Red Sox

Drew turns negative day into positive finish

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Drew turns negative day into positive finish

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; You could look at the positives. Or, you could look at thenegatives.

Prior to his seventh at-bat of the night in the bottom ofthe 14th, youd be hard-pressed to find anyone pointing out that J.D. Drewdrove in a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Thats because he struck out four times before hisgame-winning heroics in his seventh at-bat.

But his walkoff, RBI single in the 14th inning that willmake everyone in the Red Sox clubhouse forget about those four strikeouts.

That was a good swing, said Red Sox manager Terry Franconaafter Bostons 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. I think he wasready to go home. We all were.

The Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth, as JonathanPapelon in a non-save situation allowed four runs (three earned) on threehits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.

After the Athletics took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 11th,the Red Sox kept the game alive, thanks to a pair of two-out doubles fromJarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury.

It got all the way to the 14th, when Carl Crawford doubledto left field with two outs. The Athletics then decided to intentionally walkJed Lowrie to get to the struggling Drew.

And he didnt disappoint, lining an 0-and-1 fastball toright-center to drive in Crawford easily from second base forhis fifth-career walkoff hit, and his first since April 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Just a fastball down the middle, said Drew after the game.Got the barrel to it, hit it short right-center field, which was a perfectspot for it.

When I hit it, I knew there was no doubt, so its a greatdeal, especially after an afternoon like that.

Drew admitted after the game that hes been searching alittle bit with regards to his production at the plate. That searching seemedto continue after four strikeouts through his first six at-bats on Saturday.

But he stayed short with his swing in his final appearanceat the plate, and it paid off. Now, Drew hopes its something to build on.

You dont want to strike out four times in a game, saidDrew. But Ive had my scuffles, and tried to just battle through them. Eventhough I stuck out four times in those at-bats, I felt like I had some reallyquality swings in those at-bats. In those situations right there, with men onfirst and second, you have an opportunity to try to shorten up just a littlebit, but continue being aggressive in the zone. And it worked out.

Well, the musics playing after a Red Sox home win, so theres something to be saidfor persistence, said Francona. I dont know if its exactly like we drew itup, but were playing at home, and as weve said a lot on the road, when youget in games like that, theyre easy to lose when youre on the road.

I know the ninth inning wasnt the way we drew it up, but Inever felt like we were going to lose. Maybe thats because we have goodplayers . . . But I think we all felt like we were going to win. Its a goodfeeling.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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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