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Closing Time: Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore makes sure Jon Lester finally gets support as Red Sox win 04.11.14 at 10:08 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Grady Sizemore and Jonny Gomes were going to make sure Jon Lester was finally going to get some runs to work with. And once they did, the Red Sox lefty took advantage.

Gomes and Sizemore both homered in the Sox’ pivotal four-run sixth inning against Yankees starter CC Sabathia, handing the visitors enough offense to claim a 4-2 win over New York, at Yankee Stadium.

(Lester had entered the game having gotten just one run of support in his first two starts.)

“I felt all right,” Lester said. “I had some grinds in there throughout the game. That’s the Yankees. They’re going to grind away at you and make you throw a bunch of pitches. Overall, none of that really matters. We won the game, at the end, that’s all that matters.”

While Gomes’ solo homer and Sizemore’s three-run job highlighted the offense for the Red Sox, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the night for John Farrell‘s team was the continued excellence of Lester. The starter went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, and two walks while striking out six. Lester finished his outing throwing 113 pitches.

Sabathia continued his struggles against the Red Sox, having come in the night totaling a 4-6 mark and 6.48 ERA against the Sox since the beginning of 2011. (The Yankees‘ record in those 12 starts was 4-8.) The lefty went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits, striking out nine and walking two.

“CC is such a competitor and bulldog out there,” Gomes said. “Once he gets the lead you have to do what you can to jump him. So coming out in the sixth he’s going to be pounding the strike zone so I want to try and be aggressive in the count. We did a great job. You really have to congratulate Jon Lester, keeping us off our feet on defense. We couldn’t get much going early on and he kept running out there with those quick inning. He pitched his heart out tonight and I’m glad we were able to give him some runs.”

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

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Gomes’ homer — clearing the left field fence — was his first of the season. The outfielder finished with two hits, marking his first multi-hit game of the season.

- Sizemore also came away with a pair of hits, including the blast over the right field fence with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli having gotten aboard via singles. The Sox left fielder also is now 4-for-10 against left-handers this season.

- Junichi Tazawa came on and ended the Yankees‘ threat in the seventh inning, getting Derek Jeter to fly out to right on the reliever’s second pitch of the night. Tazawa came on for Lester with runners on first and second with the Sox leading by a pair. The righty finished his night allowing just one hit over 1 1/3 innings.

- Edward Mujica came on for the ninth to pick up his first save as a member of the Red Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG 

- Dustin Pedroia went hitless in back-to-back games for the first time this season, going 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .240. Pedroia still hasn’t walked this season.

- Lester could have escaped his outing having surrendered just one run (an Alfonso Soriano homer) if home plate umpire Brian Hays had given the lefty a two-strike cutter against Brian Roberts in the seventh. But Roberts would ultimately walk (to Lester’s dismay), leading to a Kelly Johnson RBI single.

- Koji Uehara was sidelined after experiencing shoulder stiffness. (See details by clicking here.)

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Why Jonny Gomes isn’t about to panic about Red Sox: ‘I don’t think we’re scuffling’ 04.08.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes (AP)

Jonny Gomes isn’t concerned about the Red Sox‘ slow start. (AP)

Forget the 3-5 record, the .211 average with one homer with runners in scoring position and the five ground ball double plays Tuesday night in a 10-7 loss to the Rangers.

Jonny Gomes isn’t worried about the timely hitting yet because, the way he looks at it, the Red Sox haven’t really started. After all, the 2013 Red Sox were the third-best team in all of Major League Baseball in such situations, hitting .278 with 50 homers and a .794 collective OPS. Only St. Louis (.330) and Detroit (.282) were better in the clutch with runners on.

“I don’t think we’re scuffling,” Gomes said. “I don’t think we’ve started. I think it’s too early in the season offensively, defensively, pitching to say we’re scuffling. The starters are barely cracking 40 at-bats right now.”

On Tuesday, the Red Sox were 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position while grounding into a season-high five double plays, one shy of the club record.

“That’s a pitcher’s best friend but it’s early in the season and you want to look at the positive side of things,” Gomes said. “We hit into five double plays and we scored seven runs, I’m sure that’s pretty rare, too. Like I said before, I like where we’re at. If we can score seven runs on five double plays, I think we’re scratching the surface on some things on the positive side.

“He’s got a good downward angle to his ball, a left-hander who is extremely over-the-top with some velocity behind it. Saw some ground balls today from that.”

“I just had my sinker working,” added Rangers starter Martin Perez, who induced all five double plays, including three in the first three innings and five in the first six frames.

Manager John Farrell watched as Felix Doubront made matters worse by giving up five runs in the third inning and the Red Sox weren’t able to recover.

“Once we’re down five, even though we got a number of lead-off hitters on base, we’ve got to be a little bit protective of just giving away outs and it was the ground ball double play that snuffed everything out,” Farrell noted.

“I think [trailing 5-0 and 9-1] speaks for itself. It makes it a lot easier on the starting pitcher and they were able to add some early runs. Playing catch up is tough, especially at this level,” Gomes said.

To Gomes’ point, the Red Sox Tuesday, even in a lopsided loss, started to show signs of warming to the task. They were a very respectable 5-for-14 with RISP, including 4-for-9 and a walk over the last three innings as the Red Sox made things close.

Gomes, 0-for-4 this year with runners in scoring position, would rather just look forward to Wednesday’s starter Jake Peavy.

“Jake is getting his second start [Thursday],” Gomes said. “Two days ago our bullpen sure wasn’t scuffling with all those Ks. We just have put a positive nine together and we’ll roll.”

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Red Sox lineup: Jonny Gomes leads off, Grady Sizemore sits 04.03.14 at 3:16 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

With the Red Sox facing their first left-handed starter of the year in Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, Jonny Gomes will lead off in a game for just the third time in his career and the first time since August 26, 2007. Grady Sizemore, who played the first two games of the season, will get a day off with the Brewers set to throw three straight right-handed pitchers at the Red Sox during the weekend series in Boston and the Sox having committed to not starting Sizemore in more than three games in a row.Chen has enjoyed more success against lefties (.228/.286/.398) than righties (.270/.320/.442) in his two big league seasons, helping to explain not only the off-day for Sizemore and Gomes’ place in the leadoff spot but also the presence of Xander Bogaerts in the fifth spot in the lineup, the highest he’s hit in a big league game. Will Middlebrooks will bat seventh, while Jackie Bradley Jr. — getting his first start of the year — will play center field in Sizemore’s absence and bat ninth. David Ross will be behind the plate for left-hander Felix Doubront. Ross will be hard-pressed to follow this performance.

Dustin Pedroia has destroyed Chen in 21 career plate appearances, posting a .579/.619/.895 line against him. Doubront, meanwhile, has an excellent track record against Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (.118/.167/.118) but has struggled against both Chris Davis (.400/.471/.667) and Nelson Cruz (.500/.625/.667).

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchups, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage visit weei.com/redsox.

RED SOX LINEUP Read the rest of this entry »

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Jonny Gomes on setting tone in opener: ‘We know the tone’ 03.31.14 at 2:38 am ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

BALTIMORE — With the Red Sox opening their 2014 regular season Monday, Jonny Gomes was asked to reflect back on the importance of the team’€™s previous Opening Day.

On that day — April 1, 2013 — the Sox kicked off what would ultimately be a world championship run with an 8-2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Coming off a disastrous 69-win season in 2012, the game meant more than just one of 162. According to Gomes, it was a feeling that paved the way for the team’€™s confidence heading into Monday.

“I think this year is a smidge different,” the outfielder said. “Last year we wanted to set the tone, and we do want to set the tone again but we know what the tone sounds like. We know the tone.

“I think it’€™s a positive we have a smidge of a head-start than we did last year. It’€™s not as much setting the tone as continuing the tone that was set.”

Just about everything that the Red Sox hoped to accomplish in that game in New York came to fruition for John Farrell‘€™s team.

Jon Lester pitched a solid five innings, the top of the Red Sox order (Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia) combined for seven hits, the bullpen combined for four innings of one-hit ball, and Gomes helped supply an aggressiveness on the basepaths, scoring from second on an infield hit.

Next thing they knew, they had won 20 of their first 28 games.

“Jonny Gomes scoring from second base was an extension of what we worked on a lot in spring training, and that’s how important baserunning is to us,” Farrell said. “If there are situations that start [Monday] and call for that, I’m hopeful and confident that we’ll respond as we’ve drilled daily in spring training.”

“It’€™s what we needed. But we just got thrown right to the wolves. Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, at their place, not ours, CC [Sabathia], the best of the best, and we fired on all aspects of the game,” Gomes said. “We pitched, we ran and we played defense. We set the bar high, so we wanted to continue that. We didn’t want to look back and say, ‘We wish we would play like we did Opening Day.’ I think the main thing is just tempo and energy. It’€™s just carrying over from last year.”

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Anthony Ranaudo shines, Jonny Gomes leads off, Andrew Miller struggles, Twins spoil Grapefruit League opener 02.28.14 at 4:18 pm ET
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All players in Red Sox camp were introduced Friday in the Grapefruit opener at JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

All players in Red Sox camp were introduced Friday in the Grapefruit opener at JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Leading pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo looked overpowering in two perfect innings while Andrew Miller struggled as the Minnesota Twins spoiled the official Grapefruit League opener for the Red Sox, 8-2, Friday afternoon in a sunbathed JetBlue Park.

Ranaudo, the 24-year-old righthander who was selected 39th overall in the 2010 supplemental draft, came out blazing. He fanned Minnesota regulars Alex Presley, Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel as part of his four strikeouts on the day. He needed just 24 pitches (19 strikes) to get through two perfect innings.

Jonny Gomes batted three times in the leadoff spot in the order, opening the first inning with a line out to short on a 2-1 pitch. He also flew out to left in the fourth and tapped back to the mound in the sixth.

David Ortiz was 0-for-2 with a check-swing on strike three for a strikeout.

The biggest struggles on the day came for the Red Sox relievers. After walking a batter in a scoreless third, Cuban defector Dalier Hinojosa was hit hard in the fourth, allowing four hits and three runs as the Twins took a 3-0 lead. He recorded just two outs in the fourth before being relieved by minor leaguer Robby Scott.

Andrew Miller ran into bad control issues in the fifth. He walked the bases loaded and allowed a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. He was also relieved by a minor leaguer, Mike McCarthy, who allowed a two-run double to Chris Calobello that put another two runs on Miller’s line. He finished allowing three runs on no hits with a strikeout in two-thirds innings of work.

Other highlights included Mike Napoli singling twice to left field on the afternoon and minor league outfielder Bryce Brentz homering over the center field wall on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth to finally put the Red Sox on the board.

Brock Holt, whose throwing error in the ninth allowed the Twins to make it 8-1, got the run back with a bases-loaded ground out to first in the bottom of the inning to account for the final score. The game took three hours, 10 minutes.

Before the game, all three World Series trophies from 2004, ’07 and last year were on display on the infield and everyone in major league camp was introduced during a 15-minute ceremony honoring the defending World Series champions.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday across town as Allen Webster starts for the Red Sox against the Twins at Hammond Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

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Jake Peavy on D&C: ‘I haven’t even really thought about playing in 2015′ 02.26.14 at 10:49 am ET
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Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about his future, his transition to Boston last summer, and comparisons between Boston and Chicago. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Peavy hasn’t looked beyond the upcoming season, focusing on helping the Red Sox repeat as World Series champions.

“I have no plans, I have no set plans at this point in time of my career,”€ Peavy said. “€œI’€™m crazy blessed, this will be my 13th year in the major leagues. We have all come together, once again, with one goal in mind, and that’€™s to win the World Series in 2014. We understand the process that it takes to get there and we’€™re focused daily at the task at hand, and that’€™s really all I can tell you. I haven’€™t even really thought about playing in 2015.”

When Peavy was traded to the Red Sox, he knew there were players, including Jonny Gomes, he didn’t like.

“Jonny Gomes was a guy I particularly didn’t care for, playing against,”€ Peavy said. “I didn’t — I thought it was more about him, I thought it was showmanship. I wanted Mike Napoli to button up his jersey. Just stuff from the other side. It’€™s good, I don’€™t want to like the opposition.”

On his first day at the clubhouse, Peavy tried to get there first but was beaten by Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia.

“€œWhen I walked in this clubhouse at 12 noon, there were three players already in the clubhouse, which blew me away that on a home game these guys were there already,” Peavy said. “Pedroia was there, Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes were in the clubhouse. Within 30 seconds, and I’€™m not exaggerating this story, of speaking to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he said to me, ‘We’€™re going to win the World Series.’€™ And those words came out of his mouth.”

Added Peavy: “€œWhen I said to Jonny Gomes, ‘€˜Hey Jonny, how you doing?’€™ And here’€™s the quote that everybody thinks is funny, he says, ‘€˜Aww, I’€™m doing wonderful, it’€™s just another day closer to the parade.’€™ And for a second, for a split-second, I didn’t realize what he was speaking of. You know, I hadn’t been around that lingo and that spirit that all you guys had been familiar with. … And then it hit me, this guy is talking about the World Series parade.”

While Peavy enjoyed his time in Chicago, the 32-year-old noted how Boston has a different feel to it.

“A great place, Chicago, once again, big market, great city, but just the — going to U.S. Cellular Field every day and there being [10,000], 15,000 people in it, and not much of an atmosphere,” Peavy said. “€œTo leave that and go into a place where at 12 noon, walking down the street, you feel the atmosphere and the intensity starting to build for a 7 o’clock game, even before you go to the ballpark with people speaking to you. It’€™s a different animal, it’€™s certainly a huge advantage for us as a ball club.”

Added Peavy: “Sometimes we don’€™t feel like playing. I hate to say that. You get run down, you get tired. You get home late, you turn right around, you play in a few games, then you have to wake up at 8:30 in the morning and get there and play a day game. You get beat down, you get run down. When you step out into the atmosphere that Fenway Park always brings, you can’€™t help but be ready to go.”

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Jonny Gomes on D&C: ‘I sure don’t want to see [David Ortiz] in another uni’ 02.24.14 at 10:08 am ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., to chat about last season and preview 2014. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox had a short offseason due to their run to a World Series title, but Gomes said he’s ready for the new campaign.

“I came in a hundred percent mentally checked in,” he said. “Physically, all my numbers, my strengths and the weights that you grab, your squat weights, your bench weights, your conditioning, the 20-30, the half-mile, the stuff are right on pace. So, mentally there. Obviously, we’ll have to see how it pans out. But I’m right where I need to be.”

Gomes said the approach is the same throughout the team.

“I think the makeup of who we are won’t allow [a letdown] to happen. I can tell you singlehandedly, we’re walking out of this place just spent — more spent than last year. There’s more drills, there’s more baserunning, there’s more hitting. I’ve won on other teams. Believe it or not, without winning the World Series on other teams, we come to camp the following year and it seems like we’re having the parade during spring. Attendance is up, season tickets is up, there’s more people here. Everything’s great. But you didn’t win last year, so why are we doing the parade. It’s truly the exact opposite this year.”

Gomes, who has a history of playing on one-year deals, is entering the final year of a two-year deal he signed with the Sox. He said his contract does not effect how he prepares. “Two-year, four-year, 10-year deal, there’s one way and one speed for me to play the game,” he said.

David Ortiz also is entering the last year of a two-year deal, and he’s made it clear he’d like an extension.

“I don’t have the Cooperstown resume that this guy has,” Gomes said. “All I try and do is get in the lineup.

“Well-deserved on his part. Understandably, what he’s got going on. … Obviously, that’s probably three, four, five reasons why we play this game. We play this game to win, but there’s a different element with security and whatnot for your family, and wanting to stay where you’re at. So I understand where he’s coming from. I guess at the end of the day, gosh, I sure don’t want to see him in another uni.”

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