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Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes fall apart in 6th inning as Royals rout Red Sox 08.28.16 at 11:34 pm ET
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The Royals scored eight runs in the sixth inning to beat the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

The Royals scored eight runs in the sixth inning to help beat the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Shutdown innings are something the Red Sox play close attention to and unfortunately for them and Eduardo Rodriguez, the sixth inning Sunday night wasn’t one of them.

After scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning the Red Sox took a 4-2 lead, but that lead lasted all of half an inning as they allowed eight runs in the top of the sixth as the Royals ended up by routing the Red Sox, 10-4.

Kansas City took two-of-three in the weekend series.

Rodriguez started the sixth inning off by walking Eric Hosmer and following a double and a walk, the Royals had bases loaded with no outs and the left-hander was clearly laboring. After getting a fly out he left the game with the bases still loaded and unfortunately for him, reliever Matt Barnes couldn’t bail him out.

In fact, he did even worse.

Barnes pitched to five batters and didn’t even record an out. He finished by allowing five runs on three hits and hit a batter. The big blow was a bases clearing triple from No. 9 batter Raul Mondesi. Robbie Ross Jr. eventually got out of the inning, but not before the Royals plated a season-high eight runs in the frame.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I would have hoped,” Barnes said. “I thought I made a good pitch to [Alcides] Escobar. He hit the 30-foot chopper and didn’t have a plan on anybody. Next hitter Mondesi, he jumped a first pitch heater and I went back and looked and I thought the pitch was to him maybe not a good pitch, but in the grand scheme I thought it was on the outer corner of the plate. Jumped a first pitch heater. Let a couple of balls go. Didn’t think I threw terrible pitches, maybe a combination of bad luck and obviously they squared some balls up. That one is on me. I have to do a better job of securing that lead and getting out of that inning.”

In his first time back after being skipped due to hamstring tightness, Rodriguez finished the night going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on four hits while walking four and striking out one. The four walks tied a season-high.

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Read More: David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez, matt barnes,
Closing Time: David Price, streaking Dustin Pedroia get Red Sox back on track in win over Royals 08.27.16 at 10:13 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

David Price looked like a Cy Young candidate. Dustin Pedroia looked like an MVP.

The Kansas City Royals didn’t have a chance.

With Price delivering one of his most encouraging outings of the season and Pedroia extending his consecutive-hit streak to 11 with his second straight four-hit night, the Red Sox cruised to an 8-3 victory that ended their modest losing streak at three games and dealt the Royals just their fourth loss in 20 games.

Staked to an immediate 2-0 lead against Royals starter Danny Duffy, Price gave it back in the second on a homer by Salvador Perez and an RBI double by Alcides Escobar. But the Royals advanced no further, because Price locked in.

Featuring perhaps his best fastball of the season, Price didn’t need to fool the Royals so much as overpower them. His final pitch — a 95 mph fastball at the knees over the outside corner — froze Alex Gordon looking as Price’s seventh strikeout victim.

“Everything was working for me in the first two innings,” Price said. “It’s just, I didn’t make pitches. I felt good, I left a cutter in the middle of the plate to Salvador with some fastballs as well as to Escobar and Alex Gordon as well. But after that I just moved forward and made pitches.”

Meanwhile, the offense teed off on Duffy, who had won 10 straight decisions dating back to June 11. The American League’s ERA leader was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in five innings, including home runs by Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez that prompted Duffy to mouth, “No way,” on the mound. His ERA climbed from 2.66 to 3.01.

The offensive star was once again Pedroia. He recorded three singles and a double while lifting his average to a team-high .321. He reached base in 12 straight plate appearances (11 hits, one walk) before grounding into a double play to end the eighth.

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Read More: David Ortiz, David Price, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez
Closing Time: Steven Wright struggles in 1st inning, Red Sox can’t convert chances once again in loss to Royals 08.26.16 at 10:25 pm ET
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Steven Wright didn't have his best stuff early on, but got it together. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Steven Wright didn’t have his best stuff early on, but got it together. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park and the return of Steven Wright to the mound didn’t go as either would have liked.

Wright allowed five runs in the first inning and the Red Sox struggled with runners in scoring position once again, as they fell to the Royals, 6-3 Friday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox have now lost three straight games for the first time since July 27.

The knuckleballer allowed two homers in the first to account for the five runs. Eric Hosmer took him over the Monster for a three-run shot, and then after a single, Alex Gordon also hit one into the Monster seats to give the Royals a 5-0 lead with only one out recorded in the game. Wright ended up by throwing 40 pitches in the inning.

“Yeah, I think I got a little antsy,” Wright said. “Too much adrenaline in that first inning. The walks killed me. I mean, you go out there and walk a couple of guys against a team like that, Hosmer gets one that gets out and I’m right there with three runs. If I would have been able to hold them to that, it would have been good, but I gave up the other home run. When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that’s a tough deficit to overcome for any offense, especially against a team like the Royals.”

To Wright’s credit, the knuckleballer settled in and didn’t allow a run after the first and just three more hits. He finished the game going six innings, allowing the five runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out one. He threw a total of 95 pitches.

Afterwards, Wright said his shoulder felt good — perhaps not as strong as it once was, but he was able to find the right release point after the first inning.”

Junichi Tazawa allowed a home run to Lorenzo Cain in his second inning of work in relief for the sixth Royals run. Fernando Abad pitched the final two innings following Tazawa.

Once again, the Red Sox couldn’t do much with their chances as they left the bases loaded in the first, and first and third in both the third and fifth innings. They also had first and second with no outs in the ninth with David Ortiz up, but he hit into a double play. The Red Sox ended the game with runners on second and third.

The Red Sox’ first run came in the first inning when Mookie Betts drove in Dustin Pedroia with a single to left. They added another in the sixth when Pedroia singled home Brock Holt and another in the ninth when Betts had an RBI single.

Overall, they were 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

“We continually do a great job of creating opportunities and I am confident this will turn,” Farrell said. “I can’t say that we expanded the strike zone with men in scoring position or the bases loaded. Kennedy challenged us and we came up empty with a number of scoring opportunities.”

Betts led the offense with a 5-for-5 performance with five singles. The five hits were a career high.

Closing Time note

Ortiz’s double was the 625th of his career, which allowed him to pass Hank Aaron for 10th all-time.

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

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Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts, steven wright
David Ortiz wears Aly Raisman’s Olympic medals before gymnast throws out first pitch at 7:53 pm ET
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Two superstars in their respective sports were together Friday night at Fenway Park as USA gymnast Aly Raisman threw out the first pitch to David Ortiz.

Raisman, a Needham, Massachusetts native, helped the U.S. team win gold with impressive performances on the vault, balance beam and floor routine. Raisman won a silver medal in the individual all-around competition, while also winning silver again in the individual floor exercise.

Before throwing out the first pitch she let Ortiz wear all three of her medals.

Read More: Aly Raisman, David Ortiz,
Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz sits in series finale vs. Rays 08.25.16 at 10:24 am ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Less than 18 hours after hitting his 30th home run of the season, David Ortiz will get the afternoon off in the series finale against the Rays.

Hanley Ramirez will be the DH in his absence, while Travis Shaw will play first base and Aaron Hill will play third base as the Red Sox go up against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Bryan Holaday will catch Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi predictably isn’t in the lineup after suffering a knee injury Wednesday night.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Chris Young, LF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryan Holaday, C
Drew Pomeranz, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: David Ortiz,
Closing Time: Red Sox lose Andrew Benintendi, game in sloppy walk-off loss to Rays 08.24.16 at 11:00 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

The Red Sox lost in horrible fashion on Wednesday night, but that wasn’t the worst takeaway from a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Rays.

The defeat came at a steep cost as rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who has given the team an injection of life, badly rolled his left ankle while attempting to retreat to second base on a grounder to short. He needed to be helped off the field and was later diagnosed with a knee sprain.

The Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead and lost in the 11th on an error by pitcher Heath Hembree, who failed to glove Travis Shaw’s underhand flip at first. Hembree fired home in an attempt to nail runner Luke Maile at the plate, but Sandy Leon couldn’t handle the throw and Maile was ruled safe as the Rays celebrated.

Afterward, the Red Sox cared mainly about Benintendi.

“You never like to see a player come off,” manager John Farrell said. “But he has certainly grabbed the attention and the support, he’s been embraced by the rest of this club and we’ve just got to make sure we get all the appropriate information on any kind of further injury or the extent of it [Thursday] morning.”

The Red Sox had a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the American League East, because the Blue Jays lost to the Angels. The Red Sox lost for just the third time in 13 games.

The winning run scored with two outs, making Hembree’s miscue that much tougher to swallow. Kevin Kiermaier hit the roller to first that Hembree botched while covering the bag.

“That’s kind of a routine 3-1 play,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately it comes at a time where you’ve got two outs, a guy’s on the move, it ends up being the difference in this one. That’s a routine play.”

Added Hembree: “It’s difficult. We work on that all the time, and it’s a play I should make 10 out of 10 times, but I didn’t make it tonight, so just have to move on.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, David Ortiz, David Ortiz oldest, Rays
David Ortiz becomes oldest player to hit 30 home runs in season at 8:21 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Usually when someone wants to get reaction to David Ortiz breaking some milestone, his canned answer this season has been, “It just means I’m getting old.”

Cue up the quote machine.

The Red Sox designated hitter made history Wednesday night, jumping on a first-pitch curveball from Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese in the first inning, sending it into the right field bleachers for his 30th home run of the season.

With the two-run blast Ortiz becomes the oldest player in Major League Baseball history to hit 30 homers in a single season, having managed the feat at 40 years and 280 days old.

The home run also allowed Ortiz to reach 100 RBIs for the season. He joins Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig as the only players with 10 or more season of at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs for a single team.

Ortiz now has nine 100-RBI seasons with the Red Sox, tying him with Ted Williams for the most in franchise history.

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Closing Time: David Ortiz, Red Sox outlast Tigers, elements for 8th win in 9 games 08.21.16 at 12:18 am ET
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David Ortiz is congratulated after blasting a two-run homer against the Tigers on Saturday. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

David Ortiz is congratulated after blasting a two-run homer against the Tigers on Saturday. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

DETROIT — The Red Sox suddenly look like one of the best teams in baseball again.

They continued what is turning into a season-defining road trip with their eighth victory in nine games, beating the Tigers 3-2 despite a pair of lengthy rain delays that entrusted the final four innings to their beleaguered bullpen, which delivered.

The star of this one was once again David Ortiz. Honored before the game with framed photos of his appearance at the 2005 All-Star Game in Comerica Park, Ortiz once again proved a discourteous guest by blasting a two-run homer in the fifth as part of a three-hit night.

The homer, his 29th of the season, made a winner of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who delivered five effective innings before a 72-minute rain delay ended his evening prematurely after just 51 pitches (39 strikes).

“Once again, he’s the difference in this one offensively,” manager John Farrell said of Ortiz.

The Red Sox remained a half-game behind the Blue Jays, who rallied to beat the Indians. They moved two games ahead of the Orioles for the first AL wild card spot, and dropped the Tigers 5 1/2 games behind; not even two weeks ago, the Tigers led the Red Sox by a game.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox, tigers
David Ortiz leaves game with sore back, expected to play Saturday 08.20.16 at 10:34 am ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

DETROIT — The management of David Ortiz continues.

The Red Sox slugger may appear ageless on the field — he slammed his 28th homer in the first inning of Friday’s victory over the Tigers — but his body offers frequent reminders that he’s in fact every one of his 40 years as he guts out his final season.

Case in point: he left Friday’s 10-2 win with what manager John Farrell described as a sore upper back, but he’s expected to rejoin the lineup on Saturday night.

“Little stiffness in the upper back, but nothing significant,” Farrell said. “He should be good to go.”

Ortiz left the clubhouse on Friday before reporters arrived, so he was unavailable for comment, but Farrell saluted the All-Star slugger, who continues to amaze during his farewell tour. He’s hitting .317 with 28 homers and 95 RBIs, and he leads the league in doubles (38), slugging percentage (.628), and OPS (1.038).

“I guess you could say he’s defying the odds when you look at the age,” Farrell said. “But he’s been such a good performer for so many years. We kind of felt early in the season, after he made the announcement, he was even that much more free of mind to go out and enjoy the game, play it as it unfolds in front of him. As well as David does to balance all the requests and all the potential distractions some other players might succumb to, he handles it all in stride and continues to be a main cog in this offense.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox,
Closing Time: Rick Porcello a winner in return to Detroit as Red Sox pummel Tigers 08.19.16 at 9:56 pm ET
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Rick Porcello was the picture of concentration while beating the Tigers on Friday. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello was the picture of concentration while beating the Tigers on Friday. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

DETROIT — It’s not as if Rick Porcello can say he was out to prove the Tigers wrong, since the man who traded him away now runs the Red Sox.

But there’s no question Porcello took a little extra pleasure in beating his former team on Friday night as the Red Sox bounced back from one of their worst losses of the season with an overwhelming 10-2 victory.

The Sox tagged standout rookie starter Michael Fulmer with a career-worst six runs, and that was more than enough for Porcello, who allowed a two-run homer in the second and then silenced the Tigers en route to his 17th win of the season.

At 17-3 with a 3.22 ERA, Porcello strengthened his dark-horse candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award in a wide-open field. He allowed 2 runs (1 ER) on four hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 3.30 and joining Toronto’s J.A. Happ as the only 17-game winners in the big leagues.

“He’s putting himself in the conversation, there’s no doubt,” manager John Farrell said of the Cy Young race before the game. “Innings per start, efficiency, all that. He’s been our stopper, and has had one heck of a year for us.”

The Red Sox needed it on Friday after Thursday’s bullpen meltdown turned a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 loss.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, jackie bradley jr., Red Sox
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