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Meet Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox’ latest speed demon

08.03.11 at 1:05 am ET
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Before Tuesday night, the only occasion Jarrod Saltalamacchia was able to call himself a major league pinch-runner was on June 20, 2008, when the catcher subbed in for an injured Gerald Laird in the fourth inning of what turned into a 14-inning loss for the Rangers against the Nationals.

His second go-round was a bit more dramatic.

The end result of Saltalamacchia’€™s pinch-running foray in the Red Sox‘€™ 3-2 win over the Indians was the catcher diving head-first toward home plate, just beating the tag from Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana.

The race home from second base allowed for Jacoby Ellsbury‘€™s first career walk-off hit ‘€“ a single to center — and allowed for Saltalmacchia to remind some of his running prowess.

‘€œObviously I was checking the outfield, seeing what depth they were at and they were basically playing normal depth so I knew on a line-drive I had to make it got through but at the same I’ve got to get going and score,’€ he said. ‘€œ[Third base coach Tim Bogar] obviously never held me up and just kept going, and, like I said, my speed just took over.”

Asked if this was his first pinch-running opportunity, Saltalamacchia forgot about that fateful day three years before. ‘€œThat would be a first, I think. Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of work in the weight room running. I think they saw my speed during BP and stuff. I had two triples, what do you say? I was catching up to Jose Reyes for a little bit, but then kind of slowed down.’€

The reason Saltalmacchia got another chance to pinch-run was because of a leadoff single in the ninth by Jason Varitek, who was promptly taken out by Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Saltalmacchia moved to second on a bloop single from Josh Reddick, setting the stage for Ellsbury’€™s heroics.

‘€œSalty runs well,’€ Varitek said. ‘€œHe runs real well for a big man.’€

When asked about challenging the likes of Carl Crawford or Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia simply responded, ‘€œAll I know is I have the same amount of triples as them.’€

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Closing Time: Jacoby Ellsbury’s walk-off single paces Red Sox past Indians

08.02.11 at 11:56 pm ET
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With one out in the ninth inning, a Jacoby Ellsbury single plated pinch-runner Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the game-winning run, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the Indians Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Saltamacchia had entered the game for Jason Varitek, who singled to lead off the frame.

The hit, which resulted with a close play at the plate and was the sixth walk-off hit of the season for the Sox, punctuated a fine pitching performance by Josh Beckett, Franklin Morales and Jonathan Papelbon. The trio didn’t walk a single batter while not giving up a run after the fourth inning.

Here is what went right in the win …

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Beckett turned in another solid outing. The Sox starter threw 60 of his 85 pitches for strikes, striking out seven and not walking a batter over his six innings. Beckett’s ERA stands at 2.20 after having surrendered just two solo home runs. It was the 15th time in the righty’s 21 starts he has allowed two or less runs.

- Kevin Youkilis blasted his 16th homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth inning that tied the game at 2-2. It was the first batter to face Cleveland lefty reliever Rafael Perez. The match-up was advantageous for Youkilis, who came into the game hitting .327 against left-handers.

- With his first-inning double, Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak 12 games, his longest stretch of the season. Entering the game, the first baseman was hitting .511 with three doubles, a homer, 12 RBI, and 10 runs over the hit streak.

- Dustin Pedroia extended his Fenway Park hit streak to 24 games, dating back to June 4, thanks to a fifth-inning single to right field. It marks the third-longest home hitting streak by a Red Sox since 1919, with the longest going to Nomar Garciaparra’s stretch in 2003. He would later rifle another single into right to leadoff the eighth inning.

- Reliever Jonathan Papelbon exhibited excellent stuff in pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning. It was his seventh straight scoreless inning, having entered the outing with a 2.04 over his last 19 appearances.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- Beckett suffered yet another no-decision, having to leave with the score tied at 2-2. The righty’s miscues this time came in the form of a pair of solo home runs, the first by Jason Kipnis in the first frame, and the second coming in the fourth off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall. It was the third straight game — and fourth in the last five — the righty has allowed at least one homer after having gone seven straight games earlier in the season with offering up a home run.

- Despite his success against the Indians this season — hitting a team-best .370 — Carl Crawford had a rough night. The left fielder went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Indians starter David Huff. It continued Crawford’s struggles against lefties, who had held the outfielder to a .144 average entering Tuesday night. Crawford would struggle against another lefty with the potential go-ahead run at second in the eighth, popping out to right field vs. reliever Tony Sipp. The Indians had walked David Ortiz to get to Crawford, leading into the at-bat.

- Youkilis was ejected in the eighth inning after arguing a check-swing call by first umpire Jerry Davis, which resulted in a strikeout with the potential go-ahead run at second.

Erik Bedard starts his new life as a Red Sox

08.02.11 at 9:05 pm ET
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Erik Bedard introduced himself to his new teammates, put on his new uniform, and met a new collection of media members.

All that is left is what counts the most ‘€“ pitching for his new team.

‘€œWell, this is a great opportunity, when I jumped from last-place to first-place in a heartbeat,’€ Bedard said prior to the Red Sox‘€™ Tuesday night game against the Indians. ‘€œIt’€™s fun. I’€™m just going to come here and do the best I can. Try to win ballgames and help this team win.’€

Bedard and Red Sox manager Terry Francona both said that the goal is to build up arm strength, with the lefty scheduled to throw between 75-80 pitches in his start Thursday night.

Friday night, Bedard pitched for the first time since June 27 due to a left knee injury, throwing 57 pitches in his 1 1/3-inning outing.

Prior to the stint on the disabled list Bedard totaled a 4-2 record with a 1.77 ERA in his previous 11 starts.

‘€œRight now, I feel good,’€ he said. ‘€œRight now, I really don’€™t have any concerns.’€

As for adjusting to his new environment ‘€“ which includes the place he calls his favorite ballpark, Fenway Park ‘€“ Bedard simply said all that matters is what he delivers on the pitching rubber.

‘€œI mean, when you’€™re on the mound, you just do what you can,’€ he said. ‘€œAdjustments, I mean, I don’€™t think you have to change what you do day in and day out. You just go out there and do the same thing and try to help the team win.

As for the importance of entering a pennant race for the first time in his career, Bedard said, “‘€œIt means the world. You play this game to be in a playoff and be in a world series and win a world series. It’€™s a great opportunity and I’€™ll do the best I can.’€

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John Kruk on M&M: Playing in Boston should bring Erik Bedard to another level

08.02.11 at 3:27 pm ET
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ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday afternoon to discuss the winners and losers of the trade deadline and determine which team has the upper hand in the home stretch of the regular season. To hear the full conversation, check out the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Red Sox made a last-second deal for starting pitcher Erik Bedard on July 31, hoping to fill the void left by Clay Buchholz‘ season-ending stress fracture. While more than a few critics have questioned Bedard’s ability to perform on a stage like Fenway Park (he’s 2-3 with a 6.99 lifetime ERA in Boston), Kruk endorsed the trade, and said Bedard should relish the chance to play for a contender.

“Maybe [playing in Boston] is what he needs,” Kruk said. “He’s never had to do it. Maybe this is what he needs. Maybe this is something that will get him going. Look, if you can’t go to Boston and get up to play games, if you can’t go to New York and get up to play games, knowing you’re going to have a chance every night to win … You have to remember the situations he’s been in. Awful. Baltimore, awful. Seattle, awful. He has a chance now to be on a team where if anyone has any sort of heart or any sort of determination at all, he dials it up a notch knowing he has a chance to get a ring and pitch in the World Series. If anyone can’t do that, they shouldn’t play.

“I think with Buchholz possibly being out for the season, they had to have an arm and [Bedard] wasn’t pitching bad for Seattle,” he added. “I know it’s not a great hitters division and Seattle is a pretty good place to pitch, bigger ballpark, but I still like the move. I understand his numbers at Fenway aren’t great. They’re awful. But he’s not pitching against [the Red Sox], he’s pitching against the opponent. So that’s a good thing for him too. Sometimes these under-the-radar-type deals where you don’t give up a whole lot, you take a shot and see what happens. He might come in and be a dominant pitcher like he was a few years ago.”

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Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Erik Bedard, John Kruk, Mike Adams

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Indians Matchups: Josh Beckett vs. David Huff

08.02.11 at 6:17 am ET
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The Red Sox will play host to the Indians Tuesday night at Fenway Park in the second game of a four-game series. All-Star Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17) will take to the hill for the Sox and will be opposed by left-hander David Huff (1-1, 0.71).

Beckett is coming off of his first loss since June 28. He went seven innings, and gave up four runs (three earned) in the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Royals last Thursday. The right-hander pitched well overall but had one bad inning which proved costly. He gave up four runs in the fourth inning.

He has made two starts against the Indians this season. The first was his season debut when he went five innings and gave up three runs in a 3-1 loss on April 5. The second came on May 24 and he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up one run in the Red Sox’ 4-2 win.

Beckett has struggled against the Indians over the course of his career. In nine starts he is 4-5 with a 5.04 ERA. He has also had some pitching issues in the month of August. It has been the worst month of his career, with a 4.63 ERA.

Tuesday will be Huff’s third start of the season. He made his season debut in the majors on July 18 and pitched seven shutout innings in the Indians’ 5-2 win over the Twins. In his last outing on July 27 he pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) in the Indians’ 3-1 loss to the Angels.

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Read More: David Huff, Josh Beckett, marco scutaro,

Local stars wearing throwback uniforms gather to raise money for charity

08.02.11 at 6:16 am ET
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The 18th annual Oldtime Baseball Game founded by Steve Buckley gives the chance for local college, high school and even former professional baseball players a chance to play a game in old fashioned uniforms as well as raise money for a local charity.

This year’€™s game is being played as a benefit for the C2 Mission, which was created to benefit children families affected by Cerebral Palsy and Cystic Fibrosis.

“The game started sort of by accident in 1994 and we’re all very proud of it because it’s a community event where people come together and celebrate baseball,” Buckley said at the game’s media day on Monday. “I used to always hear stories that back in the 30′s a thousand people would show up for the local mill team and local semi-pro team. When I was a kid I remember people would come up to me and say I remember when a thousand people would show up and see so and so. To replicate that we get players in old style uniforms, get 1,500 people to show up at this little ball park.

“The players really get into it, and the kids by next week will get on the internet and look up the uniforms. The uniforms have two kinds of history. It’s the uniforms themselves and then it’s who has worn this uniform over the years. That’s something we’re really proud of.”

Some of the uniforms that will be worn in the game are 1938 Boston Red Sox, No. 3 Jimmie Foxx, 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, No. 32 Sandy Koufax, 1964 Boston Red Sox, No. 17 Dick Radatz, 1952 Boston Braves, No. 19 Joe Morgan, 1942 Boston Red Sox, No. 6 Johnny Pesky and 1939 Boston Red Sox, No. 9 Ted Williams.

One player who has a unique story behind his uniform is Alex Lee, who resides in Auburndale, MA, but played college ball for Wofford College in South Carolina.

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Read More: Carlos Pena, Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd, Jim Corsi, Steve Buckley

Daniel Bard regrets shaking off Salty and watching his streak come to an end

08.02.11 at 12:21 am ET
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Daniel Bard hasn’t gotten this far in his big league career and had the success he’s had without paying attention to the little details.

That’s why Monday’s game might stick in his craw just a little longer than normal.

He threw a pitch – that in hindsight – he had no reason to throw since recent history dictated that you don’t sneak a slider down and in on Asdrubal Cabrera.

And the last thing Bard wanted was to have his career-best 26 1/3 scoreless innings streak end and have it end costing the Red Sox a game. But that’s what happened Monday night when he gave up a two-run homer to Cabrera in the eighth inning, leading the Indians to a 9-6 win over the Red Sox at Fenway.

Ironically, it was Cabrera who last got to Bard for an RBI hit when he doubled off the Sox reliever on May 23 with two outs to help the Indians to a 3-2 win in Cleveland. Between that May 23 appearance and Monday night, when he shook off Jarrod Saltalamacchia and went to a slider to Cabrera, Bard had gone 25 straight outings without allowing a run.

The second Cabrera homer of the night came on a 1-2 pitch, a slider that Bard was trying to sneak past Cabrera. Instead, it was blasted like a rocket to right, caroming off a fan’s left knee and flying back out to right fielder Josh Reddick. After ruling it initially a single, the umpires went back in and looked more closely. Verdict: Ball struck the fan sitting down clearly on the other side of the fence and in fair territory.

‘€œApparently, hit a lady in the knee,” Bard said after seeing the stitches from the ball leave a mark in the woman’s left knee. “From my perspective it looked like it stayed in the park but it looks like they got it right. The pitch to Cabrera I thought was a pretty good pitch and I didn’€™t realize Lackey had thrown him quite of few of those same sliders down and in. I think he was probably sitting on that one. So I probably should’€™ve stayed hard with him there. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Asdrubal Cabrera, bob stanley, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians
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