Due to last minute back spasms, Red Sox ace pitcher Josh Beckett was scratched from the starting lineup last night against the Toronto Blue Jays which resulting in manager Terry Francona to call on youngster Michael Bowden. After being notified that day, Bowden looked shell shocked as the Jays teed him up for seven runs over three innings to eventually win 11-5.
“They could have told me at 7:05, and I should have been able to put forth a better effort. I feel like I let the team down,” Bowden said. “I didn’t keep the team in the game. I went out there, threw a lot of pitches and was up in the zone and got hit and set a bad tempo for the game.”
Yesterday’s game marked Bowden’s second start in a Sox Uniform. His first came in 2008 against the Chicago White Sox, where he gave up just two runs in five innings pitched. Despite the loss the Red Sox are looking forward to tonight’s matchup. They need just one win or one Texas Rangers loss to earn the AL Wild Card spot and advance to post-season play. Clay Buchholz will take the hill tonight against Ricky Romero. Buchholz has really been hitting his spots lately, racking up a 4-0 record with a 1.38 ERA in his last five starts. Game time is set for 7:10 pm.
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Toronto Blue Jays infielders Edwin Encarnacion and Aaron Hill were both hit by pitches, putting the notion of retaliation through everyone’s head last night at Yankee Stadium. In a game already out of reach in favor of the Blue Jays in the eighth inning, relief pitcher Jesse Carlson threw a fastball behind Yankees catcher Jorge Posada at the plate. Soon after Posada gave a look that could kill while repeatedly saying “You don’t want to do that.” Benches cleared but minutes later tensions fell, or so we thought.
After scoring from Brett Gardner’s double Posada threw Carlson a nice elbow while running by, which ultimately led to the real brawl. “He was just right there on the line to the dugout. We got carried away and hopefully that’s the end of it,” said Posada. “I don’t want my kids to see that…fight in the middle of the field, benches clearing - that’s a bad example.” Carlson had somewhat of a more humorous take on the situation, saying “once he crossed the plate and threw that elbow at me or whatever, I just said, ‘Let’s go.’ I’m probably the smallest guy in MLB and we were right near their dugout, so I was just hoping I got out of there all right.”
Even though all of the excitement came and left with the fight, the game was still played. In the Blue Jays 10-4 victory ace Roy Halladay threw for six innings and gave up just two runs. Yankees Sergio Mitre definitely didn’t make it any kind of pitching duel, letting up seven runs and four home runs in his five innings pitched. The two teams are set to match up again tonight at Yankee Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Paul Byrd made his return to the mound and pitched six shutout innings as the Boston Red Sox went on to dominate the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0 yesterday Fenway Park. Byrd was on the Sox roster at the end of 2008, but wished to spend time with his family for the first half of this season with hopes to be picked up at the All-Star break. “I feel like my arm has appreciated the rest,” said Byrd. “My arm feels very strong. I just want to stay sharp, and whatever happens with me, happens to me. I want a World Series ring. Any way I can help this team do that, if they need me to clean toilets, I’ll go do that. I’m just excited.”
Blue Jays ace pitcher Roy Halladay struggled on the other end, giving up four runs off seven hits in six innings thrown. Kevin Youkilis led the offensive campaign for the Sox with two hits and three RBI’s.
Billy Wagner made his debut from the Fenway bullpen and struck out three in his eighth inning contribution. “It was great to join the team,” said the six-time All-Star. “Sitting on the bench and wearing the uniform doesn’t put you on the team. You have to earn stripes, and this was a small little stripe to earn and get their confidence and let them see me first-hand and kind of introduce yourself.”
The Red Sox are scheduled to arrive at Tropicana Field for their next series against the Tampa Bay Rays starting tomorrow at 7:08 pm.
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Jason Bay supplied a two-run homer, and David Ortiz and Victor Martinez contributed solo shots as the Boston Red Sox went on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 last night. Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay wasn’t so dominant tonight, allowing five runs on eight hits in five innings. Boston’s high power offense gave pitcher Clay Buchholz the opening to earn his second win of the season. The Red Sox have been very strong offensively these past two games. “We’ve been swinging good and when you’re swinging good, that’s what happens,” said Ortiz, who has homered in three straight games. “It doesn’t matter who we face, we’re going to produce.”
Boston is scheduled to play Toronto once more before hosting the New York Yankees at Fenway Park this weekend. Tim Wakefield (back problems) is set to make another minor league rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket this Friday. Daisuke Matsuzaka (out with an injured shoulder) will soon head to Boston and if cleared by doctors, will start on the mound for the Double-A Portland Seadogs. Red Sox manager Terry Francona stated that second basemen Dustin Pedroia will be back in the lineup tonight. Pedroia flew home on Tuesday to be with his wife as she gave birth to their first child.
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David Ortiz knocked in three runs with a double and a home run, giving the Boston Red Sox the early advantage against the Blue Jays last night in Toronto. The Sox jumped out early, scoring four runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth and fifth. Beckett did not show his best, giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched. After Boston’s three run rally in the eighth, Jonathon Papelbon came in to shut the door. Papelbon certainly didn’t make it look easy, letting up three walks and two hits. Regardless, he was able to close out the game and hold a 10-9 lead for Boston. “There’s something to be said for persistence, because that was a very losable game,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “It would’ve been heartbreaking because of that — because of the way the guys played.”
Jason Bay, who contributed with a solo homer in the fifth reflected on the outcome and said “Whether we win 10-0 and Josh throws a shutout or we win 10-9, a win’s a win.” This victory for Boston, however, was a bit more meaningful then others, knowing it got the Sox a share of the Wild Card lead with the Texas Rangers. Boston remains seven games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. The Sox will match up against the Toronto Blue Jays for two more games before hosting the Yanks for a three-game weekend series.
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In what would be his best outing of the year so far, Jon Lester struck out 12 in 6 solid innings. Lester gave up just one run on three hits and three walks, lowering his season ERA to 5.65. “It started with Lester,” Sox manager Terry Francona said in a post-game interview. “He was powerful.” Boston also got a lift from a retooled batting order. Red-hot second baseman Dustin Pedroia batted leadoff, and speedy centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was dropped to the 8th spot. The lower half of the batting order continues to deliver; all of Boston’s 8 runs were driven in by the 1-5 spots.
Kevin Youkilis, batting in David Ortiz’s usual #3 spot, hit two homers. Pedroia in the leadoff spot, and left fielder/cleanup hitter Jason Bay each contributed a round-tripper as well.
After a clean 7th inning, Sox reliever Justin Masterson gave up a homer to Alex Rios, but rallied to retire the side and limit the damage. Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the Sox just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East.
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The New York Mets took two out of three games from the Boston Red Sox this weekend. On Friday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka returned from the DL to face New York’s ace Johan Santana. Santana pitched well enough to overcome two costly fielding errors, giving up just 2 earned runs in 7 innings of work. Daisuke Matsuzaka was solid in his first game back. Although he gave up four runs in five innings of work, he did not seem to be slowed by his injury. Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a clean 9th to notch his 12th save in as many tries.
The Red Sox held on to a slim, one-run lead for most of Saturday’s game. Kevin Youkilis drove in two runs with a single in the first; which would be the only offense the Sox would get. Josh Beckett was outstanding for 8 innings, giving up just a run and striking out five in his best start of the year. Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had a rocky outing, as a two run homer by Omir Santos gave the Mets a late win. The homer was the first play to be reviewed by Fenway’s new instant replay system, and the play was upheld by the videotape.
The Sox fared better on Sunday afternoon. The Mets struck first, with a Ramon Castro solo homer in the top of the second. The Sox took their first lead on a three-run Mike Lowell shortly after; but the Mets would explode for 3 runs in the next half inning. Kevin Youkilis lost what appeared to be a home run off of the left field foul pole. “I thought it was a fair ball,” Youkilis said in a post-game press conference. “He called it a foul ball and I guess there was no camera angle.”
The next time Youkilis didn’t leave it up to the cameras. The Sox cleanup hitter hit a three-run bomb over the middle of the monster, as the Sox scored 9 unanswered runs to take the final game of the series.
The Sox took sole possession of first place in the American League East with the win. The Toronto Blue Jays lost their 6th consectutive game on Sunday afternoon, ending their reign atop the East for now.
Coming in to Wednesday night’s matchup, Blue Jays rookie pitcher Bret Cecil had not given up a home run at the major league level. Sox DH David Ortiz had not hit a homer in what seemed like forever; 240 days, 149 at-bats, or 39 game depending on how you looked at it. Ortiz managed to break out of funk, teeing off with one of four roundtrippers against the Jays phenom. Sox captain Jason Varitek was responsible for two, and left fielder Jason Bay had a shot that ricoched off of a car in the parking lot across from Fenway.
Brad Penny had a particularly effective outing, giving up only two runs in 6 2/3 innings of work on 9 hits and a walk. Daniel Bard struggled, giving up a run on aLyle Overbay double, but Hideki Okajima was able to work out of the jam. Takashi Saito pitched a scoreless 9th to put the Sox just a game and a half behind the Jays.
Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury got a quite a workout recording a major-league record tying 12 putouts in a 9 inning game. “My legs felt a little tired,” Ellsbury said in a post-game press conference. “I was just happy we were getting quick outs. Brad’s a flyball pitcher and when he’s getting the flyballs that means his pitch count’s down; he’s doing everything he needs to do.”
The Sox could end the series half a game behind the Jays with a win on Thursday night.
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Tim Wakefield’s outing on Tuesday started with a strikeout, and went up from there. Wake pitched like the ace of the rotation, going 8 innings hile giving up just one run on five hits and two walks.”Swings and misses and popups are usually good signs the ball is moving pretty well,” Wakefield told the AP’s Jimmy Golen. “Tonight was just one of those nights when I had very good stuff. I was trying to keep them off-balance and get a win.” Despite allowing a homerun to former teammate Kevin Millar, Wakefied kept the ball in the infield and kept his appearance to a tidy 97 pitches.
Jonathan Papelbon followed with a perfect inning to notch his 11th save. The Sox offense came courtesy of an RBI each from Wakefield’s personal catcher George Kottaras and Kevin Youkilis’ temporary replacement Jeff Bailey. The win puts the Sox just 2.5 games behind the Jays in the AL East. On Wednesday night, Bret Cecil matches up against Brad Penny for game 2 of the series.
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Nick Green was in the Sox lineup on Sunday afternoon because of his offensive capabilities. Unfortunately, Green’s late defensive error set up the Mariners’ walk-off win. Ronny Ceneno hit a grounder to Green that should have ended the inning and sent it to extras, but Green’s throw over to first sailed over Jeff Bailey’s head. The play was scored a single and an error, which would prove costly. Sox pitcher Ramon Ramirez intentionally walked Ichiro Suzuki, and gave up a single that glanced under the glove of Mike Lowell to give the M’s the walkoff win. The run was only Ramirez’s second in 20 1/3 innings, and the loss was his first with the Sox.
“It just … happens,” Green told the AP’s Gregg Bell. “Obviously it happened at the wrong time. I tried to slow things down. I slowed it down too much. Was lazy.”
The Sox have an off day Monday before hosting the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Boston Red Sox tickets are available now for all games!