Red Sox

Crawford gives Red Sox walk-off win in 11th, 2-1

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Crawford gives Red Sox walk-off win in 11th, 2-1

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Carl Crawford looked like a minor leaguer during his first month in a Red Sox uniform, but he seems to have found his swing in May. His double off the Green Monster in the 11th inning scored pinch runner Jose Iglesias from first base and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Twins on Monday night.

Josh Beckett turned in another outstanding performance for the Red Sox, going seven scoreless innings. He allowed six hits and a walk with five strikeouts, lowering
his ERA to 1.99.

The Sox took three out of four from the Twins, going 6-5 on the 11-game homestand. They improved their record to 17-18. The last time they were a game under .500 was May 3, at 14-15, before losing the next three games.

Only Luke Hughes past first base while Beckett was on the mound, doing so twice. In the third inning he singled and took second on a walk to Denard Span, Becketts only free pass of the game. In the fifth Hughes singled and stole second, his first steal of the season.

Despite his dominance, Beckett was unable to earn a win, as Alfred Aceves and Jonathan Papelbon combined to allow the Twins to tie the game at 1-1 in the eighth inning.

The Sox scored their first run in the fifth. Jason Varitek led off with a double to left, taking third on Jacoby Ellsburys groundout to second. After Dustin Pedroia grounded out, Adrian Gonzalez singled to left, scoring Varitek. It was Gonzalezs team-high 25th RBI of the season.

Alfredo Aceves came in for the eighth, giving up a one-out single to Span then balking him to second. After Aceves got Matt Tolbert to foul out to Kevin Youkilis at third, manager Terry Francona brought in Jonathan Papelbon to face left-handed hitting Jason Kubel, who entered the game hitting .351 (40-for-114) with three home runs.

Before the at-bat, Kubel had been just 2-for-10 (.200) with two outs and runners in scoring position. But, he got the better of Papelbon. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Kubel singled to center, scoring Span, tying the game. It was Papelbons first blown save of the season.

The Red Sox had a chance in the ninth when Varitek reached base for the third time in the game, on second baseman Hughes two-out error. Darnell McDonald pinch-ran for Varitek, but was caught stealing, ending the inning.

In the 11th, with Jim Hoey on the mound for the Twins, J.D. Drew opened the inning flying out to center, before Jed Lowrie walked. With Iglesias pinch-running, Crawford doubled off the Wall in left-center, scoring Iglesias.

It was Iglesias first major league run scored. Crawfords hit extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Hideki Okajima (1-0, 4.32 ERA) earned the win, going two innings, giving up two
hits and two walks with three strikeouts, throwing a season-high 43 pitches.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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