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Closing Time: David Ortiz hits career home run No. 494, but Red Sox lose to Mets

08.30.15 at 4:09 pm ET
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Six to go.

The Red Sox may have fallen short of a sweep against the Mets in a 5-4 loss on Sunday afternoon, but that news was of secondary significance to David Ortiz‘s quest for 500 career home runs.

Ortiz blasted No. 494 — a two-run shot off Noah Syndergaard that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth — to move within six homers of the magic 500 mark for his career.

In the process, he broke a tie for 27th on the all-time list with Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig and former All-Star slugger Fred McGriff, who are at 493.

Ortiz’s 28th homer of the year left him two shy of his ninth 30-homer season. He is bidding to become the 27th member of the 500 club, joining contemporaries like Gary Sheffield, Albert Pujols, and Manny Ramirez. The next name on the list for him is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (504).

Sunday’s homer actually meant something within the context of the game, too, because it represented the first damage the Red Sox could manage against Syndergaard, who mowed them down for five innings before Ortiz ripped a low 97 mph pitch into the right-field seats on a line.

The lead proved short-lived, however, because Juan Uribe responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-run double to dead center off of starter Wade Miley (6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 6 Ks), who had virtually matched Syndergaard pitch for pitch until that moment.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Mets matchups: Wade Miley vs. Noah Syndergaard

08.30.15 at 8:36 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox will look to get the sweep of the first-place Mets on Sunday afternoon when they send Wade Miley to the mound against rookie phenom Noah Syndergaard.

Miley is coming off his 10th loss of the season against the White Sox on Tuesday. The southpaw went 6 2/3 innings in the outing but was whacked around for 13 hits and five runs in the 5-4 Red Sox defeat. He could not find his swing-and-miss stuff as White Sox hitters whiffed on just nine of his 110 pitches, his lowest mark since an Aug. 8 loss to the Tigers. To make matters worse, Chicago’s lineup squared him up for nine line drives, a season high.

The good news for the Red Sox is that each time Miley has been tagged with five earned runs or more, he has responded with a start of three earned runs or less. His record is 4-1 in these games and his ERA sits at a robust 2.12.

After the early August loss to Detroit, Miley returned against the Mariners to toss seven innings of two-run ball in a 22-10 drubbing on Aug. 15. Five days later, he did the same vs. the Royals, going 7 1/3 with just one run on the docket before exiting for the W. After the Royals start, Miley highlighted his renewed control as the key to his success.

“I’m just commanding the ball a little bit better,” Miley said. “When you’re commanding better, you get some swings and early contact, and get deeper into ball games.”

For the season, Miley owns a 10-10 record and a 4.51 ERA to go along with a 1.39 WHIP. In two career starts at Citi Field, Miley sports a 3.09 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings of work.

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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Andrew Benintendi cracks 10th homer in 45th pro game; Yoan Moncada gaps 2-run triple as Greenville fights for playoffs

08.30.15 at 8:25 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Jorge Marban

Jorge Marban

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (54-81): L, 5-1, at Rochester (Twins)

— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) lasted just four innings, allowing solo home runs to lead off the first and third frames and surrendering three more runs in the fourth for a final line of: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO (83 pitches, 44 strikes). With the loss, Escobar fell to 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in his new role as a starter over five August outings since transitioning from the bullpen. The 23-year-old had allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts, a total of 17 innings, before Saturday’€™s setback. On the season, which for Escobar began in June after starting the year on the DL with shoulder inflammation, the southpaw has thrown 44 2/3 innings over 19 games with 22 strikeouts and 21 walks.

— RHP Jorge Marban pitched three perfect innings in relief of Escobar, retiring all nine batters he faced on 31 pitches, 22 of which were strikes. Marban, 26, struck out one and lowered his ERA to 0.79 (11 1/3 IP, 1 ER) in his fifth Triple-A appearance since being promoted from Double-A Portland, now totaling 11 strikeouts and four walks with the PawSox over that span. Signed by Boston out of the Australian Baseball League in November of 2014, the 6-foot-1 Marban has held opposing batters to a collective .201 average this year over 60 1/3 innings combined between High-A Salem, Double-A Portland and now Triple-A Pawtucket.

— RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one batter on a split-finger fastball and finishing with 10 pitches, nine for strikes. Light, 24, now has back-to-back scoreless outings after walking three batters and allowing two runs in an inning on Aug. 23. Selected by Boston in the first round (37th overall) of the 2012 draft out of Monmouth University, the 6-foot-5 Light has made 24 appearances with the PawSox, compiling a 4.88 ERA over 31 1/3 innings with 35 strikeouts and 26 walks while holding batters to a .233 average.

— The Pawtucket offense managed just one run on the night, a sixth-inning marker on an RBI double from third baseman Carlos Rivero that scored shortstop Deven Marrero (Boston’€™s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com). Rivero, 27, finished 2-for-4 to bring his slash line to .256/.299/.329 over 19 games since being acquired by Boston from Seattle for cash considerations on Aug. 9.

— Second baseman Marco Hernandez (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) also went 2-for-4 to give himself five hits over his last three games. Catcher Sandy Leon went 1-for-4 with a double.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Jorge Marban, jose almonte, Justin Haley

Closing Time: Joe Kelly, Pablo Sandoval lead Red Sox past Mets, 3-1

08.29.15 at 7:12 pm ET
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Joe Kelly deals against the Mets on Saturday. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly deals against the Mets on Saturday. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly’s run of excellence continues.

Facing the National League‘s highest-scoring team in August, Kelly silenced the Mets over 7 1/3 innings on Saturday, allowing just one run in a 3-1 victory.

“Joe Kelly set the tone for us,” interim manager Torey Lovullo told reporters in New York. “Sixth straight win. I can’€™t say enough about what he did to give us a chance to win today’s ballgame.”

The right-hander, who had pitched his way right out of the big leagues earlier this season, submitted his fifth straight excellent start and earned his sixth straight victory.

Over his last five starts, Kelly is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA. In the process, he has dropped his ERA to 4.94, the first time it has been below 5.00 since April 27.

“It’s just something I try not to let mentally break me when I was struggling,” Kelly told reporters in New York. “Just go out there and keep pitching. I knew it was going to turn around sometime, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. It definitely feels a lot better than struggling, but it’s out of my hands. I’m just trying to take the ball every five days for the rest of the year, No. 1, be healthy and make all my starts and make quality pitches and see what happens.”

Kelly outdueled Mets standout Jacob deGrom, a Cy Young candidate who dazzled the Red Sox for six innings, allowing four hits and striking out 10. He also allowed two runs in the sixth, however, breaking a scoreless tie.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who had already struck out twice and looked bad doing it, broke the tie with an RBI double to right-center. Brock Holt drove in Sandoval with a forceout, and Mookie Betts added a solo homer in the seventh to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

The Mets tried to make a game of it, striking for a run in the seventh on Juan Uribe’s RBI double and bidding for more, but Sandoval dove to stop Wilmer Flores’ chopper with two outs and a runner on third, gunning across the diamond to end the inning.

Jean Machi recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save.

The story of this one was Kelly, who allowed the leadoff runner to reach in each of the first three innings before settling into a groove. Starting with a Yoenis Cespedes double play in the third, Kelly retired 12 of 13, allowing only a walk to Michael Conforto, who was promptly erased by a double play.

The Red Sox have now won three straight, four of five, and eight of 11.

“All around we’re playing good baseball,” Kelly said. “Defensively, offensively, guys are making good swings and staying with their approaches and, like I said, top to bottom we’re playing good baseball. It’s fun to watch coming to the ballpark winning more than losing, obviously. We’re not in it right now, but watching the way everyone is playing, it’s pretty fun.”

Saturday’s Red Sox-Mets matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Jacob deGrom

08.29.15 at 9:04 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

After winning a 10-inning affair on Friday night, the Red Sox will send Joe Kelly to the Citi Field mound Saturday to face Jacob deGrom and the Mets.

Kelly enters the contest the owner of a 5.18 ERA and 7-6 record on the season. The right-hander has made 21 starts, sandwiched around a stay on the disabled list and subsequent stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.

At the beginning of the year, Kelly was nothing short of awful, compiling a record of 2-6 and a 5.94 ERA through his first 16 starts through the end of July. The month of August, however, has come with a welcome change in performance for the 27-year-old. Kelly enters Saturday’s game riding a five-game winning streak, winning each of his five starts this month. In his four most recent outings, Kelly has compiled an impressive 1.82 ERA while striking out 20 in 24 2/3 innings.

Kelly’s last start came on Monday against the White Sox in Chicago. He tossed a season-high 7 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out four White Sox hitters. After arriving before the deadline a year ago in a trade that sent John Lackey to St. Louis, Kelly finally is seeing results to match his talent level and potential.

“I would have done what we’re doing now, mix pitches no matter who the hitter is, not just keep serving up heaters. I get a little heater happy,” Kelly explained when asked what he would have changed in his approach prior to the recent win streak. “If you’re not throwing off-speed for strikes it doesn’t matter. But I’ve been able to get it over for strikes.”

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Closing Time: Blake Swihart’s inside-the-park home run leads Red Sox past Mets

08.28.15 at 11:11 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

There haven’t been a ton of memorable moments for the Red Sox this season, but Friday night certainly supplied one.

The disappointment that came with blowing a one-run lead in the eighth inning would be erased for the Sox thanks in large part to a most unusual play — Blake Swihart’s 10th-inning inside-the-park home run.

The blast would go a long way in helping the Red Sox claim a 6-4 win over the first-place Mets, at Citi Field in New York.

Swihart managed the feat — the first Red Sox’ inside-the-park homer since Jacoby Ellsbury‘s race around the bases in 2011 — by launching a drive off the center field wall. The ball took what appeared to be an enormous ricochet off the padding, forcing Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada to venture out to retrieve the carom. By the time he reached it, however, the catcher was trucking around third and on his way to scoring fairly easily.

Replays showed, however, that the ball may have hit the wall just behind the padding, forcing the aggressive bounce back toward the infield. There would be no review, leaving it in the books as an inside-the-park job.

It was the first inside-the-park home run by a Red Sox catcher since Hal Wagner’s in 1946.

The Red Sox went on to score two more runs on a sacrifice fly from Josh Rutledge and Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single. They would need them.

Junichi Tazawa once again struggle trying to close out the game, this time failing to get out of the 12th after walking in the Mets’ fourth run with his fourth free pass of the inning. He would be lifted after throwing 28 pitches (11 strikes) and getting his only two outs on a 1-6-3 double play.

Craig Breslow would come on to get Yoenis Cespedes on a fly ball to center field for the save. Breslow was the last Red Sox’ reliever available, with the Sox also out of position players.

The Red Sox had been able to negate a stellar outing by Mets starter Matt Harvey, who allowed just two hits and not a single run over his six innings, striking out eight.

The first pitch thrown by a Mets reliever was turned into the Red Sox’ first run, with David Ortiz taking Logan Verrett over the center field wall to kick off the seventh inning for the designated hitter’s 493rd career home run.

Ortiz’ homer (his 27th of the season) closed the visitors’ deficit to a run. That would quickly become a one-run lead for the Sox thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run homer. The blast also cleared the center field wall and scored Swihart.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the lead wouldn’t last long thanks to Alexi Ogando’s wildness. The righty came on, retired just one batter while giving up a hit and walking three, including Travis d’Arnaud to force in the game-tying run.

Red Sox starter Henry Owens kept things close, but lasted just five innings. The lefty finished surrendering two runs on five hits, striking out six and walking four.

For a complete box score, click here.

Woman sues John Henry for negligence over 2014 foul ball injury at Fenway

08.28.15 at 1:55 pm ET
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Injuries caused by foul balls and bats have become a major issue in baseball this year, especially after the Red Sox had two scary incidents earlier this season that led to fans being hospitalized.

Now a woman who was stuck by a ball last year at Fenway is suing owner John Henry for negligence.

Stephanie Taubin, a 46-year-old from Brookline, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court, The Boston Globe reported in Friday’s editions.

Citing court records, the Globe reports that Taubin said she was in the EMC Club in the area above home plate on June 17, 2014, and protective glass had been removed for renovations, leaving fans at greater risk. She was struck by a foul ball and suffered facial fractures and neurological damage, the complaint states.

She claims to have incurred medical expenses, lost wages and diminished earning capacity.

The Red Sox said in a statement to the Globe that the team “is unaware of the specifics [of the lawsuit] and generally does not comment on pending legal matters. But the safety of Red Sox fans and providing a quality ballpark experience are essential to the Red Sox, and to Mr. Henry, and are goals for which we strive as an organization to deliver.”

In an incident on June 5 of this season, a woman from Paxton seated near the visitors dugout was hit in the face by a piece of a bat that broke during a swing. Tonya Carpenter, 44, suffered sever injuries that required a week-long stay at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and additional treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

On July 10, a Connecticut woman seated on the third-base side was struck in the forehead by a hard-hit foul ball. Stephanie Wapenski, 36, received more than 30 stitches and spent the night in the hospital for examination.

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Red Sox-Mets series preview

08.28.15 at 12:34 pm ET
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In a late-season interleague series, the Red Sox travel to Flushing, New York, to take on the Mets at Citi Field this weekend.

The Red Sox enter the weekend set in last place in the AL East with a record of 58-69. The Sox are 13 games behind division-leading Toronto but have played improved baseball as of late. The team is 6-4 in its last 10 games as the offense has heated up.

After the recent stretch of run production, the Sox rank third in the AL in runs scored on the season. It would stand to reason that so many runs would equate to more wins, but for the fact that the Sox rank dead last in the American League with a 4.54 ERA. The team still owns a minus-41 run differential despite the solid offensive output.

The only team that has matched Boston’s recent offensive production resides in Queens. The Mets have scored more runs (155) in the month of August than any other team in baseball. Teamed with their impressive pitching staff, the Mets have leaped to a solid 6 1/2 game lead over the Nationals in the NL East. In August the Mets have a record of 18-6. The team owns a 71-56 record overall, having won eight of its past 10 games, including seven straight.

New York is coming off a four-game series sweep of the Phillies, including a 9-5 victory in 13 innings on Thursday night that featured a memorable defensive play (in above video). Third baseman and captain David Wright came off the 60-day DL on Monday and has played well in his first four games back on a big-league diamond.

“It’s not just getting the wins,” Wright said after Thursday’s victory. “Obviously, that’s the most important thing. But the way that we’re winning, we’re never out of a game.”

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Friday’s Red Sox-Mets matchups: Henry Owens vs. Matt Harvey

08.28.15 at 9:48 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

For their penultimate interleague series of the season, the Red Sox head to Citi Field to play the National League East-leading Mets. For the opening game, Henry Owens will represent Boston on the mound while Matt Harvey hurls for New York.

Now with four starts under his belt, Owens has shown improvement at the major league level. His first two outings yielded just four earned runs on eight hits over 10 total innings for a 3.60 ERA. The following start against the Mariners wasn’t as successful. It lasted six innings with 10 strikeouts but had seven earned runs accompany it, bumping his ERA up to 6.19.

But last Friday was the lefty’s best start yet. Owens pitched eight innings and gave up just one earned run on four hits with as many strikeouts and one walk. Earning the win, the 23-year-old improved his season ERA to 4.50 and his record to 2-1.

“Quality outing by Henry. What’s not to say about what he did?” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after Owens’ start. “A two-pitch, at times three-pitch mix. It just seemed really all clicked for him. He got into a great flow, great rhythm. We wanted him to touch the eighth inning. Those were some of the conversations we were having in the dugout, but he was so efficient, he worked through the eighth. It was a special night.”

Owens hasn’t faced the Mets before, and Friday will be his first major league start against a National League team.

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Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada reaches 43 stolen bases; Kevin McAvoy wins his 5th straight for Salem

08.28.15 at 9:30 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (53-80): W, 1-0, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)

— LHP Rich Hill pitched six shutout innings to pick up the victory in his third quality start with Pawtucket since being signed out of the independent Atlantic League. The 35-year-old’s€™ final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO (93 pitches, 62 strikes). Hill (2-1, 0.93 ERA) walked the leadoff batter in both the first and third innings, erasing the former of those runners on a pickoff move and watching the later get eliminated as catcher Sandy Leon executed a snap throw to first after a strikeout. Hill also stranded two runners in the second with an inning ending strikeout, and after perfect fourth and fifth innings induced an inning-ending double play on his final pitch in the sixth.

The 6-foot-5 Hill was released by the Nationals on June 24 after making 25 appearances in Triple-A out of the bullpen, where he had a 2.91 ERA over 21 2/3 innings, with 32 strikeouts and 21 walks. These last three starts with Pawtucket are Hill’€™s first game-openers in affiliated ball since 2012. In all, Hill has 10 seasons of MLB experience, including three seasons with Boston from 2010 through 2012, with a career big league record of 24-22 with a 4.72 ERA and 451 strikeouts in 197 games (70 starts).

— Relievers Jonathan Aro and Ryan Cook combined with Hill on the complete-game shutout, with Aro pitching two scoreless innings and allowing just one single, while Cook earned his first PawSox save as he stranded two runners (one reaching via error) in the ninth on a game-ending double play.

Aro, 24, just completed his third stint with Boston and is now 3-3 with a 2.97 ERA for Pawtucket over 32 appearances, with 70 strikeouts and 18 walks. A 6-foot righty, Aro has held opponents to just a .210 batting average against in 2015.

Cook, 28, has not allowed a run in six appearances with the PawSox and has allowed only two total hits while striking out 10 and walking two over 8 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-2 righty had one stint with Boston this year, allowing nine runs and 10 hits in two innings of work after being acquired this year from Oakland for a player to be named later or cash.

— Second baseman Marco Hernandez (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) drove in the only run of the game, a two-out single in the fourth that brought home DH Allen Craig. The 22-year-old Hernandez, a lefty stick, reached out and pulled and outside breaking ball to right on the RBI single and finished 1-for-4 to put his Triple-A slash line at .226/.246/.358 through 35 games. At the time of his promotion on July 16 Hernandez was leading the Double-A Eastern League with a .326 average.

— Craig, 31, had doubled off the wall in right earlier in the fourth inning to set up the game’€™s lone run. Craig finished 2-for-4 and has reached safely in eight straight, with a 13-game surge of .327 (18-for-55) including five walks, five doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored. On the season, since being optioned to Triple-A on May 10, Craig is slashing .275/.370/.353 with four home runs and 30 RBIs over 90 games.

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Read More: Allen Craig, Austin Rei, kevin mcavoy, manuel margot
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