Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Unfamiliarity hurts Lester

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Red Sox notes: Unfamiliarity hurts Lester

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON - Jon Lester faced an unfamiliar team, and in turn, saw uncharacteristic results.

Entering Saturdays game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a 4-2 loss for the Red Sox, Lester had pitched against four of their batters. Ironically, they were not the ones to do damage.

Lester gave up three homeruns (including back-to-back shots) in the first three innings to Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and George Kottaras, none of whom he had faced before. He had only given up a total of eight homeruns in his previous 13 starts since also surrendering three on Opening Day against the Texas Rangers.

Its sometimes throwing against teams you dont really know, especially early on when youre trying to feel them out, figure out what their game plan is against you and obviously they were very aggressive, he said. We made the adjustment later and started to get some outs."

Lester settled in after the third, pitching five scoreless innings and finishing the night with eight strikeouts.

Even though he has given up 14 homeruns this season, matching his entire season total last year, Terry Francona was still pleased with how he settled into the game.

His stuff is every bit the same as its always been, said Francona. And again, he ends up going eight innings, gives up four. We scored two and were saying he really battled back and did a great job.

Carl Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring he suffered running to first base on Friday. While he looks forward to returning, he knows he has to be patient with this injury. It is only his second stint on the DL his entire career and Crawford doesnt want to spend any more time there than he has to.

Hamstring injury, you dont want to mess around with that, he said. You see a lot of guys try to come back too early and then they mess it up and end up being out even longer. We just want to make sure when I come back, I stay there.

If his recovery goes as planned, Crawford would be able to play on the road the Astros, a series the Houston-native has been looking forward to playing in.

Definitely wouldnt want to miss that series, he said. Were cutting it close, thats for sure. Hopefully things will get better soon.

Adrian Gonzalez was assessed an error for dropping a foul ball during Rickie Weeks first-inning at bat, which resulted in a homerun. I just dropped it, Gonzalez said. It was a ball that I should have had and I dropped it. The ball came back a little more than I anticipated and I didnt feel a lot of wind. The ball just came back a little more than I thought and made me kind of have to drop the glove a little bit for the catch and I just dropped it. Its one of those things I wish I had it back.

David Ortiz has extended his home hitting streak to 12 games, dating back to May 19. This is his longest hitting streak at Fenway Park since he spanned a career-high 15 games in 2007.

Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks became a statistical oddity in the first inning when Adrian Gonzalez dropped his foul pop and Weeks hit the next pitch for a home run, thus becoming an unearned run as the lead-off hitter of a game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Weeks is the first batter since the Expos' Warren Cromartie on July 4, 1979, to lead off a game with dropped foul then hitting a home run. Cromartie did so off the Cubs' Bill Caudill after third baseman Steve Ontiveros dropped Cromarties foul fly.

Saturdays paid attendance of 38,175 was Fenway Parks largest of the season.

The Red Sox will pay tribute to the Boston Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup prior to Sundays game. Bruins coach Claude Julien acknowledged Francona, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the start of the Bruins Stanley Cup parade and celebration Saturday morning.

Thank goodness I called him, Francona joked, or Id be left out.

Bobby Jenks, on the DL with back tightness since June 8, made 45 throws Saturday on flat ground.

Dr. Lewis Yocum is expected to examine the MRI of Jed Lowries left shoulder early in the week. Lowrie was placed on the DL Friday with a left shoulder strain.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE