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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Eduardo Rodriguez loses 4th rehab start; Andrew Benintendi walks it off in Salem

05.15.16 at 8:34 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (17-19): L, 3-2, and W, 8-6, vs. Gwinnett (Braves)

— In Game 1, Eduardo Rodriguez made his fourth rehab start and took the loss (0-3, 4.29 ERA) with a final line of: 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO (100 pitches, 71 strikes). Rodriguez, 23, allowed a solo homer to begin the second inning on a 3-2 pitch, an unearned run in the third on a ball that got through third baseman Marco Hernandez, and a final run on a solo homer in the sixth on a first-pitch fastball that was pulled to left. After an ensuing single, Rodriguez was pulled for reliever Noe Ramirez.

“I thought the delivery was a little bit cleaner today,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles told the Providence Journal. “I don’t think the stuff was as sharp as the last outing.”

Rodriguez has now allowed five home runs in his last three games, albeit with the last four dingers allowed coming with the bases empty. The 6-foot-2 lefty allowed just two long balls in eight Triple-A starts last year, but did surrender 13 in the majors during his 21 starts with Boston in 2015. In 21 total innings this year during his rehab assignment, Rodriguez has allowed 10 earned runs with 10 strikeouts and four walks.

— In Game 2, DH Sam Travis (Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning (video here), pulled off the foul pole in right, to give the PawSox a 7-4 lead. It was the third home run on the year for Travis and his first in 27 games (since April 14). The 22-year-old Travis finished the game 2-for-4 to put his season slash line at .281/.333/.407 through 35 games with three homers, eight doubles, 19 runs and 18 RBIs.

— Center fielder Rusney Castillo also had a big Game 2, going 3-for-4 with a opposite-field, two-run double in the fourth that gave the PawSox a 5-4 lead. Castillo also singled and scored in the first and singled home a run in the second; he has hits in five straight games and is batting .440 (11-for-25) over his last seven.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Sean O’Sullivan vs. Chris Devenski

05.15.16 at 7:51 am ET
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Sean O’Sullivan takes the ball for the Red Sox in Sunday’s afternoon game against the Astros and rookie right-hander Chris Devenski.

O’Sullivan (1-0, 6.43 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) will be making his second start of the season since being called up from Triple-A on May 6 to replace Henry Owens. O’Sullivan’s first start on Tuesday resulted in a 13-5 Red Sox win over the visiting Athletics, as he pitched six innings and surrendered 12 hits but managed to limit the damage to four runs. He had no walks and three strikeouts.

The Sox offense scored eight runs in the first three innings to give him a nice cushion, something he appreciated.

“It was nice. The guys go out there and put up a big lead for me,” he said. “It was my job just to keep getting them back in the dugout and keep the bats going.”

The 28-year-old has faced the Astros just once in his seven-year MLB career, as a member of the Phillies on Aug. 7, 2014. He started and pitched six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits (three home runs) with two walks and four strikeouts as Philadelphia took a 6-5 win.

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John Farrell implies Clay Buchholz will stay in Red Sox starting rotation

05.14.16 at 7:36 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz is not getting the results the Red Sox need, or expect. But, evidently, he will be given some more time to find them.’

After the Red Sox starter allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings — marking the fifth time this season he has allowed five runs in a start — manager John Farrell made it clear the team’s intention was to keep Buchholz in the starting rotation.

“Well, we haven’t talked about that, and everything points to him making his next start,” Farrell said after his team’s 11-inning, 6-5 win over the Astros on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

There was some thought that Buchholz’s spot in the rotation might be in jeopardy considering both Eduardo Rodriguez (who allowed three runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, throwing 100 pitches, for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday) and Joe Kelly are on the cusp of being ready for major league action.

But the Red Sox seem intent on finding a good stretch out of Buchholz, who would have to give his consent for any minor league demotion since has five years of big league service time.

Buchholz, who allowed a run in the first inning on Carlos Correa’s solo homer, and then four more in the second via George Springer’s grand slam, saw his ERA rise to 6.11. He has continued to particularly struggle in the early innings, totaling a 10.69 ERA in Innings 1-2.

“Frustrating,” Buchholz said. “You play to win and we won so that cures a little of it. But yeah it’s got me scratching my head at points and then go on runs, the last four innings didn’t give up much of anything but the damage was already done. Like I said got to find a way to minimize the damage in the first couple innings.”

Buchholz did settle down in his final four innings, giving up just one hit.

“I don’t think I have to go back to the drawing board or anything. I’ve just got to figure out the first couple innings,” he said. “I’ve been, in my career, good at stranding runners and minimizing damage over a long period of time. I’m not getting any breaks right now as far as swings and misses on pitches you miss with. They’re all getting hit right now. I guess that changes over time but you’ve got to have confidence to go out there and change it rather than hoping for something good to happen. You’ve got to make it happen. And that’s where I’m struggling with right now.”

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Red Sox teammates, coaches continue to marvel at David Ortiz

05.14.16 at 7:14 pm ET
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After David Ortiz’s latest performance, it wasn’t difficult to find a little bit of shock and a whole lot of praise from the Red Sox clubhouse.

What Ortiz did this time was give the Red Sox a 5-5 tie with two outs in the ninth inning thanks to an RBI triple into left-center field. He then punctuated the comeback in the 11th inning with a walk-off RBI double.

Consider Ortiz had already launched his 10th homer of the season in the third inning, and it all added up to a bath of flour and then Powerade courtesy of his teammates after the walk-off, and then a shower of compliments moments later.

It was, after all, his 20th career regular-season walk-off hit, eight of which have been in extra-innings. He also joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players in Major League Baseball history with at least 600 doubles and 500 homers.

Third base coach Brian Butterfield: “I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s a modern-day Babe Ruth.”

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts: “He enjoys those moments. It’s for some people, and it’s not for other people. He thrives in situations like that, and he can’t wait to get opportunities like that.”

“The way he’s doing it right now with power, the extra-base hits, at his age, it’s craziness, man. .. How he does it, man. It’s not no bloop hit, either. It’s not those cheap hits I get. He’s just hitting balls far.”

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Hanley Ramirez defends decision to bunt in 9th inning with game-winning run on third base

05.14.16 at 6:46 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez made a questionable decision to bunt in the ninth inning Saturday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez made a questionable decision to bunt in the ninth inning Saturday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

In what was truly a bizarre and wild game, the strangest play of all may have came in the ninth inning and had no impact on the end result.

Following David Ortiz’s two-out RBI triple to left-center that tied the game at 5, Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate with the game-winning run 90 feet away. This was a great spot for the Red Sox to be in as Ramirez is their No. 5 hitter and entered the game batting .313.

But, in a surprise to almost everyone in the park, Ramirez tried to bunt and was easily thrown out at first to end the threat and send the game to extra innings. The Red Sox were able to still win the game 6-5 on Ortiz’s double in the 11th, but even after the game Ramirez’s bunt was still being talked about.

The Red Sox first baseman defended his decision.

“I didn’t need a double, triple or home run, I just needed a base hit to bring Papi home,” he said. “Everyone was playing back. If I get it down, he would have scored.”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” he added. “If I had got that bunt down between the pitcher and first baseman, he would have scored easier.”

Manager John Farrell was as confused as everyone else and spoke with Ramirez afterward about not bunting in that situation.

“He saw something that maybe only he saw with looking to push a bunt past [Luke] Gregerson, who is on the mound at that time,” Farrell said. “We were kind of hopeful he might swing the bat and drive a run in.”

Luckily for the Red Sox they still won the game and can chalk the move up as just Hanley being Hanley.

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David Ortiz after walk-off win: ‘Just say I’m a bad [expletive]’

05.14.16 at 6:29 pm ET
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David Ortiz had both the tying and game-winning hits against the Astros on Saturday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz had both the tying and game-winning hits against the Astros on Saturday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz was in a hurry after Saturday’s dramatic extra-inning win over the Astros as he needed to get home for his daughter’s birthday party.

He did not speak to the media, but did look back before departing the clubhouse and said: “Just say I’m a bad [expletive], man, I’m out.”

Ortiz went 3-for-5 in the game, falling just a single shy of the cycle.

Trailing 5-4 in the ninth, Ortiz crushed a triple to left-center field against Houston closer Luke Gregerson to tie the game at 5.

“[Friday] night I was facing Gregerson, who has an unbelievable sinker,” said Ortiz on the Red Sox radio broadcast postgame show. “When we played in Houston I faced him a couple of times, I faced him one time in Oakland, and last night I had a game plan I just missed that pitch. Today I went with the same game plan, trying to get that sinker down and away. That’s his secret weapon. … I just stuck with my game plan.”

Then in the 11th inning and first base open after Xander Bogaerts advanced to second on a wild pitch, Ortiz got a pitch to hit and laced a game-winning RBI double off the wall in center field to give the Red Sox a dramatic 6-5 win.

“I thought they were going to kind of pitch around, so I tried to stay aggressive because of that,” Ortiz told Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett regarding his final at-bat. “He threw me a changeup. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get caught up in, ‘They’re going to pitch around me and I’m not going to swing.’ It’s a crucial moment where you have to be award of the situation. When I go to the plate I try to make things happen.”

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Closing Time: David Ortiz’s 2 clutch hits lift Red Sox over Astros in extra innings

05.14.16 at 5:21 pm ET
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David Ortiz homered and tied the game in the ninth inning with a triple. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz homered, tied the game in the ninth inning with a triple and won it with an RBI double in the 11th. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Saturday’s game belonged to David Ortiz.

After Xander Bogaerts singled with two outs in the 11th inning, Ortiz crushed an RBI double off the wall in center field to give the Red Sox a dramatic 6-5 win over the Astros.

It was a questionable decision to pitch to Ortiz with first base open after Bogaerts advanced to second on a wild pitch.

And that wasn’t his only big hit of the game.

Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth and two outs, Jackie Bradley Jr. was on first and Ortiz at the plate. The slugger ripped a triple to left-center off Astros closer Luke Gregerson to tie the game at five.

But then even more bizarre than Ortiz hitting a triple, Hanley Ramirez tried to bunt with the game-winning run 90 feet away and was out with plenty of room to spare at first base.

“What makes David so good in those spots is, he never comes out of his approach,” manager John Farrell said. “His heart rate I don’t think really elevates that much — maybe at times when a strike is called against him. He’s hitting in those moments with such clarity. He’s done it so often that he’s extremely confident in those key spots.”

Ortiz finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs, falling just a single short of the cycle.

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Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Justin Haley throws complete game shutout for Portland

05.14.16 at 10:41 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (16-18): Rain out. Doubleheader on Saturday vs. Gwinnett (Braves).

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (112-23): W, 1-0, at vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— The Sea Dogs got a strong performance from starter Justin Haley as the right-hander went all seven innings and didn’t allow a run. He allowed only one hit and walked three, while striking out five. He’s putting together a solid season as in seven starts he is 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA.

— Portland got its only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh for a dramatic walk-off win. Nate Freiman, who had his contract purchased earlier in the week, ripped an RBI single to score lead off man Henry Ramos. Ramos paced the offense with two hits and also made one of the better catches you’ll see in the outfield.

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia sits, Jackie Bradley Jr. moves up in order

05.14.16 at 10:16 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

With Dustin Pedroia getting the afternoon off, Jackie Bradley Jr. and his 19-game hit streak will slide up in the order to the No. 2 spot against the Astros.

Bradley Jr. has started one game in the No. 2 spot in the order, while playing in four with seven at-bats and is 0-for-7.

“Down day for [Pedroia]. He and I had a chance to talk early in the week and picked this day as the logical one — day game after a night game and the way Jackie has been swinging the bat, obviously speaks for its self,” manager John Farrell said. “So split up the two right-handers at the top of the order and gives us some continuity and some balance throughout.”

Josh Rutledge will get the start at second base against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh. Brock Holt gets his second straight start in left field with another righty going. Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Josh Rutledge, 2B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Collin McHugh

05.14.16 at 8:14 am ET
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In a matchup of pitchers who struggled in April but have pitched better in May, Clay Buchholz takes the ball for the Red Sox opposite Astros right-hander Collin McHugh for Saturday’s afternoon game at Fenway Park.

Buchholz (2-3, 5.90 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) went 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in five April starts — all Boston losses — but he is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two May starts. In his last appearance, Boston’s 14-7 victory over the visiting A’s on Monday, Buchholz pitched five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He surrendered runs in the first three innings before posting zeroes the next two, and he was surprised he didn’t get the chance to start the sixth after throwing just 87 pitches.

“I really didn’t know what was going on,” he said afterward. “I thought I got traded or something. I would have liked to have gone back out.”

He has started against the Astros five times, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.35 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.  He last faced the Astros on April 23, an 8-3 Houston win. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. The big blow was a fifth-inning grand slam by Colby Rasmus.

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