Red Sox

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


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.


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.


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.


Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

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Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has returned to Fort Myers after spending the past three weeks in Boston, where his infant daughter Lydia has undergone multiple heart surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital.

On Monday, an emotional Kimbrel spoke to reporters in Florida, including The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman, about the ordeal after throwing a batting practice session.  

"We’ll be in and out of Boston Children’s Hospital the rest of her life but for this stay, hopefully, a couple more weeks," Kimbrel said. “She’s in the recovery process but life-threatening wise, she’s in a good place that I can be down here." 

Kimbrel said he and his wife Ashley "can't say enough about how amazing Boston Children's Hospital has been." 

"There's no denying it's been the toughest thing we've ever been through," Kimbrel said.  

"In the last week, her recovery has been unbelievable and she's showing great signs and we're very blessed and we want to thank the Red Sox and Alex [Cora] for understanding they've been through this and working with us," Kimbrel said. 

He said Lydia, born in November, will need another surgery when she's around 3 or 4 years old to help ensure normal development. 

"It's been tough, I can say that. We're definitely, me and my wife, we've had each other and we've had our family, we've had a great support. Everyone is sending out prayers that have definitely been heard. Now, I'm back down here. The other day I threw a live BP up at Babson [College in Wellesley, Mass.], and me and her got to talking and seeing where Lydia is, and how she's progressed, she's in a good, comfortable place for me to be down here. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be here.

"My family comes first and then baseball comes. I have to thank the Red Sox for letting me be there with my family and then helping me continue to prepare while I was at home. Stepping away for a few hours was definitely a release. It did help to get in the weight room. It did help to throw the ball. But that's not going to take away the emotions we went through in the hospital."

Kimbrel said he and his wife talked about how fortunate they were to be in Boston and its world-class healthcare facilities. 

"We believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time," he said. "There's a lesson to be learned and something to be shared through every step you go through in life. As difficult as this is, and I know it will take time, hopefully, this experience and everything we've been through, we can share that with others, try to impact someone else's life. Because I know for a fact my daughter's going to be able to do that one day."



Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

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Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.

“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.

“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”