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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz, Shane Victorino sit; A.J. Pierzynski at designated hitter 04.27.14 at 9:53 am ET
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TORONTO — With Blue Jays’ R.A. Dickey on the mound for the series finale against the Red Sox Sunday, David Ortiz will not be in the starting lineup, with A.J. Pierzynski filling in at designated hitter.

Also starting the day on the bench is Shane Victorino, as Grady Sizemore slides  up to the lineup’s No. 2 spot.

Here is the Red Sox‘ batting order:

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Grady Sizemore LF

Mike Napoli 1B

A.J. Pierzynski C

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Jonny Gomes RF

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

David Ross C

Jon Lester P

For all the matchups, click here.

Closing Time: Brandon Morrow’s wildness, A.J. Pierzynski’s power leads Red Sox past Blue Jays 04.26.14 at 4:32 pm ET
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A.J. Pierzynski. (AP)

A.J. Pierzynski. (AP)

TORONTO — The Red Sox‘ offensive efficiency was off the charts Saturday afternoon, and they have their second straight win because of it.

By the time the third inning had ended, the Red Sox claimed just two hits, but six runs. It would be enough to propel the visitors to a 7-6 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

In the middle of if all was A.J. Pierzynski, who continued his hot hitting of late by launching a grand slam to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead in the third inning. The catcher’s ninth career home run with the bases loaded comes one game after he notched thre hits.

The homer — Pierzynski’s first grand slam since 2009 — was Red Sox’ first hit of the game and came off of Toronto reliever Chad Jenkins, who allowed the homer on just his second pitch of the game. The relief pitcher had come on for Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, who didn’t make it past 2 2/3 innings despite not allowing a hit. He did, however, issue eight walks.

Earning the win was Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who settled down nicely after allowing the Blue Jays a three-run first inning. Buchholz finished his day by giving up just the three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three over seven innings. The righty threw 105 pitches.

One of the biggest threats the Blue Jays mounted following the Sox’ six-run third came in the eighth. But Red Sox closer Koji Uehara came on to induce a Melky Cabrera pop-up to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the issue.

Uehara did allow his first home run of the season, giving up a solo blast to Jose Bautista in the ninth. He finally did escape the ninth by getting Edwin Encarnacion to line out to center with runners on first and second.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- The Red Sox won a replay in the second inning when the call ruling that Jose Reyes had beaten out a routine grounder to shortstop was overturned. The video revealed Jonathan Herrera’s throw just narrowly hit Mike Carp’s glove before Reyes touched the bag. It was John Farrell‘s first successful challenge in four tries this season.

- Pierzynski drew a walk in the second inning, just his second of the season. The Blue Jays’ pitching staff did come into Saturday with the second-most walks in the majors, with Brandon Morrow adding to that total significantly with his eight walks.

- It was Morrow’s final pitch, a ball to Grady Sizemore, that sealed his fate. The offering led to the pitcher’s eighth free pass, forcing home Shane Victorino with the Red Sox’ first run. The Jays’ starter finished throwing 65 pitches and just 26 strikes.

- Middlebrooks not only had another successful offensive day in Rogers Centre (having come into the game hitting .340 with a 1.106 OPS in Toronto), but made a fantastic diving stab of a Brett Lawrie grounder leading off the home half of the sixth inning.

- Sizemore, who came into the game just two for his previous 31 at-bats, responded with a solid game, walking twice while ripping an RBI double in the fifth inning.

- Chris Capuano ruined Jonathan Diaz’ big day. The former Red Sox received his World Series ring before the game (see below), but struck out against the lefty when representing the go-ahead run in a pinch-hitting role in the eighth.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- Dustin Pedroia was thrown out trying to steal. The second baseman, who came into the season having been successful on 120 of his 152 attempts, is now just 1-for-3 for ’14.

- Buchholz struggled out of the gate, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk. The starter had allowed just one run in the first inning during his previous four starts.

- Juan Francisco hit his second solo homer in as many games, this time launching a Junichi Tazawa 0-2 offering of the center field to cut the Red Sox’ lead to three runs in the eighth inning.

- Edwin Encarnacion took advantage of a shift with runners on first and third and one out, placing a grounder through the hole to the right side, scoring one and putting runners back on first and third. The eighth-inning hit — which brought the Jays within two runs — would send Tazawa to the showers after the reliever retired just one batter.

Red Sox notes: John Farrell explains lineup decisions, Grady Sizemore’s bump in the road 04.26.14 at 1:14 pm ET
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TORONTO — It was just time for a day off.

That’s the message Red Sox manager John Farrell relayed when talking before his team’s game with the Blue Jays Saturday about Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts. Napoli has been banged up recently with a dislocated finger and bruised knee cap, while Bogaerts’ ailments include flu-like symptoms, along with soreness in his calves from being hit with multiple pitches.

Another factor was how Napoli matched up with Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, who the first baseman is just 2-for-16 against.

- Farrell also spoke to Grady Sizemore‘s struggles of late, suggesting the downturn was an understandable progression considering the two years the outfielder has been out of action. In his last eight games prior to Saturday, Sizemore is 2-for-31 (.065).

“Again, we’re looking at a two-year gap that we can’t avoid. He’s been pitched to a little bit,” Farrell said. “He’s gotten some pitches on the plate where he’s fouled them off, and he’s expanded the strike zone below a little bit at times. Prior to the last 12 or 14 at-bats, this was a guy that we were looking at where, the offensive side is really going to flourish here. Nothing has changed that. He’s going through a little bit of a spell here. A couple days off to regroup with Vic’s return. There’s still a good hitter there. We’ve just got to do some things to gain some confidence and some rhythm at the plate.

“He was defying what you would naturally think with a two-year gap, regardless of injury or not. If he went on a mission somewhere for two years with that long of a gap, you’d think that you’d question, OK, how many games can you expect? What’s the consistency of performance? There’s really no template for what Grady’s doing here. But yet, physically he’s answered all of our questions to date. Just got to keep him in the mix.”

- Farrell was very encouraged by the way Will Middlebrooks picked right up upon his return from the disabled list, knocking out a pair of hits Friday night.

“Very good. My gosh, you have to respect his power down in the bottom third and when he’€™s not expanding the strike zone, which is the case last night. He’€™s a dangerous hitter,” the manager said. “To have that kind of power in the bottom third is certainly a luxury. And as we talk more than anything, just trying to get some continuity we’€™re all familiar with, put up one at-bat after the next in a relentless way,  last night was a sample of that.”

- Another encouraging sign for the Red Sox was Jackie Bradley Jr.’s night in the series opener. The outfielder came away with two doubles and a triple.

“He’€™s going through a period of time where he’€™s getting pitched to and he’€™s figuring out how he’€™s going to counter out the adjustments that opposing pitchers have made to him,” Farrell said of Bradley Jr. “The conversations and the work he’€™s doing with Colby [Greg Colbrunn] and Vic [Victor Rodriguez], in addition to the conversations with Pedey and some veteran guys, it’€™s good to see him make some of the subtle adjustments on the recommendations that are being made, and more than anything to get some positive results from it. That reinforces the message that others are getting. The ability is there, it’€™s a matter of refining an approach at the major league level, which he’€™s being challenged which he’€™s never been at the minor league level.”

Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli out, Grady Sizemore back in 04.26.14 at 9:50 am ET
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TORONTO — Xander Bogaerts is not in the starting lineup for the Red Sox in their matchup with the Blue Jays and starting pitcher Brandon Morrow. Replacing Bogaerts at shortstop will be Jonathan Herrera. Also out is Mike Napoli, with Mike Carp starting at first base.

Back in the lineup after getting Friday night off is Grady Sizemore, who mans left field.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup in the second of a three-game set at Rogers Centre:

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Shane Victorino RF

David Ortiz DH

Mike Carp 1B

Grady Sizemore LF

A.J. Pierzynski C

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Jonathan Herrera SS

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Clay Buchholz P

For all the matchups, click here.

Closing Time: Jake Peavy, Jackie Bradley Jr. help lead Red Sox back to respectability with win over Blue Jays 04.25.14 at 10:04 pm ET
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TORONTO — Whatever wake-up call John Farrell gave his team, it evidently worked pretty well.

Prior to the Red Sox‘ series-opening game against the Blue Jays Friday night, Farrell offered a reminder to his team regarding the importance of playing the right way (particularly defensively). The result was striking, with the Sox winning the first game of a series for just the second time this season, trouncing the Blue Jays, 8-1, at Rogers Centre.

Earning the win was Jake Peavy, who turned in a stellar seven-inning outing in which he allowed one run (a Juan Francisco solo homer) on five hits. With the seven-strikeout performance, Peavy lowers his ERA to 2.87.

Conversely, another former White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle, didn’t fare as well. The Toronto starter snapped his string of four standout starts to begin the season (not allowing more than a run in any of them), giving up seven runs on 12 hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Helping key the offense was Jackie Bradley Jr., who came away with a pair of doubles and a triple. A.J. Pierzynski also chipped in with three of the Red Sox’ 16 hits.

Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Pierzynski jumped on the first pitch he saw, flying to center field for a sacrifice fly and the game’s first run. The fly ball scored Mike Napoli, who had led off the second inning with a walk. The catcher has swung at more first pitches (40 percent) than any player on the Red Sox.

- Will Middlebrooks made the most of his first at-bat since coming off the 15-day disabled list, looping a broken bat, opposite field single to right field, scoring Xander Bogaerts with the game’s second run in the second. The hit was the first in 22 at-bats against Buehrle in which the lefty hadn’t given up a hit with runners in scoring position.

- Dustin Pedroia capped off the four-run second inning with his second hit of the game, a single that plated both Middlebrooks and Bradley, who had reached via an opposite field double. Pedroia did end the inning by getting tagged out trying to stretch the hit into a double, but not before both runs had scored. The four runs in one inning matched a season-high for the Red Sox.

- David Ortiz kept the momentum going in the third inning, lining a solo homer to right field for his fifth homer of the season. It was the 75th career at-bat for Ortiz against Buehrle, the most at-bats the DH has had against any lefty. The Red Sox finished with a 5-0 lead after three innings. They had entered the night with an American League-worst 24 total runs in the first three innings this season.

- Pierzynski threw out his third baserunner of the season, gunning down Jose Bautista trying to steal third base in the fourth inning.

- Middlebrooks came away with a multi-hit game thanks to a run-scoring double in the sixth inning, scoring Pierzynski. The third baseman how has five games with two or more hits in 12 total contests played at Rogers Centre.

- Mike Napoli notched his 35th bases-loaded RBI as a member of the Red Sox, most by any player during that stretch. This one came as a result of a sixth-inning walk.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- The Red Sox first stab at a rally ended in the first inning when Shane Victorino followed up Pedroia’s leadoff single with a double play grounder. It increased the Sox’ major league lead in twin-killings, marking their 25th of the season.

Red Sox lineup: Will Middlebrooks makes his return 04.25.14 at 3:52 pm ET
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Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks

TORONTO — Playing in his first game since straining his calf muscle April 5, Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks will hit eighth against Blue Jays’ starter Mark Buehrle.

Here is the rest of the Red Sox lineup for their series opener at Rogers Centre:

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Shane Victorino RF

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Jonny Gomes LF

Xander Bogaerts SS

A.J. Pierzynski C

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Jake Peavy P

For all the matchups, click here.

Joe Girardi, Michael Pineda, Brian Cashman react to ejection of Yankees starter due to presence of pine tar 04.24.14 at 12:26 am ET
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Following the Red Sox‘ 5-1 win over the Yankees, the majority of the conversation centered on New York starter Michael Pineda being ejected  in the second inning after being caught with pine tar on the right side of his neck.

With Pineda’s April 10 start against the Red Sox still fresh in most everyone’s mind — with the righty having been seen with a glob of pine tar on his wrist before removing the substance in the fifth inning before the Red Sox could act — there was little room for interpretation.

After the ejection, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Pineda and New York general manager Brian Cashman didn’t question the ruling, or the objection made by Red Sox manager John Farrell. Here is what they had to say:

GIRARDI

Did you know he had it on?: “I did not. He did not have it on when the game started. I guess from what I understand he had a hard time gripping the ball and put it on in the second inning. Obviously that’€™s a problem and we’€™re going to have to deal with the circumstances and Michael’€™s going to have to deal with it and we’€™ll get through it.”

Did you see it on him? “No, I did not, I never saw it on Michael, so. I didn’€™t look at Michael. Gerry told me he did, said he had something on his neck and I just said, ‘€˜OK,’€™ got Phelpsie ready and worried about trying to keep the score the same.”

Michael Pineda is examined for pine tar by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. (AP)

Michael Pineda is examined for pine tar by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. (AP)

What about the April 10 game? “Obviously we have discussions with all our pitchers on things they’€™re dealing with, that’€™s what we do. We don’€™t ignore situations, we handle situations and something Michael chose to do after the first inning, he had a hard time gripping the baseball. Conditions are not conducive to gripping a baseball. Unknown to us he put it on and went out there.”

Surprised at his judgement?: “I mean, it’€™s a young kid. I don’€™t think he’€™s trying to do anything to cheat, I think he’€™s trying to just go out there and compete. It’€™s unfortunate it happened but like I said we’€™ll deal with it we’€™ll get through this, it’€™s a little bump in the road and we’€™ll be all right.”

Upset?: “I’€™m not going to get mad at him. The kid’€™s doing the best he can, he’€™s trying to compete, and that’€™s what he’€™s trying to do. I don’€™t think he’€™s trying to get an edge on anyone. He’€™s a young man that’€™s been through a lot, been through a lot of rehab and has worked his tail end to get off to this start and he made an error in judgment.”

Where do you go from here?: “It’€™s something we have to deal with. There are other things that are going to come up in the course of the year that we’€™ll find a way to get through it.”

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