Red Sox

Red Sox use triple play, eight-run inning to beat Cardinals, 10-4

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Red Sox use triple play, eight-run inning to beat Cardinals, 10-4

BOSTON --The Red Sox have found different ways to win ball games over the past month.

Their latest came thanks to relentless offense and a rare defensive feat.

Xander Bogaerts had three hits, Hanley Ramirez, Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. all added two RBIs and the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 10-4 on Tuesday night.

Boston blew the game open courtesy of a wild fifth inning, tallying eight hits and eight runs against Cardinals starter Mike Leake and reliever Matt Bowman. It came an inning after the Red Sox turned their first triple play in six years .

The win kept Boston's lead in the AL East at 4 1/2 games over the New York Yankees. It marked the third time this season that the Red Sox have scored 10 or more runs without hitting a home run.

"I think it shows we don't have to hit homers to win ball games," Bradley said.

The Red Sox have won 11 of their last 13.

Manager John Farrell said he was most pleased to see Ramirez and Bogaerts continuing to provide pop in the middle of the order.

"Those two guys are critical to this offense," he said. "And not just the hits that they had - the way they were able to impact the baseball and drive the ball, it was good to see."

Rick Porcello (7-14) was mostly able to cruise, giving up eight hits and three runs over seven innings to pick up the victory. He has won his past three starts after going winless for more than a month.

Leake (7-11) got the loss and has failed to win in his last four starts. He has yielded 28 hits and 15 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings over his last three outings.

"You've got a team that's swinging the bat well," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He wasn't getting a lot of chases. ... Eventually you've got to come back and challenge them."

Nearly everyone had a hand in the Red Sox's offensive onslaught in the fifth.

Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts reached on consecutive singles with one out, then Leake loaded the bases by hitting Andrew Benintendi's left knee with a pitch. Benintendi needed a few moments to shake off the pain before jogging to first to load the bases for Ramirez. He then promptly doubled off the Green Monster to drive in Nunez and Betts.

Leake intentionally walked rookie Rafael Devers, loading the bases once again, and Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland followed with RBI singles to put Boston up 5-0.

Bowman replaced Leake after Moreland's single and allowed a two-run double by Leon, Boston's 10th hit of the game and sixth in the inning, bringing up Bradley for the second time in the inning.

Bradley, whose fly out to left remained the only out of the inning, singled to right bringing in two more runs and Nunez followed with his second single of the inning.

Betts popped out to first for the second out, ending a run of 10 straight batters reaching base.

TRIPLE PLAY

Before the offensive onslaught, the Red Sox turned their first triple play in six years.

With runners at first and second in the fourth inning, slow-footed Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina grounded sharply to Devers at third base. He stepped on the bag and threw to Nunez, who relayed to Moreland at first, where Molina was out on a close play.

It was the first triple play for Boston since Aug. 16, 2011, in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay.

"Of course there's certain times when the pressure's high," Devers said through an interpreter. "You have to make quick decisions. That just comes with the game."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Benintendi was pulled after the fifth, and was replaced by Chris Young. ... Farrell said Dustin Pedroia, who went on the disabled list Aug. 12 with left knee inflammation, continues to do strengthening exercises to stabilize it. But Farrell said the expectation is for his absence to last longer than 10 days.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Lance Lynn (10-6, 3.12 ERA) will be making his 25th start of 2017. Since July 1 he is 4-1 with a major league-leading 1.61 ERA in eight starts.

Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3, 3.80) went six innings to earn a win over the Cardinals on May 16. Over his last two starts he has given up just two earned runs over 12 innings. He's also limited opponents to six hits in those outings.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

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.