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Hero Youkilis not concerned with who’s on mound

07.18.10 at 3:14 am ET
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Kevin Youkilis came up twice on Saturday in key situations during the Red Sox‘ 3-2 11-inning victory over the Rangers. First, in the bottom of the ninth with Marco Scutaro at third base and two down, and later in the bottom of the eleventh with Scutaro again occupying third. Both cases were against less-than-desirable opposing pitchers. The ninth inning featured Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee and the eleventh brought stellar reliever Darren O’Day. The team needed the runs in clutch situations, and with David Ortiz having been intentionally walked in the 11th, the usual suspect was unavailable to deliver. Still, the team had faith in their middle-of-the-order hitters.

“You want one of those guys up there with the bases loaded,” winning pitcher Manny Delcarmen said.

Youkilis came through each time, doubling in the ninth and hitting a sacrifice fly in the eleventh. Having had to face some difficult pitchers throughout the night, how did he find a way to capitalize?

“You’€™ve just got to stick to yourself,” Youkilis said. “You can’€™t try to go and do too much. I just went up there and tried to get a good pitch to hit, and I was fortunate to get one.”

Though Youkilis made solid contact the outfield in both situations, this victory was not one that came thanks to slugging. Marco Scutaro, the runner who scored in each case, had been advanced along via bunt each time.

“It’€™s great just to have guys go out there and play the small ball. You don’€™t have to hit home runs to win ball games,” Youkili said. “That shows tonight. That’€™s one of the things I said in the duguout in extra innings. ‘€˜We don’€™t need a home run. Just get on base and get hits and good things will happen,’ and they did, so for us, it’€™s good. Sometimes you can just see that where you play the small ball and you win a game.”

Lee kept the Red Sox’ bats completely silent from the second inning until the ninth inning. He gave up just two runs on the day, but because Red Sox starter John Lackey also stumped the Rangers and gave up just as many runs, Lee received a hard-luck no-decision. Despite the lack of scoring throughout the game, the Red Sox seemed to know what they were up against.

“We had good at-bats, we were hitting some balls hard, but he’€™s one of the best pitchers in the game for a reason,” Youkilis said. “You’€™ve just got to battle. There’€™s no time on the game, you’€™ve just got to go out there until the final out.”

So did coming back against a Cy Young winner (the Sox are actually now 7-1 against Cy Young winners on the season) make a difference to Youkilis? Not more than any other game.

“It was good to have it against a guy like Cliff, but I guess [it would be good against] anybody,” Youkilis said. “It doesn’€™t matter if it’€™s Cliff or a fifth starter on any other team or the ace on any other team. It’€™s the same approach we take every day.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis,

Closing Time: Red Sox 3, Rangers 2 (11 innings)

07.17.10 at 10:11 pm ET
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Call it hyperbole or simple overstatement if you will but this win, 3-2 in 11 crisply-played innings, over the Texas Rangers was the biggest of the 2010 season for the Red Sox.

Kevin Youkilis drove in the tying run with a two-out double to left off Texas ace Cliff Lee in the bottom of the ninth and then drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 11th with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Red Sox were on the brink of losing their first three games out of the All-Star break blocks before Youkilis came to the rescue.

While it would have been completely understandable, a loss would hurt the Red Sox far more than the two previous games when they were simply outplayed by the Rangers. And consider this: the Red Sox were 0-31 this season when trailing after eight innings and they trailed Saturday, 2-1, heading into the bottom of the ninth when Youkilis stepped to the plate as Boston’s last chance in the ninth.

They took a 1-0 lead in the first against Lee in the opening inning when Darnell McDonald doubled and scored on David Ortiz‘s single to right-center. Things really looked promising when Youkilis singled Ortiz to second. But Lee got Adrian Beltre to hit into a 4-6-3 double play and the threat was over.

And so were the Red Sox bats until Marco Scutaro led off the ninth with a single. Mike Cameron doubled in the bottom of the fifth to snap a streak of 11 straight retired by the Texas lefty.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Kevin Youkilis. On a night when the Red Sox had precious little success against Lee, Youkilis not only singled in the first inning, he doubled down the left field line with the pressure on in the bottom of the ninth to score Marco Scutaro from third and force extra innings. Youkilis drove home Scutaro with the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th with a sacrifice fly to center.

Youkilis became the first Red Sox player to drive in the tying run in the ninth and win it in extras since Ortiz accomplished the feat on Aug. 16, 2005 at Detroit.

John Lackey. The Red Sox right-hander threw 115 pitches on a hot, steamy night at Fenway. He allowed just seven hits and two runs to a red-hot Rangers offense. He walked two and struck out three on the night but most impressively, he got ahead of the batters all night and had his full assortment of pitches working, including a nasty curve that was generating lots of bad swings on the night.

Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen. With the Red Sox losing big late in their first two games, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon didn’t get the chance to get into a game in a meaningful situation. Such was not the case Saturday as Bard walked one but looked good in throwing a scoreless eighth. Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth and 10th to at least give the Sox a chance. And then Manny Delcarmen, in his first stint back with the big club, looked nasty with his curve and fastball, reaching 94 on a heater to Vlad.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Cliff Lee was the starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers. Lee showed exactly why the Rangers made the move of the trading season so far when they dealt Justin Smoak to Seattle on July 9. He needed just 83 pitches to get through eight innings and was one out from his second complete game in as many starts in a Rangers uniform. That would’ve makde him the first Ranger since Fergie Jenkins in 1974 to accomplish the feat. Jenkins threw nine straight complete games to start his Rangers career.

– Red Sox couldn’t support a solid effort by Lackey. The double play ball off the bat of Beltre to end the first inning was a killer, especially when they had the chance to remind Lee of last Saturday against Baltimore, when he was knocked around in a 6-1 loss to lowly Baltimore.

– Lackey couldn’t get the biggest outs of the night when he needed it. After getting Elvis Andrus and Michael Young quickly for the first two outs of the sixth, and protecting a 1-0 lead, Ian Kinsler singled and Vladimir Guerrero worked an unlikely walk. Josh Hamilton, who had been flinging his bat with regularity the last two nights, held on long enough to single to left-center, scoring Kinsler to tie it. When Cruz singled home Guerrero, it was 2-1 and there was the sense already – only in the sixth – the game was over. That is, before Scutaro and Youkilis had their say in the 9th.

Nelson Cruz was playing right field for Texas. He robbed pinch-hitter Ryan Shealy with a sliding grab to end the eighth and made a nice running grab of Mike Cameron’s drive to right-center in the 10th that would’ve cleared the short wall and was ticketed for the Red Sox bullpen.

Read More: Cliff Lee, john lackey, Kevin Youkilis, marco scutaro

Lowell: ‘I don’t fear’ retirement

07.17.10 at 6:42 pm ET
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Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell (hip) is inching closer and closer to a return from the disabled list. Manager Terry Francona said he would get a shot from Dr. Bryan Kelly on Monday, one that Lowell said is cortisone. After a rehab assignment beginning Thursday, he should be good to go, though even through the team’s injuries, he should once again struggle to find playing time.

“First, third, and DH are our healthy positions,” Lowell pointed out to reporters prior to Saturday’s game vs. the Rangers.

The Rangers have come up quite a bit in rumors regarding the third baseman, as a trade between the two clubs including Lowell and Rangers catcher Max Ramirez was squashed when Lowell’s right thumb soured the deal. Should Lowell be able to prove his health, he could potentially be a trade chip headed in any sort of direction as the trade deadline approaches. He’s done his best to drown such chatter out, but if he has found a new home and is getting playing time come the first (or later, given the potential of waivers) of August, Lowell doesn’t understand why it necessarily has to be viewed as a negative for either party.

‘€œI think there’€™s been rumors since the Winter Meetings of last year,” Lowell said. “If something happens, I don’€™t think that changes the way I feel about my teammates or the city or the fans. Those are all positives for me. I love Miami too. So, I don’€™t see why it changes, or it’€™s always a bad thing. I do know I enjoy playing baseball and I’€™m doing that less this year than I ever have. I don’€™t know. I’€™ve heard talks, but I’€™ve heard talks for eight months. I have no idea. I don’€™t know the situations other teams are in, whether it’€™s a need or what, I don’€™t really care to know either. I think you’€™ll drive yourself crazy trying to break down every team. I just want to be in a position where I can play.

“I don’€™t think I’€™m a (July) 31st guy,” Lowell added. “I’€™m going to clear waivers in two seconds. That’€™s not a fear for me. I don’€™t think I have a deadline of that. if anything, if I’€™m someone who might be considered along with other people, the other people might have deadlines, so it might screw up something for me. but me personally, I don’€™t think there’€™s an urgency for the 31st from another team’€™s standpoint. But it’€™s very low on my priority list to be honest with you.’€

Lowell is on pace to play in by far the least amount of games in a single season since his eight-game cup of coffee with the Yankees in 1998. In just 31 contests (91 plate appearances), he’s hitting .213 with a pair of homers and 12 RBI. Given the ups and, through little fault of his own, mostly downs this season, what does the future hold for Lowell? Will he get another shot in the offseason?

‘€œI don’€™t really know what I’€™m thinking,” Lowell said. “I’€™m thinking short term.”

In the time that Lowell has been able to spend away from the club (he was not with the Red Sox in Toronto last weekend), Lowell has used the opportunity to charge his batteries and get better. He said that he did ‘€œvery little” baseball activities but continued to heal. In his time away, the 13-year veteran got a sneak preview of what life after baseball might be like.

“I was rehabbing a lot,” Lowell said. “I rested a lot. But yeah, I went to the gym. I threw a couple of times. I didn’€™t hit. I didn’€™t really see a need to because I knew I’€™d probably go on a rehab assignment anyway and I’€™d have a chance. I think it was a great little mental break. I got to enjoy my family a lot. It maybe even gave me a glimpse of what retirement is all about. Honestly, that’€™s a chapter in my life I’€™m looking forward to. When that is, I don’€™t know. I don’€™t fear it.”

Read More: mike lowell,

Pre-game notes: Beckett could need ‘another one’

07.17.10 at 5:27 pm ET
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Prior to the Red Sox‘ matchup with the Rangers on Saturday, their roster experienced a type of shakeup it has likely grown accustomed to this season. Four names were shuffled around — Fernando Cabrera was designated for assignment after Friday’s game, followed by Saturday moves that consisted of the team optioning Felix Doubront to Pawtucket, recalling catcher Dusty Brown, and activating reliever Manny Delcarmen from the disabled list.

“I hope it will be really good,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Delcarmen’s return. “He’s a guy that, when he’s going good, has the ability to pitch multiple innings, get lefties, righties. That’s been missed a little bit the last couple weeks. Hopefully it will be a very valuable. Getting him back the way he can pitch is important, but it should really help.”

Josh Beckett will throw 85 pitches for Pawtucket on Saturday in what the team hopes will be his final rehab start before rejoining the Sox. Beckett and the Red Sox will then reevaluate things before determining whether he will be activated or will “need another one.”

As for Clay Buchholz (hamstring), who gave up two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings on Friday for Pawtucket, both the pitcher and Francona said the plan is for him to pitch for the Red Sox in Oakland on Wednesday. Buchholz said he felt fine in his rehab outing.

“(I) basically went in not wanting the velocity and everything to be there, and not notice that i was favoring anything. That’s what I went out there to do, and everything felt good. Like I said, (I) just left a couple of pitches in the middle that got hit and the release point was a little scattered, but other than that it went well.

“Everything felt good, pitches felt good coming out of my hand. Each pitch I threw, I threw a couple good ones, so the stuff is still there. I just wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong internally.

Regarding third baseman Mike Lowell, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a strained right hip, Francona said the veteran will head to New York on Monday to receive a shot from Dr. Bryan Kelly. Lowell will then return to Boston during the Oakland series before likely embarking on a rehab assignment on Thursday. Francona said the team has yet to sort out a schedule for Lowell, but that ideally he will play between four and six games before being ready for activation.

“We’ll get him going, play him in Pawtucket, hopefully enough ‘€¦ and space him out a little bit where he’s able to be real productive and feel real good about himself and get ready to play — not too much, but enough where he can do what he can do,” Francona said.

Francona added that Lowell will hopefully ease his way back with the Red Sox rotating between designated hitter, first base, and third base.

Jed Lowrie, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and a stolen base on Friday for Pawtucket, has impressed by all accounts, but Francona said setting a date for his return would be “premature.”

“He’s fighting through some of the longer games, which is good, he’s swinging the bat really well, he’s going to play second base tomorrow — that’s the one thing he really hasn’t done down there — but he’s really swinging the bat well. I think he’s starting to feel pretty good about himself,” Francona said.

Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) is also in high spirits, according to Francona. Though he has yet to reach the point of being able to take on-field batting proactive, the manager noted that “he’s throwing, he’s running, he’s doing everything he’s supposed to.”

Jeremy Hermida (ribs), in the midst of a Double-A rehab assignment, will DH Saturday after playing six innings of left field and going 2-for- Friday. He will then check in with the Red Sox on Sunday before beginning a stint with the PawSox to begin next week.

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett,

Sox prospect Head looks to grow as hitter

07.17.10 at 11:04 am ET
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Red Sox infield prospect Miles Head took his cuts during batting practice prior to the annual Futures Game at Fenway Park last Saturday, spraying line drives to left, right and center field. Since he was taken by the Sox in the 26th round of the 2009 draft, many in the organization have been impressed with what they have seen from the young first baseman.

Although he had originally signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Georgia, he chose a different path. Though the Sox took him late, they gave him a bonus more in line with a player taken with a third-rounder taken with one of the top 100 picks in the draft ($335,000 ‘€” an amount roughly in line with that recommended by Major League Baseball for the No. 99 pick of last year’s draft).

He made his pro debut late last year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, going just 3-for-29 (.103 average). Now with the Single-A Lowell Spinners, the 6-foot, 215-pound Head is realizing that life as a big league player is not all fun and games, but a lot of hard work.

“It’s really tough playing every single day. It’s a grind, but I love it,” he explained while preparing for the Spinners’ rain-shortened loss to the Jamestown Jammers, a Single-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, last weekend during the Futures at Fenway.

Head has impressed a lot of people within the Red Sox organization with his innate, raw power at the plate. In his senior year at Whitewater High School in Georgia, the right-handed masher hit .528 with 14 home runs, four grand slams and 48 RBI.

While it would seem to be a tough decision to skip out on a college education, Head was pretty sure of what he wanted to do with his life. Playing baseball for a living represented the obvious goal.

“I mean, professional baseball has always been my dream. Whatever it took to get to that level is what I was going to do,” he explained. “If it meant me having to go three years of college and then come here, then I would have done that. It’s whatever gets me here.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: lowell spinners, miles head, Red Sox,

Red Sox vs. Rangers matchups, 7/17

07.17.10 at 10:59 am ET
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With the Rangers outhitting and handing the Red Sox losses in the first two contests of a four-game series, John Lackey will look to stabilize the Texas lineup on Saturday while Cliff Lee will attempt to rebound from a disappointing first start with his new ballclub.

Lackey (9-5, 4.78 ERA) had a relatively disappointing first half but managed to still win nine games. He’€™s suffered back-to-back losses and is coming off one of his worst outings of the year just before the All-Star break. On July 10 against the Blue Jays, Lackey walked a season-high six batters and allowed seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings.

For his career, Lackey has started 32 games against the Rangers and has had his struggles. He has an 11-12 record and a 5.87 ERA with Texas batters hitting .288 against him. In his last start vs. the Rangers last season on Oct. 1, Lackey tossed only two innings and allowed two runs for a no decision. Michael Young has the most experience against Lackey on the Texas roster, facing him in 89 career plate appearances and hitting .373 with two home runs and 15 RBIs.

Lee (8-4, 2.64 ERA), on the other hand, has been showcasing his endurance lately by pitching deep into games. He’€™s pitched a complete game in five of his last seven outings, highlighted by a six-hit shutout against the Reds in a 1-0 win. His six complete games this season are second in the majors only behind the Phillies Roy Halladay, who also leads the league in shutouts. Lee has allowed 101 hits and a miniscule six walks in a total of 112 2/3 innings for a league-leading 0.95 WHIP.

In his first outing since being traded from the Mariners to the Rangers, however, Lee had a disappointing performance with his new team. Though he went the distance, he allowed six runs on three homers to take the loss against the Orioles. Lee has uncharacteristically had problems against Boston lineups with the majority of his struggles coming as a member of the Indians.

Though he’€™s 2-4 for his career with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts vs. the Red Sox, he pitched a gem in the last head-to-head matchup. On April 27, 2009, Lee tossed eight innings of five-hit ball but received a no decision due to a lack of run support, which was the case for the beginning of his Seattle career. Now, with a potent offense backing him, that should be a thing of the past. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Cliff Lee, john lackey, texas rangers,

Bengie’s revenge goes full cycle

07.17.10 at 2:20 am ET
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Bengie Molina has heard all the jokes over his 11-plus seasons in the majors.

Those jokes, of course, begin and end with the ability of the portly catcher – listed at 5-feet-11 and 225 pounds – to run the bases.

Well, on Friday night, Molina got the best kind of revenge. The catcher completed arguably the most improbable cycle in major league history when his triple off the glove of Eric Patterson leading off the eighth inning.

Molina, one of the nicest and most endearing figures in the game, admitted as much afterward but he did say the huge odds stacked against him made it that much sweeter.

“The cycle is something personal and some [type] of individual goal,” Molina said. “For being the guy that’s been criticized for his speed for 11 1/2 years in the big leagues and being the slowest guy in the world for many people so to something like is unbelievable.”

So with a smile, Molina was saying ‘take that!’ to all those who doubted him. But really what made it sweet was the winning, something he was all about when the Rangers acquired him before the All-Star break from San Francisco.

“Obviously, the winning makes it easier,” Molina said of starting for a team that leads the A.L. West. “I’m sure that’s a big part. Just winning makes you feel better. I came here to win. I didn’t come here to do anything else. It obviously makes you feel good.”

Still, everyone still in attendance was amazed that Molina had just done the improbable with the first cycle by an opponent at Fenway since Cleveland’s Andre Thornton on April 22, 1978.

“I would have put my head in a tree trimmer betting that he wouldn’€™t hit a triple,” said an astonished David Ortiz of the Red Sox. “That’€™s crazy, man. Seems to me he stopped at second to think about it. Now, I’€™m going to have to break that down to my son when I get home because he’€™s going to ask me a million questions about it.”

Unfortunately for Molina, he wound up paying the price one batter later when his right quad tightened up, forcing him from the game.

It was his manager Ron Washington who had to come out and get the big guy and pinch run for him after Molina waved to the dugout that something was up.

Washington knew going into the at-bat leading off the eighth that Molina had the hardest part left to complete the first cycle by a catcher since Milwaukee’s Chad Moeller on April 27, 2004 against Cincinnati. He had – just moments earlier – asked his third baseman Michael Young what or more to the point – WHERE he thought Molina had to put the ball for the triple.

“I had just mentioned to Michael, ‘Where do you think he has to hit this ball to get a triple?’ He said, ‘No where in this ball park.'”

Molina nearly blew a tire rounding second as Patterson raced to haul in the ball and get it back to the infield.

“I didn’t see any gears shift and he made it standing up,” Washington added.

Read More: Bengie Molina, Chad Moeller, Fenway Park, Rangers

The inning everything changed for the Red Sox

07.17.10 at 12:55 am ET
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So close, yet so far away.

The final score might have ended up with the Rangers running away with an 8-4 win over the Red Sox Friday night, but the teams’ fortunes might have changed dramatically if not for one errant throw.

By the time Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth inning Friday night, Felix Doubront was on his way. He had allowed just two first-inning runs while allowing the Red Sox to jump out to a 3-2 lead over the Rangers.

Then things appeared to get even better when Doubront adeptly snagged a line-drive up the middle off the bat of Hamilton. But that’€™s where it went all horribly wrong for the rookie and the Red Sox.

Instead of firing a strike to shortstop Marco Scutaro at second base, to double-up Texas baserunner Michael Young, Doubront hesitated and then tossed the ball into center field, allowing Young to go to third and Vladimir Guerrero to head to second. It was Doubront’s second throwing error of the game.

Doubront doubled over, leading Red Sox manager Terry Francona and head trainer Mike Reinold to immediately head to the mound.

‘€œI was frustrated,’€ the pitcher said. ‘€œI’€™m alright.’€

Even without an injury, Doubront had already come back out to pitch after waiting out an hour rain delay after the completion of the third inning. With the right-handed hitting Nelson Cruz up next, Francona determined it was enough for the lefty.

‘€œI lost energy in the rain delay,’€ noted Doubront, who said he had never come back to pitch after waiting out a rain delay throughout his career.

Fernando Cabrera ‘€“ who had just been promoted from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day — came on and proceeded to walk Cruz and David Murphy even the score at 3-3. The 6-foot-4 reliever came back and elevated a slider to Bengie Molina just enough to allow the Texas catcher to launch a grand slam into the center field seats for the game-changer.

If I had the situation again I would have thrown the same pitch. It wasn’€™t like it was a pitch I didn’€™t want to throw, but I know for sure I needed to throw a better pitch. Things happen in the game. But, like I said, if I had the same situation I would throw the same pitch to the same guy.’€

After the game Cabrera said he was told he was to be designated for assignment.

Fernando Cabrera to be designated for assignment

07.17.10 at 12:31 am ET
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For the second straight season reliever Fernando Cabrera will be designated for assignment by the Red Sox, this time the move comes after the right-handed pitcher allowed three runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Cabrera, who was promoted from Triple A Pawtucket, allowed a fifth-inning grand slam to Texas’ Bengie Molina, breaking open a 3-3 tie and leading the Rangers to an 8-4 win over the Red Sox.

The 28-year-old Cabrera, who had pitched in six games with the Sox in 2009, cleared waivers after being designated last year, ultimately choosing to rejoin the Red Sox. Cabrera was 0-3 with 13 saves and a 3.50 ERA in 30 appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox before being promoted.

The move will likely pave the way for the activation of reliever Manny Delcarmen, who was deemed ready to come off the 15-day disabled list earlier Friday by Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Francona said after the loss that could be multiple moves announced Saturday.

For more Red Sox coverage see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Closing Time: Rangers 8, Red Sox 4

07.16.10 at 11:33 pm ET
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Friday night’s game started much the same way Thursday’s did – in ugly fashion. And it ended the same way – with a Red Sox loss.

In between, there was a one-hour rain delay, a fairly encouraging outing by 22-year-old lefty Felix Doubront and a powerful return by Adrian Beltre to the starting lineup.

But there was also the Red Sox bullpen allowing a major league-leading 41st home run, a Bengie Molina game-turning grand slam that kept the Red Sox in the post-All Star break doldrums and Molina adding insult to injury by tripling in the eighth to complete the cycle, only to leave moments later with tightness in his right quad.

It’s been that type of week for the Red Sox. And they’ve only played two games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Felix Doubront couldn’t get the final out of the fifth inning. With the Red Sox leading, 3-2, the Rangers had runners on first and second when he caught Josh Hamilton’s liner but threw wildly back to second to try and double off Ian Kinsler. Both Kinsler and Vladimir Guerrero advanced. Doubront appeared to throw awkwardly off the top of the mound on his throw to second and manager Terry Francona came out with a trainer to take a look at Doubront. The pitcher was lifted – but not for injury – as Fernando Cabrera entered the game.

Cabrera earned goat of the game honors when he walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases and then walked in the tying run when he issued a free pass to David Murphy. The worst was yet to come. Cabrera got ahead of Molina when he grooved a 1-2 pitch that Molina belted to the first row of bleacher seats in center for his fifth career grand slam.

Doubront left one out shy of a win, leading 3-2, but suffered his second major league loss, allowing four runs – just two earned –

– When Bengie Molina hits for the cycle, you’re probably going to lose. He became the fifth Ranger ever to turn the trick when he tripled off Eric Patterson‘s glove in the triangle in center to open the eighth. Molina had to come out for a pinch-runner. Last opponent to do it against the Red Sox was Oakland’s Mark Ellis on June 4, 2007 at Oakland and the last opponent to pull it off at Fenway was Cleveland’s Andre Thornton on April 22, 1978. The last MLB catcher to turn the trick was Milwaukee’s Chad Moeller on April 27, 2004.

– Doubront had to field his position. In addition to his fielding miscue in the fifth, the Sox starter threw wildly to first on the first batter of the game, Elvis Andrus, allowing Andrus to reach second and eventually score the first run on Ian Kinsler’s base hit.

– The bottom third is bottoming out. The trio of Daniel Nava, Bill Hall and Kevin Cash went 0-for-10 with a Nava walk in the second inning accounting for the only base runner. Nava flew out to left to end the scoreless eighth after the Red Sox had David Ortiz at second and Kevin Youkilis at first with none out.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Adrian Beltre looked very good in his return. Terry Francona said before the game that he would keep a close eye on his regular third baseman, who was making his return to the starting lineup after sitting out Thursday as a precaution while the team took a close look at his left hamstring. Beltre was re-inserted Friday for his offense and in the fourth inning, just after the game resumed following a one-hour rain delay in the top of the inning, Beltre smashed his 14th homer of the season to the second row of Monster seats in left to put the Red Sox up, 3-2.

Beltre also looked sharp in the field, going to his backhand and holding Vladimir Guerrero to a single and saving a run in the fifth inning before Molina’s heroics. Beltre got up awkwardly and limped but remained in the game.

– The middle of the Red Sox order looked good at the plate. After going 0-for-4 on Thursday, Kevin Youkilis bounced back with three hits – including two doubles on Friday – raising his average back to .295. The foursome of David Ortiz, Youkilis, J.D. Drew and Beltre went 7-for-14 and drove in three runs.

Hideki Okajima made just his second appearance since June 29, allowing one hit and striking out one in a scoreless seventh inning.


Read More: Bengie Molina, Chad Moeller, felix doubront, MLB
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