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Closing Time: Drew Pomeranz struggles, Red Sox can’t get clutch hit in loss to Orioles 09.13.16 at 10:38 pm ET
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It was a frustrating night for the Red Sox in their loss to the Orioles. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

It was a frustrating night for the Red Sox in their loss to the Orioles. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tuesday night went almost the opposite as it did Monday for the Red Sox and Orioles.

On Monday the Red Sox knocked Orioles starter Wade Miley out of the game after 1 1/3 innings, and on Tuesday the Orioles knocked Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz out of the game after two-plus innings.

Unlike the Orioles on Monday, the Red Sox made it a competitive game, but they still fell 6-3.

The Red Sox went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, the Blue Jays also lost, so now both Toronto and Baltimore trail the Sox by two games in the AL East.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, Pomeranz allowed five runs in the second inning, including two home runs. J.J. Hardy started the scoring with a three-run shot and then after a Drew Stubbs walk, No. 9 batter Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer.

Pomeranz made it out of the inning, but then was pulled after allowing a lead off single in the third. The two-plus innings made it the second-shortest start of his career.

“A very long inning offensively on their part. 45 pitches is a high number,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “A couple of walks mixed in on a couple of 3-2 pitches that were up in the strike zone. Fastball to Hardy, 3-2 curveball to Reimold. Two swings of the bats, as they are very capable of doing at any point in the lineup, is to drive the ball out of the ballpark.”

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Dustin Pedroia, xander bogaerts,
Closing Time: Rick Porcello wins 20th, Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts homer as Red Sox pummel Blue Jays 09.09.16 at 10:33 pm ET
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Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game on Friday in Toronto. (John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports)

Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game on Friday in Toronto. (John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — The Red Sox visited Toronto on Friday intent on growing their lead in the American League East.

They did so in overwhelming fashion.

Right-hander Rick Porcello won his 20th game and Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts homered to pace an offensive explosion as the Red Sox destroyed the Blue Jays, 13-3, to open a two-game lead in the AL East.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” said Porcello, whose first order of business was to call his parents. “It’s hard to win one game in the big leagues let alone 20. I’m very proud of that. At the same time it’s collective. We had to swing the bats and play defense. It’s a complete team effort. Sharing this with all 25 guys. Or 40 now that we’re in September.”

“Well, what Rick has done for a long stretch now, his game-plan that he prepares and he executes it,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “That’s the thing, his execution has been outstanding because he’s pitching with average velocity but his location is tremendous. He knows when to elevate and he’s been able to use breaking balls in certain counts that have worked to his advantage. More than anything, he doesn’t add baserunners by the walk. One walk again here tonight. Like I said, he knows what he’s doing. He’s got complete conviction to each pitch he throws and it’s evident by the bottom-line results.”

Porcello, blessed with overwhelming run support all season, was staked to a 1-0 lead in the first, 2-0 in the second and 4-0 in the third. He cruised from there, improving to 20-3 and lowering his ERA to 3.21. He allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one.

The Red Sox entered the game with the best offense in the American League and they did nothing to dispute that notion.

They struck quickly in the first. Dustin Pedroia led off with a single and scored on Mookie Betts’ two-out double.

They added another run in the second on Pedroia’s RBI single and two more in the third on Travis Shaw’s sacrifice fly and an error by left fielder B.J. Upton.

Devon Travis got two of the runs back with a single in the third, but the Red Sox kept piling on. They scored one in the fourth on a Pedroia sacrifice fly and then exploded for sixth in the seventh to build an 11-2 lead.

Bogaerts and Ramirez both homered in the frame.

But Friday, was Porcello’s day.

“He’s probably the MVP of our team right now,” said Jackie Bradley Jr. of his starting pitcher. “He’s tremendous on the mound.”

Closing Time note

The last Red Sox pitcher to win 20 games was Josh Beckett in 2007.

“They do it differently,” said Farrell when asked to compare the two pitchers. “I think Rick is probably more of a four-pitch pitcher where Josh was primarily fastball-curveball and changeup. Might not have the power that Beckett did, but still, when you’re talking about sending a guy to the mound that’s going to go deep in ballgames, the similarity is the wins obviously. Still, they do it a little bit differently in their own way.”

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Porcello was once again on top of his game, easily out-dueling Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who was bounced in the third inning.

— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia remained red-hot. He recorded three more singles and drove in four runs.

— First baseman Hanley Ramirez has saved his best baseball for the end of the season. He blasted a three-run homer in the seventh to blow the game open.

— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, mired in a lengthy slump, stroked two hits, including a solo homer to get things started during a six-run seventh.

— Five members of the starting lineup recorded multiple hits (Pedroia, Bogaerts, Betts, Ramirez, Leon, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ramirez).

— The Red Sox outfielders tried a little something new in their celebration after the win. “We’re mixing it up a little bit. It was the debut of the ski jump today,” said Bradley Jr.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Second baseman Deven Marrero made an error in the eighth, leading to an unearned run.

Read More: Blue Jays, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, Red Sox
Red Sox Lineup: Xander Bogaerts gets day off as Rick Porcello, Red Sox seek to complete sweep of D’backs 08.14.16 at 12:58 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox look to sweep the Diamondbacks on Sunday behind their best pitcher, Rick Porcello.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts will get the day off after battling recent fatigue. Bogaerts is batting .203 in his last 18 games, dropping his batting average to .313, the lowest it has been since May 8.

“Like anybody, he needs a little bit of a day to get some fresh legs,” manager John Farrell said before the game. “He’s scuffling at the plate right now a little bit where he might lunging at times, he might be caught in between at times. Maybe a day to kind of catch his breath a little bit is needed.”

As for Porcello, he’s looking to improve upon the best home record (11-0) in the game. The Red Sox have won all 12 of his starts at Fenway Park.

“Rick in his own right may be on the path to his best year as a major-league pitcher himself,” Farrell said. “Rick has been extremely comfortable in Fenway, extremely successful. We’ll need it based on what the matchup suggests.”

What has been the difference for Porcello?

“There’s a few reasons, but I think it starts with him being in his second year in Boston,” Farrell said. “He’s more comfortable. He’s certainly comfortable on the mound here. I just think the environment, the expectation, it’s more of a known commodity to him this year than it was a year ago. It’s allowed, that relaxation to let his natural abilities come out. That filters over to his execution which has been probably as consistent as any point in his career — the fewest walks per nine innings allowed. He’s not beat himself. He’s put the ball on the ground at a pretty good rate.”

Here’s the lineup, with the Red Sox facing Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke:

2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Brock Holt
RF Mookie Betts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
3B Aaron Hill
C Sandy Leon
LF Andrew Benintendi

Read More: Red Sox lineup, rick porcello, xander bogaerts, zack greinke
Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez (3 home runs) tees off, Drew Pomeranz implodes, and Red Sox beat Giants in wildest game of year 07.20.16 at 10:57 pm ET
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Fenway Park explodes after Hanley Ramirez blasts his third homer of the night Wednesday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Fenway Park explodes after Hanley Ramirez blasts his third homer of the night Wednesday against the Giants. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez gave the Red Sox a night to remember on an evening Drew Pomeranz hopes to forget.

Ramirez delivered the first three-homer game of his career and made a trio of outstanding defensive plays to overcome an absolute implosion by Pomeranz in his debut as the Red Sox claimed a wild 11-7 victory over the Giants in a possible World Series preview.

With the victory, the Red Sox also moved into sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time since June 4.

“The crowd, that was probably the most electric atmosphere we’ve had this year, and since I got called up,” said third baseman Travis Shaw. “The crowd was into it, they were loud, you could feel the energy tonight. It was different than any other game we’ve played.”

Ramirez put a charge in the place by hitting homers to right, center, and left while driving in six runs. His final homer came two innings after he appeared to vow, “I’ll get you back,” to Giants reliever Albert Suarez, who had drilled him in the fourth. He also made the defensive play of the game, starting a 3-2 double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning of an 8-7 game.

“I never expected this, but it’s a great feeling, it’s a great feeling, especially to end up with a W,” Ramirez said. “This team doesn’t give up. They keep adding runs and runs. We’ve got to continue to score more runs than them.”

This one had a little bit of everything. The Red Sox raced to an 8-0 lead on Ramirez’s first two homers and a monstrous two-run blast by Shaw.

Pomeranz, who was clean through the first three innings, fell apart in the fourth. He failed to retire any of the seven batters he faced and was lifted after allowing a three-run homer to Mac Williamson and a two-run shot to Trevor Brown. His final line read three innings, 8 eight hits, five runs and four strikeouts.

“By tonight, I’ll flush everything,” Pomeranz said. “That’s not me out there.”

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Giants, hanley ramirez, jackie bradley jr.
Closing Time: Red Sox open 2nd half on Wright foot with victory over Yankees 07.15.16 at 10:14 pm ET
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Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw (47) celebrates his two-run homer on Friday with Jackie Bradley Jr. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw (47) celebrates his two-run homer on Friday with Jackie Bradley Jr. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

NEW YORK — Steven Wright is determined to prove he’s no flash in the pan.

The Red Sox knuckleballer took a no-hitter into the fifth and a shutout into the sixth to lead the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory over the Yankees in the first game of the second half.

Wright dazzled the Yankees until running into trouble in the sixth, but by that point the Sox had opened a 5-0 lead on homers by catcher Ryan Hanigan, third baseman Travis Shaw, and shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

“What’s so important to that, you come off of a stretch of days where you’ve been inactive, and the ability to keep a game under control, put up zeroes until we can get an opportunity to score some runs, that’s invaluable,” said manager John Farrell.

The game pitted two teams headed in opposite directions. The Red Sox just acquired left-hander Drew Pomeranz from the Padres in a major deal that bolsters their rotation for the second half. The Yankees, meanwhile, are reportedly holding internal deliberations over whether they should be buyers or sellers come the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

They dropped to 44-45, the first time they’ve been below .500 in the second half since 1995.

The Red Sox looked like the better team on Friday night. Fresh off not pitching in the All-Star Game, Wright set down the first 14 Yankees he faced before Alex Rodriguez beat out a chopper toward third that died on the infield grass with Wright unable to make the barehanded play.

“I felt really good going out there,” Wright said. “I worked a lot with [Tim] Wake[field] before the break on trying to simplify and get my timing back and my rhythm and I felt like today we were able to do that. Hanigan helped me out a lot to make sure I stayed in that rhythm.”

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Michael Pineda, Red Sox, Ryan Hanigan
American League wins All-Star Game, David Ortiz goes hitless in final appearance 07.12.16 at 11:27 pm ET
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David Ortiz Red Sox All-Star Game

David Ortiz salutes the fans during Wednesday’s All-Star Game. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox made their impact on the All-Star Game, but there were no final fireworks for David Ortiz.

The retiring Red Sox legend went 0-for-1 with a walk in his final All-Star appearance, with the real heroics reserved for a pair of Kansas City Royals.

Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez ripped homers three batters apart in the second inning to account for three of the American League’s runs in a 4-2 victory over the NL that ensures home field advantage for the AL in the World Series.

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts scored ahead of Perez’s homer after singling in the second. Teammate Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-2 with a double in the third off of NL reliever Jose Fernandez, while Jackie Bradley Jr. recorded a pair of hits without making overwhelming contact — he beat out a swinging bunt in the second and rolled a broken-bat single to left in the fourth.

The NL jumped to a 1-0 lead on a homer by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in the first. The AL took the lead in the second on Hosmer’s solo homer and Perez’s two-run shot, and scored another in the third on a Hosmer single after Bogaerts had doubled Edwin Encarnacion to third. The AL had a chance for more, but Betts grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The NL got a run back in the fourth on an RBI single by Miami’s Marcell Ozuna. Its best chance to take the lead came in the eighth, when it loaded the bases on two singles and a walk against Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, but Houston’s Will Harris came on to strike out Cardinals infielder Aledmys Diaz looking on a full count to escape the threat.

The Ted Williams MVP Award was given to Hosmer.

Read More: 2016 All-Star Game, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Eric Hosmer
Xander Bogaerts admits he was motivated after not making 2015 All-Star team 07.10.16 at 5:23 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts admitted he was a bit motivated by not making the 2015 All-Star team. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts admitted he was a bit motivated by not making the 2015 All-Star team. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts will soon be boarding a plane to San Diego for the 2016 All-Star Game for his first All-Star appearance, but he very well could have made his first appearance last year in Cincinnati.

In 2015, the shortstop slashed .304/.338/.411 with three home runs and 43 RBIs in the first half of the season, but did not get invited to the game.

Brock Holt was the only member of the Red Sox to get the invite and the other American League shortstops were Alcides Escobar and Jose Iglesias.

A year later, Bogaerts admitted he was motivated by not making the team.

“A little bit. A little bit,” he said following Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Rays to close out the first half. “That definitely helped my second half, but this is a new year and I am thankful.”

Bogaerts was even better in the second half as he slashed .337/.372/.431 with four home runs and 38 RBIs. He’s carried it over into 2016 as going into the break he’s batting .329 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs. The home runs and RBIs are the most by a Red Sox shortstop at the All-Star break since Nomar Garciparra back in 2003.

Since the start of last year, his 313 hits are the second-most in the majors.

Even with his tremendous first half and first All-Star nod, Bogaerts feels there are still ways he can improve in the second half.

“I’m swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone, but that would help a lot definitely,” he said. “I would like to go the other way more in the second half so that’s something I have a lot to do on since I’ve been pulling it as of late. Hopefully I just can go back that.”

Read More: xander bogaerts,
Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello lead Red Sox over Rays 07.09.16 at 6:49 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox seem to be putting things back together again.

Saturday was a solid team win as they got a good performance from their starting pitcher, some timely hits and the bullpen did its job as the Red Sox beat the Rays 4-1.

They have now won three straight for the first time since May 31 and have won five out of their last six games overall.

Trailing 1-0 early, the Red Sox were able to rally as they took a 2-1 lead on one swing of the bat when Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the season — a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the fourth inning. The Sox added two more in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-RBI single to center field.

“He missed in the middle of the plate and I just put a good swing on it,” Bogaerts said. “If he puts the ball where he wants to that might not have happened, but it leaked over the middle.”
Bogaerts’ 10 home runs and 55 RBIs before the All-Star break are the most for a Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 2003.

Rick Porcello closed out his first half of the season with another solid performance. The right-hander went seven innings, allowed one run on six hits, while not walking a batter and striking out five on 94 pitches. He ran into trouble in a few innings, but made a few big pitches to get out those jams.

“Anytime you can pitch deep in the game, keep runners off base and give our guys a chance to go to work at the plate it’s ideal,” Porcello said.

The right-hander improved to 8-0 over nine starts at Fenway Park this season. He is one of three major league pitchers to not have lost in any of their first nine home starts joining Chris Tillman and Stephen Strasburg.

With Junichi Tazawa unavailable, Matt Barnes threw a 1-2-3 eighth and Koji Uehara picked up his second save in as many days to close out the win.

Closing Time note

Porcello has gone at least five innings in 26 straight starts, the longest of his career and longest by a Red Sox pitcher since John Lackey went 39 games from 2013-14.

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

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts, rick porcello, xander bogaerts
6 Red Sox named All-Stars: David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Mookie Betts, Steven Wright, Craig Kimbrel 07.05.16 at 8:01 pm ET
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David Ortiz (left) and Mookie Betts are two of six Red Sox All-Stars. (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz (left) and Mookie Betts are two of six Red Sox All-Stars. (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)

The All-Star rosters have been announced and the Red Sox are well-represented with four starters on the American League team and six players overall, with the possibility of a seventh.

Leading the way is franchise icon David Ortiz, who was voted the starting DH on Tuesday. He’ll make his 10th All-Star appearance in his final season.

The 40-year-0ld will be joined in the starting lineup by three first-timers: shortstop Xander Bogaerts, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and right fielder Mookie Betts.

On the pitching side, knuckleballer Steven Wright will be making his first appearance after an outstanding first half, while closer Craig Kimbrel was a relatively surprising selection after a solid first half.

Meanwhile, second baseman Dustin Pedroia is up for the Final Five voting for the last spot on the roster.

“Well, we’re going to have a great representation of the Red Sox — and deservedly so,” said manager John Farrell. “I think what’s great about the guys that are going to be participating in that game, we’ve got a number of starters, and I think that’s more validation around the country for the votes that they’ve generated, not just by our fans. Whether they’re young players, a veteran as David is, this is a great combination of players that we’re going to be sending to San Diego.”

— Ortiz began the night hitting .339 with 19 homers, 66 RBIs and a league-leading 1.112 OPS. The 40-year-old announced last fall that this season will be his last.

“Having a break is great, you know what I’m saying, but it’s not like I’m going to go to another All-Star Game as a player,” Ortiz said. “It is what it is. Getting around 3 million votes, that’s a lot of people that would like to see you out there. That’s something I really appreciate, that people take their time to vote for myself and my teammates and want us to be there as a massive group. Four days to rest and be chilling is good, but this All-Star Game, I’m going to try to enjoy it the most. This is going to be my final year playing. There’s not going to be another time. I’m going to go out there and have fun and make sure that the fans that voted for David Ortiz enjoy watching me.”

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Read More: Craig Kimbrel, David Ortiz, jackie bradley, mookie betts
Closing Time: Red Sox bats come alive in 4th of July win over Rangers 07.04.16 at 5:17 pm ET
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Brock Holt's fourth home run of the season gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Brock Holt’s fourth home run of the season gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Even though the real fireworks don’t begin until the sun goes down on Monday, the Red Sox and Rangers provided an open before the big show as the teams combined for 35 hits, including 16 extra-base hits in their Fourth of July matinee.

After trailing 4-0 following the top of the first, the Red Sox rallied for a 12-5 win over the Rangers. It was their second straight win and first time they’ve won back-to-back games since June 19.

The Red Sox rallied immediately from their 4-0 deficit as they scored a run in the bottom of the first, but then the real rally came in the fourth as they plated four runs. David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back doubles and then Brock Holt hit a two-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen to put the Red Sox on top 5-4.

They would add another in the fifth, two more in the sixth, another in the seventh on a Dustin Pedroia home run and finally three more in the eighth on a Travis Shaw solo home run and a Mookie Betts two-run home run to complete the 12-run afternoon.

As a team they finished with 21 hits, which included 13 extra-base hits. The 21 hits are a season-high.

Ramirez is on fire at the plate of late as he reached base four times in the game, going 3-for-4 with two walks. In his last 12 games, the first baseman is batting .395 with six doubles, three homers and nine RBIs.

After a rough first inning, Porcello settled in nicely and made it through six innings. The right-handed allowed four runs (three earned) on 12 hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out three to pick up his 10th win of the year. He is 7-0 in eight starts at Fenway Park this year and has gone at least five innings in 25 straight starts, the longest streak by a Red Sox pitcher since John Lackey went 39 from 2013-14.

In relief of Porcello, Matt Barnes threw a scoreless seventh, Koji Uehara allowed a run in 1/3 of an inning before Robbie Ross Jr. got out of the eighth and also the ninth to complete the win.

NECD_ShatteringPerceptions_Img_v3

The Red Sox are now 24-9 in games Holt starts, compared to 21-28 when he doesn’t.

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

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Read More: Brock Holt, David Ortiz, rick porcello, xander bogaerts
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