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May 26, 2007
Game Story: Red Sox 7, Rangers 4
In the first week of the season, Tim Wakefield pitched one of the best games of any Red Sox starter this year three hits and one earned run allowed in six innings but was still saddled with the loss, thanks to no run support.
It could be said, then, that he had last night coming.
Wakefield wasn't as sharp last night as he was back on April 6, but his backing was far better. The knuckleballer survived a three-run fifth and snapped a personal two-game losing steak as the Sox beat back the Texas Rangers, 7-4.
The win gave the surging Red Sox an 11-game bulge in the A.L. East, their largest to date. The Sox have won three of their last four and wrap up their six-game road trip this afternoon.
Wakefield pitched seven innings and gave up four earned runs, evening his record at 5-5.
Javy Lopez and Brendan Donnelly took care of the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon came in to notch his 12th save.
Manny Ramirez produced half of the Red Sox eight hits, falling a homer shy of the cycle with a triple, double and two singles for his first four-hit game of the season and his first since last Aug. 18.
``Seeing him swing the bat like that is gratifying, said manager Terry Francona. ``He took some good swings.
The Sox rebounded from a 4-2 deficit when they erupted for five runs in the sixth. The Rangers issued four walks that inning.
Like fellow starter Brandon McCarthy the night before, Texas righthander Vicente Padilla was done in partly by his lack of control.
Following a leadoff single by Kevin Youkilis, Ramirez drilled an opposite-field triple into the right field corner, plating Youkilis. A wild pitch from Padilla enabled Ramirez to trot home from third and tie the game.
A walk to J.D. Drew and a single by Mike Lowell kept the inning going and signaled the end of the night for Padilla, but his replacement, Joaquin Benoit, was no more effective.
He quickly yielded an RBI-single up the middle to Coco Crisp, then walked No. 8 hitter Doug Mirabelli to fill the bases.
A sacrifice fly to center from Alex Cora scored Lowell, and two more walks one to Julio Lugo and another to Kevin Youkilis forced in the fifth run of the inning.
``For me, the encouraging thing was that we came right back, said Francona. ``That's a good way to play the game. We didn't let them get comfortable (with the lead)."
Wakefield had retired 11 of the first 13 hitters of the night when the Rangers stirred in the fifth.
Gerald Laird doubled to left, scoring Frank Catalanotto (hit-by-pitch) and Marlon Byrd (single), giving Texas a 3-2 edge.
A sharp single to left from Ramon Vazquez gave Texas two runners in scoring position and Kenny Lofton delivered Laird from third on a sacrifice fly, Laird beating Ramirez's poor throw to the plate.
Wakefield righted himself after the fifth, getting five of the next six hitters he faced. In five of the seven innings he pitched, in fact, Wakefield faced the minimum number of hitters.
``I would have liked to have that fifth inning back, said Wakefield. ``I felt like I was still throwing the ball well, but they hit some balls that found holes. (The quick innings) are a barometer for me it tells me I'm in the strike zone, getting good movement and getting swings early in the count."
Youkilis, extending his hitting streak to 18 games, produced his first of two hits in the fourth, a double to left off Padilla.
Padilla then walked David Ortiz and Ramirez to fill the bases. The slumping J.D. Drew hit what appeared to be a tailor-made double play to first baseman Mark Teixeira. But after Teixeira's throw to second forced Ramirez, Michael Young's throw back to first went over Padilla's head. Youkilis had already scored and the error enabled Ortiz to score all the way from second.
Texas had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Sammy Sosa stroked a leadoff double to left and rode home on Marlon Byrd's single.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 11:47 PM | Permalink
Game Story: Chiefs get four in ninth, top PawSox
The Pawtucket Red Sox were well on their way to a fourth straight win, but the Syracuse Chiefs had other thoughts.
The Chiefs scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning off PawSox reliever Mike Burns en route to a 10-7 come-from-behind victory last night at McCoy Stadium.
Burns’ record drops to 2-4 with an 8.06 ERA and has blown five of eight save opportunities this season.
Former PawSox player and current Syracuse designated hitter Chad Mottola belted a three-run homer in the ninth to secure the victory.
Pawtucket had 7-2 lead after four innings, but the Chiefs chipped away and scored eight runs over the last five innings for the victory.
“You have to look at the game as a whole,” said Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson. PawSox starter “Runelvys (Hernandez) did a great job of battling and we’re facing a team that has a lot of guys who can hit. When they hit the ball it’ll account for something. It was just one of those things tonight where we couldn’t hold them down. They started pecking away late in the game and you really have to tip your hat to those guys.
“I don’t think Burns made bad pitches,” added Johnson. “We just got beat tonight. That club just came back and beat us tonight. Those types of games are hard to lose, but we did not beat ourselves tonight.”
The Pawtucket offense was solid and banged out 12 hits with outfielder Brandon Moss providing a 4-for-5 performance with three RBI.
“He was perfect,” said Johnson. “He had a lot of professional at-bats tonight. He’s done a great job and it’s good to see.”
It’s very possible Hernandez made his last start for the PawSox last night. A veteran of 78 big-league starts for the Kansas City Royals in parts of four seasons, Hernandez signed with the Red Sox as a minor-league free agent last December and has an out-clause in his contract, stating if the Red Sox don’t recall him to Boston by June 1 then he’s allowed to sign with another club.
If he does start another game for Pawtucket, it could be Thursday against Columbus.
“He’s done exactly what we thought he’d do,” said Johnson. “He’s a veteran guy with multiple years of experience in the big leagues. You look for guys like that to come down and stabilize your staff. You take away the win-lose record; we just haven’t scored any runs for the guy. He’s done a real nice job for us. . . With the way pitching is around baseball he’s a guy who can help a club, but we hope he can stay here.”
Hernandez, who would not speak with the local media after the game, entered last night’s start with a 0-3 record in six starts for the PawSox, and also spent some time on the disabled list (April 25 to May 7) with a strained left hamstring, which caused him to miss a few starts.
If he does decide to look elsewhere for employment, that could mean Red Sox pitching prospect Clay Buchholz could be promoted from Double-A Portland. The 22-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.97 E.R.A in eight starts for the Sea Dogs. He has struck out 61 and walked only seven.
For now Hernandez remains with Pawtucket and he battled at times last night, but he was able to control most of his outing.
The Chiefs’ Russ Adams and Kevin Barker each hit solo home runs in the top of the first off Hernandez, but Pawtucket’s offense answered in the bottom of the inning as Moss delivered a two-run double to tie the game at 2-2.
Following the two runs Hernandez surrendered in the first, he settled down and retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced before allowing a two-run triple to the Chiefs’ Russ Adams in the fifth inning. Fortunately, the PawSox scored one run in the third and four more in the fourth, so Hernandez and Pawtucket still held a 7-4 advantage.
Hernandez’s day on the job was over after he retired the side in order in the sixth. The veteran right-hander allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout, throwing 112 pitches (60 for strikes) in his seventh start of the season for Pawtucket.
Syracuse scored a run in the top of the seventh inning as Adams provided an RBI-single, his fourth RBI of the game, off Pawtucket reliever Craig Hansen to cut the Chiefs’ deficit to two.
The Chiefs pushed across another run in the top of the eighth as John-Ford Griffin (cq) hit a solo homer off PawSox reliever Bryan Corey to cut Syracuse’s deficit to one, 7-6. Moss recorded his fourth hit of the game, a one-out triple to deep right field, but he was left stranded 90 feet away.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Chiefs finally knotted the game at 7-7. Syracuse lead-off man Wayne Lydon led off the inning with a double and later scored on Adams’s RBI-single off Burns. Adams finished the night 4-for-5, including a home run, triple, a pair of singles and five RBI.
The Chiefs, however, weren’t done.
Mottola crushed a three-run homer off Burns to take a 10-7 lead and Syracuse held on for the win.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 10:05 PM to PawSox
FINAL: Syracuse 10, Pawtucket 7
PAWTUCKET -- PawSox reliever Mike Burns surrendered four runs in the top of the ninth inning as the Syracuse Chiefs came from behind to beat Pawtucket last night at McCoy Stadium, 10-7.
The loss snaps the PawSox' three-game winning streak. The Chiefs' Russ Adams went 4-for-5 with a home run, triple, two singles and five RBI to lead Syracuse.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 9:00 PM | Permalink
Lineups for Sat. night
Here are the lineups for tonight
Julio Lugo, ss
Kevin Youkilis, 1b
David Ortiz, dh
Manny Ramirez, lf
J.D. Drew, rf
Mike Lowell, 3b
Coco Crisp, cf
Doug Mirabelli, c
Alex Cora, 2b
Kenny Lofton, cf
Michael Young, ss
Mark Teixeira, 1b
Sammy Sosa, rf
Frank Catalanotto, lf
Marlon Byrd, lf
Ian Kinsler, 2b
Gerald Laird, c
Ramon Vazquez, 3b
Posted by Sean McAdam at 6:12 PM | Permalink
Game story by Sean McAdam: Sox rout Rangers, 10-6
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas – Following a day off in the schedule, the Red Sox’ bats snapped back to life last night, though it was hard to tell what had revitalized them more – the rest or the sight of the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff.
As a staff, the Rangers came into last night 13th – next to last – in the American League and their rotation was dead last. Then, as if to demonstrate that their ranking was no statistical anomaly, the Rangers yielded 10 hits and seven walks as the Sox rolled to a rain-delayed 10-6 win.
The victory, coupled with the Yankees’ loss to the Angels, re-established the Sox’ 10 1/2 game lead in the American League East.
In a balanced attack, seven different Red Sox hitters produced at least one RBI. The Sox led 4-0 in the second, coughed up the lead, then scored six more to pull away from the Rangers, who lost for the eighth time in the last 11 tries.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who left after five innings complaining of nausea, picked up his sixth straight win to improve to 7-2.
''The fact that he got through five innings speaks to what kind of competitor he is,’’ said pitching coach John Farrell.
Several teammates said Matsuzaka could be heard getting sick in the runway to the dugout between innings.
''I felt very good coming out of my warmup in the bullpen,’’ said Matsuzaka in a statement provided to reporters. ''But of all a sudden, I didn’t feel too well. I tried my best to take the team as deep into the game to fulfill my responsibility to the team.’’
As was typical of Matsuzaka’s outings earlier this season, one bad inning resulted in most of the damage. After allowing just one over the first three innings, Matsuzaka was knocked around for five runs in the fourth.
The Rangers launched four extra-base hits, including two homers – one by noted Sox nemesis Frank Catalanotto, another by former Sox utilityman Ramon Vazquez.
Matsuzaka steadied himself with a scoreless fifth, then didn’t return, having thrown just 85 pitches, his lowest total of the season.
''The fact that he gutted it out,’’ said catcher Jason Varitek, ''says a lot.’’
The Sox believed that Matsuzaka was merely suffering from a 24-hour stomach bug, but as a precaution, he was given fluids – orally and intravenously – after the game.
They didn’t have to do much in the second against Texas starter Brandon McCarthy, who walked four in the span of five hitters. Jason Varitek had a sacrifice fly and Dustin Pedroia chipped in with a bases-loaded, opposite-field single. The Sox led, 4-0, after 1 1/2, and McCarthy was gone by the top of the third.
''Any time you can get into the bullpen early,’’ said Terry Francona, ''it’s really helpful – especially in the first game of a series.’’
Having lost the lead in the fourth, the Sox stormed back with two in the fifth and four more in the sixth. Ortiz drilled a run-scoring double down the right field line and Manny Ramirez followed with a single off the second-base bag, which kicked into left field.
Run-scoring hits from Jason Varitek (triple), Coco Crisp (double), Julio Lugo (single) and Youkilis (single) sparked the four-run sixth.
''We came right back (after falling behind),’’ said Francona, ''which was good. And one through nine, we had guys chipping in.’’
Indeed, every starter except slumping J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell contributed at least one hit and every starter except Pedroia scored at least one run.
With Matsuzaka gone from the game, the Sox got four innings of one-run relief from five relievers. The lone run against the relievers came on a wild pitch by Brendan Donnelly.
Otherwise, the pen was stellar, allowing just one hit and one walk while compiling three strikeouts.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 2:14 AM | Permalink
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