Red Sox

Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

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Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

BOSTON -- Matt Olson hit a two-run homer, Jed Lowrie drove in two runs and the Oakland Athletics rebounded for a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox to win for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday night.

The loss sliced Boston's lead in the AL East to three games over the second-place New York Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 3-2.

Oakland, which owns the majors' worst road record (22-48), snapped an eight-game losing streak away from home. The A's had dropped their past seven at Fenway Park.

Dustin Pedroia had three singles for Boston to extend his hitting streak against the A's to 26 games. The Red Sox had won five of six.

Jharel Cotton (8-10) picked up the win, allowing three runs in five innings. He entered 1-7 with an 8.00 ERA in night games.

Five relievers held Boston scoreless the rest of the way.

Doug Fister (5-8) was tagged for six runs and six hits in four innings. He was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous four starts.

A night after getting routed 11-1 by the Red Sox, last-place Oakland built a 6-1 lead by scoring four in the first and two in the third.

Lowrie had an RBI triple and Khris Davis a run-scoring single in the first before Olson hit his homer into the A's bullpen.

Boston scored a run in the first on Mookie Betts' RBI grounder and one in the third on Andrew Benintendi's RBI double.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

A few fans seated above the Green Monster unfurled a sign denouncing racism during the fourth inning. The sign, draped over the middle of the 37-foot wall, had a black background with white letters that read: "Racism is as American as Baseball." It was up for about one batter and umpires asked that it be removed because it was in fair territory. There was a smattering of boos from the crowd as Red Sox security forced the fans to put away the sign and led them away from their seats. A team spokesman said four people were escorted from the ballpark and one of them said they were inspired by Black Lives Matter.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his second simulated game. "He's in the process of building up arm strength," manager John Farrell said. "I thought he threw with good velocity." Price, who has seldom spoken to the media while working his way back, said: "I don't know how many more times I have to do a live BP, but if I come tomorrow and feel fine, I don't know what else I have to do."

PAPI'S POSITION

The Red Sox announced they have reached a long-term agreement with retired slugger David Ortiz that "should link him with the organization forever."

Ortiz is expected to act as a mentor to current players, help recruit players, make appearances and help develop business for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.

"He got his long-term deal," Farrell joked before adding: "His place in this organization speaks for itself. I'm glad he's going to be here. I hope to be able to include him in some player aspects going forward."

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (4-8, 5.02 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (15-5, 3.35) is up for Boston. He's won eight of his last nine decisions.

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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