September 24, 2016

G155: Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Red Sox - 010 100 400 - 6  8  0
Rays    - 003 000 001 - 4 11  0
Dustin Pedroia's two-out grand slam in the seventh inning wiped out Tampa Bay's 3-2 lead and catapulted the Red Sox to their tenth straight victory. It was the fourth grand slam of Pedroia's career.

It's a good thing we don't actually have robot umpires because Danny Farquhar's 1-2 pitch to Pedroia in that at-bat was in the strike zone and should have been called strike 3, ending the inning. But home plate arbiter Carlos Torres called it ball 2. After fouling a pitch off, Pedroia cracked his four-run dong. Manager John Farrell mixed and matched relievers in the seventh, and Koji Uehara Craig Kimbrel took charge of the final two innings.

The Red Sox scored first in this one, when Brock Holt doubled home Mookie Betts in the second.

Rick Porcello (6.1-8-3-1-9, 116) was hit hard in the early innings. He escaped a jam in the second, when the Rays had runners at second and third and one out, thanks to some marvelous fielding by Pedroia and Holt. Porcello was not so lucky in the third. With two on and two outs, Brad Miller drove both runners in with a double over Jackie Bradley's head in center. Corey Dickerson followed with a single that made it 3-1.

Boston got one of those runs back right away, as Betts walked and stole second and scored on Hanley Ramirez's single. But Holt grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Rays threatened to add to their lead in the sixth. Miller walked and went to third on Nick Franklin's single to center. But Porcello struck out Mikie Mahtook and got a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop from Alexei Ramirez.

Ramirez began the lucky seventh against Ryan Garton by grounding a single to right. Holt lined a single to center and the table was set. Chris Young was out on a dribbler in front of the plate, catcher to first, and the runners advanced to second and third. Lefty Dana Eveland came in to face Bradley and walked him on four pitches, loading the bases. Rays manager Kevin Cash called on Farquhar, who got Sandy Leon to hit a sharp grounder to Longoria at third. He threw home to force Ramirez for the second out; there was no relay throw. Pedroia fell behind 0-2, but battled, fouling off four pitches before finally homering to left.

Porcello was at 104 pitches at that point and when the Red Sox went ahead, it seemed all but certain that his night was over. He now qualified for the "win" and the bullpen could likely handle the three-inning load. But Farrell had him on the mound for the bottom of the seventh. Porcello allowed a single to ninth-place hitter Curt Casali and then struck out Logan Forsythe. With Porcello now at 116 pitches, his second-highest total of the season, Farrell finally pulled him and went to the bullpen. Robbie Scott allowed a single to Kevin Kiermaier, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. Brad Ziegler got Evan Longoria to line out to center and Robbie Ross retired Miller on a fly to Betts on the warning track in right.

Uehara allowed a leadoff double to Dickerson in the eighth. With Franklin batting, Uehara's 0-1 pitch was in the dirt and got away from Leon and rolled a bit towards first base. Dickerson took off for third and was easily gunned down. Franklin flied to right and Mahtook was called out on strikes (although strike three was probably actually ball 4; another gift for the Red Sox).

Kimbrel allowed a solo homer to Forsythe with two outs in the ninth, but he struck out Kiermaier (though it took 10 pitches) to end the game.

Betts had reached base at least three times in five straight games - the Red Sox's record is seven - but that streak came to an end, as he only singled and walked today. (The Red Sox record of consecutive games reaching base at least twice is 23 (!), by Ted Williams in 1957. TSW also holds the second-highest total (21) and the third-highest total (18).)

Betts now has 208 hits. Only eight Red Sox players have had as many or more hits in a season.

Most Hits in Red Sox Season, 1901-2016
                   YEAR  HITS
Wade Boggs         1985   240
Tris Speaker       1912   222
Wade Boggs         1988   214
Jim Rice           1978   213
Dustin Pedroia     2008   213
Adrian Gonzalez    2011   213
Jacoby Ellsbury    2011   212
Wade Boggs         1983   210
Nomar Garciaparra  1997   209
Johnny Pesky       1946   208
Mookie Betts       2016   208
There are seven games remaining in the regular season for Betts to add to his total.

The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-0 so Boston's magic number is now three. New York has been shutout in three straight games and is 11.5 GB.
Rick Porcello / Matt Andriese
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Holt, 3B
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Matt Collins at OTM is wondering who will start ALDS Game 1.

Last night's game was only the second time that David Ortiz hit a first-inning home run that accounted for Boston's only runs in a win. The other time was on June 7, 2007, when a solo home run in the first led the Red Sox to a 1-0 win over the A's (Curt Schilling's near no-hitter).

Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 4 with 8 games to play. ... Also: Yankees/Blue Jays and Diamondbacks/Orioles.
BOS  --- 
TOR  5.5
BAL  7.0
MFY 10.5

ESPN The Magazine: Theo Epstein, The Mastermind

I'm happily rooting for the Cubs in the postseason ... until they meet the Red Sox in the World Series.

Wright Thompson, ESPN The Magazine:
Epstein knows how others see him, and he's self-aware enough to both understand his reputation and mock it. His friends are always baffled at his image as a cold exploiter of markets and inferior systems. One night this summer, the owner of the team, Tom Ricketts, held court at a charity boxing match and explained that few people are as different from their public narrative as Theo: He gets painted as a quant, while his attachment to baseball is actually deeply emotional. When the team is on the road, or playing a home night game, he sometimes brings his lunch to Wrigley just to eat in the empty bleachers. He loves how the ivy turns bright red at the end of October, which most fans don't know because the team has never played in Wrigley that late in the year. He loves the changing seasons, and quoting both Dazed and Confused and Othello, and reading the Russian writers whose dramas play out inside the psyches of their characters. He read Crime and Punishment once in high school and again in college -- and he feels that those kinds of internal struggles are authentic to his own, which isn't against his environment (upper-class Jewish) or his station (intellectual Brookline, Massachusetts) but rather against the things inside his own head, cycles of guilt, passion and redemption. The main battle he fights is against himself. "If I let my brain follow its path unfettered, it would be kinda ugly," he says. "I learned simple mental health things: self-talk, breathing."

His public mission is simple and well-known: Break another curse. But privately, he came to the Cubs for something personal and nearly as important, which he doesn't talk about. In Boston, he lost control of his obsession, the belief that a collective of people can do one thing better than it's ever been done. At the very end, he became a shell of the person who fell in love with the game, stress turning into physical symptoms, like a neck that hurt so bad he couldn't turn his head more than a few degrees. His friends saw how the job changed his face. That's what they talk about when describing the cost Theo paid, how he looked different. "There is definitely at times a hollowness to him that drives him," says one of his old Red Sox co-workers. "There's some black pockets with him that are just dark. When he's down, he goes to extremes."

During the Red Sox's famous chicken-and-beer collapse, he couldn't sleep. Staff members made jokes about waiting on the sun to rise, mocking their own despair. But on a few bad nights, when things felt bleak, Theo would wander the internet, lingering on macabre things like air traffic controller recordings from plane crashes. He knew he needed to leave Boston, to start fresh, no matter how the collapse made the exit look or feel. "I hated I was seen as running from the collapse," he says, "but I guess on some level, I was running from something."

He arrived in Chicago to rebuild a franchise -- and part of himself too.

September 23, 2016

G154: Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Red Sox - 200 000 000 - 2  9  0
Rays    - 010 000 000 - 1  6  0
The red hot Red Sox (90-64) extended their winning streak to nine games and lowered their division-clinching magic number to four. Any combination of Boston wins and Toronto losses totalling four will give the Red Sox the 2016 AL East flag.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning (#37) and the Red Sox pitching staff made that dong stand up, holding Tampa Bay to only one run.

Ortiz now has 124 RBI, which is a new record for a player in his final season. Shoeless Joe Jackson had 123 RBI in 1920 but was banned from baseball before the 1921 season. The home run also tied Ortiz with Lou Gehrig for 10th place on the all-time list for extra-base hits (1,190). Ken Griffey and Rafael Palmeiro are just above Ortiz, at 1,192. Big Papi needs three more extra-base hits in the last eight games of the season to move into 8th place all-time.

Drew Pomeranz (5-4-1-0-4, 78) gave up a solo homer to Mikie Mahtook in the second and pitched out of a couple of jams in the following two innings. Luke Maile doubled with one out in the third and went to third base on a groundout. Pomeranz battled Kevin Kiermaier for nine pitches, and finally got him to fly to left.

With one down in the fourth, Brad Miller doubled to left and Mahtook singled him to third. Pomeranz escaped trouble when Corey Dickerson grounded to Bogaerts who started a 6-4-3 double play (the third out was close but the Rays declined to review it). Pomeranz pitched a clean fifth, with two strikeouts.

Joe Kelly took over in the sixth. Facing the top of the Rays' order, he got two groundouts and a foul pop. Robbie Ross retired the first two batters in the seventh, but Dickerson cracked a ground-rule double to right-center. Matt Barnes came in and got pinch-hitter Nick Franklin to pop to shortstop.

The Red Sox had a chance to fatten their lead in the top of the eighth when Danny Farquhar walked three batters (one intentionally). Batting with the bases loaded, Brock Holt fouled out to Longoria who made the catch down the line near the bullpen mounds.

Barnes stayed on the mound for the eighth and struck out Bobby Wilson on three pitches. He then struck out pinch-hitter Jaff Decker on three pitches. Barnes lost the strike zone and walked Logan Forsythe on five pitches (although ball four should have been called strike two). Manager John Farrell called on lefty Robby Scott to face the left-hand-batting Kiermaier. Scott got ahead 0-2, then missed with two pitches, before Kiermaier grounded out to third.

The fact that Barnes and Scott pitched the eighth meant that Koji Uehara was unavailable. Farrell was also staying away from Craig Kimbrel, as Kimbrel had pitched in each of the last three games, throwing 14, 5, and 11 pitches. So the ninth inning belonged to Brad Ziegler, facing Tampa Bay's 3-4-5 hitters.

Evan Longoria doubled to the wall in left-center, immediately putting the pressure on. Miller popped up a 2-2 pitch to shortstop. Mahtook struck out, lunging at an outside 1-2 pitch. Ziegler intentionally walked Dickerson, putting the potential winning run on base, and faced Juniel Querecuto (who was appearing in his second major league game). Ziegler kept everything down, and most of it away, and struck out Querecuto out on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Mookie Betts reached base four times, on three singles and a walk. Betts now has 207 hits, which leads all MLB players (Houston's Jose Altuve has 206).

Chris Archer took the loss, his 19th of the season. He is the first pitcher in Rays history to lose 19 games in a season.

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 9-0 and have been eliminated from the AL East race.
Drew Pomeranz / Chris Archer
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Bradley, CF
Holaday, C
Holt, LF
WEEI's John Tomase calls the Red Sox "the most complete team in baseball":
The deficiencies of April, May, June, and July now feel like strengths. The starting pitching, among the worst in the AL for three months, has been so good for the past two that the Red Sox rank fourth in the AL in ERA.

The bullpen, a trouble spot as recently as August, now looks unhittable, thanks to the return of setup man Koji Uehara, who has been lights out, and the return to form -- with a vengeance -- of closer Craig Kimbrel. The two finished Thursday's win with an inning and two strikeouts apiece. The bullpen as a whole owns a 0.82 ERA in September.
"Big Papi Immortalized In Donuts" - 10,000 donuts, to be exact.

Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 5 with 9 games to play. ... Also: Yankees/Blue Jays and Diamondbacks/Orioles.
BOS --- 
TOR 5.5
BAL 7.0
MFY 9.5

September 22, 2016

G153: Red Sox 5, Orioles 3

Red Sox - 120 010 100 - 5  9  0
Orioles - 003 000 000 - 3  6  1
It seemed like David Price was never fully comfortable on the mound, taking more time than usual between pitches, but he gave the Red Sox a solid outing (7-6-3-2-5, 99). Over his last four innings, Price allowed only one hit and one walk.

Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel pitched one inning of relief apiece, both relievers striking out two batters. They have become a dominating duo out of the bullpen. Uehara has faced 27 batters since returning to the team and retired 22 of them, including 10 by strikeout. Kimbrel is 12-for-12 in save chances since coming off the disabled list and has not allowed a run in his last 16 games.

It was the Red Sox's eighth straight win, their longest streak of the season. They also pulled off the feat of sweeping consecutive four-game series for the first time since July 1-7, 1968 when they beat Oakland 3-0, 4-3, 4-3 (11) and 7-2, then swept the Twins 4-2, 4-2, 4-3, and 6-3. The Red Sox lead the East by 5.5 games over Toronto. The Red Sox now head to Tampa Bay for a weekend series against the last-place Rays.

The Red Sox battered Chris Tillman (1.2-5-3-3-2, 63), who recorded only five outs. With two down in the first, Mookie Betts grounded a single to center. David Ortiz drew a full-count walk and Hanley Ramirez singled up the middle for one run.

Jackie Bradley began the second with his seventh triple of the year, a rope into the right field corner. Sandy Leon singled him home with a first-pitch hit to right. Tillman retired Andrew Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia, but he gave up a single to Brock Holt and walked Betts and Ortiz, the last free pass bringing in Boston's third run, and ending his night.

Price also worked with men on base in the early innings. He allowed a two-out single in the first and a two-out single and walk in the second. In the third, Chris Davis and Manny Machado both singled with one out. After Mark Trumbo struck out, Trey Mancini hit a three-run homer to deep left, tying the game.

Boston left eight men on base over the first four innings, including two in the fourth. Travis Shaw opened the fifth with a walk and, after Vance Worley recorded two strikeouts, went to second on a wild pitch. Benintendi's hard single to right scored Shaw, giving the Red Sox a 4-3 lead, but the throw home was cut off and Benintendi was out trying to advance to second.

Baltimore's only threat after the third inning came in the sixth when Mancini doubled to lead off the frame. Price did not buckle, though, and retired the next three batters, on a grounder to third, a fly to center, and a strikeout.

Ramirez gave the Red Sox a bit of insurance with an opposite-field dong in the seventh. ... Betts and Ortiz each reached base three times, on a single and two walks.


David Price / Chris Tillman
Pedroia, 2B
Holt, SS
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF
Elias reports that the Red Sox's seven consecutive victories over division opponents (the Yankees and Orioles, in this case) ties the franchise's longest such streak in a single season in the last 26 years. Since 1991, the only other time the Red Sox won seven consecutive games against AL East teams was in 2003.

Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 6 with 10 games to play.
BOS --- 
TOR 5.0
BAL 6.0

Vin Scully Will Call His Final Game In Los Angeles On Sunday

Vin Scully will call his last game at Dodger Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The final game of his broadcasting career - which has spanned 67 years - will come on the final day of the regular season - Sunday, October 2 - in San Francisco. Scully said before the 2016 season began:
As a little kid who was born and raised in the streets of New York, one that grew up literally and figuratively in the Polo Grounds and was a rabid Giants fan — I can tell you that, it's good for the soul. I think I would love to finish in a game between the Dodgers and the Giants.
Scully has said he will not announce any of the Dodgers' postseason games.

Jayson Stark, ESPN:
When Vin Scully first walked into the Dodgers' broadcast booth, Winston Churchill hadn't started his second stint as the prime minister of Great Britain. Connie Mack, a man born while Abraham Lincoln was president, was still managing in the major leagues. The transistor radio -- a gizmo that would turn the man at the microphone into a California icon -- wouldn't be invented for another four years.

That was April 1950.

The Dodgers still played baseball at Ebbets Field. And Vin Scully was a 22-year-old rookie broadcaster, sharing the booth with the legendary Red Barber. He was a young man about to embark on a journey even he could have never envisioned: from East Coast to West Coast, from crackling AM radios to the fuzz of black-and-white TV to the splendor of "living color" to baseball games streaming across your smart phone.

So how do we capture the magnitude of Vin Scully, the meaning of Vin Scully, the miracle of Vin Scully? Not with our words, but with the words of the men and women who have known him best, whose company he has shared, whose lives he has touched, whose careers he has described and even transformed.

We spoke with numerous people who fit that description. We listened to them laugh, regale us and even fight back tears. So here are their stories. And here is his story, The Story of Vin Scully, from the hearts, minds and voices of those who have fallen under the spell of baseball's most beloved voice.
Ron Cey (former Dodgers third baseman): One of the things I was introduced to here early, when I started playing here, was the transistor radio. ... Coming out to listen to Vin Scully, and lot of people would bring their transistor radios to the ballgame. Because we had so many people who got attached to that philosophy, all those transistor radios would be on at the same time. It would resonate and become like a loudspeaker.

Jerry Reuss (former Dodgers pitcher): I was pitching a game for Houston -- it was either '72 or '73. It was a weeknight game, and there was maybe a crowd of 20,000 there. But as I stood there on the mound ready to deliver a pitch, for whatever reason it caught my attention (from the sound of those transistor radios) that Vin was in midstory. ... It was the only time it ever happened, but I can hear by his cadence, his inflection, that he was in midstory. It just caught me. So I stepped off the mound, threw down the resin bag, rubbed my hand, and I could still hear him tell the story. ... He got his point out, people laughed, and without missing a beat, he said, "Now Reuss is ready to deliver." ... That's the kind of respect that Vin Scully deserves.
Rob Bradford, WEEI, September 21, 2016:
If Eduardo Rodriguez is going to pitch like this, bring on the Cubs. ...

If the Red Sox can get the Rodriguez we saw in their 5-2 win over the Orioles, then that's it. That's the final piece. We can officially proclaim that this team -- the one we are witnessing play baseball at Camden Yards this week -- should win the American League.

"I think there's growing confidence in our clubhouse daily," said Red Sox manager John Farrell after his team's sixth straight win. "We've responded to a number of challenges, whether it's on the road, whether it's coming from behind in big ballgames in the division, those are key. When you achieve those or succeed in those, yeah, that's a snowball effect that takes place."
Jeff Sullivan, Fangraphs, September 20, 2016:
It's funny — it's just about impossible to make the Red Sox look even average, by any split. Overall, they've hit the best. They're best against righties, and fourth against lefties. They were best in the first half, and they've been third in the second half. They're first at home, and third on the road. They're best when ahead in the count, and second when behind. They're third with the bases empty, and best with runners on. They're best against starters, and second against relievers. They're best against finesse pitchers, and best against power pitchers. They're best against ground-ball pitchers, and second against fly-ball pitchers. They're third against fastballs, and best against non-fastballs. The Red Sox offense does everything against everybody. It's not completely in another universe, but outside of a player or three, there's no weakness to be found. It's as frightening as a lineup can get.

September 21, 2016

G152: Red Sox 5, Orioles 1

Red Sox - 000 005 000 - 5  6  0
Orioles - 001 000 000 - 1  4  3
The Red Sox had loaded the bases for the third time in the game. (They had come up empty the previous two times.) Now, in the top of the sixth, Sandy Leon - 0-for-his-last-15 - batted with two outs. Orioles reliever Brad Brach had a 2-2 count, and was possibly one pitch away from getting out of the inning, and preserving Baltimore's 1-0 lead. The odds were clearly in Brach's favour, as he came into the game having stranded 24 of 25 inherited runners.

Two pitches later, Boston led 5-1.

Leon grounded Brach's 2-2 pitch to the right side. First baseman Chris Davis gloved the ball and threw across his body. His throw led Brach to the bag, but it was thrown far too hard and it sailed past Brach's outstretched glove and into foul territory. Two runs scored. Then Andrew Benintendi lined Brach's next pitch over the high wall/scoreboard in right field for a three-run homer. And the Red Sox - the hottest team in baseball (14-5 in September) - had a four-run lead.

The Orioles did not put up a fight after that. Clay Buchholz (7-3-1-2-4, 95) finished his strong outing with a perfect seventh. Brad Ziegler needed only nine pitches to retire the side in order. Robby Scott began the ninth by striking out Davis, but Mark Trumbo reached on an infield single. Manager John Farrell brought in Craig Kimbrel. Pinch-hitter Trey Mancini flied to right and Jonathan Schoop grounded to third.

Buchholz has a 3.09 ERA in his last six starts. With the win, the Red Sox now have their longest winning streak of the season: seven games. And because the Blue Jays lost to the Mariners, Boston also leads the AL East by five games, with 10 games to play.

The Orioles took the lead in the third on a series of plays that could hardly be blamed on Buchholz. Schoop got a single on a bloop that fell safely into short right-center. Matt Wieters dropped down a bunt and catcher Sandy Leon opted for the force at second. It was an ill-advised play and even a perfect throw might not have recorded the out. Leon's throw was offline and both runners were safe. Buchholz walked J.J. Hardy on four pitches, but two of them probably should have been called strikes. With the bases loaded, Adam Jones hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Boston had squandered several scoring chances before they finally scored. With two outs in the first, David Ortiz singled, Mookie Betts walked, and Travis Shaw singled. With the sacks full, Aaron Hill tapped a slow roller towards third. Manny Machado gunned a throw to first that just nipped Hill (the Red Sox considered challenging the call, but declined).

In the fourth, Betts singled to center and stole second as Shaw struck out. Wieters's throw to second hit Betts and caromed into left-center, and Mookie took third on the error. Hill then reached on catcher's interference when, as he was fouling off a 3-2 pitch, his bat hit Wieters's mitt. Ubaldo Jimenez then walked Jackie Bradley to load the bases. It was another golden opportunity for runs, but Leon grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Clay Buchholz / Ubaldo Jiménez
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Shaw, 1B
Hill, 3B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF
Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 8 with 11 games to play. ... Also: Blue Jays/Mariners.
BOS --- 
TOR 4.0
BAL 5.0

September 20, 2016

G151: Red Sox 5, Orioles 2

Red Sox - 001 100 300 - 5 11  0
Orioles - 000 010 100 - 2  6  0
David Ortiz's three-run home run extended the Red Sox's lead from 2-1 to 5-1, paving the way for Boston's sixth straight victory, tying a season-high. The Red Sox also won six in a row from July 6-16 and August 12-17. ... The Red Sox are an MLB-best 13-5 in September.

Eduardo Rodriguez (6.1-4-2-1-7, 90) retired the first 11 Orioles, just as Rick Porcello had done on Monday night. And again, Manny Machado broke up any thoughts of a Red Sox perfect game, this time by walking on four pitches.

By that time, the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead against Kevin Gausman (6.1-10-5-1-5, 101). They had runners on base in every inning against the Orioles starter. Boston stranded two in the first and wasted a leadoff double from Chris Young in the second. Mookie Betts (3-for-5, his 14th three-hit game of the year) singled to shallow left to start the third; it was Betts's 200th hit of the season. He went to third as Ortiz grounded a single to center and scored on Hanley Ramirez's fielder's choice out. Jackie Bradley belted a home run in the fourth.

Baltimore cut the lead to 2-1 when Trey Mancini, who was making his major league debut, homered in his second at-bat, in the fifth inning. Rodriguez got into a slight jam when Chris Davis singled with one out in the sixth. Machado tapped a grounder towards Marco Hernandez at second. Hernandez had to run in (while avoiding the baserunner) and fling the ball sideways but he recorded the out, Machado helping out by slowing himself up with a headfirst slide. With the tying run at second, Rodriguez battled Mark Trumbo for seven pitches before striking him out.

Hernandez and Betts started the seventh with singles. With one out, Ortiz cracked his 36th home run, setting a new record for dongs in a player's final season. Ortiz now has 121 RBI, his highest total since he led the AL with 137 in 2006.

Jonathan Schoop doubled off Rodriguez in the bottom of the seventh and after Matt Wieters lined out, manager John Farrell went to the bullpen. Matt Barnes got the second out, but then allowed an infield single that scored Schoop and another single that put Orioles at first and third. Brad Ziegler - facing Adam Jones as the potential tying run - ended the threat by getting Jones to fly to center.

Koji Uehara pitched a clean eighth, with two pop-ups and a strikeout. Craig Kimbrel - who now has not allowed a run in his last 14 appearances - issued a two-out walk in the ninth, but got the final out on a force play at second.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Kevin Gausman
Betts, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Hernandez, 2B
Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 9 with 12 games to play. ... Also: Blue Jays/Mariners.
BOS --- 
BAL 4.0
TOR 4.0

September 19, 2016

G150: Red Sox 5, Orioles 2

Red Sox - 002 030 000 - 5  9  0
Orioles - 000 100 010 - 2  4  1
Rick Porcello (9-4-2-0-7, 89) pitched his third complete game of the season as the Red Sox won their fifth straight game. Mookie Betts and David Ortiz hit two-run homers as Boston opened up a four-game lead in the AL East. It was the 11th consecutive start Porcello has thrown seven innings or more while allowing three earned runs or fewer.

After stranding three men on base in the first two innings, Boston broke through against Dylan Bundy (5-6-5-2-3, 99) in the third. Xander Bogaerts lined a one-out single to right and Betts cracked a home run to left. It was his eighth dong at Camden Yards this season; he has only six homers in all other road parks combined. It's the most homers in a season by a visiting player since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Porcello retired the first 11 Orioles (on only 30 pitches!) and was in complete command throughout. Baltimore's first base runner of the night was Manny Machado, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth. He seemed to think the HBP was intentional, and he and Porcello traded words. (Why Porcello would hit a man on purpose to break up a perfect game bid and bring the majors' leading HR hitter to the plate as the tying run is something only Machado can answer.) Mark Trumbo followed with a double off the base of the right field wall and Machado scored easily.

Boston expanded their lead in the fifth. Andrew Benintendi doubled over Adam Jones's head in center and scored on Dustin Pedroia's single to left. After Bogaerts flied out, Ortiz golfed his 35th home run to deep right.

Jones homered in the eighth to close out the scoring.

NESN had a timely shot of Ortiz untucking his uniform shirt after Porcello recorded the second out in the ninth. Clearly, the third out was a mere formality and Flo had to get ready for the post-game celebration. ... In addition to his homer, Betts also walked twice. ... Pedroia and Jackie Bradley each had two hits.

Porcello's pitches by inning: 8-7-7 14-12-14 8-9-10. Of Porcello's 89 pitches, 65 were strikes. He went to a three-ball count only once: Trumbo in the sixth, Porcello's 22nd batter of the game. He went to two balls on only five other hitters.
Rick Porcello / Dylan Bundy
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Leon, C
Holt, 3B
Bradley, CF
Benintendi, LF
The Red Sox, fresh off their decimation of the Yankees' postseason hopes and dreams, head to Baltimore to wreck the October aspirations of another hated rival.

It's the first stop on a three-city, 10-game road trip (four at Orioles, three at Rays, three at Yankees), after which the Red Sox end the regular season with three games against the Blue Jays.

In his last 19 games, Hanley Ramirez has a 1.355 OPS (.405/.463/.892) and 11 home runs.

Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 11 with 13 games to play. ... Also: Blue Jays/Mariners.
BOS --- 
BAL 3.0
TOR 4.0

Schadenfreude 200 (A Continuing Series)

Dan Martin, Post:
After the Red Sox dug the Yankees' grave the first three games of the series, Hanley Ramirez stomped on it Sunday and the Yankees ended up on the wrong end of another Boston Massacre.

Ramirez hit a pair of homers to send the Yankees to their fifth straight defeat, a 5-4 loss in which the visitors blew a 4-0 lead, CC Sabathia was jeered by the Fenway Park crowd and the team dropped four games back of the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot with 13 games to play.
Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
Remember the "Boston Massacre" series in 1978 and 2006? The Red Sox finally got their payback.

A Yankees team that came to town with serious playoff aspirations left Fenway Park beaten and broken, their postseason hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads after the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep with a 5-4 victory Sunday night. ...

Losers of five straight games and seven of their last eight, the Yankees stand four games behind the Blue Jays for the second American League wild card spot and four games behind the wild card-leading Orioles with 13 games remaining on the schedule.

The Yankees had a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning, but for the third time in four days, Joe Girardi's club was unable to lock it down, watching the Red Sox come from behind once again. ...

CC Sabathia battled several elements Sunday night: Boston's powerful lineup, his own throwing problems and a hostile crowd that chanted "CC Sucks!" repeatedly as his solid night crumbled in the fifth and sixth innings.
Anthony McCarron, Daily News:
They came to Fenway with big playoff dreams — the division, the wild card, it all seemed possible with a few sterling wins against their rivals. But the Yankees quietly left enemy territory Sunday night with their postseason hopes in tatters, their own players suggesting that a miracle might be the best aid and a four-game deficit in the wild card with four teams to pass.

"Brutal," said Tyler Clippard, who gave up the winning run, a Hanley Ramirez home run in the seventh inning that snapped a tie and gave the Sox their 5-4 winning margin. The Red Sox swept the four-game series and will forever know they likely dealt the killing blow to a Yankee playoff charge. ...

Ramirez destroyed the Yanks in the series, going 9-for-16 with four homers and nine RBI. Every time he swung, it seemed, it resulted in the sound of a thunderclap as bat met ball. ...

Is there adjusting from this? Only if they can go from massacre to miracle.
It was the Red Sox's first sweep of the Yankees in a series of at least 4 games in more than 26 years, when they went 4-0 at Fenway on June 4-7, 1990.

The last time the Red Sox won as many as three games in one series in which it erased deficits of three or more runs in each game was against the Washington Senators on June 16-18, 1961 (which included this doozy, the first of two walkoff wins that day).