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Closing Time: Red Sox lose Andrew Benintendi, game in sloppy walk-off loss to Rays

08.24.16 at 11:00 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

The Red Sox lost in horrible fashion on Wednesday night, but that wasn’t the worst takeaway from a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Rays.

The defeat came at a steep cost as rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who has given the team an injection of life, badly rolled his left ankle while attempting to retreat to second base on a grounder to short. He needed to be helped off the field and was later diagnosed with a knee sprain.

The Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead and lost in the 11th on an error by pitcher Heath Hembree, who failed to glove Travis Shaw’s underhand flip at first. Hembree fired home in an attempt to nail runner Luke Maile at the plate, but Sandy Leon couldn’t handle the throw and Maile was ruled safe as the Rays celebrated.

Afterward, the Red Sox cared mainly about Benintendi.

“You never like to see a player come off,” manager John Farrell said. “But he has certainly grabbed the attention and the support, he’s been embraced by the rest of this club and we’ve just got to make sure we get all the appropriate information on any kind of further injury or the extent of it [Thursday] morning.”

The Red Sox had a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the American League East, because the Blue Jays lost to the Angels. The Red Sox lost for just the third time in 13 games.

The winning run scored with two outs, making Hembree’s miscue that much tougher to swallow. Kevin Kiermaier hit the roller to first that Hembree botched while covering the bag.

“That’s kind of a routine 3-1 play,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately it comes at a time where you’ve got two outs, a guy’s on the move, it ends up being the difference in this one. That’s a routine play.”

Added Hembree: “It’s difficult. We work on that all the time, and it’s a play I should make 10 out of 10 times, but I didn’t make it tonight, so just have to move on.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, David Ortiz, David Ortiz oldest, Rays

Andrew Benintendi helped off field after injuring left knee

08.24.16 at 9:19 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Just when you thought nothing could go wrong on this road trip for the Red Sox, along came the seventh inning Wednesday night.

With Andrew Benintendi on second base, Dustin Pedroia grounded a ball to Rays shortstop Matt Duffy. In an attempt to avoid the tag from Duffy, Benintendi appeared to get his left cleat caught in the dirt, resulting in the bending what appeared to be the rookie’s left knee.

Update: The Red Sox announced Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain and would be further evaluated Thursday.

Benintendi stayed on the ground until Red Sox manager John Farrell and trainer Brad Pearson could arrive to look at the player, who was on his knees near second base. The outfielder would ultimately be helped off the field, putting his weight on both Farrell and Pearson.

At the time of the injury, the Red Sox carried a 3-2 lead over the Rays, with Benintendi having doubled to lead off the seventh. The 22-year-old is currently hitting .324 with an .850 OPS.

Check back for more updates …

Read More: Andrew Benintendi injured, Red Sox,

David Ortiz becomes oldest player to hit 30 home runs in season

08.24.16 at 8:21 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Usually when someone wants to get reaction to David Ortiz breaking some milestone, his canned answer this season has been, “It just means I’m getting old.”

Cue up the quote machine.

The Red Sox designated hitter made history Wednesday night, jumping on a first-pitch curveball from Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese in the first inning, sending it into the right field bleachers for his 30th home run of the season.

With the two-run blast Ortiz becomes the oldest player in Major League Baseball history to hit 30 homers in a single season, having managed the feat at 40 years and 280 days old.

The home run also allowed Ortiz to reach 100 RBIs for the season. He joins Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig as the only players with 10 or more season of at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs for a single team.

Ortiz now has nine 100-RBI seasons with the Red Sox, tying him with Ted Williams for the most in franchise history.

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Carson Smith admits he’s having hard time watching Red Sox this season

08.24.16 at 7:43 pm ET
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Carson Smith will start throwing a baseball again in three weeks. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Carson Smith will start throwing a baseball again in three weeks. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It goes without saying, the Red Sox could have used Carson Smith this season.

The righty reliever was brought in during the offseason to help fill the void the Red Sox currently find themselves with — uncovering someone who can lock down the eighth inning. But thanks to Tommy John surgery on May 26, Smith never got his chance to make a mark in 2016.

As is the case with most Tommy John patients, the long-term prognosis for Smith is good. In three weeks he will start throwing for the first time, and continue on a schedule that usually lands pitchers back on the mound a year out from their operation.

But the light at the end of the tunnel hasn’t made dealing with this season any easier for Smith.

“I pick and choose. But sometimes it’s tough to watch the games,” said the 26-year-old while visiting his teammates at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon. “Obviously, I want to support these guys and keep up with them. But it’s tough to watch sometimes. I can’t sit down there every night because I know I want to be out there contributing as much as I can.”

The extent of Smith’s contribution to the Red Sox this season was three appearances, in which he allowed a run over 2 2/3 innings.

The goal is to get reliever back to the level he pitched at while with the Mariners in 2015, during which time he managed a 2.31 ERA in 70 appearances. The quest, according to Smith, is for the same results using the same somewhat unique, three-quarter arm angle.

“Nobody has really talked to me about the mechanics of my pitching,” he said. “I don’t see them chafing as a pitcher, but with that said, who knows how it feels coming back to throw. It’s natural. It’s not forced. It would be unnatural to change my arm slot.”

After executing the beginning of his throwing program in Fort Myers, starting at 45 feet and then a week later going up to 60 feet, Smith will spend the majority of his offseason in Houston.

“I’m definitely looking at this optimistically,” he said. “I know I tried to rehab it there for a little bit and it was getting worse over time. I’m just happy to get it done with and knowing that I’m going to work hard through the rehab process and hopefully come back better.”

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Pablo Sandoval shows up, shows off improved physique

08.24.16 at 6:07 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval appeared in better shape Wednesday than when the Red Sox last saw him. (WEEI.com)

Pablo Sandoval appeared in better shape Wednesday than when the Red Sox last saw him. (WEEI.com)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is in full swing.

The third baseman reappeared with the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon, having traveled up from Fort Myers, where he has been executing his road back from left shoulder surgery. Judging by appearances, the first step of the process seems to be going well.

Sandoval has dropped 22 pounds, looking noticeably thinner than when he left Boston to train at Fenway South in June. The third baseman reported that he trains at the Sox’ spring training facility from 6 a.m.-1 p.m., six days a week.

Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (WEEI.com)

Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (WEEI.com)

Besides the structured workouts, which started to include fielding ground balls Monday, Sandoval has been routinely riding a mountain bike approximately 10 miles a day. (A routine confirmed with the program monitoring the workouts on his phone.)

“It’s tough,” Sandoval said. “But like I said you learn your lesson from all the mistakes you make. You’re human, you make mistakes. You have to put all the things in the past. So you have to work out and have good people around you to support you every single day. I’ve got that situation already, with my family around to support me every single day.”

When asked what keeps him motivated throughout his time away from the team, Sandoval was quick to credit the presence of his 3-month-old son, Liam.

“My baby. My son. My little boy. That’s one of those things every time I wake up, looking at him, I want to do everything for him so he can see me back on the field and play baseball,” Sandoval said. “That’s the thing I put in my mind every single day.”

Here are some of the other comments from Sandoval, who addressed the media in front of his locker at Tropicana Field for approximately 10 minutes:

On his shoulder’s strength: “It’s not back to normal but I feel a lot better, started doing a lot of things in the field. Starting hitting ground balls, started playing catch, handling the ball. There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better every day.”

On lessons he may have learned: “Lessons life give you. Everything out there is not easy. You have to work hard to learn all the things you did wrong. Just keep working hard and do everything you can to be a better person on the field and outside the field.”

On expectations for next season: “I just want to be ready 100 percent next year for spring training and try to do all the things I know how to do on the field.”

On if it’s tough to watch the Red Sox’ games: “No it’s not. I live for this. It’s the only thing I know how to do but sometimes things happen for a reason so … I miss the game, I watch every single day, I miss those guys but sometimes you have to put yourself in the situation, in the right situation to be better. I know I miss it but sometimes I look at myself, it’s an opportunity to spend more time with my family. I want to play but now I get to see my baby growing up.”

On where he’s at in his career: “I’m 30. I know. But sometimes you feel like age is going to come to you but you have to put yourself in the situation to separate those things, keep working hard. Look at David [Ortiz], 40 years old, continues playing. He’s a good guy to follow as sa role model, so I want to keep following his steps and do everything I can to show my family I do it for them.”

John Farrell on D&H: It ‘looks like Clay [Buchholz] by default’ for return to bullpen once Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez are healthy

08.24.16 at 4:08 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the D&H audio on demand page.

Clay Buchholz has made three spot starts for the Red Sox with both Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez out with injuries, and he has performed well enough to put himself in the running for a permanent spot in the rotation. Farrell said “it probably looks like Clay by default” will return to the bullpen, however, once Wright and Rodriguez are healthy enough to start.

“Setting aside the decision, he’s done a heck of a job in the three starts he’s made for us,” Farrell said. “He seemingly is getting deeper into games, looks stronger as he goes. Steven Wright is going to come off of the DL Friday to make that first start against Kansas City. I think until we get to the bullpen tomorrow with Rodriguez, that will give us a better read on when he slides back in.”

Added Farrell: “The one thing we do have to contend with is with Wright coming back, we’re going to have to make room for him on the roster. If that looks as a reliever going out, then obviously there’s going to be a need in that bullpen. Those are the things that are being factored in, but nonetheless, Clay has done a heck of a job at giving us a boost, and when you look at the way the rotation has gone the last two or three times through, it’s been extremely encouraging.”

Farrell said Buchholz has been much more consistent throwing quality strikes, which has helped spark his turnaround on the mound.

“Obviously, going out of the stretch exclusively has minimized some of the movement in his delivery when he’s in the windup,” Farrell said. “It’s allowed him to make adjustments from one pitch to the next. I think just some subtle adjustments have really added to the depth to his cutter. Last night it was probably the best cutter he’s had I would say in a couple of years time. In addition to staying behind his arm and you saw the power and the velocity, he held 94 pretty much throughout. Those are the reasons why he’s been so consistent in really these three starts.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Clay Buchholz, Drew Pomeranz, eduardo rodriguez

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: Having available starting pitchers ‘a good spot to be in’

08.24.16 at 2:09 pm ET
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Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy called in to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Wednesday to discuss the solid play of the pitching staff and possible Fenway renovations. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

The Red Sox now have a good problem on their hands, as they likely will have six viable starting pitchers available once Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez are back to full health. Clay Buchholz made his claim for a spot in the starting rotation after holding the Rays to one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 2-1 Boston win on Tuesday. Buchholz struck out a season-high nine batters in the performance.

“It’s been a really tough year for him, up and down, and I’m just so pleased that he was able to contribute,” Kennedy said. “We always talk about having deep depth in that rotation, we’ve had to go down to the minor leagues, we’ve had to bring in guys from the outside, and it takes a huge amount of effort from all across the organization to make the postseason. That’s the goal, and hopefully the guys will keep contributing the way they have, especially over this really difficult road trip where the team’s playing really well.”

Kennedy said that there is “a lot of advocating going on” by the guys who believe they earned a spot in the starting rotation.

“These guys are competitors,” Kennedy said. “They’re major league players, when your job, your career is to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, you want to fight like you-know-what to keep that position. I think that’s what we’ve seen in the last couple of outings from different guys. You want to be in that rotation going every fifth day, it’s hard to be mentally prepared when your not certain about when your turn in the rotation is going to come.”

Added Kennedy: “We’ll have to see how it plays out, it’s a good spot to be in, it sounds like Wright will swap back in, Eddy Rodriguez will swap back in if all continues to go well. There’s been no formal announcement yet, but health is the big thing and right now [manager John Farrell] and [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi] and [general manager Mike] Hazen have a couple of hard decisions to make over the next couple of days, as they deliberate how to line things up here down these final 37 games.”

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Koji Uehara, Sam Kennedy, Tim Tebow

Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Roenis Elias struggles in PawSox loss; Yoan Moncada hits 3-run homer for Portland

08.24.16 at 12:47 pm ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

Roenis Elias

Roenis Elias

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (67-62): L, 9-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left-hander Roenis Elias got roughed up, surrendering a Triple-A high seven runs on nine hits through six innings. His runs allowed came in spurts, as he let up three runs in the opening frame, two in the third, and another two in the sixth. He struck out four and walked one. Elias had been dealt just one loss over his previous 13 appearances. The 28-year-old, who has had three major league outings this season, now is 9-5 with a 3.98 ERA in the minors.

— Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with his 17th double of the season. He is 5-for-19 in his six games since returning to Pawtucket from Boston. Brentz, 27, is slashing .261/.312/.414 in 53 games with the PawSox.

— Jose Vinicio also collected two hits for his third multi-hit performance in nine games. The 23-year-old infielder is batting .258/.284/.324 with seven stolen bases in 65 games.

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Read More: Austin Glorius, bryce brentz, Chris Madera, daniel mcgrath

Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I would bet’ on Red Sox being in playoffs

08.24.16 at 12:12 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ playoff chances, Clay Buchholz’s resurgence, John Farrell’s job security and more. To hear the full conversation, go to to the D&C audio on demand page.

Through nine games of the Red Sox’ 11-game road trip, the Sox have posted a 7-2 record, which is something Schilling said is a good omen.

“I think by the end of this month you are going to know if they are in the playoffs,” he said. “I thought that this road trip, the amount of travel that they were going to have to do, the pitching had to be the thing carrying them and for the most part that is exactly what has happened. They are playing a good stretch of games on a nightmarish stretch of schedule. I like their chances, very much like their chances. If I was betting today, I would bet on them being in, but my issue gets back to you are going to play that Monday play-in game. Are you battling up to the last day of the season to get in, and if so, who is pitching that game for you? Listen, we are 5 1/2 weeks away, so anybody right now could get hot and you could say that is who I am giving the ball to, but who are you giving the ball to win that one game?

Buchholz pitched in his third spot start on Tuesday night and picked up his first win in almost a month after going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over the Rays.

“The reason I think it feels like such a huge relief or a huge bump is he went into these last two starts, no one was expecting anything, right?” Schilling said of Buchholz. “We talk about seven innings and one run against Tampa as if he threw a no-no. … What happens in the postseason? How is that going to play itself out in the postseason? Is he going to be one of your three or four guys?”

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, John Farrell,

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Matt Andriese

08.24.16 at 8:31 am ET
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The steady Rick Porcello will take the mound for the Red Sox on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series with the Rays, who will send out right-hander Matt Andriese.

Porcello leads the American League with 17 wins, accompanied by a 3.22 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He has pitched at least seven innings in his last five starts, his most recent coming in a 10-2 win over Detroit on Friday. The 27-year-old right-hander held the Tigers to one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking just two.

“It was weird being on the other side,” said Porcello, who was a Tiger for six seasons. “But it helped a lot that I pitched against them last year [in Boston] and that we came here last year. Today didn’t feel quite as strange, so I was able to settle in and enjoy it.”

In 14 career starts against the Rays, Porcello is 8-4 with a 2.85 ERA. His last game vs. Tampa came on July 9 of this season, when he held the Rays to one run on six hits in seven innings in a 4-1 Red Sox victory.

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Read More: Matt Andriese, rick porcello,
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