Red Sox

Porcello sharp, Betts homers to lift Red Sox over Rays, 3-1

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Porcello sharp, Betts homers to lift Red Sox over Rays, 3-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rick Porcello and Mookie Betts reverted to their 2016 All-Star forms Saturday night in leading the Boston Red Sox to a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Porcello took a shutout into the eighth inning, Betts hit his 22nd home run and scored twice and the Red Sox reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to six, winning for the eighth win in 10 games. They also kept their AL East lead over the New York Yankees at three games with 14 left to play.

Porcello (10-17) flirted with a complete game and a shutout until the eighth inning. He gave up one unearned run in 7 1/3 innings a day after the Red Sox used eight relievers in a 15-inning win.

"I'm the only guy who got rest last night," said the 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, "and knowing how many guys got used out of our bullpen yesterday and how much those guys have thrown over the past week, it's important to pitch deep into games at this time of the year. Getting some quick innings and getting into the eighth inning was big for us."

Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel got the last five outs, and Kimbrel earned his 33rd save.

"To get into the eighth inning the way (Porcello) did, just a great job," manager John Farrell said. "When we score runs for him, he's as good a pitcher as we saw last year. I know his ERA (4.46) is inflated a little this year, but when we get him three runs, we're in pretty good shape."

Adeiny Hechavarria led off Tampa Bay's seventh with a double against Porcello, moved to third on a passed ball and scored the Rays' run when a throw from first baseman Mitch Moreland bounced off a runner on a double-play attempt.

Betts started the second inning with his homer off starter Alex Cobb and drove in another run with a sixth-inning single, his 12th RBI in eight games. The right fielder who finished second in the MVP vote last year is hitting .318 with four home runs in his last 10 games.

"He's on a 10-day run here where we're seeing a guy we saw for two years leading into this year," said Farrell.

Rafael Devers drove in Betts with a two-out double off reliever Dan Jennings.

Cobb (11-10) gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The two runs in the sixth came after Betts singled on the pitch after Cobb thought he should have had a called strikeout.

"It's frustrating," Cobb said. "To have two tough losses like that coming back home is getting harder to handle."

Logan Morrison was ejected from the Rays' dugout during the sixth inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price, who last pitched on July 22 because of left elbow inflammation, could make an appearance out of the bullpen Sunday. He was activated Thursday, a day after a 48-pitch bullpen session. ... DH Hanley Ramirez missed a third straight game after an MRI revealed some inflammation in his left shoulder.

Rays: RHP Jake Faria made his first relief appearance after missing a month with an abdominal strain. ... LHP Xavier Cedeno (left forearm tightness) has not pitched since April 16, but the Rays are hopeful of getting him in one or more of their 13 remaining games.

UP NEXT

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Rays on Sept. 25, 2016. He will pitch Sunday's series finale against RHP Jake Odorizzi. It will be Odorizzi's 17th career start against Boston, including two losses this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Red Sox bring Mitch Moreland back on a two-year deal

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Red Sox bring Mitch Moreland back on a two-year deal

BOSTON -- Mitch Moreland’s quietly strong 2017 season led to a reunion with the Red Sox on Monday, when a two-year, $13 million deal through 2019 became official. 

The move gives the Red Sox a reliable first base option, although it doesn’t give the fan base the news its been dying for to this point: the addition of a tremendous power hitter.

Likely, that’s still to come, although it clearly won’t be at first base, where free agent Eric Hosmer is one of the top names on the market. 

To add a big bat like J.D. Martinez now, the Red Sox appear to be in a position where they'll have to be willing to bench or release Hanley Ramirez, or potentially move an outfielder.

Moreland’s production in 2017, his first season in Boston, was better than expected. Entering his age-32 season, Moreland hit .246 with 22 home runs, and set career-highs in games (149), doubles (34) and walks (57). He also did well in the postseason, going 5-for-13 against the Astros in the first round.

A fractured left toe slowed Moreland and messed up his mechanics for a time, but he played through pain and skipped the disabled list. 

Moreland makes $6.5 million in each of 2018 and 2019, plus another potential $1 million in incentives, sources said. He can make up to $500,000 each year: if he reaches 500 plate appearances in either season, he gets $250,000, and he gets another $250,000 if he reaches 550 plate appearances.
 

Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

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Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

LOS ANGELES - Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that sent former Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from L.A. to Atlanta.

The Dodgers sent Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp. Gonzalez then was designated for assignment by the Braves.

After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons. Click here for more