Red Sox

C's band together, shut down Orlando offense

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C's band together, shut down Orlando offense

BOSTON Avery Bradley made life miserable as can be for Orlando's Jameer Nelson. Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal delivered the kind of 1-2 defensive punch that left Dwight Howard stunned most of the night.

Even seldom-used Sasha Pavlovic was making things happen defensively.

Pick a Celtics player, any player and chances are they were part of a historically dominant night as the C's pummeled the Magic, 87-56.

"They came out and just absolutely dominated us with their energy and their defensive intensity," said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. "That's the most dominating defensive performance I have ever had against me."

Van Gundy added, "It's the first game in my career I've been through where not one guy played well. We didn't have one guy. That was an absolute beat-down, and in most senses it was much worse than the score indicated."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been saying for weeks that the C's were improving, making the kind of strides that he believed would pay off sooner or later.

Rivers anticipated his team would give the Magic a fight, but he had no idea that they would dominate the Magic in such emphatic fashion.

The 56 points Boston gave up tied a franchise-low for points allowed in the shot clock era.

Boston also set a franchise record for allowing a franchise-low 20 points in the second half, in addition to limiting the Magic to just 16 made field goals which is also a franchise record.

And by limiting Orlando to just 24.6 percent shooting from the field, that was the second-lowest field goal percentage a team has shot against the C's in the shot clock era.

"That was great," Rivers said of his team's play. "I mean, defensively that was as good as you can get."

With their starting backcourt of Ray Allen (ankle) and Rajon Rondo (wrist) out, along with Keyon Dooling (knee), Chris Wilcox (calf) and Mickael Pietrus, there was clearly the potential for the Magic to have a major letdown.

"You know human nature," Rivers said. "Sometimes they see no Ray, and no Paul I mean no Rondo, and no Keyon. You never know how that affects a team. But, I mean, great win for us."

And it came about largely because of the defense, a defense that has shown flashes of being good but not this good.

Celtics Kevin Garnett talked about how the C's success defensively had a lot to do with their ability to execute the game at a higher rate than they have most games this season.

"It was just one of those grind games," Garnett said. "Everyone knew their assignments. And I can say for the first time in a long time, I think we carried out assignments to the perfection."

And while the Celtics are a better team when they have their roster intact, the fact that their roster was so depleted because of injuries had, in a strange way, helped bond the C's in a way that brought about Monday night's record-setting performance defensively.

"When you go into a fight undermanned, it's not more so the weapons; it's more so the fight," Garnett said. "Tonight, we just started fighting."

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

0:23 - Should the Red Sox consider trading Rafael Devers for free-agent-to-be Manny Machado? Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich debate if it would be worth it for Boston to give up their young third baseman for a half-season of Machado.

4:57 - With the win over the Mariners on Sunday, the Red Sox are 49-24  and in a virtual tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Eduardo Rodriguez had another great outing on Sunday and is now 9-1. Merloni and Drellich discuss Rodriguez continued success on the mound.

8:12 - In his past seven starts, David Price has a 2.64 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP. Merloni and Drellich talk about how Price has been dominant since coming back from carpal tunnel and if he can continue this type of pitching. 

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Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

 

SEATTLE - The Red Sox' offense showed why it is one of the best in baseball.

Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts all homered and the Boston Red Sox routed the Seattle Mariners 9-3 on Sunday.

"Today we did an outstanding job finishing the game and we got the W," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We are a good team. We know how to play the game and we turn the page really quick."

Devers' 11th homer of the season capped a five-run, two-out rally in the third against Seattle starter Mike Leake (7-4).

"They were making it tough today," Leake said. "They weren't giving me any breaks today."

Andrew Benintendi and Bogaerts began Boston's rally with a pair of singles. J.D. Martinez drew a nine-pitch walk to load the bases before Mitch Moreland drove in two with a single to centerfield, his first hit of the series, and Devers followed with a blast off the Hit It Here Cafe in right field to give Boston a 5-0 lead.

"Anytime you can put up a five-spot in the inning, you are happy with it," Moreland said. "That was a good inning for us."

The Red Sox pulled away in the seventh against right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford, who gave up three runs and two homers while getting two outs.

Bradley Jr. sent Bradford's first pitch over the centerfield wall for his fourth home run this season. Benintendi hit his third single of the game with one out before Bogaerts put Boston ahead 8-2 with a shot into the bullpen in left centerfield, his 12th of the season and fourth of the series.

Facing former Red Sox left-hander Roenis Elias in the eighth, Benintendi extended Boston's lead to 9-2 with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Sox have hit three or more home runs 10 times this season, and are 36-7 when scoring five or more runs.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his sixth straight win in as many starts, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out nine. Rodriguez (9-1) has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his starts during his winning streak, and the Red Sox are 13-1 in Rodriguez's starts this season.

"It was really good," Rodriguez said of his start. "All of my pitches were working. It was really great."

The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs for the heart of their order against Rodriguez in the fifth, but managed just one run. Jean Segura cut Seattle's deficit to 5-2 with a fielder's choice, but Seattle's rally was cut short following back-to-back fly outs from Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz.

"He had to work for it that fifth inning but he limited the damage," Cora said. ". He did a good job. Good fastball. He was more aggressive in the strike zone."

Cruz hit his 17th home run of the season in the fourth, sending a 3-2 fastball from Martinez 442 feet to the upper deck in left field to trim Seattle's deficit to 5-1. Cruz has homered five times in his last nine games.

In the eighth, Ryon Healy doubled down the left field line, scoring Cruz to make it 9-3.

The Red Sox improved to 18-5 in series finales, and have won five consecutive day games on the road.

UP NEXT
Red Sox: Chris Sale (6-4, 2.75 ERA) takes the mound as the Red Sox continue their road trip against the Twins on Tuesday. Sale has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts and has nine starts this season allowing one or fewer earned runs.

© 2018 by Associated Press.