Red Sox

Moreland pitches scoreless ninth inning for Red Sox

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Moreland pitches scoreless ninth inning for Red Sox

BOSTON — Even Rick Porcello, who had an abysmal night, could joke about the first baseman throwing low 90s heat in a scoreless ninth inning.

Mitch Moreland might have a second career as a lefty specialist. He topped out above 92 mph Saturday night at Fenway Park.

“Yeah, he should've started the game tonight,” said Porcello, the Red Sox starter in a 16-3 loss to the Orioles. “I put him in a tough situation. Mitch is playing first base, going out there every day. To put him on the mound like that, I take responsibility for that because I was the one that got us in that spot. It was nice to see him put up a zero.”

Even if Moreland didn’t let on too much, he surely enjoyed it from a personal level. Position players always do. 

Moreland worked around two hits in the ninth.

The southpaw had pitched once before, with the Rangers in 2014. He faced three batters and retired all three on 15 pitches.But Friday brought his first strikeout, of Caleb Joseph, who was the first hitter he faced. Joseph waved at a fastball. 

Moreland said all the fastballs he threw were two-seamers, save for one cutter. He threw 14 pitches, 10 strikes, and also mixed in curveballs.

“Skip just came up to me and asked if I could pick us up a little and I said sure,” Moreland said. “Hadn’t done it in a while but I was happy to go out there and try it out.”

Moreland pitched in college at Mississippi State, going 5-0 with a 3.31 ERA in 32 2/3 innings in relief.

Sale strikes out 13, Red Sox beat Mariners, 5-0

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Sale strikes out 13, Red Sox beat Mariners, 5-0

BOSTON - Chris Sale struck out 13 over seven dazzling innings, Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox won the weekend and season series over the Seattle Mariners with a 5-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Sale (7-4) gave up four hits, walked one and ended his day by striking out Mike Zunino swinging on a 100-mph fastball. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes each pitched an inning to complete the four-hit shutout.

Mostly mixing an overpowering fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s with a sharp-breaking slider in the low 80s, the lanky Sale was working quickly and dominant from the start.

He struck out 10 of the first 16 batters he faced, including the side in order in the fifth - the last two swinging on 99 mph fastballs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. had three singles and Rafael Devers added an RBI double for Boston, which struggled offensively in a loss Saturday after putting up 14 runs and 20 hits in the series opener.

The Mariners have lost six of seven games and fell to 1-5 on their 10-game East Coast trip.

Marco Gonzales (7-5) gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out six without a walk.

The Red Sox broke ahead 3-0 in the fifth on the double by Devers, and sacrifice flies by Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts after Xander Bogaerts doubled leading off and Eduardo Nunez singled.

Moreland's homer into the center-field batter's eye made it 5-0 an inning later.

Gonzales was sharp early, spotting a fastball that broke into the low 90s along with a changeup, curveball and cutter. He had the hitters off-balance, causing a lot of weak or early swings until they began waiting on pitches. He had all six Ks through the first four innings.

Nelson Cruz had a two-out triple in the fourth, but was stranded when Ryon Healy struck out on a slider in the dirt.

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Leger: Athletics' Mark Canha could be a good fit for Red Sox

Leger: Athletics' Mark Canha could be a good fit for Red Sox

The Red Sox are in a difficult position with the trade deadline just over a month away.

It's clear a move needs to be made, whether it be for a bullpen piece or right-handed bat. The problem is Boston's depleted farm system limits its options significantly.

One option, however, appears to be Mark Canha. The Red Sox recently inquired about the Athletics' outfielder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. While Canha doesn't exactly bring star power to Boston, he does bring the right-handed bench help the Red Sox are searching for.

As of Monday, the 29-year-old holds a slash line of .250/.322/.452 with nine home runs and 25 RBI for Oakland. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but he's raking against left-handed pitching with a .303 batting average, .969 OPS, and seven homers. That alone makes him worth looking into as the Sox have been dreadful vs southpaws. Plus, Canha provides versatility as he can be used in all three outfield spots and play some first base when necessary.

If the Red Sox are unwilling to part ways with or demote Jackie Bradley Jr, who's enters Monday's game hitting .178, they must at least find a player that can add some depth and fill in for him vs lefties. Boston can't head into August expecting Bradley and the black hole at the bottom of the order to cut it.

Per the SF Chronicle report, the A's are looking to acquire starting pitching in a deal as they have five starters on the disabled list. The Red Sox didn't seem to get too far in their initial talks with Oakland about Canha, so it could be that the asking price right now is too high. But Boston would be remiss to not at least keep the Athletics' front office phone ringing up until the trade deadline.

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