Red Sox

Pomeranz, Betts power Red Sox past Rays, 9-3

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Pomeranz, Betts power Red Sox past Rays, 9-3

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz takes pride in his newfound role as a pillar in the Boston Red Sox's rotation, all because of the impact his success has on his teammates in the bullpen.

Pomeranz, who manger John Farrell likened to a stabilizing structure before the game, lived up to the billing when he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and gave up two runs over six to help the Red Sox rout the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Friday night.

"I take a lot of pride in it," Pomeranz said. "I like to go out there (in the bullpen) and let those guys know that they can rest, give them some time to settle in."

Pomeranz (15-5) struck out seven, allowed two hits and walked two en route to tying Chris Sale for the team lead in victories.

"Chris is the best pitcher in baseball. I don't really feel too competitive with him because he's unreal," Pomeranz said when asked if there was any friendly competition between the two pitchers.

Mookie Betts hit a three-run home run for the Red Sox (80-61), who moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East. Tampa Bay (70-72) fell 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card spot.

Jesus Sucre slugged a two-run homer for the Rays, who have homered in a season franchise record 18 straight games.

"That's how we're built, to hit the ball out of the ballpark," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Ideally, we do that with men on base."

Chris Archer (9-9) was roughed up for a season-high eight runs, six earned, and nine hits and struck out five in three-plus innings.

"They found a way to hit balls hard and hit balls soft and find hits," Archer said. "If I execute at a higher level, I'm at least able to limit the damage."

Boston chased Archer from the game with five runs in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead.

Pomeranz's no-hit bid was broken up by Brad Miller's one-out single in the fifth. Sucre added his two-run blast over the Green Monster in left field.

A PESKY FIRST

Betts blasted his homer around Pesky's Pole in right field in the first inning, marking the first time he has hooked a ball around the famous foul pole.

"First (time) for everything," Betts said. "It's tough to hit them over there, but I was lucky enough to get it."

ESCAPING IRMA

Tampa Bay's upcoming three-game series against the Yankees, scheduled to begin Monday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been moved to Citi Field in New York because of Hurricane Irma.

"Wherever we need to play, we'll go play and hope for the best back home," Cash said.

JetBlue Park, the Red Sox's spring training home in Fort Myers, Florida, will serve as a headquarters for first responders during the storm.

JERRY'S BACK

Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy returned to the booth to broadcast Friday's game after undergoing surgery and treatment for lung cancer. The 64-year-old was diagnosed with a fifth recurrence of the cancer and stepped aside in June.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. left the game in the fourth inning after suffering a left knee bruise during a collision with the right-field wall. Initial tests revealed no structural damage and he will be re-evaluated Saturday. "As soon as it happened, I had a pretty sharp pain running through my kneecap," Souza said. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Tommy John surgery recovery) and LHP Xavier Cedeno (forearm) will pitch for Double-A Montgomery in the Southern League playoffs Saturday.

Red Sox: INF/OF Eduardo Nunez experienced minor mid-back spasms during Wednesday's game and was out of the lineup. He is expected to return Saturday. ... LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) will throw two simulated innings of 15 to 18 pitches each on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese (5-2, 3.78 ERA) hopes to replicate the success of his last start at Fenway Park on May 14, when he tossed five two-run innings. Andriese is 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA lifetime against Boston.

Red Sox: LHP Sale (15-7, 2.85 ERA) looks to break out of his recent funk after going 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in his last four starts. Sale is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay this season.

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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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