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Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Luis Cessa

09.16.16 at 8:05 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox will dispatch Clay Buchholz to face rookie right-hander Luis Cessa on Friday night in the second game of the Red Sox-Yankees four-game series.

Buchholz is 7-10 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.396 WHIP in 34 games (18 starts). His last time out against the Blue Jays on Sunday was unimpressive. In only three innings of work he gave up six runs, four hits (two home runs) and four walks with three strikeouts in an 11-8 Sox win.

Against the Yankees, the right-hander is 5-9 with a 6.19 ERA and a 1.647 WHIP in 18 games (17 starts). Buchholz last saw the Yankees on Aug. 10. In that appearance, he replaced starter Drew Pomeranz in the sixth inning and went on to get Starlin Castro to ground into an inning-ending double play. His last start against the Pinstripes came in July of last season, when he went 3 1/3 innings before having to leave the game with an elbow injury. Before departing, he allowed three runs (one earned), six hits and no walks with three strikeouts.

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David Ortiz: ‘I’m not really focused on personal numbers, I’m focused on winning’

09.16.16 at 12:42 am ET
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David Ortiz passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list on Thursday. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list on Thursday. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Prior to the Red Sox’ ninth inning comeback win over the Yankees, David Ortiz reached yet another milestone.

With his solo home run in the eighth inning, he surpassed Mickey Mantle for 17th on the all-time home run list, as he now has 537.

After the game, the slugger was asked what it was like to pass a legend like Mantle, but Ortiz said all he cares about is winning.

“I’m not really focused on personal numbers, I’m focused on winning,” Ortiz said. “We need to win right now. We need to do whatever it takes to win. The race right now is very close. Look at the standings, every one matters right now. It’s great to be part of the history, but right now I’m focused on winning.”

Thursday was one of the biggest wins of the year for the Red Sox as they scored five runs in the ninth inning against Yankees closer Dellin Betances to stun the Yankees 7-5, as Hanley Ramirez hit a two-out, walk-off three-run homer to dead-center field.

“Man, this game pretty much was on their side and it’s huge,” Ortiz said. “Hanley is a guy that — he has been doing some unbelievable things with the year he’s happening. You can’t ask for much more than that. He’s coming in every day to do something to make things happen. That’s how it is.”

With Ortiz starting the ninth inning rally with a two-out single for the third run, it was a similar feeling to the magic of 2004 when Ortiz had several clutch hits in the postseason.

“Our games against the Yankees are unbelievable games,” Ortiz said. “Coming from behind against a guy like Betances is huge. Betances is super nasty. He has some of the best stuff in the game. It’s big. It’s pretty big.”

The Red Sox now have a two-game lead in the AL East over the Orioles and a five-game lead over the Yankees with the Blue Jays sandwiched in the middle.

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Hanley Ramirez on walk-off home run: ‘I was trying to go to the moon’

09.16.16 at 12:32 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run walk-off home run Thursday night against the Yankees. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run walk-off home run Thursday night against the Yankees. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Red Sox trailing 5-4 with two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate against Yankees closer Dellin Betances.

After a bad swing-and-miss, Ramirez worked the count to 3-1 and got a fastball he could drive.

Ramirez didn’t miss it, crushing a three-run homer to dead-center to give the Red Sox a 7-5, walk-off win. The Sox entered the ninth inning trailing 5-2.

“I was trying to go to the moon,” Ramirez said. “That’s why I was sitting on a fastball the whole time. … Just stay back and let it rip.”

It was the Red Sox’ third walk-off win of the season and was the first walk-off homer by a member of the Red Sox since Mike Napoli on May 18, 2014.

“That’s unbelievable. I’ve been saying it the whole year. We don’t give up,” Ramirez said. “We play 27 outs. And everybody just going out there and give everything we got every day. We play as a team, we win as a team and we lose a team.”

Ramirez has been swinging a hot bat of late as he has five home runs in his last eight games and eight in his last 15. Since July 23, he has five, two-out, go-ahead home runs at Fenway Park. Since 1974, no player has had more two-out, go-ahead home runs with multiple runners on base at his home ballpark.

“The whole team. In September, we’ve been playing good baseball as a team,” Ramirez said. “That’s why we are who we are right now. Not just me, everybody. The pitching, bullpen, offense, defense. We just have to keep going.”

The entire team flew out of the dugout before mobbing Ramirez at home plate after the hit. He said it was the most fun he’s had on a baseball field since the Dominican Republic won the World Baseball Classic in 2013.

With the win, the Red Sox now have a two-game lead in the American League East over the Orioles, who lost earlier in the night. While it was a satisfying win, Ramirez won’t be completely satisfied unless the Red Sox win the World Series.

“You know me, I’m not satisfied,” Ramirez said. “We haven’t got the job done yet. We have to keep going and I’ll be talking to you after November. And then I’ll answer the question.”

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Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez hits walk-off 3-run homer as Red Sox stun Yankees

09.15.16 at 11:06 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez hit his sixth career walk-off home run as the Red Sox stunned the Yankees. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Hanley Ramirez hit his sixth career walk-off home run as the Red Sox stunned the Yankees. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

While Sunday’s back-and-forth battle with the Blue Jays was deemed the biggest win of the season, Thursday night might have topped it.

With the Red Sox trailing 5-2 entering the ninth inning, they scored five runs to stun the Yankees, 7-5.

With two outs and two on, Hanley Ramirez crushed a three-run homer to dead-center field off closer Dellin Betances to give the Red Sox a walk-off win.

The Yankees used two different pitchers — Tommy Layne and Blake Parker — before Betances entered the game with a runner on first and one out. David Ortiz got the rally started with a two-out RBI bloop single and then Mookie Betts singled home Xander Bogaerts to make it a 5-4 game.

A wild pitch set up second and third with two outs and Ramirez’s heroics came on a 3-1 count.

“I was trying to go to the moon,” Ramirez said. “That’s why I was sitting on a fastball the whole time. … Just stay back and let it rip.”

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struggled as he allowed two runs in the first and then two more in the third before being lifted from the game. The left-hander departed after just 2 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk or strike out a batter. The 23-year-old didn’t have much command as most of his pitches were left over the plate and the Yankees bats took full advantage.

It was the third time in the last five games where the Red Sox starter has failed to make it out of the third inning.

“This turn through, it’s been less than,” manager John Farrell said. “We went a long stretch where our rotation has been very steady, very consistent and while the three guys have scuffled this last turn through, our bullpen has stepped up and just been dynamic. Tonight was a big lift. Each guy that came to the mound, they did their job, kept the game under control and fortunately we scored enough late to overcome it.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez, hanley ramirez,

Padres GM A.J. Preller suspended 30 games after MLB investigation into trade of Drew Pomeranz to Red Sox

09.15.16 at 5:32 pm ET
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Padres GM A.J. Preller was suspended 30 days for withholding medical information in the Drew Pomeranz trade. (Jake Roth-USA Today Sports)

Padres GM A.J. Preller was suspended 30 days for withholding medical information in the Drew Pomeranz trade. (Jake Roth-USA Today Sports)

On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been suspended 30 games without pay following an investigation into the July 14th trade in which Drew Pomeranz was traded from the Padres to the Red Sox for pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Padres instructed their organization’s athletic trainers to maintain two distinct files of medical information on their players — one for industry consumption and the other for the team’s internal use. Trainers were told in meetings during spring training that the distinction was meant to better position the team for trades.

This is Preller’s second suspension. He was also suspended for violations while running the Rangers’ international operations, reportedly for negotiating with a suspended player in 2009.

Here’s the league’s full statement:

Major League Baseball has completed an investigation into the July 14th transaction in which pitcher Drew Pomeranz was traded from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox. MLB’s Department of Investigations conducted the thorough review, which included interviews with relevant individuals from both Clubs. The findings were submitted to Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

As a result of this matter, Major League Baseball announced today that A.J. Preller, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Padres, has received a 30-day suspension without pay.

MLB considers the matter closed and will have no further comment.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: A.J. Preller suspended, Drew Pomeranz, Padres, Red Sox

Red Sox notes: David Ortiz expected to play in every game rest of season

09.15.16 at 5:17 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Given his age and the long season, David Ortiz has needed a few down days along the way this year. Going into Thursday, the designated hitter has missed 11 games in total this year, but hasn’t started in a few more to later come in as a pinch-hitter.

Ortiz didn’t play (he pinch-hit once) in any of the three games in San Diego last week and it appears like that will be enough to make him available for the remaining 16 games of the season after Thursday.

“I’m sure there’s been some benefit to it,” manager John Farrell of the three games plus an off-day last week. “Any time this time of year a player regardless of who you are gets a little bit of a breather, it helps. I think there was some at-bats up in Toronto where he worked to get his timing back a little bit more sharp and consistent. Hopefully that set him up to be available every game remaining. No one wants to be out there daily more than David. We’ll take a step back if needed, but right now there is nothing to suggest he will need a day.”

Since the down time, Ortiz is hitting .240, but like Farrell said, it has taken some time to get his timing back. Farrell said Ortiz is feeling pretty good at the moment, but he will continue to check on him daily like they have all year.

“I think he feels — I can’t say as good as he has at any point in the season — but we had 23 games remaining after the Padres series,” Farrell said. “We do have a day off scheduled, [Sept. 26] in New York. I think that if the turnaround time of a given day — we have a couple of Sunday night games coming up that are going to present a little bit of a challenge, but as we’ve done all year that will be daily communication and we’ll work through it as best we can.”


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Read More: Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Koji Uehara,

Red Sox lineup: Andrew Benintendi starting in LF in series opener vs. Yankees

09.15.16 at 3:40 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

After being activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, Andrew Benintendi is officially back with the Red Sox as he will start in left field in Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

The left fielder will bat ninth as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. As it stands now, the Yankees are four games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, while the Sox have a one-game lead over the Orioles and a two-game lead over the Blue Jays.

Travis Shaw will start at third base and Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Travis Shaw, 1B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Welcome to Red Sox’ latest most important game of season

09.15.16 at 11:30 am ET
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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka represents a fairly daunting obstacle for the Red Sox Thursday night. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka represents a fairly daunting obstacle for the Red Sox Thursday night. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

Dig in.

After Monday night, the playoff plans were percolating all throughout New England. You persevered against the Blue Jays, and now you were beating up on the other team nipping at the New Balances, the Orioles.

Now? It’s more talk of why the Red Sox can’t win close games, and the uneasiness that is about to hit 4 Yawkey Way courtesy the “We don’t give a @#&$, but you should” Yankees.

Every single time this pennant races suggests some certainty, along comes a day to keep the scales balanced. One week ago, the Red Sox were a game up in the American League East, with the third-place team two games out. Wake up Thursday, and you found the exact same scenario.

It has been, and continues to be, a pennant race aberration.

But there’s a very distinguishable reason for the inability of the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Tigers, Mariners or Yankees to fall too far forward, or too far back. They are all, in some way or form, flawed. And now it’s just a matter of which team can exploit those under-bellies.

Wednesday night, it was the Orioles turn to turn the Red Sox over on their shell and start wailing away.

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Masahiro Tanaka

09.15.16 at 9:07 am ET
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The Red Sox open a four-game series with the Yankees on Thursday night by sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound to face Masahiro Tanaka.

Rodriguez is 2-7 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.284 WHIP in 16 starts. On Saturday, the southpaw threw six innings, allowing three runs (two earned), four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

Against the Yankees, the 23-year-old Venezuelan is 4-1 in six starts with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.096 WHIP. Rodriguez has faced the Yankees twice this year. In July, he threw seven innings, allowing just one run, four hits and two walks with one strikeout in a 5-2 Sox win. On Aug. 11, he pitched seven innings, giving up one run, three hits and one walk with six strikeouts in a 4-2 loss.

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Steven Wright says he isn’t going to rush back this time around

09.14.16 at 10:46 pm ET
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Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright has a different plan this time.

Unlike the first time he attempted to return from his right shoulder ailment — when it was two starts and done — Wright is simply eyeing what is immediately right in front of him. Right now, that is a trip to Fort Myers Sunday or Monday. (Although he hopes to throw a bit before heading to Florida.)

“Obviously there are still some tests I have to do, but the last two or three days I’ve got a pretty good response,” said Wright after the Red Sox’ 1-0 loss to the Orioles Wednesday night. “I keep telling myself I’m going to throw tomorrow, even if I don’t throw tomorrow I just feel like I have to mentally prepare to throw so when I do my mind is already set on it.”

So, what does that mean in terms of coming back before the end of the regular season? That sort of thinking isn’t entering the equation for the knuckleballer.

“Honestly, ever since I started taking it day by day things have gotten better,” he said. “I keep telling myself to take it day by day because I want to make sure I’m not worrying about tomorrow because tomorrow is not going to come for me, especially already having a setback, unless I’m taking care of today. So I feel once we kind of have that plan set in stone, things have been going good so I’m just going to stay with that same mentality.”

With 18 games remaining in the regular season, it would seem like a long-shot for Wright to rejoin a starting rotation that has just a few more turns. It’s a race against time that the 32-year-old, who last pitched on Aug. 31, has come to grips with.

“It’s hard because we all have that competitive side where we want to get out there and pitch, but when you physically can’t go out there and give it your best it’s a little easier to sit with it. It sucks,” he said. “It’s part of the game sometimes. You get hurt and you get banged up to the point you can’t perform. You just have to be patient with it and trust your body is going to treat itself, and trust the medical staff. We’ve got a good medical staff. I’ve done a lot of good work with Paul. And things are looking really good so I’m going to just continue to work toward that goal. Even if I don’t come back this year I just want to make sure whenever the season is over for me that I’m physically ready to go into the offseason 100 percent to get ready for spring training.”

Wright currently is 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts, having notched four complete games.

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