With much anticipation, the Home Run Derby ended with a familiar face winning. Previous contestant Prince Fielder outslugged Nelson Cruz 6-5 in the final roundto win the derby. Brandon Inge, Joe Mauer, Carlos Pena, and Adrian Gonzalez all failed to make it to the second round, leaving Ryan Howard, Fielder, Cruz, and hometown favorite Albert Pujols in the semifinals. Howard and Pujols, both fan favorites, failed to outlast Fielder and Cruz. Cruz batted first in the finals, hitting 5 homers. Fielder hit a bomb into the center field grass hill to end the contest.
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In what might be a unique situation in major-league baseball, the managers and catchers from each team were ejected in the 7th inning of Thursday’s getaway game. In the top half of the inning, Jeff Bailey was called safe at home plate on a play that could have gone the other way. Twins catcher Mark Redmond (who had no previous ejections in his 14-year career) and manager Ron Gardenhire took issue with the call, were sent to the showers. In the home half of the inning, Josh Beckett was frustrated with a pitch he thought should have been called a pitch. Acting fast to keep Beckett in the game, Varitek got in umpire Todd Tichener’s face and was ejected as well. Sox manager Terry Francona left the dugout and was promptly shown the door as well.
Varitek’s two homers previous to the ejection helped to make up for Jason Bay’s scheduled day off. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth to rack up his 13th save of the year.
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On Tuesday night, struggling Sox slugger David Ortiz batted lower than 4th in the order for the first time in over 5 year. Ortiz managed to snag a hit and a walk, but the DH still has a .197 average on the year. While Boston was missing any display of power, Minnesota made up for it. Twins’ first baseman Justin Morneau hit a towering three-run shot in the fifth inning to grab the lead for good. Sox starter Jon Lester continued a rough ’09 season, running his record to 3-5 with a 6.07 ERA.
“I felt like I threw the ball pretty well. Made one mistake. He hit it out. That’s what makes him a good hitter,” Lester said of Morneau’s homer. “I don’t think it’s a mental lapse or anything like that. It’s just not executing pitches.”
The Sox continue the series at the Metrodome on Wednesday night at 8:10pm, with the final gameat 1:05pm on Thursday afternoon.
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Despite a sinus problem that was affecting his stomach, Brad Penny had one of his best outings with the Red Sox. Aside from a Michael Cuddyer three-run homer, Penny was spotless. The right-hander gave up just the three runs on 6 hits while striking out 7 in 5 1/3 innings of work. “He handled it really well, and I actually thought he threw well even if he wasn’t sick,” Terry Francona told the AP. “But you add on that— that’s pretty good.” Penny has benefited from 58 runs of support in his starts (an average of 6.4 each), and run his record to 5-1 with the win on Monday.
Jonathan Papelbon’s recent struggles continued. He notched his 12th save, but gave up a two run homer before doing so. Papelbon has been working some new mechanics and a slider into his outings, which may have caused some of the recent consistency issues as he is adjusting.
With Toronto losing again, the Red Sox are at the top of AL East, with the New York Yankees just one game behind.
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The Boston Red Sox dominated the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park, winning 7-3 and 10-1 in yesterdays double-header. The games marked seven wins a row for the Sox, moving them just 1 1/2 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the early stages of the AL East race.
The pitching staff for Boston was stellar, allowing just 11 hits in 18 innings. Tim Wakefield pitched through seven innings in the first game, letting up 1 run with 4 strikeouts. Mike Lowell led the charge for the Red Sox power offense with 3 hits including a home run off Baker in the third.
Jeff Bailey started out the second game of the day with a three-run shot to left in the second inning to give the sox the early lead. From there Brad Penny held his own on the mound, allowing two earned runs over six innings. Manager Terry Francona turned 50 years old yesterday and was able to celebrate it with his team on a role. It was a long, good day of baseball,” said Francona.
The Red Sox will be hosting the New York Yankees this Friday at 7:10 pm for a three game weekend series. Boston Red Sox tickets are available now!
David Ortiz, Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jason Varitek all homered to contribute to Boston‘s win over the Minnesota Twins 9-5 last Tuesday. Red Sox ace Josh Beckett pitched four innings, allowed three runs and six hits with three strike outs. All three runs let up by Beckett were in the second inning. Red Sox manager Terry Francona let him continue, saying “we were really pleased that he went back out and was able to have a third and fourth, ends up being a decent workload outing.”
Alexi Casilla hit 4-for-4 with two stolen bases, and Denard Spean drove a solo homerun in the fifth for the Twins. Look for the Red Sox to take on the Cincinnati Reds for their next challenge on Thursday night.
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With pitchers and catchers reporting tomorrow, and the first full team workout less than a week away, the Boston Red Sox have announced their list of non-roster invitees to spring training. Included in the list are knuckleballer Charlie Zink, pitching prospect Daniel Bard, slugger of the future Lars Anderson, and former Sox farmhand Chip Ambres.
The first Sox spring training games are on February 25th. At 1:05 they will host Boston College, and at 7:05 they will play the Minnesota Twins at their practice facility.
2009 Red Sox Non-Roster Invitees:
Pitchers: Daniel Bard, Fernando Cabrera, Enrique Gonzalez, Kris Johnson, Marcus McBeth, Dustin Richardson, Billy Traber and Charlie Zink.
Catchers: Carlos Maldonado.
Infielders: Lars Anderson, Jeff Bailey, Angel Chavez, Nick Green, Ivan Ochoa, Gil Velazquez.
Outfielders: Chip Ambres, Zach Kaeges, Paul McAnulty and Josh Reddick.
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A close game for six innings turned into a good old fashion blow out Wednesday afternoon as the Boston Red Sox completed the three-game series sweep of the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in style, crushing their AL Central foes by a score of 18-5.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Boston held a 7-5 lead and had just escaped a bases loaded jam in the top half of the inning which could have put the Twins on top. The Sox came out and had their first two batters in the inning reach base, Mike Lowell with a lead-off walk and Sean Casey followed with a ground rule double to right.
Jason Varitek came to the plate next with both runners in scoring position and no outs. He connected on a sinking line drive to centerfield that Twins outfielder Denard Span made a great attempt to catch, but ultimately trapped the baseball in his glove. The umpiring crew originally ruled the hit a catch and an out, which resulted in a ‘triple play’ because the two Boston base runners had taken off thinking the ball was in play rather then an out. Span threw the ball into second base for the ‘second out’ and 2B Alexi Casilla walked the ball leisurely over to third base for the ‘third out’ and what the Twins believed to be a triple play to end the threat and inning.
Sox manager Terry Francona was already halfway onto the field before the play was even over to request the umpiring crew come together to review the original call on the field. They did, and the call was reversed to an RBI single for Varitek but more importantly, it kept the inning alive.
“I know what the score ended up being, but the game wasn’t played like that,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We’re a pitcher away from that game going either way.”
Following the Varitek single, the Sox broke the game open by scoring seven total runs in the inning on seven hits. Dustin Pedroia extending his career high hitting streak to 17-games with a bases clearing double while Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez also collected RBI hits in the inning. When all was said and done with in the seventh, the Sox were ahead 14-5 with the game under control.
“I’m just glad he didn’t catch it, and they were able to correct it,” Varitek said of the single that caused much controversy and resulted in Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s ejection from the game. “It gave us an extra run when both teams were going back and forth. It just snowballed and exploded.”
The Sox tacked on four more runs in their eighth inning, highlighted by a Kevin Cash pinch hit home run, his 2nd on the season, and a Kevin Youkilis 2-run blast to cap off the scoring.
Josh Beckett picked up his 9th win on the season hurling 5+ innings while allowing five earned runs on eight hits. Livan Hernandez took the loss for the Twins lasting only 4 1/3 innings and surrendering six runs on 11 hits before getting relieved. Minnesota’s bullpen wasn’t much better, allowing 12 earned runs on 12 hits over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Every member of the Red Sox starting lineup not only collected a hit, but also scored a run. Ellsbury finished the day with four hits, Youkilis three hits and four RBI’s, Ramirez three hits and three RBI’s and Casey three hits and two RBI’s.
“It’s Fenway at its best. You make mistakes here, they make you pay for it,” Gardenhire said. “It was a good game for a while. Got out of hand.”
The Red Sox are now only two games behind the AL East leading Rays who were swept in a three game series by the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees trail Tampa Bay by 6 1/2 games and the Wild Card leading Sox by 4 1/2 games.
Boston has today off and will face Baltimore for three games over the weekend. Clay Buchholtz (2-3) will start for the Sox in Friday night’s match up. Buchholtz tossed a no-hitter against Baltimore last season in his 2nd major league start at Fenway Park. Saturday’s match up will feature veteran Tim Wakefield (5-6) hurling against rookie Radhames Liz (3-1) and to conclude the series Boston will send Dice-K Matsuzaka (9-1) to the hill to pitch against Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera (6-4) before the league breaks for the All Star festivities July 14th through July 16th.
Tickets are still available for all three weekend games.
One night after Manny Ramirez connected on a game winning RBI single, the perennial All-Star belted a 2-run homer in Boston’s four run eighth inning to tie the score at 5-5. A few batters late, Brendan Moss delivered a clutch two out RBI single to give the Sox a 6-5 lead that they would hold onto for their second consecutive 1 run victory over the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.
“We had a terrific inning, a lot of good things happened,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Last night was what we needed, but sometimes you need a home run.”
Ramirez’s homerun was his 17th on the season and his first since June 29th against the Astros. He now has 507 career homeruns which puts him at the 23rd all-time. Next on the list is Mel Ott at 511 career dingers.
The eighth inning magic began with Jacoby Ellsbury doubling down the left field line. Ellsbury finished the game with two hits and also plated two runs. Following the extra base hit, Dustin Pedroia ripped a single up the middle to put runners at the corners with no outs. The hit was also Pedroia’s second of the game, extending his hitting streak to a career high 16 games.
J.D. Drew followed Pedroia with an RBI ground out to second that plated Ellsbury to make the score 5-3. Ramirez then slugged a belt-high fastball into the Monster seats that knotted the score at 5-5.
“I think we were in a really good situation,” Moss said. “Even though we were down by three, we had our leadoff guy coming up in Jacoby, Pedroia, who’s been on fire, J.D. and Manny. I don’t think anybody was surprised to see Manny go deep in that situation, he’s done it so much.”
After a Mike Lowell strike out, Kevin Youkilis crushed a double to deep left center with two outs to set the stage for Moss. With a 1-1 count, Moss slapped a 93 MPH fastball from Matt Gurrier into center field for the game winning RBI.
“It’s a tough loss, one we thought we had,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We made a lot of mistakes, they blooped one to left, blooped one to right and next thing you know Manny hits one into the seats.”
David Aardsma (3-2) relieved starter Jon Lester to record the final two outs in the eighth inning to earn his third victory on the season. Lester had another solid performance allowing five runs on nine hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. Lester’s streak of consecutive shutout innings ended at 12 when the Twins were able to plate three runs off of him in the fourth inning on four hits, led by a Brendan Harris triple that knocked in two runs.
Jonathan Papelbon was again able to record three outs in the ninth inning to preserve the Red Sox victory. He got into a little trouble by allowing a leadoff double to Twins SS Nick Punto in a 12 pitch at-bat but settled down to retire the next three batters. Denard Span sacrificed bunted Punto to third but the Twins were not able to push the tying run across off of Papelbon. Pinch hitter Jason Kubel struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. With two down, Alexi Casilla came to bat with a 15-game hitting streak on the line but grounded out to second finishing the night at 0-3 ending his streak and the game.
“This feels real good,” said Lester who took a no-decision on the night. “We played better than our record showed on the last road trip, but last night was a big win for us and we just continue to battle.”
Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn did all he could for Minnesota pitching 6 2/3 innings allowing only two runs on six hits. He also did not factor into the decision but with the effort, Twins starting pitchers are now 16-1 in their last 23 games with a 2.99 ERA.
In the final game of the series, the Sox will hand the ball to Josh Beckett trying to go for the sweep. Beckett is 8-5 on the season with a 3.70 ERA. Over his last four starts, Beckett has pitched very well allowing only 7 earned runs in 28 innings of work while striking out 22 batters. He’s 4-1 on the year when pitching at Fenway Park.
The Twins will send veteran starter Livan Hernandez to pitch and try to salvage one win in the series. Hernandez boasts a 9-5 record on the year with a 5.18 ERA. He’s 1-2 lifetime against Boston with a 9.00 ERA but did beat them earlier this season in Minnesota’s 7-3 win on May 12th at the Metrodome in Minnesota.
Tomorrow the Sox are off but will welcome the Baltimore Orioles to town for a three game series starting Friday. Clay Buchholtz will make his first start in the big leagues since being placed on the DL in mid May with a broken nail on his pitching hand.
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After an awful 3-7 road trip, the Boston Red Sox happily returned home to Fenway Park Monday night and captured a 1-0 victory over the surging Minnesota Twins. The win improves Boston’s home record to 32-10 on the season, the best in the American League.
Manny Ramirez broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the 8th inning off of Twins relief pitcher Brian Bass (3-3) that scored Dustin Pedroia for the games only run. Pedroia had reached base with a wall ball double to left which extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. During the streak he is hitting .485 (32-66) and has raised his season average from .282 when the streak began up to .311.
“A heck of a baseball game,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think both teams had lots of opportunities all the way through. They finally came through and got a hit.”
Starting pitchers Dice-K Matsuzaka and Scott Baker kept their teams in the game, each pitching well enough to earn a victory even though neither factored into the decision. Matsuzaka pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, walking three and striking out five. Baker allowed five hits, walked two and struck out seven in seven innings of work.
“Obviously, with them playing at home, they play very well here,” Baker said. “I gave it everything I had. We made some great defensive plays, allowing me to continue to pitch and pitch into the seventh inning.”
The outing for Matsuzaka was his first since coming off the DL that he was able to make it through more then five innings on the hill.
“Of all our starting pitchers, I’m the only one who hasn’t been able to get really deep into the games,” he said through a translator. “So what I’ve been trying to do is go deep into the game and help out the bullpen.”
Dice-K was relived by fellow countryman Hideki Okajima who was able to escape a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning. After walking Justin Morneau to load the bases, Okajima (2-2) was able to get pinch hitter Craig Monroe to pop out in foul territory and then retire Delmon Young on a fielder’s choice to end the threat and pick up his second victory on the season
Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth inning for the final three outs and recorded his 26th save on the season. The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Twins and also snapped the Red Sox two-game losing skid.
Tonight, Boston will try to make it two in a row against the Twins when they send LHP Jon Lester (7-3, 3.21 ERA) to the mound to face off against RHP Nick Blackburn (7-4, 3.78 ERA). In Lester’s last start, he tossed a complete game shutout against New York at Yankee Stadium while Blackburn is coming off of an impressive seven inning effort in which he allowed only three hits and no runs in a win against Detroit.
In other Sox news, DH David Ortiz took live batting practice for the first time since going on the DL on May 31st before Monday night’s game. The slugger said that he ‘felt good’ but a time table has not been placed on his expected return.
The Sox also optioned RHP Justin Masterson back down to Triple-A Pawtucket to recalled 1B Jeff Bailey for the remainder of the series. The Sox plan on converting Masterson into a relief pitcher now that Clay Buchholtz is ready to return to the starting rotation after having missed almost two months spending time on the DL and in Triple-A.
Buchholtz will get the start on Friday July 11th when the Orioles are in town. It’s no coincidence that the Sox choose to reactivate their prized rookie vs. Baltimore because last September Buchholtz hurled a no-hitter at Fenway against the Orioles.
Tickets are still available for the remaining games of the homestand against Minnesota tonight and tomorrow and then also for the weekend series against Baltimore.