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Closing Time: Red Sox no-hit into sixth inning, lose behind rough outing from Wade Miley

05.30.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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Boston Red Sox v Texas Rangers

Wade Miley was yanked after loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth Saturday. (Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

The Red Sox dropped their second straight Saturday night as both their starting pitching and offense failed in an 8-0 loss to the Rangers.

Wade Miley allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits over four-plus innings of work, with a four-run fourth inning proving to be predictably costly on a night in which the Red Sox managed just five hits.

Boston’s bats were stifled by a rookie, as Rangers starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez was making his major league debut in the game. Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before David Ortiz, who made his return to Boston’s lineup, doubled.

The 22-28 Red Sox will look to even the series Sunday afternoon in Arlington.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Gonzalez, who shined in his Major League debut. All in all, Gonzalez allowed two hits while striking out two and walking five batters over 5 2/3 innings of work. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Miley was coming off his best outing in a Red Sox uniform, as he held the Angels to one run on four hits over eight innings last week. Saturday was a different story, as he allowed at least one hit in each of his four-plus innings before being yanked with the bases loaded and no out in the fifth.

Miley is now 4-5 on the season.

– Throwing home isn’€™t always a good thing. With the Rangers having already scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend their lead to three, Brock Holt threw home on a grounder to shortstop with runners on second and third with one out. The throw wasn’€™t great, allowing Martin to score.

On the next play, DeShields bunted to Miley, who threw the ball away in an attempt to get the lead runner at home. All runners advanced on the play as the Rangers built their lead to 5-0.

– The Ortiz Laboratory does not focus on baserunning. After doubling to lead off the top of the sixth and advancing on a Hanley Ramirez groundout, Ortiz was caught in a rundown on a ground ball back to the mound from Pablo Sandoval. Gonzalez quickly threw to third, initiating a rundown in which Ortiz was tagged out in short order.  Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada slams first professional homer

05.30.15 at 9:21 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Saturday night hasn’t been all bad for the Red Sox. Prospect Yoan Moncada hit his first home run.

Playing for Single-A Greenville, Moncada went 2 for 4 with a homer and double in an 8-4 victory over Lexington.

Moncada’s homer, his first as a pro, came with one on in the sixth inning off of left-hander Foster Griffin, a first-round pick of the Royals in 2014. The two hits upped his average to .265 and he also drove in three runs.

The Red Sox signed Moncada to a record $31.5 million bonus as an amateur out of Cuba this winter. He was considered not only a first-round talent, but a player skilled enough to be likened to a No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Here’s the box score for Moncada’s game.

 

David Ortiz returns to the lineup, Xander Bogaerts sits vs. Rangers

05.30.15 at 7:54 pm ET
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Big Papi is back in the lineup. Whether he’s “Back” with a capital B remains to be seen.

After taking two days off to work on his swing, Ortiz started at designated hitter and returned to the No. 3 spot in the batting order on Saturday night against the Rangers.

Manager John Farrell said before the game that he believes Ortiz made progress during his time away, particularly integrating his legs into his swing.

“I think he was able to detect some things with his back leg, where he might have been coming off a little bit early and not driving against a firm front side,” Farrel said. “That’€™s what pictures revealed of current, recent swing path versus his recent history where he was driving the ball a little bit more consistently. So that in combination with the pitch selection as he’s talked about has been the one thing in video review that’€™s been revealed.”

Ortiz got the start against Rangers righty Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was making his big league debut, and grounded out weakly in his first at-bat.

In other lineup news, shortstop Xander Bogaerts got the night off. He was sporting a tight-fitting sleeve on his left forearm before the game to limit the swelling that remains from a fastball he took off the arm in Thursday’s series opener.

“I got lucky,” Bogaerts said. “It hit a little above the main bone. . . . I try to do my best to play every day, try to do my best to be on the field, take care of my body. Stuff like that I can’t control. I’m blessed it didn’t get me that bad.”

Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson perfect in 6 innings of PawSox win; Keury De La Cruz lifts Portland

05.30.15 at 9:24 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (25-24): W, 1-0, vs. Louisville (Reds)

–€” Brian Johnson struck out nine over six perfect innings to earn his sixth win of the season. The 24-year-old southpaw started in place of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was called up to Boston and made his major league debut Thursday night. Johnson was working under a pitch limit Friday and was pulled after throwing 74 pitches despite his stellar performance. The 2012 first-round draft pick improved to 6-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.60.

— Right-hander Miguel Celestino tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning before giving up a one-out single to Eugenio Suarez in the eighth. Suarez would be Louisville‘€™s only baserunner of the night.

–€” Heath Hembree recorded his sixth save of the year, relieving Celestino in the eighth and tossing a perfect 1 2/3 innings with one strikeout to close out the one-hitter. Hembree’€™s ERA is 0.98 in 18 1/3 innings with Pawtucket.

— Shortstop Deven Marrero drove in the lone Pawtucket run with a bases-loaded single in the second inning. Allen Craig scored after leading off the frame with a walk. The RBI was Marrero’€™s first in his last 10 games.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Rangers matchups: Wade Miley vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez

05.30.15 at 8:12 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox will play the third game of a four-game series against the Rangers in Texas on Saturday night. Wade Miley gets the call for the Sox while the Rangers will send Chi Chi Gonzalez to the mound for his major league debut.

Miley comes into Saturday’€™s game with a 4-4 record and 4.47 ERA. He has been on his game of late. Against the Angels in his last start on Sunday, Miley threw eight masterful innings, allowing just one run on four hits and earning the victory.

“It comes down to fastball command. Even he when he’€™s gotten a couple of guys on base, he hasn’t overthrown as we saw maybe back in April,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Miley after that game. “He’€™s turned things around personally this month. That’s pretty clear. He’s back to a quick pace but a comfortable one for him, and he’s commanding his pitches.”

Miley, 28, has experienced an impressive turnaround since a tough start to the season. Through his first six starts, Miley was 1-4 with an ugly 6.91 ERA. Since then, he has won his past three starts, turning in impressive outings in each.

Over those three outings, Miley has pitched a total of 21 2/3 innings and accrued a WHIP of 1.02 with an ERA of 1.25.

The left-hander has been fortunate to hold batters to a BABIP of .229 in his past three starts, but he has been able to force ground balls. His opponents’€™ line drive rate is a low 17 percent, and he has gotten batters to hit at least nine grounders in each of his past three starts.

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David Ortiz to return to lineup on Saturday after visiting ‘the Ortiz laboratory’

05.30.15 at 2:13 am ET
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ARLINGTON, Texas — David Ortiz‘s break is over. Now it’s time to see if this little two-day science experiment yielded any breakthroughs.

After Friday’s 7-4 loss to the Rangers, Red Sox manager John Farrell said “everything points” to Ortiz rejoining the lineup for Saturday night’s game. The slumping slugger has had the last two games off to work on his swing. Did he find a fix?

“We’re about to find out,” he said. “I’ve been in the Ortiz laboratory.”

Ortiz has been mired in a 3-for-31 slump that has dropped his average to .216. Earlier in the week, he said that if he can’t find his old swing, he’ll move on to Plan B, which is to, “come back and rake.”

“A guy like myself, I always have to be on top of my game because every night I see the best coming out of everyone,” he said on Thursday. “So the minute I walk away from my game, this is exactly what happens. The pitcher be like, ‘Just keep that monster down there sleeping. Don’t wake him up. Bury him.’ So in my case, I’ve got to figure out how to execute better. There’s always a Plan B. There is always a Plan B that you’ve got to put in play. Once the Plan B stops working, that means you don’t have it anymore, so that’s another step you’€™ve got to take. I’€™m just going to put in play the Plan B.”

Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton would’ve loved to wear a Red Sox uniform

05.30.15 at 12:34 am ET
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Josh Hamilton and the Rangers took care of the Red Sox on Friday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Josh Hamilton and the Rangers took care of the Red Sox on Friday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Hamilton reaffirmed on Friday night that he is a destroyer of Red Sox. Two winters ago, he considered joining them.

The Rangers slugger shared one meeting with general manager Ben Cherington at the 2012 winter meetings, and though the sides never exchanged proposals, he was more than intrigued.

It turns out he loves Fenway Park.

“It was just good to sit down and talk with them,” he said after slamming his first two homers of the season in a 7-4 victory. “You think about places you’d like to go and play, and you get an opportunity to meet with people, when you want to go somewhere like that, just to think about the history that’s been there, that’s what’s always intrigued me, since the first time I walked out of the clubhouse on the wooden pallets underneath the tunnel and I went to the field. That was the only place I ever got nervous, my first season, playing with the Rangers.”

Hamilton’s first at-bat in Fenway was against Daisuke Matsuzaka, in 2008.

“The first pitch, I fouled it down the right field line,” Hamilton said. “I ended up striking out, but I remember I stood in the box and I was just shaking. So I won’t ever forget that.”

Hamilton never drew serious interest from the Red Sox, who were looking to sign veterans to short-term deals. A three-year deal for Hamilton, an MVP coming off his fifth straight All-Star berth, might’ve started at $90 million.
He instead signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels, which ended disastrously when he suffered a drug relapse before being traded this spring.

But back when he met with the Red Sox, he was on top of his game.

“It was just cool to meet them and talk with the guys,” he said. “It’s been such a prestigious organization throughout the years, a lot of good players come through there. They’ve won some championships of recent. It was basically an honor for me to sit in there and talk with them and think it could be a possibility. It was good. It didn’t work out, but it was good to talk to them.”

The Red Sox might’ve signed him just to keep him away from their pitching. With his two homers on Friday, Hamilton has now driven in 53 runs in 56 starts against them lifetime, with a .314 average and an OPS of over .950.

He’s had a number of impressive games against the Red Sox, including a towering home run in 2012 off Mark Melancon.

“That is the longest ball I’ve ever seen hit at Fenway,” said Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan, who was with the Red Sox at the time. “Some guys asked me recently the longest home run I’ve ever seen hit, and I told them it was that one.”

Hamilton’s homers didn’t travel that far on Friday, but they still did damage.

“I don’t know why, but I’ve always played pretty well against them,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know if it’s because I like playing at Fenway, because I do. It’s one of my favorite places to play. I’ll think about it.”

Closing Time: Josh Hamilton (2 HRs), Rangers too much for Red Sox

05.29.15 at 11:06 pm ET
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Hamilton picked a bad time for Boston to reprise his role as unstoppable killing machine.

Only two months after narrowly escaping a season-long suspension following a drug relapse with the Angels, Hamilton was up to his old tricks with the Rangers on Friday night, smashing a pair of home runs off knuckleballer Steven Wright that proved the difference in Boston’s 7-4 loss.

Hamilton used to destroy the Red Sox with regularity — his 2012 home run in Fenway off of Mark Melancon still hasn’t come down — but he only made his 2015 debut in Thursday’s series opener.

Two games are apparently all he needed to find the range, and his blasts were too much for the inconsistent Red Sox offense to overcome.

Fresh off a galvanizing 5-1 victory on Thursday in Eduardo Rodriguez’s debut, the Red Sox squandered any chance to build momentum by stranding five runners and hitting into a pair of Rusney Castillo double plays.

That made a loser of Wright, who is fighting to maintain his spot in the rotation with the Red Sox carrying an extra starter through the next turn. He didn’t pitch horribly, limiting the Rangers to three hits in 5 2/3 innings, but two of them left the park, and that was enough.

Wright gave the Red Sox enough to win, but they were stymied by Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo, against whom they stroked 10 hits during a 4-3 win in Boston on May 19.

This time, Gallardo limited them to four hits and just one earned run in six innings, striking out five.

The killer inning was the fourth, when a single, walk, and error loaded the bases with no outs. Xander Bogaerts put a charge into one, but it went as a long sacrifice fly to deep right. Catcher Blake Swihart followed with a game-tying single to left that put runners on the corners, but Castillo grounded sharply into the first of his two double plays.

Hamilton then homered with two outs in the bottom of the frame, and that was the ballgame.

The Red Sox tried to mount a rally in the eighth, with Hanley Ramirez‘s two-run homer drawing them within a run, but the bullpen gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the frame.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Josh Hamilton entered the game a lifetime .309 hitter against the Red Sox with a eight homers and a .908 OPS, and he improved on all of those numbers with his two homers. He has now driven in 53 runs against the Red Sox in 56 career starts. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to remain in rotation for at least another turn

05.29.15 at 7:27 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

ARLINGTON, Texas — Eduardo Rodriguez isn’t going anywhere.

One day after the rookie made a sensational big league debut with 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 5-1 victory over the Rangers, manager John Farrell announced that he’ll start against the Twins on Wednesday at Fenway Park as part of a six-man rotation.

The Sox will stick with the extra starter for just one turn, Farrell said, before deciding who gets bumped, but for one more start, anyway, Rodriguez is penciled in.

“He was very good,” Farrell said. “I think when the initial reasons, factors we brought in ‘€“ get his first start out of the way ‘€“ the poise he demonstrated and what we’ve come to know of him, a guy that in Eddie’s case is very self confident but in a respectful way. He carries himself like that, he pitched like that last night. He pitched very much at ease last night and was very impressive.”

The Red Sox initially turned to Rodriguez simply to build in an extra off day for the rest of the rotation during a busy 20-game stretch, but they also knew there was a chance he’d force their hand, which he did.

“We’re not thinking that we would go to a six-man rotation,” Farrell said. “I’m not a fan of it, but I know there are merits to it for short periods. Our goal is to get back to a five-man rotation and a full complement on the bench.”

Rodriguez gives the Red Sox rotation something it has lacked ‘€“ a power arm with command of secondary pitches. Right-hander Joe Kelly throws upwards of 100 mph, but his fastball is hittable. Rodriguez, conversely, produced defensive swings with his fastball and also showed a surprisingly effective slider that rendered his strong changeup his third pitch, at least for a night.

“What we saw early on was a slider that was maybe better than advertised,” Farrell said. “But then when he got deep in the game the changeup became a key pitch.”

With Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, and Rick Porcello secure, the final two spots in the rotation are up for grabs between Rodriguez, Kelly, and knuckleballer Steven Wright, who was scheduled to start in Texas on Friday night.

Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz starts on bench again

05.29.15 at 4:57 pm ET
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For a second straight game, David Ortiz will start the game on the bench, with Hanley Ramirez serving as the Red Sox‘ starting designated hitter against Texas righty Yovani Gallardo Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.

Red Sox manager John Farrell had noted that the plan was to give Ortiz a couple of days off to work on his swing, with an expectation that he would be back in the starting lineup Sunday.

Also starting once again is Rusney Castillo, who mans right field and hits ninth.

Here is the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup with Steven Wright on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mookie Betts CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Brock Holt LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Blake Swihart C
Rusney Castillo RF

For all the matchups, click here.

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