Red Sox

Sox beat Tigers, 6-3, take A.L. East lead

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Sox beat Tigers, 6-3, take A.L. East lead

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT The Red Sox continued to slug their way through their road trip, pounding the Tigers, 6-3, Friday night in front of 34,046 at Comerica Park.

Trailing, 2-1, going into the third inning, the Sox sent eight batters to the plate with five scoring.

Staked to a four-run lead, starter Tim Wakefield cruised through his outing. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He needed just 83 pitches, 58 for strikes.

It is the 195th win of Wakefields 19-season career, 181st with the Sox.

The Sox beat up on Tigers starter Rick Porcello, driving him from the game after three innings. Porcello took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 3.93 ERA. He gave up six runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the third with a home run to right field, his sixth of the season, tying the score. Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk, going to second on Adrian Gonzalezs single. Kevin Youkilis double to center scored Pedroia and Gonzalez. After David Ortiz flied out to center, Carl Crawfords fourth home run of the season put the Sox up, 6-2, before Jed Lowrie grounded out and Josh Reddick popped out.

The Sox got a single run in the first inning when Ellsbury led off with a single to right, stole second, went to third on Gonzalezs ground out to second, and scored on Porcellos wild pitch.

The Tigers got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Austin Jackson led off with a single to left, stole second and scored on Miguel Cabreras single to center.

Jhonny Peraltas home run leading off the second gave the Tigers a brief one-run lead. It was the first time the Sox had trailed since the second inning Tuesday in Cleveland.

Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the ninth.

It is the Sox fourth straight win, going 4-1 in the first five games of their seven-game road trip.

South Portland, Maines Charlie Furbush relieved Porcello admirably, going five scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

But by then, the Sox had done enough damage to improve to 29-22.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tim Wakefield
Wakefield went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw just 83 pitches (58 strikes), cruising to the win. He improved to 2-1 with a 4.14 ERA.

It was his longest outing since going eight innings in a 3-2 win over the Orioles on July 2, 2010.

He has made four starts this season, including his last two outings, as he fills in with John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL. In his last two starts he has gone a combined 13 23 innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He has posted a cumulative ERA of 1.98.

I was fighting my mechanics in the first couple of innings, Wakefield said, but was able to make some adjustments after the second inning and was able to cruise through into the seventh.

"I'm just doing what I can to help us win games. Asked me to fill a role here and do the best that I can.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He scored after his first two at-bats of the game. His speed helped him to his first run, while his power gave him the second run. Ellsbury led off the game with a single to right, taking second on his 18th stolen base of the season. He went to third on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout, and scored on Rick Porcellos wild pitch.

He led off the third with his sixth home run of the season, to tie the game. It was his second home run in as many games.

For good measure, he added some strong defense in center field.

Hes a great player, said Dustin Pedroia. We knew. We expect this of him. He can do anything. He hits homers. He steals bases. He plays great defense. Hes a special player, man.
THE GOAT: Rick Porcello
Porcello lasted just three innings, giving up six runs on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts, a wild pitch, and two home runs. He was given a slim 2-1 lead in the second on Jhonny Peraltas lead-off homer, but couldnt hold on to it. In the next inning, he gave up five runs as the Sox sent eight batters to the plate.

THE TURNING POINT
Trailing 2-1 going into the third inning, the Sox sent eight batters to the plate, with five scoring.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the third with a home run to right field, his sixth of the season, tying the score. Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk, going to second on Adrian Gonzalezs single. Kevin Youkilis double to center scored Pedroia and Gonzalez. After David Ortiz flied out to center, Carl Crawfords fourth home run of the season put the Sox up, 6-2, before Jed Lowrie grounded out and Josh Reddick popped out.

STAT OF THE DAY: 1-2-3
The Sox scored seven runs in the first inning Wednesday against the Indians, five runs in the second inning Thursday against the Tigers, and five runs in the third inning Friday against the Tigers. What can that mean for the fourth inning Saturday (Oh, yeah, they also scored five runs in the eighth inning on Thursday.)

QUOTE OF NOTE
"I don't think its unusual, I think it's a blessing for us that its happened so far and hopefully we can continue to do so. -- Tim Wakefield, on the four starts he and Alfredo Aceves have made in place of John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who are on the DL. Wakefield and Aceves are a combined 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in those four starts.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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