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Brock Holt makes (perhaps) the catch of his life 07.21.14 at 11:03 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

TORONTO ‘€“ It might have been the catch of the season. But was it the catch of Brock Holt’€™s life?

‘€œIt’€™s up there, yeah. It’€™s up there,’€ said Holt of his fifth-inning grab of Dan Johnson’€™s blast to the right field wall during what resulted in a 14-1 Red Sox win over the Blue Jays. ‘€œThat one was fun. That one fired me up a little bit. I didn’t think I was going to get to it, but got to it, made the jump, timed it pretty good, and I was able to come down with it. That was one of the better ones I’ve made. It was fun.’€

Just recently introduced to right field, Holt navigated the line-drive to right from the get-go. Racing back on the leadoff blast, the Sox’€™ outfielder leapt in the air just before the wall with his momentum taking him against the padding.

While at the height of his jump, Holt hauled in the ball while flying through the air, subsequently ramming into the ‘€œExpedia.ca’€ advertisement.

‘€œThat wall gave a little bit better than the cement wall in Fenway that I landed on a few weeks ago,’€ he said. ‘€œThat’s the first time I’ve kind of crashed into one. But no trouble. Just dust yourself off, get up, throw the ball in, and get ready for the next one.’€

Upon rising to his feet with the ball, Holt allowed himself a big smile before tossing it back in and looking up to the video scoreboard for a replay.

‘€œKind of can’t believe I caught that,’€ he said when asked his thought process when making the play. ‘€œ[Dustin Pedroia] Pedey was laughing and smiling, so I gave him one back. That was a pretty fun catch for me, yeah.’€

Also helping bring a smile to Holt’€™s face was another two-hit night, putting the leadoff hitter’€™s average at .328.

“He’€™s done such a great job,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell of Holt. “His instincts ‘€“ this is a guy who has been an infielder his entire life and what he’€™s done in the outfield has been pretty remarkable given the few number of games played there. Then you move him to second base and he makes another play the other night where he’€™s done a great job, defensively and all the way around. A couple more hits tonight for him.”

Closing Time: Jon Lester does it again, this time helping Red Sox to sweep of Royals 07.20.14 at 4:37 pm ET
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David Ross celebrates his fourth inning two-run home run. (AP)

David Ross celebrates his fourth-inning two-run home run. (AP)

Things are getting at least a little interesting.

The Red Sox continued their most impressive surge of the season, winning for the seventh time in their last eight games, this time beating the Royals, 6-0, for a sweep of the teams’ three-game series.

Unlike their seven-game win streak in May — in which the Sox were facing two teams in Atlanta and Tampa Bay who were playing their worst baseball of the season — this doesn’t appear to be a mirage. During the current stretch the Sox have outscored their opponents by a combined 25 runs.

While all but one of their previous six wins had seen a margin of one run, this was a rare no-doubter. Riding the arm of Jon Lester and an offensive attack that drove Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura from the game after just 4 1/3 innings, the Sox had the game in control heading into the final four frames.

The hosts scored one in the first inning, two in the third and three in the fourth to put things out of reach for the Royals, who drop below .500 (48-49).

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 46-52, with their next 13 games coming against American League East foes, starting with a four-game set in Toronto.

While the offense was fairly spread out, with Brock Holt, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley all claiming multiple-hit days, the star of the game had to once again be Lester.

The lefty, who come into the game having allowed either zero or one earned run to Kansas City in his previous 10 starts (1.60 ERA) against the Royals, dominated the visitors. Lester allowed just four hits and no runs while going eight innings to lower his season ERA to 2.50. He also struck out eight.

In Lester’s last seven starts he has given up just five earned runs in 55 2/3 innings, striking out 47 and walking eight.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

David Ross notched his sixth home run, a two-run blast in the fourth inning. It marked the fifth straight game the Sox have hit at least one home run.

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Source: Phillies currently not looking to deal Cole Hamels 07.18.14 at 1:16 am ET
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According a major league source, the Phillies are currently showing no inclination to trade Cole Hamels.

Hamels has been the subject of rumors involving the Red Sox recently, with the Boston Globe suggesting the Red Sox might be viewing the lefty as a top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester. The 30 year old will be owed $90 million over the next four years, with a team option for 2019 worth $20 million.

It is believed that while the Red Sox had checked in on Hamels availability earlier in the season, there hasn’t been any recent discussions between the Sox and Phillies regarding the starter.

Hamels has made 16 starts this season, going 3-5 with a 2.93 ERA. He has made at least 31 starts in each of his last six seasons, totaling a 3.30 ERA during that span.

The Phillies are currently 10 games out of first-place in the National League East  and the wild card race, heading into the second half at 42-53.

Read More: Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Phillies, Red Sox
American League celebrates Derek Jeter with All-Star Game win 07.15.14 at 11:36 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Game 1 will be back in the American League city.

The AL once again claimed home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its 5-3 win over the National League in the 85th All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Target Field.

(For a complete recap, click here.)

Winning the MVP was Mike Trout (2-for-3), despite Derek Jeter claiming a pair of hits on his night.

The American League jumped on the board with three runs in the first inning off of National League starter Adam Wainwright, who allowed an RBI triple to Trout and a two-run homer off the bat of Miguel Cabrera. In 19 starts this season, the St. Louis righty has allowed just four earned runs in the opening frame.

Wainwright kicked things off by admittedly grooving a fastball to leadoff hitter Derek Jeter, who took advantage of the offering by notching a leadoff double. (“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “He deserved it.”)

Jeter, who was replaced by AL manager John Farrell before a pitch could be thrown in the top of the fourth, also singled. The double was Jeter’s first extra-base hit in the All-Star Game since 2001, and marked the third time he came away with multiple hits in the game.

Jeter finishes his All-Star run with a .481 batting average (13-for-27), ranking fifth all-time of any player with a minimum of 10 at-bats.

Trout’s fifth-inning RBI double put the American League ahead for good. He finished with a pair of hits, joining Jeter and Aramis Ramirez as the only All-Stars with multiple hits.

The National League stormed back in the second inning against Red Sox starter Jon Lester, who allowed three straight hits for a pair of NL runs in the lefty’s only inning.

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara struck out Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco on four pitches, his only batter of the night, to end the sixth inning.

(To see comments from Lester and Uehara regarding their outings, click here.)

Jon Lester relishes All-Star inning of work, opportunity to play with Derek Jeter; Koji Uehara fans only batter he faces 07.15.14 at 9:05 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Jon Lester‘s third All-Star Game consisted of one inning of work, with the Red Sox lefty pitching the second inning for the host American League.

Lester allowed two runs on three hits over his only frame.

The lefty retired the first batter he faced, Giancarlo Stanton, on a pop-up to second base. But he then surrendered a single to Aramis Ramirez before giving up back-to-back doubles to Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy.

Lester would come back to strand Lucroy at second, getting Carlos Gomez to pop out to the catcher before inducing an inning-ending fly ball to center off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.

“Obviously you’re coming in here, you’re facing the best players in the world and just trying to get outs. You’re so used to going through the scouting reports and advance meetings and this and that,” said Lester. “All of a sudden, you get out there and you’re throwing to a guy you just met a day ago. It’s like, ‘Hey, all right, let’s see what we can do.’ Made a couple mistakes and obviously they’re here for a reason, put some good swings on balls. Luckily got out of there still with the lead. That was the main thing. Fun. Had a good time.

“Any time you get to run out on this field with these guys, it humbles you. It makes you just enjoy this even more,” Lester added. “Getting to be a part of this, getting to be in the clubhouse with these guys, you just walk around the room, you’ve got future Hall of Famers all over the place. It’s an awesome experience that I definitely always remember. I always remember the ones I’ve been to and get to be around these guys, cherish the talks and the conversations that we’ve had in the dugout or on the field. You get to learn a lot from these guys.”

The Sox starter threw 22 pitches, 17 of which were for strikes.

Despite being named to the All-Star team two other occasions, this was the first game action for Lester.

To listen to Lester sum up his experience at the All-Star Game, listen to the Bradfo Show podcast (also featuring Stanton) by clicking here.

The other Red Sox representative, Koji Uehara, retired the only batter he faced, Devin Mesoraco, on a strikeout for the final out of the top of the sixth.

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Jon Lester, Koji Uehara,
In case you were wondering, All-Stars have walk-up music, too 07.15.14 at 7:27 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Here is each of the All-Star hitters’ walk-up music for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field (courtesy Rdio).

All-Stars and walk-up songs:
Yadier Molina * St. Louis Cardinals – National C * Sigan Bailando – Wisin & Yandel
Paul Goldschmidt * Arizona Diamondbacks – National 1B * Linkin Park – One Step Closer
Troy Tulowitzki * Colorado Rockies – National SS * Ace of Base – The Sign
Aramis Ramierz * Milwaukee Brewers – National 3B * NO MUSIC BY CHOICE
Andrew McCutchen * Pittsburgh Pirates – National OF * Ellie Goulding – Lights (Bassnectar Remix)
Carlos Gomez * Milwaukee Brewers – National OF * Young Dro – Shoulder Lean
Yasiel Puig * Los Angeles Dogers – National OF * DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
Matt Wieters * Baltimore Orioles – American C * Sam Hunt – Raised On It
Miguel Cabrera * Detroit Tigers – American 1B * Jay Z – Ni**as In Paris
Robinson Cano * Seattle Mariners – American 2B * Jay Z – Tom Ford
Derek Jeter * New York Yankees – American SS * Young Money feat. Drake – Trophies
Jose Bautista * Toronto Blue Jays – American OF * Drake – Trophies
Mike Trout * Los Angeles Angels – American OF * Drake – Started From the Bottom
Adam Jones * Baltimore Orioles – American OF * Young Jeezy – Lose My Mind
Nelson Cruz * Baltimore Orioles – American DH * Alex y Fido – Rescate Feat. Daddy Yankee
Aroldis Chapman * Cincinnati Reds National P * Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine
Clayton Kershaw * Los Angeles Dogers – National P * We Are Young – Fun
Tyson Ross * San Diego Padres – National P * Mastermind – Deltron 3030
Jordan Zimmerman * Washington Nationals – National P * Brantley Gilbert – Hell On Wheels
Adam Wainwright * St Louis Cardinals – National P * Alabama – Song Of The South

All-Star pitcher Jeff Samardzija thought he might be a New England Patriot 07.15.14 at 3:29 pm ET
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Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s worked out pretty well for Athletics pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

The All-Star righty — who was just recently traded from his first professional team, the Cubs — has carved a nice seven-year big league career to date, currently totaling a 2.78 ERA in 19 starts this season.

But, as he recalled, the path could have very easily led him to Foxboro instead of Wrigley.

Samardzija was a highly-touted two-sport athlete at Notre Dame, playing wide receiver for the Irish along with his stint as a pitcher for the school’s baseball team. He was so good that most viewed the 6-foot-5 wideout as a first-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft if he chose to go that route.

With the connection of former Patriots offensive coordinator/then-Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis, some dots were being connected as the ’06 college season wound down.

“Well, Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots for their Super Bowl runs for a number of years, so he just brought the whole Patriots€™ offense to Notre Dame and we started running that for a couple of years,” Samardzjia said. “Where I was projected to go in the draft was a little earlier than where the Patriots were picking, obviously their perennial 30, 31, 32 pick. I was hoping to be a little before that.

“The word from coach and other guys was that they were going to try and trade up to try and get me based on the fact it would be a seamless transition into their offense considering I already ran it. That was about all I heard, but obviously it never got to that point.”

Having been drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the ’06 MLB draft, resulting in a five-year deal with Chicago, Samardzija told every NFL team not to bother drafting him in ’07. The result was a solid career in baseball, and the Patriots picking Brandon Meriweather with the 24th overall selection.

Read More: Jeff Samardzija,
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