Red Sox

Firepower leads Sox past Orioles, 10-3

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Firepower leads Sox past Orioles, 10-3

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON An offensive explosion in the first and an explosion of a different type in the eighth marked the start and finish of the Red Sox thumping of the Orioles, 10-3, Friday night at Fenway Park.

Sending 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, with eight of them scoring, there was little else the Red Sox had to do in beating the Orioles, 10-3, for the second straight game at Fenway Park.

The Sox battered Orioles left-hander Zach Britton for six hits in the first, including a three-run blast by David Ortiz, his 19th of the season. Britton lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits and two walks with one strikeout.

Dustin Pedroia added a solo shot leading off the sixth off Chris Jakabauskus

Josh Beckett, who left after the fifth inning for precautionary reasons, with a mildly hyperextended left knee, earned the win improving to 7-4 with a 2.27 ERA. He gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Matt Albers followed Beckett, with four strikeouts in two innings.

Two bench-clearing brawls, with four ejections, in the eighth inning, triggered by a David Ortiz-Kevin Gregg showdown marked the end of the game. Ortiz, Gregg, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jim Johnson were all ejected.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
Ortizs three-run homer in the first inning off starter Zach Britton was the big blast in the Sox eight-run barrage that inning. It was his team-leading 19th home run of the season, second in as many nights against a lefty, and 146th of his career at Fenway Park, passing Bobby Doerr for sole possession of fifth all-time. It was the seventh time he has homered in back-to-back games this season four more than he did all last year.

Ortiz went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and is now 6-for-17 with three doubles, two home runs, and five walks in five games on the homestand.

But, it was his eighth-inning fireworks that provided Ortizs signature to the game. Ortiz and Os reliever Kevin Gregg sparked two bench-clearing brawls, with the second resulting in haymakers thrown by each and four players ejected Ortiz, Gregg, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and the Os Jim Johnson.

Ortiz initially took exception to three inside pitches from Gregg that jackknifed the Sox DH, emptying both dugouts and bullpens. After flying out to center field, Ortiz objected to Greggs directions for him to run out the play to first base. Ortiz charged the mound, with an all-out brawl ensuing.

It was the ninth career ejection for Ortiz, and first for Saltalamacchia.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia
For the second straight game, Pedroia blasted a titanic home run. Unlike his home run on Thursday, though, his Friday night shot leading off the sixth inning -- stayed in the park only because it hit the signage high above the Green Monster.

Pedroia went 2-for-4, raising his average to .281, with three RBI and a home run, his 10th of the season. It was the first time hes hit back-to-back home runs in consecutive games since April 10 and 11. He has homered in three of his last four games.

His first-inning single to center field extended his on-base streak to 22 games going back to June 15, the longest active streak in the AL. In that time he is 30-for-86, batting .349, with 17 walks. His eighth-inning walk was his 62nd of the season, passing Mark Bellhorn for most by a Sox second baseman prior to the All-Star break since 1946.
THE GOAT: Zach Britton
With less than a full inning of work to show for it, Britton left his team in a very deep and very early eight-run hole. It was more than the Orioles climb out of. After getting Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out to Adam Jones in center field one of two stellar catches the Os centerfield made on his Sox counterpart in the game -- to open the inning, Britton allowed the next seven Sox batters to reach base before he could record another out.

Britton went just two-thirds of an inning, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits and two walks with a strikeout, and a home run. His record fell to 6-6 while his ERA climbed from 3.47 to 4.05.

THE TURNING POINT
Fans were still trying to find their seats at Fenway Park when the game was all but over. The Sox sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, with eight scoring. The last time the Sox scored as many runs in the first inning was on Aug. 12, 2008, against Texas, when they scored 10.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off against Zach Britton, flying out to Adam Jones, who made a nice catch, running into the triangle in center field. Dustin Pedroia singled to center Adrian Gonzalez walked. Kevin Youkilis singled through the shortstop hole, scoring Pedroia, sending Gonzalez to second. Ortiz blasted a three-run homer to right. Jason Varitek walked. Marco Scutaro singled to center, with Varitek taking third. Darnell McDonald doubled to left-center, scoring Varitek and Scutaro. Yamaico Navarro struck out. Ellsbury singled to left, scoring McDonald, and ending Brittons outing.

Brad Bergesen came in for the Os. Pedroia reached on an error by shortstop J.J. Hardy. Gonzalez singled, scoring Ellsbury, sending Pedroia to third. Youkilis grounded out to third, ending the offensive explosion.

The total: One inning, 13 batters, eight runs (seven earned), seven hits, two walks, one strikeout, one error, two runners left on base, and two pitchers. And one game virtually in the win column.

STAT OF THE DAY: 18
Sending 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, it was the 18th time the Sox have batted around this season, extending their major league lead

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I was pretty close. I was on the little bench, the one where titos always in. so when the thing happened I guess I was the first guy. So, I was just trying to hold him. Hes so tall and I was just trying to hold him and I couldnt even reach the ground, just jumping on his back. -- Marco Scutaro, listed at 5-feet-10, who jumped on the back of 6-feet-6 Os pitcher Kevin Gregg during the eighth-inning brawl.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http: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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