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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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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,
As All-Star Game arrives, no movement on Jon Lester’s contract talks 07.14.14 at 8:00 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Jon Lester said all the right things Monday at the media availability for the American League All-Stars, yet said little that was revelatory. But for a good reason.

There is nothing new going on when it comes to the pitcher’s contract talks.

According to multiple major league sources, the situation remains the same as it has for the entirety of the 2014 season to date: Lester still hasn’t received an offer from the Red Sox that would suggest a short negotiating window, preventing further talks regarding an extension.

Despite recent efforts by the Red Sox to re-engage after initially shutting down negotiations at the end of spring training, Lester made it a point that he would only talk if the offer could lead to a quick resolution. The impetus for such an approach was to limit the in-season disturbances.

“I think the biggest thing for me is just the distraction side of it. I can handle it. I’m not worried about me, I’m worried about my team and I’m worried about my guys,” Lester said. “The last thing I want them having to answer after a game … like we had to in New York. We just took a series from the Yankees and everybody is happy, having a good time and we have a report that comes out and I have guys getting asked about that as opposed to the game we just won. I’ve sat down and talked to Ben [Cherington] about that and expressed that to Ben and they understand. Like I said before, I’ve expressed it to them, this is where I want to stay. Regardless of whether we do it tomorrow or we wait until the end of the season, this is where I want to be. Hopefully when we get to the end of the season we can figure out something and get it done.”

During Monday’s session, an inquiry was made to Lester regarding team president Larry Lucchino‘s comments to The Boston Globe suggesting the Red Sox started low in their initial offer of four years, $70 million.

“I still think they want me here. I think obviously my representation has had a lot of talks with them and Ben and Larry. I think that feeling is still mutual on both sides, I would hope,” Lester said. “I think where that started in spring training and then to Opening Day kind of sneaking up on us, just kind of the way that it happened.”

When asked about the early negotiating approach by the team, Lester added, “I don’t know if ‘exploited’ is the right word, but they’re businessmen. They didn’t get to own the Boston Red Sox by being stupid with money. Like I said, I don’t think ‘exploited’ is the right word. I think they just took a shot, and like you said, Larry and Ben and the collective group put that offer out there and that’s what they wanted to start at. We had plenty of talks after that as far as moving money and moving years, moving money, but never got to another offer, so like I said, Opening Day kind of came in and went and put it on the back burner for a while.”

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Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright named All-Star starters; Derek Jeter to hit leadoff 07.14.14 at 1:12 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — Monday, Major League Baseball took a big step forward toward deciding home field advantage in the World Series.

Both All-Star managers — John Farrell of the American League, and the National League‘s Mike Matheny — took to the podium at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis to announce their starting pitchers and lineups. Here they are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Starting pitcher: Felix Hernandez

Lineup: Derek Jeter SS, Mike Trout LF, Robinson Cano 2B, Miguel Cabrera 1B, Jose Bautista RF, Nelson Cruz DH, Adam Jones CF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Salvador Perez C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Starting pitcher: Adam Wainwright

Lineup: Andrew McCutchen CF, Yasiel Puig RF, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Paul Goldschmidt 1B, Giancarlo Stanton DH, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Chase Utley 2B, Jonathan Lucroy C, Carlos Gomez LF

Closing Time: Jake Peavy’s solid outing spoiled in Red Sox’ loss to Astros 07.12.14 at 7:16 pm ET
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One batter too long. One inch too far.

The result: an Astros’ 3-2 win and the end of the Red Sox‘ win streak.

After turning in one of his best outings of the season, Jake Peavy was left in to face one extra batter to start the eighth inning. But Jose Altuve made the decision backfire for Red Sox managerJohn Farrell, turning on Peavy’s 103rd pitch (the first of the frame) for a leadoff double.

Andrew Miller immediately came on to do his job, inducing a ground out to second before intentionally walking George Springer and striking out Jon Singleton for the inning’s second out. But the Red Sox weren’t quite able to escape, with Chris Carter‘s grounder up the middle bringing shortstop Brock Holt just deep enough in the hole that Springer beat out Holt’s flip to Pedroia, allowing Altuve to score.

The play at second was almost ended the inning for the Sox, but replays showed Dustin Pedroia‘s attempt at grabbing Holt’s flip with his bare-hand didn’t play off as the second baseman’s toe had to be drawn just off the bag.

The Red Sox did threaten in the ninth inning, putting Mookie Betts at second base and Holt at first base with one out. But Pedroia grounded a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to end things.

Peavy did take another loss (dropping to 1-8), but there was no question about the impression he left (both on the Red Sox and scouts in attendance). The starter allowed  just three runs on six hits over seven-plus innings while striking out nine and walking just one.

In his last three starts, Peavy has allowed six runs over 19 innings, lowering his ERA to 4.59.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 52nd loss of the season:

WHAT WENT WRONG

David Ortiz squandered a golden opportunity for the Red Sox, grounding into an inning-ending double play with one out and the bases loaded. It kept the Sox’ deficit at a run.

– Peavy’s only major miscue came in the third inning when he allowed Jason Castro’s fly ball to just clear the right fence with two outs. The blast, which was just out of the reach of right fielder Mookie Betts, resulted in a two-run homer for Houston’s early lead. It was the 19th homer allowed by the righty, the second-most in the American League.

– The Red Sox had a difficult time solving Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer, who was making his first major league start of the season. The Sox managed just two runs off the lefty despite touching him up for 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

– The only Red Sox starter not to notch at least one hit was Jonny Gomes, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Ortiz answered Castro’s two-run homer in the third right away in the home half of the fourth, turning on Oberholtzer’s first pitch of the inning for the designated hitter’s 20th homer of the season.

– Pedroia tied the game with a one-out sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, plating Jackie Bradley. The fly ball was the culmination of a nine-pitch at-bat for Pedroia, who came into the game hitting .342 the third time through the lineup (which is what the run-scoring at-bat was).

– Mookie Betts stole his first career base, swiping second with one out in the seventh inning with Dustin Pedroia at the plate and Bradley standing at third. It was his second attempt since being promoted. In the minors, Betts went 29-for-34 this season.

– Holt continued to make the most of his homecoming, notching three more hits, having gone 5-for-8 in the series.

Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli back at first base, Brock Holt at shortstop 07.12.14 at 12:25 pm ET
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With left-hander Brett Oberholtzer on the mound for the Astros, the Red Sox will have the presence of Mike Napoli back at first base after his day off in the teams’ series opener Friday night. Stephen Drew also sits against a lefty again, with Brock Holt getting the start at shortstop.

The following is the Red Sox‘ lineup with Jake Peavy on the hill for the visitors:

Brock Holt SS

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Jonny Gomes LF

Xander Bogaerts 3B

David Ross C

Jackie Bradley CF

Mookie Betts RF

For all the matchups, click here.

 

David Ortiz takes issue with being brought into John Lackey-Nelson Cruz feud 07.07.14 at 10:11 pm ET
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One thing was abundantly clear prior to the Red Sox‘ series opener against the White Sox on Monday night: David Ortiz was not happy he was recently brought into the conversation regarding John Lackey‘s issues with Nelson Cruz.

Following his start Saturday night, Lackey referenced his disapproval of Cruz, making a comment brought on by the pitcher’s issues regarding the Baltimore slugger’s PED suspension of a year ago.

When asked about the comments, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, “We need to all make sure we check our own backyard before we start looking at someone else’€™s.”

That led to a conversation on the MLB Network Monday afternoon that Ortiz happened to see. According to the designated hitter, the host on the network’s show (which he couldn’t specifically identify) said the slugger had received a “free pass” for appearing on a list identifying him as one of the major leaguers to test positive for PEDs on the MLB’s 2003 survey testing.

“What pisses me off is the whole thing about, why does my name got to be mentioned in that? What did I have to do with that? I saw on MLB the guys talking about it, and then they brought my name up, and one of the guys said that I got a free pass on that,” he told WEEI.com. “It was the Lackey and Showalter thing, going back and forth. Showalter didn’t say anything about me.”

That, however, was just the beginning of Ortiz’s rant.

“But then, when they are commenting about what Showalter said, they brought my name up,” he added. “Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].

“That’s reality. You don’t use the words that I get a free pass. You don’t get a free pass on this. MLB don’t play that B.S. MLB don’t play that. There’s a reason why I’ve been drug-tested like eight times and we’re not even at the break. Is that a free pass? There’s a reason why I’ve been tested like 40 times since they approved the policy, the drug policy. Is that a free pass? They can get that free pass and shove it up their [expletive].”

Read More: David Ortiz, john lackey, Nelson Cruz,
Sources: Jon Lester would listen during season if Red Sox offer led to short negotiations 07.04.14 at 10:20 pm ET
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Not so fast.

While CBS Sports reported Friday that Jon Lester had told the Red Sox he would not be inclined to negotiate a contract extension during the season — citing the pitcher’s desire to focus on his (and the team’s) performance on the field — multiple industry sources indicate there is no set-in-stone mandate to wait to rekindle talks until the offseason.

According to the sources, if the Red Sox presented an offer that would facilitate a short negotiating process then Lester would, indeed, listen.

The Red Sox recently attempted to re-engage in talks with the pitcher, but without indications an offer would be made resulting in an abbreviated negotiations, Lester expressed the desire to hold off on further contract discussions.

The team has seemingly taken the approach of starting on the low end of Lester’s perceived market value, coming in with an initial offer of four years at $70 million. It is the same strategy taken by the Red Sox in talks with Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury.

It is believed that an offer in the vicinity of five years, $120 million — which would be somewhat in line with what Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels signed for when inking his six-year, $144 million (with a $20 million club option for 2019) — would be in the neighborhood of what might lead Lester to giving the go-ahead for talks to resume.

(For what it’s worth, Hamels signed his deal on July 25.)

Since breaking off talks at the end of spring training, Lester has consistently expressed a desire to keep all focus on his pitching performance, not contract discussions.

In 17 starts this season, the lefty has a 9-7 record with a 2.92 ERA in 114 innings, striking out 115 and walking 29. He is scheduled to start the first game of the Red Sox’ doubleheader against the Orioles, Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Read More: Jon Lester, Red Sox,
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