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Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts returns, hitting ninth, David Ross catching Jake Peavy

07.06.14 at 10:12 am ET
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After sitting the night-cap of Saturday’s day/night doubleheader against the Orioles, Xander Bogaerts will return to the lineup Sunday afternoon against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. Bogaerts will be looking to snap out of an 0-for-27 and 2-for-50 skid. Manager John Farrell has moved Bogaerts to ninth in the order. It is the first time he will hit ninth to start a game this season.

David Ross will be behind the plate catching starter Jake Peavy. Peavy has a 3.32 ERA with Ross behind the plate in seven starts this season, compared to a 5.52 ERA with A.J. Pierzynski in 11 starts.

Mookie Betts will get the day off as the Red Sox will go with Daniel Nava in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Brock Holt in right.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, RF

Daniel Nava, LF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Stephen Drew, SS

David Ross, C

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Xander Bogaerts, 3B

Jake Peavy, RHP

For more Red Sox news and updates, visit weei.com/redsox.

Jon Lester continues dominant stretch amid contract drama

07.06.14 at 7:33 am ET
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It’€™s hard enough to not allow an earned run in a start – let alone over eight innings of work.

It’€™s even harder to accomplish such a feat two starts in a row.

Since 1988, only two Red Sox pitchers have been able to post two consecutive eight-inning appearances without allowing an earned run -€“ Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.

Another Boston hurler joined that select group after Saturday afternoon’€™s 3-2 win against the Orioles, as Jon Lester - as he’€™s done for over a month now – was almost untouchable on the mound.

Facing off against a potent Baltimore lineup, Lester was in complete control, allowing five hits and two runs (none earned) over eight innings while striking out seven and walking zero batters.

Lester threw 118 pitches, firing 83 strikes, his highest total since May 30, 2012 against the Tigers (also 83).

“I felt good,”€ Lester said after the game. “€œFastball command has been pretty good, I feel like I’€™ve gotten the consistency back with my cutter, which has been helpful at times – just getting in on rightys. All in all, I was just moving the ball around pretty well and keeping it down – keeping the ball on the ground. Base hits today, a couple of them were on the ground, a couple of them just got over the infielders’€™ heads. I’€™ll take that all day.”

While the Boston southpaw has been dominant for almost two months now, allowing less than two earned runs in five of his last seven starts (1.64 ERA), he’€™s been on another level over his last five appearances, surrendering just four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings (0.96 ERA).

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Read More: Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, Red Sox,

John Lackey on Nelson Cruz: ‘There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to’

07.06.14 at 12:37 am ET
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John Lackey expressed displeasure towards Nelson Cruz' five hit night postgame. (AP)

John Lackey expressed displeasure towards Nelson Cruz following Saturday’s game. (AP)

Saturday night left a bitter and disgusting taste in the mouth of John Lackey.

It wasn’t so much the 10 hits, five runs and 120 pitches over just 5 2/3 innings. It wasn’t even taking the 7-4 loss to the Orioles on his record, dropping him to 9-6 on the season.

It was the man who did the most damage against him, including a laser beam homer to left in the fifth. John Lackey clearly hasn’t forgotten or forgiven Nelson Cruz.

“I’m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”

Lackey was clearly referring to Cruz’ suspension for 50 games for PED violations in 2013, which he believes has been overlooked by the media in general. Cruz, now with 27 homers on the season, also went yard off Lackey in second game of this season back on April 2 in Baltimore. Cruz finished the night with the first five-hit night of his career, including two doubles, two singles and a home run. Seeking the cycle, he was thrown out at third base in the eighth inning trying to stretch a double into a triple.

“As soon as I saw it went over [Daniel Nava's] head, I have to make a shot to make it happen,” Cruz said. “My angle around first, it was bad so I had to go a long way from second base. I’m happy we won.”

“If you can’t enjoy that and take it the [right] way, you’re taking yourself way too seriously,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m glad they didn’t hit the first cutoff guy. At least it was close. They’re all screaming at me to do the replay.”

There was nothing funny, though, about Cruz’ night to Lackey, who has expressed distaste in his comments towards the Orioles’ slugger in the past. After his first start of the season in Baltimore on April 2, Lackey expressed displeasure towards giving up a home run to Cruz due to the hitter’s history with performance enhancing drugs. Cruz was suspended for 50 games at the end of the 2013 season after being linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. Lackey’s feelings towards Cruz seemingly carried over into his postgame comments Saturday night.

“Multiple things,” Lackey said in April when asked if his frustration regarding a two-run home run he allowed to Cruz was due to a pitch or the shallow left field in Camden Yards. “More than that, probably.”

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Stephen Drew on two home run day: ‘It’s a good feeling’

07.06.14 at 12:01 am ET
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Stephen Drew hit two home runs in the doubleheader against the Orioles Saturday. (AP)

Stephen Drew hit two home runs in the doubleheader against the Orioles Saturday. (AP)

Entering Saturday’€™s doubleheader against the Orioles, Stephen Drew was hitting just .136 with no homers and two RBI in 19 games this season. Following a two home run day between the two games of the doubleheader, the shortstop raised his average 15 points and took a big step in getting his offense back into gear after missing roughly the first two months of the season.

“It sure does,” manager John Farrell said of Drew’€™s day helping his confidence. “He’€™s been working at some things, trying to get some timing. Jumps in mid-stream — a difficult challenge to face. Good to see him get a couple of balls that he squares up to the pull side. It’€™s not been a lack of work, it’€™s not been a lack of effort by any means. Good to see him be in the mix here tonight and today.”

Drew took Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez into the Orioles bullpen in the second inning of Game 1, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead at the time. His second homer of the day, coming in the fourth inning of Game 2 off Ubaldo Jimenez, sparked a four-run fourth inning for the Sox, as following a Mike Napoli walk to open the inning, Drew smashed one over the wall in right for a two-run shot.

Prior to Saturday, Drew’€™s last home run came in Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park and his last regular season home run was Sept. 19, 2013, also coming against the Orioles. The last Red Sox player to homer in both ends of a doubleheader was Jacoby Ellsbury twice in 2011 (Aug. 18 vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 25 vs. Yankees).

“It’€™s good. Like I said, just it’€™s a work in progress and I am putting some good swings on pitches and I’€™m getting some results,” Drew said. “It’€™s a good feeling.”

After sitting out the first two months of the season not being signed by any team as a free agent and just 21 at-bats in the minors before joining the Red Sox, Drew knew it would take some time to get things going. After his play on Saturday, Drew feels like things are going in the right direction.

“Like I told you guys before, not being in this position before I knew it was going to be different going in not having a spring training,” he said. “Not making excuses, it’€™s definitely coming along and I am putting some good AB’€™s together. Hopefully this will start clicking shortly.”

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Closing Time: Poor pitching and defense leads to Red Sox falling to Orioles in nightcap

07.05.14 at 10:54 pm ET
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John Lackey turned in his third straight start of four runs or more allowed. (AP)

John Lackey turned in his third straight start of four runs or more allowed. (AP)

The Red Sox continue to find creative ways to lose games.

After starter John Lackey allowed two runs in the top of the fourth inning, the Red Sox offense responded in a big way, scoring four runs to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Considering how well Lackey has pitched in 2014 and the strength of the Red Sox bullpen, it seemed feasible that the team could hold the lead to sweep the doubleheader.

Nope.

The Orioles responded in the fifth inning by scoring a run and in a bigger way by putting up four of their own in the sixth inning. Through a series of subpar pitching performances from both Lackey, Burke Badenhop and defensive miscues, the Red Sox kicked away the lead and ultimately ending where they started the day, seven games out of the American League East.

Following the Orioles’ top of the sixth, the Red Sox were unable to score, mustering up no hits and looking confused at the plate against the Baltimore bullpen.

The loss brings the Red Sox record to 39-48. Through their first 87 games in 2013 the Red Sox were 53-34.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox Saturday night:

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– John Lackey did not look his best against the Orioles, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing 10 hits, five runs, one walk, two home runs, while striking out 11. Lackey threw 83 of his 120 pitches for strikes (69.1 percent). In his last three starts, Lackey has allowed 16 runs in 14 innings pitched (10.29 ERA).

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Jonathan Herrera’s preparation to ‘do anything during the game’ contributes to walk-off hit

07.05.14 at 5:51 pm ET
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Red Sox utility infielder Jonathan Herrera prepares himself to contribute during every single game. (AP)

Red Sox utility infielder Jonathan Herrera has a concrete routine to keep him ready to contribute during games he doesn’t start. (AP)

Even on days when Jonathan Herrera isn’t starting — which have been a lot of games in 2014 — the utility infielder has a specific routine that he goes through during every single game to get ready should the situation summon his abilities.

For the first couple of innings, Herrera sits in the dugout and watches the game like a spectator. As the fourth inning strikes, Herrera begins to separate from the rest of his teammates and begins to prepare in the back rooms of the Red Sox dugout starting with a stretching routine. By the fifth inning, Herrera is in the batting cage, which is located right around the corner of the dugout exit.

After a couple of swings, Herrera begins to run up and down the tunnel that joins the dugout and the clubhouse. At that point, he begins to loosen his arm up so that he is prepared for any situation by the seventh inning. Whether he is asked to pinch hit, come in as a defensive replacement or asked to run the bases in a late-game situation, Herrera is prepared to contribute.

Herrera, who was acquired for lefty Franklin Morales in an off-season trade with the Colorado Rockies, keeps himself ready precisely for situations such as Saturday afternoon’s half of the doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. The 29-year-old came up to the plate in place of Jackie Bradley Jr. with Orioles lefty T.J. McFarland on the mound and the winning run on second base in the form of Jonny Gomes. He had a specific goal is front of him, something he prepared the whole game to be ready for.

Herrera delivered, blooping a broken bat single on a 91 mph fastball from McFarland over the infield to allow Gomes to score from second and cap off the first half of the doubleheader.

The walk-off hit was the first in Herrera’€™s career. Postgame, Herrera was just happy to be able to contribute to the team’€™s victory in some way, shape or form.

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Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts sits, David Ortiz returns for Game 2 of doubleheader

07.05.14 at 5:10 pm ET
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After their dramatic walk-off, 3-2, win over the Orioles in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Red Sox made a few changes to their lineup for Game 2.

Most notably, third baseman Xander Bogaerts will sit after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1 and is currently 0 for his last 27 and 2 for his last 50. After missing Game 1 due to traveling back from his daughter’s graduation in the Domincan, David Ortiz is in the lineup going up against O’s right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

Brock Holt will take Bogaerts’ place at third base as the Red Sox outfield will have Jonny Gomes in left, Mookie Betts in center and Daniel Nava in right.

John Lackey will take the mound for the Sox seeking his 10th win of the year.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, 3B

Daniel Nava, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Stephen Drew, SS

Jonny Gomes, LF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Mookie Betts, CF

John Lackey, RHP

For a complete look at the matchups, click here.

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