Red Sox

Red Sox pound Royals behind Ortiz's slam, 12-5

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Red Sox pound Royals behind Ortiz's slam, 12-5

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON It was another night and another punishment of mediocre pitching by the Red Sox offense.

The Sox bats continued their torrid offensive display in the month of July by pounding lefty Bruce Chen and a host of relievers to the tune of 12 runs and 16 hits in a 12-5 thrashing at Fenway Park.

The victory marked the 11th straight game at Fenway Park with the Sox getting 10 or more hits the longest streak of its kind this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia launched back-to-back solo homers in the first inning to slap Chen around early in the ballgame, and then David Ortiz executed the death blow with his 10th career grand slam in the bottom of the fourth frame.

The big blast gave Ortiz his 10th consecutive season of 20 plus home runs and also represented his 1000th career RBI as a member of the Red Sox a plateau that only five other Sox players have crossed in franchise history.

Chen was rocked for 10 hits and 10 earned runs in four innings of work, and looked every bit the journeyman big leaguer hes become since pitching for Boston way back in the 2003 season.

The slamming Sox needed all the run support with John Lackey not quite at his best on the mound once again. Lackey was, however, gritty enough to get through 5 23 innings and maneuver through 11 hits allowed with only three earned runs when given plenty of run support.

It didnt make anybody believe Lackey can silence a quality lineup once the postseason gets going, but Lackey is still 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his last four starts while at least giving his club innings and a chance to win.

The Sox offense was clicking at such high efficiency that spare part players Darnell McDonald and Yamaico Navarro were able to collect two-hit nights along with the usual suspects at the top of the Boston batting attack.

Player of the Game: David Ortiz only went 1-for-4 on the evening, but his one contribution was a moon shot to right field in the fourth inning for his 10th career grand slam. The four RBIs also allowed Big Papi to reach 1,000 in his career with the Red Sox only the sixth player in franchise history to amass 1000 runs batted in while wearing the Red Stockings. Ortiz also now has 20 home runs for the 10th consecutive season in whats become a pretty amazing body of work in Boston considering the production and the clutch work in the postseason.

Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia collected three hits and extended his career-best hitting streak to 24 games while also raising his batting average to .308 and he did all of that while also moving back to the No. 2 hole from the clean-up spot that seems to agree with him so much.

The Goat: How is Bruce Chen still in the Major Leagues? He was given a three-run cushion in the top of the first inning and proceeded to choke on it in four innings of batting practice to the Red Sox. Chen gave up 10 hits and 10 runs in the four innings of work and was tagged for three home runs in another piece of evidence that the Red Sox absolutely murder mediocre pitching. Its been a long time since Chens cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2003, but he certainly hasnt improved with time and age. It boggles the mind that Chen won 12 games for the Royals last season.

Turning Point: A little bad luck and a whole lot of power from Eric Hosmer conspired to put the Sox down by three runs after the top of the first inning, but the Sox answered back immediately in a big statement with their bats. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia went back-to-back in the bottom of the first to lead things off become the first Sox players to do that leading off a game since Troy OLeary and John Valentin during the 1995 baseball season. From there the offense was off and running.

By the Numbers: 11 the number of consecutive home games that the Red Sox offense has reached double-digit hits, the longest streak of its kind in the Major Leagues this season.

Quote of Note: Ellsbury and Pedroia are making it tougher on everyone else. What theyre doing at the top of the lineup is ridiculous. You dont get that on a daily basis from your first and second-hole hitters. Sox designated hitter David Ortiz on what he thinks is making a difference during Bostons offensive surge in July thats seen them go 18-4 this month.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.
 

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez sensed he was ready to bust out of his slump and give the Chicago Cubs the lift they needed.

As breakthroughs go, this was a big one. Just in time to keep the season going for the defending champs.

Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

"We have to be much more offensive," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

Baez finally got going with a pair of solo drives .

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

"They're the world champs, and you know they're going to fight to the end," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "So today, they did. We got beat today."

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. He had been watching videos and felt his timing was starting to come back in recent trips to the plate.

"I just need to take a step back and see what's going on," he said.

Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley , who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

"Great to have this win, because if not we were going home tomorrow," Baez said. "But I feel like we're still not on track as a team. But I think if we get back on track, everybody as a team, we're going to be the best again."

Contreras' 491-foot homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez sent a towering drive out to left.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

"Hopefully, it's not a goodbye, it's a thank you, obviously," Arrieta said. "I still intend to have another start in this ballpark. If that's where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there."

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

"The only frustrating thing is we fell a run short," Turner said. "We played a great game, they played a great game. They just hit one more ball over the fence than we did."

FINISHING UP

Maddon said Davis would not be available on Thursday.

"So other guys got to do it," Maddon said. "We have to be much more offensive. It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

QUOTABLE

Chicago's Kyle Schwarber on all the Cubs' runs coming on homers in the series: "That's fine. A run's a run, anyway you can get them in. Obviously, we want to manufacture some runs, but we won a ballgame 3-2 hitting homers; I'll take that, too."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: The Dodgers turn to Kershaw to try to wrap up the series. The three-time NL Cy Young winner went five innings in Game 1, allowing two runs, and has a 4.76 ERA in two postseason starts this year.

Cubs: Quintana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in Game 1, one day after his wife, Michel, was taken off the team plane in Albuquerque with a medical ailment.

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