll get ourselves right where we need to be for the rest of the season.”

Adrian Beltre, the club’ clear choice for MVP in 2010, admitted to watching the scoreboard a little bit but was not as committed to keeping track of the Rays and Yankees.

“We have to a little bit, sometimes,” Beltre admitted. “But we have to do our job. We have to come in here and try to win ball games. If we play good games, it should take care of itself. It’s true, we look a little bit but we shouldn’t be worried about that right now.”

Then there was Daniel Nava. The rookie made a huge game-saving diving grab in the eighth to keep the Sox on top. He also took a 95 MPH heater in the right ribs from Kevin Jepsen in the seventh. Nava had the best spot in the house to look at the scoreboard and the standings but declined to do either, instead choosing to focus on the task at hand and immediately in front of him.

“No, not really, not right now,” Nava said when asked if he turns and takes a peek at the scoreboard and standings. “I think we have to take care of what’s in front of us before we start worrying about them. We have to do our jobs and I think it also probably makes it easier to do our job when you’re just focused on your job as opposed to all these things that are surrounding you and whatnot.”

Read More: Adrian Beltre, al east, AL wild card, bill Hall

Ellsbury: ‘I knew I broke it when it happened’

08.19.10 at 12:13 am ET
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Speaking to WEEI.com after the Red Sox‘ 7-5 win over the Angels Wednesday night at Fenway Park, Jacoby Ellsbury said the rib that he broke when colliding with Texas pitcher Tommy Hunter Friday night was the same one he had dealt with since colliding with Adrian Beltre on April 11, residing just under scapula bone in his back.

“Nothing new has been injured since the collision with Beltre,” he noted. “Nothing.”

The outfielder also said he knew immediately after colliding with Hunter that he had broken the rib, yet chose to remain in the game, hitting three more times before being replaced in center field by Eric Patterson in the fourth inning.

“I knew I broke it when it happened,” Ellsbury said. “I knew right away.”

Ellsbury explained that even after he had come off the 15-day disabled list and resumed playing on Aug. 4 it felt like “there were knives” intruding into the area where he had felt the discomfort since the Beltre collision. He played in nine games after returning from his DL stint, hitting .118 (4-for-34), although he did have a four-stolen-base game in New York against the Yankees.

Ellsbury also spoke briefly to the media prior to the game, saying, “It’s a broken rib in the back, broken in the exact same place as I broke it before. Basically, when I come back, I’ll be stronger than ever when I do come back.” Asked if he was done playing for the year, Ellsbury said, “We’re not sure yet.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona also touched on the notion that Ellsbury’s desire to contribute after not having played since May 24 may have had a factor the injury’s most recent outcome.

“They said it’s broken, and he needs to let it heal,” Francona said. “My instincts tell me that the kid was probably a little more sore than he was letting on, probably for obvious reasons. He wanted to play, and he felt like he was catching some heat from a lot of [the media] … and he’s probably a little more tender. Maybe he was more susceptible. Maybe he wasn’t. Nobody really knows. That’s kind of consistent with what [Red Sox medical director] Tom [Gill] said and what Dr. [Lewis] Yocum said. But it’s broken, and it’s got to heal.”

For more Red Sox coverage see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Sox, Cuban prospect Ibarra renegotiated deal after failed physical

08.18.10 at 11:41 pm ET
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According to industry sources, Red Sox catcher Adalberto Ibarra signed a minor league deal for a bonus in line with a late-sandwich pick in the draft, between $700,000 and $800,000.

Ibarra had originally agreed to terms on a five-year major league deal with a guarantee of $3 million and incentives that could push the value of the deal to $4.3 million. But the catcher, who defected from Cuba last year, failed his physical in late June due to what was deemed a relatively minor issue, but significant enough that the Sox were not comfortable with a major league deal with the prior parameters.

Still, both sides wanted to work out a deal, resulting in the restructured contract. Ibarra, whose bat speed and plate discipline give him a chance to be an above-average offensive catcher, spent some time rehabbing in Fort Myers before playing a handful of games in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League. He was then assigned to High-A Salem on Tuesday, getting his first taste of the Carolina League in a rainout before he went 1-for-5 in Salem’s 14-inning game on Wednesday.

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Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Angels 5

08.18.10 at 10:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox are hanging around.

Using a spirited comeback after falling behind by three runs in the fifth inning, the Red Sox went to 9-0 against the Angels for the season, this time earning a 7-5 victory over LA, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. With both the Yankees and Rays winning, the Sox remain six games behind both teams for first-place — and the wild card. (For a recap click here.)

Here is all that went right and wrong for the Red Sox in the second game of their three-game set with the Angels:

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– The pinch-hitting strategy of Terry Francona worked out in the seventh inning without either batter swinging the bat. That was all thinks to Angels’ reliever Kevin Jepson. First J.D. Drew came to bat with the bases loaded, pinch-hitting for Bill Hall. After taking the first pitch for a strike, Jepson bounced his second offering, allowing Victor Martinez to come in with the game-tying run. After LA manager Mike Scioscia elected to intentionally walk Drew, Francona turned to Daniel Nava to pinch-hit for Darnell McDonald, with Nava not only hitting .324 from the left side of the plate, but .435 with runners in scoring position. After building an 0-2 count, Jepson would hit Nava in the back, forcing in David Ortiz with the g0-ahead run. Ryan Kalish ended the inning with a 4-3 double play, but the damage had already been done.

– Nava’s presence paid off once again in the eighth, this time in the field. With two outs , Daniel Bard on in relief, and Callaspo representing the tying run at second, Maicier Izturis blooped a shallow fly to left that would have undoubtedly tied the game if not caught. But Nava raced in, stretched out, and managed to catch the fly ball, ending the inning and threat.

– Bill Hall continued his power stroke, hitting one of Fenway’s longest homers of the season, over the Volvo sign in left-center. The home run was the utilityman’s 16th of the season, putting him on pace to have the most homers for a Red Sox hitter with less than 350 at-bats since Ted Williams‘ 29 (310 at-bats, 1960). (For what it’s worth: Even after Evan Longoria hit his 16th of the season earlier in the day, Hall remains tied with the Tampa Bay third baseman.)

– The middle of the order came through in fine fashion for the Red Sox, with Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltre all came away with multiple hit performances. Martinez managed three hits (including an eighth-inning single that added an insurance run), Ortiz claimed a pair of hits (including a double), and Beltre’s finished with two hits, three RBI, and a two-run homer in the fifth.

Jonathan Papelbon continued to pitch lights-out at home, where came into Tuesday night with a 2.22 ERA compared to a 4.10 mark on the road. Since giving up two runs to the Yankees on April 7, Papelbon had gone 13 of 14 in save opportunities at Fenway while striking out 24 and walking just five in 22 innings of work. This time around the closer came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 30th save.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

John Lackey is still having some issues. Despite getting his 11th win, it was not one of the righty’s better outings, with Lackey giving up at least five runs for the third time in his last four appearances. His final line: 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 119 pitches. The most discouraging moment of the performance came fifth inning after the Red Sox had tied it up at 2-2 thanks to Bill Hall’s homer. Lackey came back in the next half inning and the Angels to regain momentum thanks to Alberto Callaspo’s three-run homer into the right field corner.

– Hall, while still showing value offensively, fell short on a Maicer Izturis fly ball in the left field corner with two outs in the second inning. While it wasn’t an easy play, Hall appeared to pull up just enough while approaching the wall along the left-field foul line that the ball fell in and out of his glove. It was the first time Hall had played left field in Fenway Park since Aug. 4.

– Both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury spoke to the media regarding their injuries, not relaying the best of news. Ellsbury’s interview session lasted less than 30 second, with the outfielder saying, “We’re not sure yet” when asked if he was coming back this season. The rest of his comments were as follows: ‘€œIt’€™s a broken rib in the back, broken in the exact same place as I broke it before. Basically, when I come back, I’€™ll be stronger than ever when I do come back.” (For more on Ellsbury click here.) Cameron confirmed that he would be having surgery, but expects to be ready when next season rolls around.’€œEveryone knows I’€™ve been battling all year so it’€™s time,’€ the 37-year-old Cameron said of his upcoming surgery on his lower abdomen injury. ‘€œI can’€™t go on the field and compete in this moment like I would like to, so it’€™s time.’€ (For more on Cameron click here.)

Cameron: ‘I played with knives in my stomach’

08.18.10 at 6:58 pm ET
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Mike Cameron wants everyone to know that he’s not dead – and neither is his major league career.

“I’m not dead,” he said only partly tongue-in-cheek after meeting with reporters before Wednesday’s game to announce he’ll have surgery – likely in the next two weeks – on the lower abdomen injury that has made playing this season torturous.

Cameron admitted the pain in his lower abdomen simply got to be too much. The Red Sox veteran center fielder announced in front of his locker Wednesday afternoon that he will have surgery in the next two weeks to repair an injury that’s bothered him since opening day.

“Everyone knows I’ve been battling all year so it’s time,” the 37-year-old Cameron said of his upcoming surgery on his lower abdomen injury. “I can’t go on the field and compete in this moment like I would like to, so it’s time.”

Cameron, who played in just 48 games this season, went on the disabled list on Aug. 2 for a second and final time before announcing Wednesday that his season is over.

“I’ve always been kind of a fast healer,” Cameron said. “Who knows? This is unchartered waters for me but with a positive mind frame and who knows, with good old nature of medicine and God’s will, I think everything will be okay.”

And for those wondering if he’s willing to go through surgery, rehab and still get himself in shape for a major league season in 2011, don’t.

“How hungry am I?,” Cameron asked rhetorically. “You’ve seen what I’ve done for the last four months, the desire I’ve had to continue to fight and then go home and feel like you have knives in stomach when you go to sleep.”

“I knew he wanted to play and he was doing a really good job of communicating with us,” Francona said in supporting his injured veteran. “It meant a lot to us to try to play. He knew what he couldn’t do. I think it hurt him a couple of times when he would be criticized when he didn’t get to a couple of balls he normally could have. But he was trying so when you’re in our uniform, that’s probably more of why we want to defend him as opposed to be critical. He was doing everything in his power to be out there and we really respect that.”

Read More: mike cameron, MLB, Red Sox,

Ranaudo, Workman to report to Lowell

08.18.10 at 6:38 pm ET
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Right-handed pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman, whom the Red Sox selected in the first two rounds of June’s MLB draft and were signed prior to Monday night’s deadline, will report to Single A Lowell but will not pitch.

An elite arm with a massive 6-foot-7 frame, Ranaudo entered his junior season at LSU as one of the country’s top pitchers. From there, elbow issues, inconsistency, and representation by Scott Boras led to his slide to the 39th overall pick. Whether or not the Red Sox would come to terms with the righty served as a popular storyline throughout a summer in which he went 3-0 with a 0.00 earned run average over 29 1/3 innings for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The two sides agreed to a deal worth $2.55 million prior to the 11.59 p.m. deadline Monday night.

Workman, who played his college ball at the University of Texas, utilized his low-to-mid nineties fastball to the rune of a 12-2 record with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings. He received a signing bonus of $800,000.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman,
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