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Closing Time: David Ortiz ignites Red Sox with two home runs to lead comeback win over Astros

08.16.14 at 11:01 pm ET
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David Ortiz homered twice (the 400th and 401st homers of his Red Sox career) and drove in six runs on Saturday. (Getty Images)

David Ortiz homered twice (the 400th and 401st homers of his Red Sox career) and drove in six runs on Saturday. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox were in need of a spark, and David Ortiz gave them just that.

The lefty slugger hit a pair of two-run home runs, including one in the fifth that started a four-run rally, and a two-run double in the eighth to lift the Sox to a 10-7 comeback win over the Astros Saturday night at Fenway Park.

Ortiz went 3-for-5 for the game with a career-high six RBIs, the fifth time he’s achieved that single-game feat in his career.

The homers were Ortiz’s 400th and 401st in a Red Sox uniform, making him just the third player in club history to reach that mark behind Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, who had 521 and 452, respectively. Saturday marked his fourth multi-home run game of the season and 45th of his career.

While the blast on an 0-2 changeup in the bottom of the third was the milestone, the second one proved to be most important.

A poor outing from starter Rubby De La Rosa left the Sox in a 6-3 hole entering the fifth. But Ortiz ignited a rally with a homer just inside the right-field foul pole to cut the deficit to one.

The Sox had luck on their side in the inning as well. Yoenis Cespedes reached second one batter later after Houston first baseman Jon Singleton dropped an easy pop fly on the infield grass. Cespedes stole third and scored on an RBI single by Daniel Nava to tie the game. Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left.

The Red Sox improved to 56-66 with the win.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
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David Ortiz launches 400th (and 401st) homer of Red Sox career

08.16.14 at 9:22 pm ET
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David Ortiz jumped on an 0-2 hanging changeup from Astros starter Brad Peacock in the bottom of the third inning of Saturday’s game, sending a cloud-scraper just over the wall in straightaway center field for the 27th homer of the 2014 season and the 400th of his Red Sox career. Ortiz is the third player ever to reach that landmark with the Sox, joining Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452).

Here is the milestone blast.

Evidently unsatisfied with reaching 400 homers with the Sox, Ortiz launched his 401st homer in the bottom of the fifth against Peacock, fouling off a pair of 2-2 fastballs away before smoking a poorly located slider over the right field fence. He is currently on pace for 37 homers, which would be his highest total since he mashed a Red Sox-record 54 in 2006.

Since he joined the Red Sox in 2003, Ortiz ranks third in the majors with those 401 homers, behind only Albert Pujols (443) and Adam Dunn (414).

Red Sox pregame notes: Allen Craig to start rehab assignment in Pawtucket Monday; David Ross to be activated early next week

08.16.14 at 5:39 pm ET
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It’s been over two weeks since Allen Craig made his Red Sox debut. But at this point, it’s easy to forget just how long he’s been in Boston.

That’s about to change very soon.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday the outfielder will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and both sides are eyeing a three-day trip with the minor league club before making his return.

“We’ve mapped out probably three days, but to say that all of those are going to be needed is to be determined,” Farrell said. “He’s in agreement that there needs to be some at-bats had. Whether that’s four, whether that’s eight, we’ll cross that as we get through it.”

Craig, who the Red Sox acquired from the Cardinals at the July 31 trade deadline with Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey, injured his ankle during the final at-bat of his Aug. 1 Red Sox debut. He was placed on the disabled list four days later.

– Another player close to his return is catcher David Ross.

Ross, who has been out since Aug. 2 with a plantar fascia tear, will be activated either Monday or Tuesday, according to Farrell, and will not require a rehab stint. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, David Ross,

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia back in despite early exit on Friday

08.16.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday night for the third game of their four-game series against the Astros despite leaving Friday’s game early after fouling a ball off his right foot in the third inning.

The second baseman left in the bottom of the eighth after running out a ground ball. Manager John Farrell said after the game that they would decide whether or not to play him Saturday.

Brock Holt will man third base, giving Will Middlebrooks the day off. Daniel Nava will play in right field.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt, 3B

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Mike Napoli, 1B

Daniel Nava, RF

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Christian Vazquez, C

Rubby De La Rosa, SP

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Deven Marrero’s slump deepens; Eduardo Rodriguez dominates; Trey Ball shelled; Kevin McAvoy, groundball machine

08.16.14 at 3:08 pm ET
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For the first time this year, Henry Owens has allowed four runs in back-to-back starts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

For the first time this year, Henry Owens has allowed four runs in back-to-back starts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-1 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)

(BOX)

– While Deven Marrero could well end up emerging long term as the Red Sox shortstop, any idea that such a turn of events is imminent overlooks his offensive struggles in Pawtucket. Marrero went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts on Friday. He’s 0-for-13 with five punchouts in his last four games, and in 17 games since July 27, he’s hitting .131/.182/.230, with both his average and OBP the lowest in the International League during that time. The slump has dropped his Triple-A line to .235/.281/.324, a far cry from the .291/.371/.433 line he posted in Portland prior to his promotion.

It’s worth recalling that, a year ago, Marrero struggled after his mid-year promotion to Double-A, hitting .236/.321/.236 in 19 games. By the time he returned to Portland for the start of this year, he was ready to hold his own as a hitter. (His defense is considered a given, as he’s already an above-average big league defensive shortstop.) So, he’ll have to prove himself in similar fashion next year in Pawtucket to open the year. If he can do that, then depending on the Sox’ needs, Marrero could position himself for a midyear call-up. But for an organization that endured lineup vulnerability thanks in part to the struggles of players who were at a very early stage of their transitions to the big leagues, the idea of being patient with Marrero in Triple-A has obvious logic.

– Left-hander Henry Owens allowed four runs on six hits in six innings. It marked the first time all season that the 22-year-old has allowed three or more runs in back-to-back outings (he also permitted four in his previous start on Aug. 10). Though he permitted some hard contact in the form of a pair of homers, Owens did attack the strike zone in noteworthy fashion, throwing 60 of 84 pitches (71 percent) for strikes, getting 12 swings and misses, punching out seven and walking none. In three starts spanning 17 2/3 innings, Owens now has a 4.08 ERA with 21 punchouts and just five walks. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, henry owens, keury de la cruz, kevin mcavoy

Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Brad Peacock

08.16.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox play the third game of their four-game series against the Astros on Saturday night when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Brad Peacock.

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.21 ERA) is on a streak of three straight quality starts after an exceptional performance against the Angels last Sunday. The right-hander pitched into the eighth inning the day after the Sox exhausted their bullpen in a 19-inning marathon, and remained strong deep into the game. De La Rosa’s only run allowed came on a leadoff home run by Mike Trout that ended his outing. He scattered five hits, walked three and struck out eight for the win.

“We needed Rubby to go deep, and he did,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “He pitched with a lot of poise. He threw three pitches for strikes.” 

After getting torched for seven runs over four innings in Toronto on July 24, De La Rosa appears to have turned the corner, allowing five runs in his last 19 innings. Most importantly, he’s finally shown he can pitch away from Fenway, posting a 1.38 ERA in his last two starts on the road.

De La Rosa should enjoy being back at home, however. The 25-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five starts at Fenway this season. He hasn’t faced the Astros since a scoreless inning of relief in Houston last season in which he struck out two. De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three appearances (one start) against the Astros, with the first two appearances coming in 2011.

After giving up 15 combined runs in consecutive starts, Peacock (3-8, 5.25 ERA) bounced back nicely in his start against the Twins on Monday. The righty gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits over five innings in a no-decision. He walked one and struck out five.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Peacock, rubby de la rosa,

Defensive miscues cost Red Sox in frustrating loss

08.16.14 at 2:59 am ET
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It seemed as if everything was in place for a Red Sox victory Friday night.

Clay Buchholz gave his team a chance to win, holding the Astros to just two earned runs over seven innings of work, while Brock Holt‘€™s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave Boston a late 3-2 lead.

However, both the lead and the game quickly changed course in the top of the eighth, all due to a head-scratching and bizarre series of defensive mistakes.

With runners on first and second for Houston with two outs, Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez hit a liner that jumped up in front of Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, looking to end the inning, attempted to get the out at second, but Dexter Fowler beat the force out.

Dustin Pedroia then immediately threw to home in an attempt to nab Gregorio Petit, who was attempting to score on the play. Christian Vazquez caught the ball and attempted to tag out Petit in a rundown, but took an odd angle that allowed Petit to avoid the tag and sneak past the Sox catcher on the basepaths.

“It’€™s a tough play. … [Pedroia] threw the ball to home plate and I was running to the runner to do a rundown and he came on the other side,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez then flipped the ball to reliever Burke Bandenhop at home, who fumbled the throw, allowing Petit to score and tie the game at 3 runs apiece.

“A strange play with two outs,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “Fowler, at first base, does a good job of getting to second base in short order, but Dominguez hits a little bit of a humpback liner that Xander’€™s got to lay back on, and if the anticipation might have been where the speed of Fowler doesn’€™t give him a shot at the feed at second base, then does he possibly take the throw across the infield to get Dominguez, who is probably a little bit of a below-average runner.”

“But then I think [Pedroia] makes a heads-up play, even after the safe sign is called, and Christian’€™s aggressiveness to run him back to third base, his momentum takes him inside the third-base line and gives Petit enough room to elude a tag, and unfortunately that’€™s a tie ballgame in that spot.”

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Read More: Astros, christian vazquez, Red Sox, xander bogaerts
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