Red Sox

Ross swinging hot bat after two homers on Sunday

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Ross swinging hot bat after two homers on Sunday

BOSTON Cody Ross powered the Red Sox offense on the way to a 9-4 win over the Braves at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon.

Ross went 2-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored, and five RBI. It was his second multi-home run game of the season, along with April 23 at Minnesota. He now has 11 home runs this season, just three behind his 2011 total. The five RBI are a season high and matches the second-highest total of his career. It is the most hes collected since June 2, 2009, with the Marlins against the Brewers.

The win also gave the Sox a second win in the three-game series. They have won 11 of their last 15 series since May 10, with three losses and a tie.

Ross first home run a three-run blast into the Monster seats in the fourth inning, scoring Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks, who had both walked put the Sox on the scoreboard for the first time in the game. Adrian Gonzalez, the next batter, followed Ross with a solo shot. It was the third time this season and the first time since Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth inning on May 19 at Philadelphia the Sox have hit back-to-back home runs.

The Braves cut the lead to one run in the top of the fifth.

But the Sox answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, capped by Ross two-run home run, scoring Daniel Nava.

Ross has five home runs in his last eight games.

Im feeling good, said Ross, who is hitting .277. The main thing is just getting out there and contributing and feeling like part of the team again. It was a big series for us, this series. Weve been playing well lately. Today was a good example of a good team win. We kept adding on runs and they kept fighting, trying to get back into it and we kept tacking runs on and our pitchers shut them down. Just a good way to end the series.

Since returning from the disabled list on June 19 after missing 27 games with a fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot, Ross is 7-for-22 (.318) with three doubles, three home runs, and 10 RBI in six games.

He appeared in two rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket before being activated.

Ive been on the DL enough times where I know that sometimes you go for too long you can find yourself in a funk, he said. Pitchings different in Triple-A than it is here. Its still the same game, but I felt like I was seeing the ball well enough where I could tell them that I was ready to go. My foot felt, obviously, fine and its just nice to start off on the right foot . No pun intended.

Ross reached double-digit home runs in his 43rd game, the second-fastest in a season after 41 games with Florida in 2008. He has at least 10 home runs in a season for the seventh time in his career, all since 2006. He is tied with Carl Crawford for the second-most seasons among all major leaguers hitting 10 or more home runs behind David Ortizs 13.

He definitely gives options and its a threat every time he has a bat in his hands, said manager Bobby Valentine. He feels healthy, obviously. And, two home runs, that works for me any day.

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.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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