Red Sox

Fister sharp again as Red Sox beat Blue Jays, 6-1

fister_red_sox_090617.jpg

Fister sharp again as Red Sox beat Blue Jays, 6-1

BOSTON -- Doug Fister has quickly gone from a pitcher looking for a big league job right into being a key starter for a team chasing a division title.

Fister gave up one run over seven innings, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Wednesday night, a day after the teams played a 19-inning marathon.

The Red Sox claimed the 33-year-old Fister in June after he opted out of a Triple-A contract and was released by the Los Angeles Angels. In the last couple weeks, he's clearly been Boston's best starter.

"To say that when we got him from the Angels that he would be running a streak of starts consecutively like he is, no - he's surpassed the initial expectation," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's doing a great job."

It was the second straight win for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who moved four games ahead of the second-place Yankees. New York's game at Baltimore was rained out.

Playing just 18 hours after completing a 3-2 victory that lasted six hours and ended on Hanley Ramirez's bloop single, the Red Sox took charge with a four-run fourth that was capped by Bradley's homer.

Fister (5-7) allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked three, improving to 3-1 in his last four starts with a 1.50 ERA.

"It's definitely a fun time of year, being anxious for what might come," he said. "I just continually work hard each and every day."

Joe Biagini (3-10) was tagged for five runs in 3 1/3 innings.

With rain starting to fall when the Red Sox came to the plate in the fourth, Xander Bogaerts halted a 3-for-33 stretch by lining an opposite field RBI triple and scored on Rafael Devers' single. Bradley then belted his homer into Boston's bullpen, making it 5-1.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty good early under these conditions," Blue Jays acting manager DeMarlo Hale said of Biagini. "You think about the fourth inning, really the big blow was the home run. He left a changeup up to Bradley and I thought that was really the big blow of the game."

Biagini didn't waste time analyzing his outing.

"Bad. That's a short answer for you," he said. "It's a search for consistency, consistency of release point. Just aggressiveness and all that good stuff."

Both teams scored a run in the first.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his fourth bullpen session of the week and Farrell said he's expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. ... Farrell decided to DH 2B Dustin Pedroia with the forecast of showers to limit playing on his left knee that landed him on the DL with inflammation for nearly three weeks last month.

LET ME SEE, TOO

Fister stood on the edge of the mound and joined in, looking at an iPad that Red Sox head groundskeeper Dave Mellor brought out to show the umpires the radar before the sixth.

SLOW STARTS

During his strong four-start stretch, Fister has allowed all five of his runs in the opening inning.

Miguel Montero drew a bases-loaded walk after Fister gave up a leadoff single to Ezequiel Carrera, a double to Justin Smoak and a walk to Michael Saunders.

"He gets into the rhythm of the game. It takes him an inning," Farrell said. "It's been uncanny how similar the beginning of games are and how he finishes out."

EASY THEFTS

The Red Sox were 4 for 4 in stolen base attempts, and improved to 29 for 32 this season against Toronto, the most steals by any club in the majors against an opponent this season.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Off Thursday. They open a three-game series at Rogers Centre on Friday against Detroit. RHP Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.08 ERA) is scheduled to start after leaving his last one when he was hit on the right elbow with a line drive.

Red Sox: Off Thursday. LHP Drew Pomeranz (14-5, 3.36) looks to rebound after his career-best eight-game winning streak was halted in his last start when Boston opens a three-game series against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park on Friday.

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

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

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

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE