-- The Sox' bullpen coughed up six runs to the Orioles, only the second time in the last 16 games that the opposition has scored against Boston's pen. Baltimore also turned the trick on June 2, scoring four runs at Hideki Okajima's expense.
-- J.D. Drew has homered in three straight games, the fourth time in his career that he has done so, and the first time since May 12-14, 2004. Drew has a nine-game hitting streak. He's batting .517 (15 for 29) over that stretch with five homers, three doubles, a triple and 12 RBI.
-- Drew and Manny Ramirez hit back-to-back homers in the fifth. It was the sixth time the Sox have hit consecutive homers.
-- Ramirez's hitting streak has reached 14 games. Ramirez is batting .389 (21 for 54) with seven homers, two doubles and 20 RBI in his streak.
-- Manny Delcarmen served up the tie-breaking sacrifice fly to Kevin Millar, the first batter he faced in the seventh. But the right-hander worked 1 2/3 shutout innings, stretching his scoreless streak to 7 1/3 innings.
-- The double by Dustin Pedroia in the first inning snapped the second baseman's 0-for-18 drought. Pedroia went 2 for 3.
Postgame: Hansen's scoreless streak comes to an end
By STEVEN KRASNER
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Craig Hansen's scoreless streak came to an end at 6 2/3 innings, spread over six outings.
The right-hander was nicked for three runs, two of them earned, in the ninth inning as the Orioles expanded a one-run lead and turned it into a 10-6 victory.
An error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who dropped a forceout throw from shortstop Alex Cora, didn't help. Hansen, though, wasn't about to blame his ineffectiveness on Pedroia.
"Pedey makes great plays for all of the pitchers on this team and I'm sure tomorrow he'll be out there doing the same thing," said Hansen.
"I felt I mislocated a couple of fastballs that were base hits. Then I got some ground balls, and they got hits. I was unlucky for some of it. I can improve," said Hansen, who gave up four hits in his one inning.
Postgame: Ellsbury 'not too bad' after first game back
By STEVEN KRASNER
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury, who hadn't started the previous three games in the outfield because of a sprained right wrist, was back in the lineup Tuesday night.
Ellsbury went 1 for 5. His hit was a single to center leading off the first inning. He also was robbed of a single when his hard-hit ball up the middle defelcted off pitcher Daniel Cabrera to third baseman Melvin Mora, who threw him out.
The game ended when Ellsbury waved an missed an 0-and-2 pitch from left-hander George Sherrill.
Ellsbury said his wrist was sore, but "on the whole, not too bad."
Ellsbury admitted the wrist was on his mind when he was at the plate.
"When you have something like that and come into a game you can't not think about it," said Ellsbury. "There were a few swings (foul balls) where I felt it. My last fouloff (the pitch before the whiff in the ninth) I felt it. And any time you swing and miss, when it's not fluid and you make contact, you're going to feel it on that. But I'll get some ice and be back in there tomorrow."
BOSTON -- The game time temperature at Fenway Park tonight was a steaming 93 degrees. It felt much hotter on the field during batting practice.
If you want a true indication of how hot it is here, all you have to do is look at home-plate umpire Greg Gibson.
His blue shirt is completely soaked. Between each half-inning, Gibson drinks a complete 12-ounce bottle of water and Red Sox trainer Paul Lessard puts a cold towel around Gibson's head to cool him off.
BOSTON -- Hall of Famer Eddie Murray stood at home plate tonight at Fenway Park and presented Manny Ramirez with a plaque to commemorate his 500th career home run. The Red Sox slugger reached the milestone on May 31 at Baltimore and entered tonight's game against the Orioles tied with Murray with 504 homers.
Ramirez told Murray before the game that he was planning on passing his former teammate -- they played together in Cleveland from 1994-96 -- in the career homer category. Either way Murray said he was honored to be part of the pregame ceremony.
"You knew once he learned to think with the pitchers and the catchers, this was something that was just going to happen," said Murray, referring to Ramirez’s 500 home runs. "He’s a hard worker when it comes to hitting."
Murray hit his 500th career home in September of 1996 at Camden Yards. Ironically, Ramirez’s landed in the same section in the right-field seats.
The days leading up to Ramirez’s milestone, he admitted he was thinking about it too much. Fans would ask him constantly when he thought he would hit 500. Murray admitted it’s tough to accomplish.
"It’s pain in the butt," Murray said. "I would walk up to the plate with my head down and then when I would look to see the pitcher, I would see a sea of orange. [The fans] think I can do this on command. That went on for about two or three long weeks. It’s a tough thing to do."
Woo: As I did with Ramirez, person who caught the 600th home run should return ball to Griffey
BY JOE McDONALD
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- There’s been some controversy surrounding who owns Ken Griffey’s Jr.’s 600th career home-run ball.
The Reds slugger notched the historic homer at Florida Monday night and already a few different fans say they caught the ball. Certainly a piece of memorabilia like Griffey’s ball will draw a lot of attention and could make some fan instantly rich.
Damon Woo doesn’t see it that way.
Woo, 40, is best known around these parts as the New York City resident and Red Sox fan who caught Manny Ramirez’s 500th career homer in Baltimore on May 31. Even before that game was over, Woo and his and brother, Jason, were escorted to the Sox’ clubhouse because Woo felt the honorable thing to do was to return the ball to its rightful owner.
The Brothers Woo presented Ramirez with the ball, took pictures and were able to meet the rest of the Red Sox players. The next day the brothers were invited by the club to sit right behind the visitors' dugout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Along with the club’s hospitality, Damon Woo received a number of signed balls and bats from other Red Sox players, but ironically, he didn’t get anything signed by Ramirez.
It wasn’t that Ramirez wouldn’t sign anything; it was simply that everyone got caught up in all the excitement and Woo forgot to ask. The team told him to send along any pictures he had of himself and Ramirez in the clubhouse that night so Manny could sign them.
Everyone on the Red Sox, including bench coach Brad Mills, spoke the next day about how rare in today’s world it is that a person would give up a sure lucrative pay day to do the right thing as Woo did.
Woo spoke with the Journal this afternoon and he has some advice for the person who caught Griffey’s ball – give it back. He's confident he did the right thing and many people are telling him as much. He just hopes the lucky fan in Florida follows his lead.
"It’s better for baseball if people followed the course," said Woo.
In the days and weeks following his historic grab, Woo said his life has been filled with a lot of nice surprises.
"It was certainly an interesting week, to say the least," he said. "It’s been really great."
He’s received a ton of e-mails from friends around the globe, some of whom he hasn’t spoken with in a while.
"As [the story] slowly circled the globe, folks I have lost touch with over the years have called or dropped me an e-mail," he said. "People have been telling me I did the right thing and I’ve certainly been on a high from that."
That was the biggest question Woo faced over the last week-and-a-half. Newspapers and websites have asked readers to answer survey questions whether or not Woo did the right thing by giving Ramirez the ball back.
"The company I keep, [people approve by] about 98 percent," Woo said. "The responses from friends has been overwhelmingly that I did the right thing. That put me on a life’s high as well."
Still, there’s been that little dugout devil on his shoulder telling him he should have kept the ball.
"The first couple of days it hit me once an hour where I had the reflex, ‘Oh, God! What did I do?’ I’m now happy to say it’s down to about once a day."
His brother would call him at least once a day just to remind him that he did the right thing.
"He provided that moral support," said Woo. "The entire moment was priceless and God bless my brother was there to share the whole experience with me. We talked to our mom three days later and she was saying how proud she was of us. It would have been a tremendous event had I been there on my own, but having my brother to share it with me real made it special."
Since that special weekend in Baltimore Woo has not had any contact with the Red Sox organization, but he has an open invitation to Fenway Park later this summer. When that time comes he plans on bringing his girlfriend’s 15-year-old son, Ryan, to whom he dedicated the historic catch.
"It’ll be his first to Fenway and he’s looking forward to it," said Woo.
It will probably take a while for all of this to actually sink in for Woo and everyone involved. He’s just thrilled that he was sitting in Section 94, seats 15 and 16 at Camden Yards on May 31.
"They are memories of a lifetime," he said. "I will preserve them."
BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz, the rookie right-hander who was optioned to Pawtucket a few weeks ago to work on his arm slot and consistency with his fastball command, has not been dazzling anyone with his results.
Monday night Buchholz was lifted after three innings and 73 pitches, but the goal, explained manager Terry Francona, was to work especially on his fastball, even though he may have been able to get more outs and work more innings by using his devastatingly effective offspeed pitches to get out Triple A hitters.
"He can be special," said Francona. "He's healthy. He has a few things we would like him to work on. He can get frustrated, but we're not frustrated."
BOSTON -- Curt Schilling threw 40 pitches off the mound today, and while there didn't seem to be any physical problems, the veteran right-hander was not happy with his command, said manager Terry Francona.
"The good news is he's ramping it up," said Francona.
The plan for Schilling is to for him to throw again off the mound on Friday in Cincinnati, and the step after that, if all was progressing as the Sox hope, would be for him to face hitters.
Daisuke Matsuzaka did some throwing Monday on the Red Sox' day off. He'll throw a side session Wednesday and then another side session a few days after that one, presuming everything has been going well.
Then, said Francona, the Sox will figure out what to do next with Matsuzaka, options that could include a rehab stint in the minors, though that plan has not been set in stone.
BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury, who suffered a sprained right wrist last Thursday and missed the three-game series against Seattle, is penciled in to start tonight's series opener against the Orioles.
Manager Terry Francona said he spoke to Ellsbury this morning and was confident that his rookie outfielder would be able to play. Francona also said, though, that if ElIsbury felt "any hesitancy" during batting practice, he would sit him out and start Brandon Moss.
Ellsbury is slated to play in left field, with Coco Crisp in center, because Manny Ramirez (right knee/hamstring) still is ready to play in the field. Ramirez will serves as the Sox' designated hitter, as he has in each of his last eight starts.
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. The topics: Clay Buchholz's mission in Pawtucket, the Red Sox' ability so far to overcome injuries, Josh Beckett's streak of good outings, and Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
Buchholz in Pawtucket: "They sent him there because they wanted him to get back to relying primarily on his fastball, which he has gotten away from. ... They wanted some mechanical adjustments to his delivery with his fastball to get him back sort of in sync a little bit and not relying on the secondary pitches too much. So I don't know if I'd read too much into the results here, he is working on some things and changing his delivery and his arm slot a little on his fastball, and that may have resulted in him getting hit around a little bit [last night]."
On Griffey: "I started covering baseball full-time in 1989, and I can say without fear of contradiction that Ken Griffey Jr. is the best player I've seen on a regular basis in that 20-year span. ... There's no question in my mind that, had the injuries not taken their toll, last night would have been home run number 700, if not a higher number."
That's what King Kaufman of salon.com thinks, saying that Coco might have helped save the Rays' season when he ducked away from James Shields' big punch after charging the mound on Thursday night. Shields may be getting a suspension as a result of the big brawl, but thanks to Coco, the excellent young pitcher won't be spending time on the disabled list because of an injured pitching hand -- as he might be already had his punch actually made contact.
NOT SO HOT: They say that into each life some rain must fall, and -- record-setting temperatures to the contrary -- it's pouring in Clay Buchholz' world right now. All the talking in the world (above) couldn't stem the tide of a three-inning, six-hit, two-run struggle against Buffalo at McCoy Stadium last night that, Paul Kenyon reports, was a) abruptly cut short by PawSox manager Ron Johnson and b) then explained by Johnson in the middle of the game's local television broadcast. The heat and humidity was part of it, Johnson said, but so was the fact that it took a Matsuzaka-like 73 pitches for Buchholz to labor through those three innings. Buchholz was singing a happier tune afterwards -- he felt better physically than he has all year, he feels "it won’t be much longer" before he's ready to return to Boston -- but with the Red Sox' starting rotation clicking on all cylinders at the moment, it'll take more than three-inning/six-hit/two-run performances to punch his ticket back northward. So I guess the message is, fear not if you weren't able to get out to McCoy to see Buchholz last night; odds are you'll have more chances this summer.
LABOR DAY: Buchholz' former Red Sox teammates had a break in the schedule yesterday, but that didn't stop a few of them from getting some work in at Fenway Park anyway. (projo.com) Most notable: Matsuzaka playing long-toss in preparation for a Wednesday bullpen session as he works his way back from his rotator-cuff strain, and Jacoby Ellsbury taking batting practice in advance of a return to the lineup, perhaps as soon as tonight.
OH, WHAT A RELIEF: Craig Hansen has allowed just one hit and no runs in his last six appearances and Jim Donaldson explains why.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS: Josh Beckett's 6-4, 4.07 record heading into tonight's start seems a comedown from his 2007 season, when he won 20 games and put himself in position to be remembered as one of the all-time great postseason pitchers. But he tells the Herald's Rob Bradford that very little has changed for him since last year.
ANOTHER FIRST: The Rays continue to do a lot of things they've never done before. Last night they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs -- Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro -- for the first time in franchise history in a 13-4 win over the Angels, which also was Joe Maddon's first victory at Anaheim in three years at Tampa Bay's manager. (St. Petersburg Times)
NUMBER 600: There are better venues to celebrate baseball history than the sparsely populated Dolphin Stadium, but the 10,000 or so who were there last night were witness to a great moment: Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th career home run (above). (Cincinnati Enquirer) The Dayton Daily News' Hal McCoy said Griffey was rendered nearly speechless by becoming only the sixth player in history to reach the 600-homer plateau. Four of the other five are still alive; Griffey said he's heard from Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, but not from Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa. FoxSports.com's Dayn Perry says, as great as this achievement is, he can only wonder what Griffey would have accomplished had it not been for all his injuries. Joe Posnanski, focusing on what Griffey did and not what he might have done, has a very nice tribute to Junior in a short (for him) 600 or so words.
THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: The Daily News yesterday linked Roger Clemens to yet another performance-enhancing drug: Viagra. How is that a PED -- baseball-wise -- you ask? The newspaper also explains.
WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? To all those wondering how the pitching-starved Rangers could cut loose Sidney Ponson, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jim Reeves has another question: Why didn't they do it sooner? And then he runs through the incidents that led Texas to cut ties with the erratic right-hander.
MEASURE THIS: The Huffington Post's Dave Hollander -- while claiming he's not anti-analysis and that you need to understand statistics to understand baseball -- says there are certain baseball intangibles that simply can't be measured and holds up Cliff Floyd as an example of someone whose "presence" makes his teams better. I'd laugh at this argument anyway; I'm laughing harder because I didn't see where Floyd's "presence" did a damn thing for the 2002 Red Sox, who brought him in at the trading deadline to bolster the postseason drive and went 30-26 the rest of the way (compared to 63-43 before they got him), falling from a tie for the wild-card lead to finishing six games out of a playoff spot.