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Joe Kelly battles to keep Red Sox in game, takes no-decision: ‘It was a grind’

04.18.15 at 12:29 am ET
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Joe Kelly went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits taking a no-decision. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits taking a no-decision. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly had a strong outing Friday night allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 walkoff win over the Orioles.

Most pitchers would be pleased with that as their second outing of the year, but not Kelly.

He wants to be better.

“It was a grind,” Kelly said of the game. “Good hitting team and they were fouling off some pretty good pitches tonight. I was around the zone. I felt pretty good with my stuff. Like I said, they had a good game plan and a good approach. Put together some pretty good at-bats. I was just happy to keep the team close today. [Ryan Hanigan] came up big and our defense came up big too to keep the game close.”

Kelly went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three. The issue was he threw 118 pitches, two shy of a career-high, and didn’t make it to the sixth inning. Baltimore’s hitters made him work, working counts and fouling off a number of pitches to drive his pitch count up.

“€œHe had great stuff,” manager John Farrell said. “They did a good job of staying within the strike zone, not chasing some fastballs just off the edge. A number of foul balls that run the pitch, or run some deeper counts. I thought once he got into the fifth inning he started to use his curve ball a little bit more to slow some hitters down. He still maintained his stuff throughout the 118 pitches thrown. Probably a little bit more than I would have liked to take him tonight but still he kept his power throughout.”

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Pablo Sandoval on being hit by Ubaldo Jimenez leading to ejection: ‘It’s part of the game’

04.17.15 at 11:54 pm ET
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Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected after 3 2/3 hitless innings after hitting Pablo Sandoval. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected after 3 2/3 hitless innings after hitting Pablo Sandoval. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing we know about Pablo Sandoval after the first 10 games of the season is he takes his baserunning very seriously.

The 5-foot-11, 255-pound third baseman isn’t afraid to go hard into second base and break up a potential double play.

Sandoval has done it on a few occasions early on this year and did it again Friday night in the second inning, taking out Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, allowing Mike Napoli to reach first base.

The next time Sandoval stepped to the plate, with Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez not allowing a hit through 3 2/3 innings, he plunked Sandoval on the back of the shoulder. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker immediately ejected Jimenez, as he felt it was intentional.

Many of the Red Sox players didn’t feel like Jimenez deserved to be ejected, including Sandoval.

“It’s part of the game,” Sandoval said. “Just part of the game. Part of the game. Play hard.”

As for his slide into second base?

“It’s a game. Good clean slide,” Sandoval said. “I was sliding through the base. Nothing wrong with.”

Manager John Farrell thought it was a quick ejection as no warnings were issued prior to Sandoval being hit.

“Honestly, yeah. A little surprised,” Farrell said. “Because I didn’t see anything that would have warranted a hit by pitch. But, obviously, Jordan felt like there was clear intent. And whether or not he felt because it was the hard slide at second base, that I don’€™t know. It was quick.”

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Read More: John Farrell, mike napoli, Pablo Sandoval, ubaldo jimenez

Closing Time: Red Sox walkoff against Orioles on Xander Bogaerts’ bloop single

04.17.15 at 10:27 pm ET
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Joe Kelly went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits taking a no-decision. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits taking a no-decision. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles game had a tense moment early on, and a thrilling moment at the end, as the Red Sox picked up their first walkoff win of the year.

Xander Bogaerts’ bloop to shallow right field with one out in the ninth inning scored Mike Napoli, as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 3-2.

Napoli started the inning off with a walk, and got to second base on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Daniel Nava.

“He’€™s doing it in a way where he’€™s not susceptible to any one side of the plate,” manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts. “When Xander has been in good streaks, even in the minor leagues, he’€™s using the whole field. We saw it in Philadelphia in the first series, again tonight. Saw it in New York. He’€™s in a pretty good place offensively.”

Koji Uehara earned the win with a scoreless ninth.

Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected from the game in the fourth inning with a no-hitter intact after he hit Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the back of the shoulder by home plate umpire Jordan Baker. There were no warnings issued beforehand.

The Orioles may have been upset with Sandoval for going hard into second base to break up a double play in the second inning. Jimenez had only allowed base runners on three walks over the first 3 2/3 innings.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Bogaerts. His hit gave the Red Sox the win, and he also had a hit earlier in the game. He became the youngest Red Sox player with a walk-off RBI since Jim Rice in 1975.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Joe Kelly, Ryan Hanigan,

Ubaldo Jimenez ejected in 4th inning after hitting Pablo Sandoval with pitch

04.17.15 at 8:33 pm ET
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Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez had thrown 3 2/3 innings of hitless ball against the Red Sox Friday until he was ejected for hitting Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval with a pitch in the back of the shoulder.

There were no warnings issued beforehand, and Kevin Gausman replaced Jimenez.

Jimenez had only allowed base runners on three walks to that point in the game.

Warnings were issued to both teams following the ejection.

Sandoval did go hard into second base to break up a double play in the second inning and that may have been the reason for home plate umpire Jordan Baker to eject Jimenez, as he felt there was intent.

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Read More: Pablo Sandoval, ubaldo jimenez,

Red Sox lineup: Pablo Sandoval, David Ortiz return vs. Orioles

04.17.15 at 3:29 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

After sitting out the series finale against the Nationals Wednesday afternoon, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and designated hitter David Ortiz return for the series opener against the Orioles Friday night at Fenway Park.

Sandoval left Tuesday’s game after being hit by a pitch on his foot. Manager John Farrell said Wednesday Sandoval could’ve played, but they wanted to give him a day off. Farrell said it was a regular down day for Ortiz.

After DH’ing Wednesday, Mike Napoli returns to first base. He’s had great success against Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez as he is 4-for-10 with two home runs lifetime against the right-hander.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Joe Kelly.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Mike Napoli, 1B
7. Shane Victorino, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Joe Kelly, RHP

Read More: David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval,

Red Sox-Orioles series preview

04.17.15 at 12:22 pm ET
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Adam Jones (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Adam Jones is tied for first in the American League with 11 RBIs. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Red Sox continue their homestand with a four-game set against the Orioles starting Friday. Boston has started the year having won its first three series for the first time in the designated hitter era. They have taken two of three games from the Phillies, Yankees and Nationals to start the season.

The first time through the rotation for the Sox was a pleasant surprise for fans as each starter recorded a quality start and looked good on the mound. In four games since then, however, the starting pitching has left a lot to be desired. Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson and Wade Miley combined for just 10 1/3 innings in their second starts, while Rick Porcello provided the lone bright spot with his eight-inning victory. As a whole, Boston’s pitching could do with some improvement. It is ranked 28th in the league with a 4.75 ERA and 29th in runs allowed with 50.

The offense has made up for the inconsistent pitching with 56 runs and 54 RBIs, both of which are best in baseball. The Red Sox offense also is in the top 10 in hits (89), triples (2), home runs (11), steals (7), average (.253), walks (41) and on-base percentage (.340). It has scored at least five runs in all but two of its first nine games, and has not lost when scoring more than five runs.

The Red Sox went 8-11 against Baltimore in 2014.

Nine games into 2015, the Orioles are 5-4, tied for second at one game behind Boston. This series will mark the fourth straight against AL East teams for Baltimore, which took two of three games from the Rays, one of three from the Blue Jays, and two of three from the Yankees to start the season.

The Orioles find themselves in a similar position to the Red Sox. Their offense has been winning games for them, while their pitching has been inconsistent. Baltimore leads the league in home runs with 15, is sixth with 47 runs, and seventh in average at .270. The O’s have only been held below five runs twice, once being a shutout at the hands of Tampa Bay.

The pitching staff, on the other hand, holds a 26th-ranked ERA of 4.61 and has allowed the eighth-most home runs (10). In the Orioles’ four losses this year, opponents have scored a combined 30 runs while only putting up 16 total runs in games that Baltimore has won.

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Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Ubaldo Jimenez

04.17.15 at 8:59 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

For the first time since 1952, the Red Sox have won each of their opening three series to start the season. With sole possession of first place in the AL East, Boston has a chance to continue separating itself from the rest of the division when the Orioles stop by Fenway for a four-game series this weekend.

First on the docket for these clubs is a Friday night showdown between Joe Kelly and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Kelly impressed in his first start of the season on Saturday, allowing just one run on one hit over seven innings against the Yankees. He also recorded eight strikeouts in his outing, surrendered two walks and gave his team the chance to regroup after the 19-inning marathon the night before. With the bullpen spent from the late-night victory, the Sox relied on Kelly to deliver, and he did.

“Coming out like that against this team, to be able to execute with the lower pitch count and get through seven, that was huge for us, man,” catcher Ryan Hanigan said after Kelly’s start. “Once he gets the ball rolling and gets some momentum and starts feeling it, he’s tough. That was a good start for us, for sure.”

Facing Baltimore for just the third time in his career, Kelly brings with him 13 1/3 innings of experience against the Orioles with a 3.38 ERA. He has registered 11 strikeouts against the birds, averaging 7.4 per nine innings. Allowing nine hits in 49 at bats, Kelly has held Baltimore to a .184 batting average.

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Red Sox Minor League Notebook: What has Yoan Moncada been doing at extended spring training?

04.16.15 at 5:26 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

One of the most hyped players of Red Sox spring training isn’t even on a minor league roster yet.

Yoan Moncada is still in Fort Myers for extended spring training, as the 19-year-old gets settled into playing baseball stateside after signing a minor league contract that featured a $31.5 million signing bonus on March 12.

The infielder hadn’t played organized baseball since the end of 2013, thus needing more time to get back into the swing of things, as well as learn what it’s like to play professionally in America.

Reached via phone on Thursday, Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers broke down Moncada’s start and praised his talent and athleticism.

“He’s getting more reps, getting comfortable identifying pitches and being able to repeat his swing,” Hyers said. “Going through the process of working out with a lot of teams, it wasn’t that day-to-day active action and facing live pitchers. It’s making the daily adjustments and seeing pitches again and matching his AB’s. Probably most of all is getting the feel back in the batters box, being able to have a consistent swing with what he wants to do with the baseball.”

Hyers worked extensively with Moncada during the first few weeks after he signed in Fort Myers. He was headed back down there Thursday to get another look at the 19-year-old sensation.

“He’s definitely a gifted athlete that has a ton of potential,” Hyers said. “We’re excited to have him and he’s worked really hard so far. It’s a big adjustment jumping into professional baseball. I think he was out for a period of time and he’s he’s getting accustomed to the daily work and process of becoming a major league player. They are really happy with him so far and excited to watch him develop.”

Things got off to a good start for him in game action, as he ripped a triple to deep right-center on one of the back fields at JetBlue Park in his first at-bat of extended spring training on Monday.

Hyers said he could turn out to be a power hitter, or a guy who hits for average. He possesses traits for both and it’s too early in his career to project.

“I think he’s got both in him,” he said. “Right now, which one is going to be the better of the two? I think it’s pretty early in his career. He’s shown flashes of both so far.”

As for where and when he’ll get his first taste of competitive professional baseball, there’s no exact timetable.

“I would assume possibly (Single A) Greenville,” said Hyers. “I don’t know — that’s for Ben [Cherington] and the guys up top to kind of watch him day-to-day and see what fits his development. I just know that Junior [Zamora] and Iggy [Suarez], our hitting coaches, have said a lot of positive things about him. Each day he’s getting better and getting him accustomed to the day-to-day work. Getting his body back in shape, his hands back in shape, just swinging that bat on a daily basis. Where he’s headed next month, I don’t know, it’s more for me just concerned about every day trying to help him understand what we expect.”

Added Hyers: “It could be any day. It could be a month, I’m not sure. There haven’t been any discussions with me yet. It’s been take it slow with him and make sure he feels comfortable and understands what we expect and how to prepare for the game.”

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Read More: blake swihart, Red Sox, Red Sox Minor League Notebook, yoan moncada

Buster Olney on MFB: Clay Buchholz ‘set off some red flags with some evaluators’ Sunday night

04.16.15 at 1:39 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB Thursday to discuss the Red Sox and their 6-3 start to the year, specifically their starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The second time through the rotation hasn’t gone well for Red Sox starters. The worst of those four starts was Clay Buchholz Sunday night in New York. Buchholz went 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. The Red Sox lost the game 14-4 to the Yankees.

“When we look at the Red Sox we wonder if you have front of the rotation type guys and [Joe] Kelly last Saturday was that good,” Olney said. “On the other hand, [Buchholz] on Sunday really set off some red flags with some evaluators in the building Sunday at Yankee Stadium and then people with other teams. They thought he quit. They thought his reaction during the course of the game, essentially not backing up bases on repeated plays, it was a lot like a kid who flipped over a board game when he was losing as a kid. I think it bothered folks with other teams.

“It will be interesting to see how he reacts, and I thought what John Farrell said after the game that that can’t happen, that is about as close as you’re going to see from John Farrell about direct criticism in regards to a player.”

The Red Sox offense is off to a tremendous start to the season, averaging 6.22 runs through the first nine games. Olney has been very impressed.

“Maybe the best lineup we’ve seen in recent years, maybe even better than that 2013 lineup because of the quality of the hitters,” he said. “The fact you have guys in the lineup who can do damage against good pitching. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval and the thing that jumps out at me is how they sort of work off each other. They learn from each other.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, John Farrell, Shane Victorino

Ben Cherington on D&C: Red Sox starting rotation has to ‘execute a little better’

04.16.15 at 9:38 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington checked in with Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the first nine games of the season, particularly the starting rotation, which has struggled the second time through. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The first time through the rotation went very well, but it’s been almost the opposite the second time around. In four games through the second turn through, Red Sox starters have allowed 28 runs in 18 1/3 innings. Cherington isn’t concerned, but acknowledges the starters need to go deeper into games.

“The first time through the rotation went well. Everyone threw well,” Cherington said. “The second time through the rotation has not gone as well, aside from [Rick] Porcello’s outing on Monday. Watching the games, I don’t see anything in the stuff — the raw stuff — that is any different than the first time through the order. It’s really just been a matter of execution, command, that hasn’t been as good the second time through. That has to be better. The key for our group is to get deeper in the season. I know as a group the guys feel good physically, confident and just have to execute a little better.

“I think with our team one of the things that helps us win is we’re not going to have perfect outings, perfect innings all the time, but minimizing damage and being able to get through those dirty innings get deeper into games — that is something Porcello did well on Monday and we did very well the first time through the order. That lines up our bullpen, gives our bullpen a chance to line up, gives our offense a chance to click and leads to wins.”

Outfielder Rusney Castillo opened the year in Pawtucket and injured his shoulder making a diving catch in the third game of the year. He’s expected to be sidelined for a bit, but the prognosis is “really good.” Cherington expects him to have an impact with the big league club at some point this season.

“Once [he gets healthy] I think clearly given the investment, and more importantly given what we’ve seen from him since we’ve signed him, over the summer, last winter and into spring training we feel like this guy is going to be a very good major league player,” said Cherington. “So it is just a matter of opportunity and we don’t know exactly when that opportunity is going to open up, but inevitably it will. It is the way it works in the game. Good players get an opportunity sooner or later and inevitably that will happen. Assuming he’s healthy and on the field he’s going to make a contribution this year, but I don’t know when.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, rick porcello, Rusney Castillo
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