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Closing Time: Red Sox doomed by Mike Trout walk-off homer

07.18.15 at 12:36 am ET
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Wade Miley allowed one hit through seven innings Friday night. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Wade Miley allowed one hit through seven innings Friday night. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM — This just in: Mike Trout is really, really good.

Trout deposited an 0-1 fastball from Koji Uehara over the center field with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Angels a 1-0 win over the Red Sox Friday night at Angel Stadium.

With the one swing of the bat, the Red Sox now find themselves 7 1/2 games out of first-place in the American League East thanks to the Yankees‘ 4-3 win over Seattle.

“I was trying to go a little bit more outside than that pitch,” said Uehara, who threw back-to-back fastballs to Trout. The Angels’ star slugger came into the game 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Uehara.

“I was trying to go way outside,” said Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan. “If you saw where I set up, it was three or four inches off. It just kind of came back.”

It was the first home run allowed by Uehara since May 19, with the closer not having allowed a run in his previous 10 outings.

Prior to Trout, it was Wade Miley who was the game’s headliner.

The Sox starter carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, having thrown 84 pitches. To that point he had only allowed one baserunner, walking Chris Iannetta with one out in the sixth.

But Miley’s big moment was ruined when Kole Calhoun jumped on a 90 mph, first-pitch fastball to lead off the seventh, finding the center field wall for a double and the hosts’ first hit.

“Trying to go down and just left it up a little bit,” Miley said.

“I thought he was going to get it,” said Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli of the Sox’ pitcher vying for the no-hitter.

To Miley’s credit, he kept his composure and got out of a tricky situation later in the frame. Calhoun had reached third after a Mike Trout sacrifice fly, but a pop up to shallow right field by Albert Pujols would be followed with Erick Aybar’s inning-ending ground out to shortstop. (The inning-ending play was made possible by Xander Bogaerts’ fine execution of the grounder in the third base-shortstop hole.)

“That’€™s a play he doesn’€™t make a year ago,” said Farrell of Bogaerts’ back-handed stab. “To preserve a scoreless tie to end the seventh inning, he ranges far to his right to get a speedy runner by a good step, that’€™s an outstanding major-league play.”

Miley would finish his outing having gone seven innings and one batter, being replaced by reliever Junichi Tazawa after the starter issued a leadoff walk in the eighth inning to David Freese. He ended up throwing 101 pitches, striking out six.

The outing marked just the second start in Miley’s career he allowed only one hit, having held the Marlins to the same offensive output April 29, 2012. Against the Angels this season, the lefty has allowed just one run on five hits over 15 innings.

“We had a plan, it was a little unconventional but the lineup’€™s tough so we’€™ve got to create some things, read their swings and see what they’€™re trying to do,” Hanigan said. “We were able to be one step ahead. And he executed, obviously.

“We threw five, six changeups in a row at one point. Three or four heaters in in a row. I was going off what I thought they were looking for, what they were trying to do. It was fun.”

While Miley was dominating, the Red Sox were finding moderate success against Angels starter C.J. Wilson, managing at least one baserunner in each of the lefty’s eight innings. But the Sox never could mount any serious threats against Wilson, who didn’t allow any runner to reach third.

“Wade was outstanding,” Farrell said. “That was a well-played game, and unfortunately we come up on the wrong side of a 1-0 score. He was aggressive. He threw a lot of strikes. There were some at-bats he got behind in the count but found a way to get back to salvage an at-bat. He makes a big pitch a couple of times on 3-2 counts. He was very good. But like I said, a well-played game and unfortunately we come up on the short end.”

Red Sox notes: Brian Johnson to start Tuesday; Ryan Hanigan linked up with Rick Porcello

07.17.15 at 9:10 pm ET
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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

ANAHEIM — Part of the mystery surrounding the Red Sox‘ starting rotation was cleared up prior to their series opener against the Angels Friday night.

Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that Brian Johnson would be making his major league debut Tuesday, when the Sox take on the Astros in Houston. It will be more than two weeks since the lefty made a start, last appearing for Triple-A Pawtucket July 6.

“Just the way things are falling,” Farrell said in regards to the decision. “Brian’s on that extended rest at this point, he threw an extended bullpen yesterday in advance of Tuesday, probably get in a light one on Sunday before Tuesday’s start.”

Farrell still wasn’t letting on whom might get the nod in the series finale, Monday night. With Joe Kelly pitching for the PawSox Friday night, and Justin Masterson remaining in the bullpen, it would appear that Steven Wright might be the favorite to fill the role.

– As has been the case with Sandy Leon catching Clay Buchholz, Farrell suggested Ryan Hanigan would be linked up with Rick Porcello going forward.

In the four games the two have teamed up, Porcello has managed a 3.60 ERA over 25 innings.

“It’s more the expressed confidence that Rick has got when Ryan’s behind the plate,” Farrell said. “And I realize when you say that it’s got the sound where it might slight some others but I think in those key moments, that’s where in those key moments the experience of Ryan has helped out Rick and we saw it in spring training, we saw it in the first few starts of the season, we saw it again in the start right prior to the break. There’s always going to be those three or four pitches inside a given game where any starting pitcher’s got to make those and if that matchup allows Rick to execute in those moments, that makes us a better team.”

Dustin Pedroia was back in the Red Sox’ lineup Friday, hitting second behind Mookie Betts and in front of Xander Bogaerts.

As for how much Pedroia will be playing now that he is coming off his right hamstring injury, Farrell was non-committal.

“I think in Pedey’€™s mind, coming back it was the thought he’€™d go every day,” the manager said. “That’€™s the way he’€™s wired as we know. But we also have to be cognisant if there’€™s a day of rest to give him a day of recovery when the action has picked back up so we’€™ll see it as we go.”

Here was the Red Sox lineup for their series-opening game against the Angels and C.J. Wilson: Betts, Pedroia, Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Hanigan.

Clay Buchholz headed for second opinion with Dr. James Andrews

07.17.15 at 7:12 pm ET
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ANAHEIM — Clay Buchholz is leaving nothing to chance.

The Red Sox righty, who has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow, will visit Dr. James Andrews Wednesday for a second opinion on the original diagnosis.

“Not that the medical staff here hasn’€™t told me exactly what’€™s going on, but sometimes it’€™s good to hear from multiple people. That’€™s what it is,” said Buchholz prior to the Red Sox’ series opener at Angels Stadium.

“Just having somebody else give you a direct response, given who he is and what he’€™s done over his career, it really the only option for me. If I was going to do it, that’€™s the guy I was going to see. It’€™s a peace of mind thing for me going forward. I don’€™t expect him to find anything else that they’€™ve found. It’€™s more that I can get going going forward and not have to look back.”

Buchholz does have a history with Dr. Andrews, having first worked out at one of the doctor’s medical facilities in Pensacola, Florida following the 2007 season. The longtime elbow and shoulder specialist also offered a second opinion for Buchholz in 2013 after the pitcher’s right shoulder ailment.

The advice Buchholz received from Dr. Andrews two seasons ago was a chief reason the righty felt comfortable executing a similar strategy this time around.

“Instead of throwing, which is what I was doing, trying to build back up, he told me I needed to take an extended break. So that’€™s what I did,” Buchholz said. “Given the point in our season, it was getting late, I probably didn’€™t take the exact amount of time and probably got back in there a little quick.

“This is my last guaranteed year here so if something crazy were to happen I need to know from an outside source, a guy that I’€™ve gone to who has led me in the right direction every time I’€™ve seen him.”

Buchholz said he has seen progress from his injury since exiting last Friday night’s game against the Yankees.

“I was pretty sore the couple of days after that start,” he said. “Our doctors said that rest is the best thing for something involving an elbow or shoulder when it doesn’€™t involve any kind of damage structurally. It definitely feels a lot better.”

Red Sox-Angels series preview

07.17.15 at 10:28 am ET
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Mike Trout is coming off an MVP performance in the All-Star Game as he prepares to lead the Angels into action against the Red Sox this weekend. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Mike Trout is coming off an MVP performance in the All-Star Game as he prepares to lead the Angels into action against the Red Sox this weekend. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Red Sox open the unofficial second half of the season on the West Coast. While their home diamond at Fenway Park is occupied by the likes of Billy Joel and the Foo Fighters, the Sox are in Southern California to take on the Angels.

After a dismal first half, the Red Sox were able to gather some momentum in advance of the break. The Sox won nine of their last 13 contests, improving their record to 42-47 on the season. However, they dropped two of three to the Yankees in the final series before the break and remain 6 1/2 games behind New York and in last place in the AL East.

The Red Sox are, however, closer to the other teams in the division. The Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays have stumbled lately, and the Sox now are just three games behind the Rays for second place in the division.

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino told Dennis & Callahan on Thursday that he has been unhappy with the team’s first half.

“I am a bit disappointed,” Lucchino said. “We showed flashes of what he hoped for in the last month or so. The team has been playing awfully well going back a month or so. It’s been more like the team we expected to have. Things happen. No one in the front office is going to get it right 100 percent of the time and you’re going to have unexpected things occur during the course of the season. On balance, we expected to be closer than 6 1/2 games at this point.”

The Angels, meanwhile, surged to a lead in the AL West late in the first half. The Astros had surprised the American League and all of baseball by taking a lead in the division into July. However, Houston then stumbled and Los Angeles heated up.

The Angels are owners of a 48-40 record and a half-game lead on the Astros (who have lost six straight and eight of 10). The Angels have won 11 of their last 14 games.

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Friday Red Sox Farm Report: RHP Michael Kopech apologizes for suspension; shortstops Marco Hernandez, Tzu-Wei Lin earn promotions

07.17.15 at 9:02 am ET
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Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

The Boston organization received the news Thursday that RHP Michael Kopech (Boston’€™s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com) received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Oxilofrine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension goes into effect immediately. His team, Single-A Greenville, has 50 games remaining, so this effectively ends Kopech’€™s season. The 19-year-old was 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA this year over 16 starts with 70 strikeouts in 65 innings. Kopech had allowed just six earned runs combined over his last six outings, a total of 27 1/3 innings (1.97 ERA).

Kopech released the following statement to MiLB.com:

“I would like to start by apologizing to all of baseball, baseball fans, and specifically the Red Sox and Red Sox fan base. I respect the game as much, if not more than, anyone else. With that being said, I never have and never will intentionally cheat the game that has been so great to me. I haven’t bought any supplements that aren’t NSF certified for sport. Therefore, I know I have not bought a supplement containing this drug. I have never heard of Oxilofrine, honestly. Apparently, it is a drug that many people use for weight loss. I have been trying to gain weight since I signed with the Red Sox. I do understand this is also a stimulant. This drug would have no positive outcome for me and that’s why I chose to appeal. I realized I didn’t have much evidence to prove that I’m innocent, but I didn’t have any understanding of how I could have failed a test. I respect the system and understand why they have to be so careful with the testing. I also understand why that means my suspension couldn’t have been overturned without proper evidence. I have 50 games to get to work and better myself and as a ball player. Next season I’ll be better than ever. Drug free.”

Kopech was selected by Boston in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2014 draft, receiving a $1.67 million bonus out of high school in Texas.

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:

Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (39-53): L, 9-7, at Durham (Rays)

— Shortstop Marco Hernandez was promoted from Double-A Portland and made his Pawtucket debut, batting ninth and going 1-for-4 with a high-chopping single over the head of the pitcher and a run scored during a four-run fifth inning. Hernandez also struck out, popped out and grounded out.

The 22-year old Hernandez was named MVP of the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Portland, capping off a first half in which he hit a league-leading .326 through 68 games and took a 12-game hitting streak into the break. Hernandez, the player to be named later in last summer’€™s trade of Felix Doubront to the Cubs, also showed some pop with five home runs, four triples and 21 doubles on the year.

— Rehabbing Daniel Nava (strained left thumb), hitting in the leadoff spot of the order and playing first base, gave Pawtucket a temporary 7-5 lead in the eighth inning with a two-out, two-strike, three-run home run over the wall in left field. Nava also singled home a run in the fifth. The 32-year-old has played in eight rehab games with the PawSox, and over his last three is 7-for-12 with seven RBIs and three runs scored.

— RHP Heath Hembree, on a rehab assignment, was charged with the blown save as he entered with a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and did not record an out. Hembree allowed allowed a walk, a single, a batter to reach on a sacrifice bunt (the lead runner was called safe at third base on a close play), and a bases-clearing double down the third-base line before being lifted.

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Read More: daniel nava, javier guerra, manuel margot, Marco Hernandez

Friday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Wade Miley vs. C.J. Wilson

07.17.15 at 8:37 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

In the first outing of a seven-game road trip, the Red Sox will open second-half play against the Angels, trotting Wade Miley to the mound against C.J. Wilson.

After giving up more than three runs just once in his previous five starts, Miley took a step back in his outing against the Yankees on Sunday. Lasting 5 1/3 innings, the lefty gave up six earned runs on seven hits with a home run and two strikeouts. He didn’t walk anyone and actually ended up reducing his WHIP to 1.43, but the decision bumped his season ERA to 4.80 and his record back to .500 at 8-8.

“I just didn’t execute pitches at that time at all,” Miley said after the start. “I was leaving fastballs over the middle. I know I made a couple of mistakes. I don’t know if they were sitting soft, but even the breaking balls, I just didn’t get them down, and they were putting good swings on them. … The execution, it’s just a matter of locating a pitch where you want, and I just didn’t get it there.”

The southpaw has faced the Angels just once in his career in an outing earlier this season, during which he threw eight innings and gave up just one earned run on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. The start was Miley’s longest and one of his best on the year, good enough to get him the win back on May 24 when the Sox defeated the Angels 6-1.

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Read More: C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels, wade miley,

Red Sox notebook: Brian Johnson to enter rotation; Dustin Pedroia trending toward returning Friday

07.17.15 at 1:36 am ET
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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

ANAHEIM — The Red Sox were reunited Thursday, with about 23 players participating in a post All-Star break optional workout at Angels Stadium prior to their four-game set with the American League West leaders.

Among those in attendance was rookie pitcher Brian Johnson.

The lefty used the sun-drenched late afternoon to execute a bullpen session in preparation for his first major league start. According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, it isn’t clear yet whether Johnson will pitch in the series finale, Monday, or Tuesday in Houston against the Astros.

It is unclear who will make the start for the Red Sox on the day Johnson doesn’t pitch, although Farrell did note that Justin Masterson isn’t a candidate. The righty will remain in the bullpen.

The likely candidate to fill out the rotation would seem to be Steven Wright, with Joe Kelly scheduled to start for the Pawtucket Red Sox Friday night. Wright last pitched Sunday.

Dustin Pedroia worked out once again Thursday, hoping to come through the day well enough to be activated for Friday night’s game.

If Pedroia is activated, he would take the place of Matt Barnes on the 25-man roster. If the second baseman isn’t ready to go, a reliever will be called up to take Barnes’ place.

Mike Napoli is expected to get the start at first base Friday night with lefty C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Angels.

– Farrell said there is no defined number of days before Clay Buchholz (elbow) puts ball back in his hands, noting the injured pitcher is improving daily.

– There remains no timetable for Daniel Nava’s return from his rehab assignment (thumb), with the outfielder garnering two hits Thursday, including a home run, to raise batting average to .321 while with Triple-A Pawtucket.

David Ortiz explains why he was unavailable Sunday

07.17.15 at 12:34 am ET
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ANAHEIM — Forget the All-Star Game, it was David Ortiz‘s Sunday sickness that dominated conversation during baseball’s hiatus over the past few days.

The question: Why didn’t Ortiz play in the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Yankees Sunday?

Ortiz, it was explained after the Sox’ loss to New York, had been sent home with an upper-respiratory issue. But without the designated hitter’s explanation heading into the four-day break — along with the need of Ortiz’s bat during what as perceived as the first half’s pivotal game — the theories and conversation took off.

On Thursday, Ortiz finally clarified things.

Speaking to WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox‘ optional workout at Angels Stadium, Ortiz — who had spent the entire break at his Massachusetts home yet indicated he wasn’t aware of the controversy — said his absence from the lineup wasn’t complicated: He was sick.

Ortiz offered this detailed timeline:

“I was starting to get sick Saturday, but it wasn’t like it was Sunday,” he said. “I had a bad flu, coughing a lot, fever, body soreness. The shower hurt, that’s how bad it was. So when I got to the field on Sunday, John asked me how I felt. I was like, ‘John, I’m taking a bunch of medication right now so don’t take me out of the lineup yet. Let’s see how I feel in a couple of hours.’ That happened around 10. So I took a whole bunch of medicine and I went to the trainer’s room and I just chilled there for a while, for a couple of hours, to see how I felt. He came back and checked up on me. It was my second day with the flu and I was feeling horrible. So the doctor came up and checked up on me and he sent me home.

“I had everything going on that day. I had a really bad flu. At my house later on that night, after watching the game, I had this high fever that hit me. I just don’t get when people want to judge you when you’re sick.”

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Red Sox Minor League Notebook: Andrew Benintendi adjusting to pro ball; Jose Iglesias’ advice for Yoan Moncada

07.16.15 at 8:52 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

For Andrew Benintendi, the No. 7 overall pick by the Red Sox in this year’s MLB draft, his biggest adjustment to pro ball is the one thing that made him the No. 7 overall pick.

His bat.

After batting .380 with 19 home runs and having an on-base percentage of .489, while slugging .715 with an aluminum bat as a sophomore in college this spring, the left-handed hitter has been forced into using a wood bat now that he’s turned professional, which he said has been the hardest thing to get used to.

“The difference that I’ve noticed is the metal bat that I used had a lot more flex when I swung, so now using a wood bat, it’s not flexing as much,” Benintendi said last weekend in Lowell. “It’s thrown me off a little bit so I am just trying to get used to it.”

The Golden Spikes Award winner, given to the best college player, is 5-for-27 (.185) since turning pro in eight games going into Thursday with short-season, Single-A Lowell. He’s hitless in his last five games, but isn’t getting down on himself.

“Just keep swinging it,” he said. “Extra batting practice. I am doing everything I can to get used to it.”

Things have changed dramatically for Benintendi over the last year or so.

During his freshman season at Arkansas the center fielder hit only .276/.368/.333 with one homer and wasn’t even on many scouts’ radar. He put on 15 pounds of muscle between his freshman and sophomore seasons, as well as getting fully healed from from a procedure on his right palm and a nagging hamstring injury, leading to the Golden Spikes award and being the center of attention for many scouts this past spring.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Marco Hernandez, Red Sox Minor League Notebook, yoan moncada

Red Sox slot in Wade Miley to pitch in first game out of break

07.16.15 at 6:13 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

ANAHEIM — The Red Sox have lined up their first three pitchers coming out of the All-Star break, with the starter in the fourth game still to be determined.

Wade Miley will get the start in the series opener against the Angels Friday night, going up against C.J. Wilson. The Sox lefty dominated in his only previous start against Los Angeles this season, allowing just one run on four hits over eight innings back on May 24.

Rick Porcello goes up against Garrett Richards in the series’ second game, Saturday, with Eduardo Rodriguez going in Game 3 vs. Hector Santiago.

It isn’t yet known who will start for either team in the series finale Monday night, with Brian Johnson slated to pitch either that game or Tuesday in Houston. It is uncertain who would fill out the rotation, with Red Sox manager John Farrell reporting Justin Masterson is remaining in the bullpen.

The schedule will give both Porcello and Rodriguez extra rest, with the righty pitching more than a week ago, July 9, and the rookie southpaw last throwing July 11. Miley pitched in the Red Sox’ final game before the All-Star break, July 12.

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