|Closing Time: Red Sox lose Andrew Benintendi, game in sloppy walk-off loss to Rays||08.24.16 at 11:00 pm ET|
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.”
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.
|Closing Time: David Ortiz, Red Sox outlast Tigers, elements for 8th win in 9 games||08.21.16 at 12:18 am ET|
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.
|David Ortiz leaves game with sore back, expected to play Saturday||08.20.16 at 10:34 am ET|
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.”
|Closing Time: Rick Porcello a winner in return to Detroit as Red Sox pummel Tigers||08.19.16 at 9:56 pm ET|
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.
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia sit; Hanley Ramirez returns vs. Tigers||08.18.16 at 9:58 am ET|
After getting a few hours of sleep, the Red Sox are back at it for an afternoon game with the Tigers.
Given their travel schedule, the lineup resembles one from spring training, but they do get Hanley Ramirez back from the bereavement list. As the corresponding move, Marco Hernandez was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia both get the day off — at least to start — as Sandy Leon will DH, Deven Marrero will play second base and Aaron Hill will play third base against Tigers lefty Matt Boyd.
Bryan Holaday will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Aaron Hill, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Sandy Leon, DH
Bryan Holaday, C
Deven Marrero, 2B
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Clay Buchholz, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|Closing Time: David Ortiz’s 2-run blast helps Drew Pomeranz to first win with Red Sox||08.15.16 at 4:16 pm ET|
As he’s done for years, David Ortiz put the Red Sox on his back, with the heroics this time resulting in a 3-2 win over the Indians in Cleveland on Monday afternoon.
The Red Sox offense couldn’t find any answers through the first two-thirds of the makeup game from April 7. But in the sixth inning Ortiz delivered a one-out, no-doubter home run into the right-field bleachers, giving the Red Sox a lead they would never relinquish.
The dinger brought Ortiz into a tie for 10th in the league for home runs with 27.
Two batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled his 19th homer of the year into right-center field.
The sixth-inning power surge helped starter Drew Pomeranz earn his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Aside from a fourth inning solo shot to Rajai Davis, the lefty was impressive, going 7 2/3 innings and allowing a pair of runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
By and large, Pomeranz showed ability to get himself out of potentially volatile situations, most notably forcing Carlos Santana into a 5-4-3 double play after walking Mike Napoli to start the seventh inning.
He did put himself in trouble in the eighth, however, allowing a double to Chris Gimenez, who later scored on a Davis double to let the Tribe climb within one. Fernando Abad came in to relieve Pomeranz, getting Jose Ramirez to fly out to left.
After allowing a leadoff double to Francisco Lindor then a walk to Mike Napoli to start the ninth, Craig Kimbrel struck out Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Jose Almonte to fly out to earn his 20th save of the year.
|Hanley Ramirez has found his swing, as 2 home runs Friday night suggest||08.12.16 at 11:26 pm ET|
When Hanley Ramirez gets hot, he gets hot.
Since his deluge of homers against the Giants on July 20 in which he parked three homers, the Red Sox first baseman has only added three more to his tally. But that was up until Friday night when he drilled two 400-plus-foot three-run home runs to help the Red Sox to a 9-4 win and climb to 16 home runs this season.
“I’ve been working a lot in the cage, and talking a lot with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] and [Red Sox assistant hitting coach] Victor [Rodriguez] and he keeps telling me, ‘Pick one side of the plate,’ and you know you can’t cover the whole thing before you get two strikes on you,” Ramirez said.
The work with Davis and Rodriguez is noticeable, too. Ramirez has had significantly more success when he keeps his swing short and over the center of the plate in lieu of swinging for the fences.
“The best way to describe it is if he stays short with his swing. He’s best when he stays with a compact swing,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. There’s times where he can get a little bit long, and that’s where you see the contact point be a little deeper in the zone or you see some balls pushed to the side. But when he’s got a compact, aggressive swing, that’s when he’s at his best. And those first two at-bats [Friday] was an example of both.”
With that in mind, Ramirez often cites that he’s not a home run hitter, even though he’s hit at least 20 home runs in six of his previous 10 seasons. According to David Ortiz, that theory is for good reason.
“He probably said that because he’s not a guy that every season he comes in and hits 30 homers. We all know he’s got pop and we all know what he’s capable of. Sometimes it’s even better when you call yourself not a home run hitter so you’re not thinking about hitting homers every time you step up to the plate. That’s some tricky trivia.“
Not a lot has gone right for the Red Sox in August. But with the Friday’s 9-4 win in the series opener against the Diamondbacks, all of those concerns and frustrations seemed to be put on hold — at least for the night.
The most telltale sign of a turnaround came from the bat of Hanley Ramirez. With the Red Sox scoring an eighth-worst in the league 35 runs as a team in August entering Friday, Ramirez electrified the offense with a pair of three-run home runs in the first two innings. The first dinger went an estimated 404 feet, with an advertisement above the Green Monster stopping in its tracks. He then followed it with a 434-foot blast into dead center.
“He comes out of the game you don’t expect the kind of aggressiveness that he took. 3-0 pitch that he gets in the middle of the plate, squares it up good and then again the next inning for a couple of three run homers,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Added Ramirez, “I’ve been working a lot in the cage, and talking a lot with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] and [Red Sox assistant hitting coach] Victor [Rodriguez] and he keeps telling me, ‘Pick one side of the plate,’ and you know you can’t cover the whole thing before you get two strikes on you.”
The first baseman did this all amid concerns of a sore back following a nasty collision at first base Thursday with Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
“I think I don’t have to be 100 percent at this point in the season to go out there,” Ramirez said, noting that his back was still in a little pain.
Ramirez was not the only one flexing his muscles for the Red Sox, as David Ortiz drilled a solo home run into straightaway center in the bottom of the seventh for his 26th blast of the year.
|Closing Time: Red Sox spoil Eduardo Rodriguez’s great start, suffer 2nd straight brutal loss to Yankees||08.11.16 at 10:14 pm ET|
After suffering through one of their worst losses of the season, the Red Sox needed a bounce-back win more than anything.
However, what they got instead was yet another crushing blow.
After starter Eduardo Rodriguez pitched seven innings of one-run ball, the Yankees came back to score three runs in the eighth off of reliever Brad Ziegler — including two on a crucial Andrew Benintendi misplay in left — to escape with a 4-2 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
The loss left the Red Sox only a half-game ahead of the Tigers for the second spot in the American League wild card race. They trail the Blue Jays in the American League East by three games. The Red Sox have not won a series since sweeping the Giants at home on July 19 and 20.
Five of the Red Sox’ last six losses have seen the team lose by no more than three runs. After the game, manager John Farrell said the missed chances to score on offense have been the biggest reason for failing to win these close games. The Red Sox stranded nine men on base Thursday.
“Once again, with men in scoring position, that has been a little bit of a missed opportunity at this point,” Farrell said.
Rodriguez kept the Red Sox in front for most of the game, holding the Yankees to one run on three hits while striking out six. He outdueled Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings.
“The velocity was good,” Rodriguez said. “The slider was working, the two-seamer was working … Everything was pretty good tonight.”
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