Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Without benefit of hit in seventh, Sox beat Nats

After their four-run lead turned into a two-run deficit, the Red Sox -- with a lot of help from the Nationals -- rallied back for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning en route to an 8-7 victory on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
In that game-turning bottom of the seventh, the Nationals hit two batters and made three errors. Two of the errors came on one game-tying play. Ryan Hanigan hit a tapper back to the mound. In his haste to make a play at the plate, reliever Blake Treinen bobbled the ball. He then made a poor throw that sailed by catcher Wilson Ramos, allowing two runs to score. That put Brock Holt in position to drive home the go-ahead run with a fielder's-choice grounder.
"Well, we got some extra outs," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We talked about this yesterday. When you give a Major League team an extra out or two, it may end up leading to multiple runs inside of an inning."
The Red Sox worked Stephen Strasburg hard, as the righty threw 109 pitches while giving up 10 hits and five runs over 5 1/3 innings. It was a painful defeat for the 2-6 Nationals, who also made several fielding gaffes in Monday's 9-4 loss to Boston.
"I feel like I had a pretty good feel of my pitches from the get go, minus the changeup," Strasburg said. "They're a good hitting team, and obviously you can see over the first few games here that they take good quality at-bats. Sometimes you're going to give up more hits than normal."
Ian Desmond had a strong game for the Nats, pounding out three hits. Dustin Pedroia (3-for-4, solo homer) and Holt (2-for-4) both had multihit games for the Red Sox.
Koji nails down first save: Koji Uehara's first appearance of the season was a pressurized save situation, as he came on with a one-run lead. The righty got a scare when Ryan Zimmerman hammered one down the line in left that curled just foul. Following a crew chief review of one minute and 15 seconds, the call was confirmed.
Uehara, who was activated from the disabled list on Monday, struck out two of the three batters he faced.
"I was able to get in the flow right away," said Uehara.
Setup man Junichi Tazawa got a huge out to end the eighth, stranding the tying run at second by freezing Jayson Werth on a wicked curve. More >
Taylor time: Michael Taylor proved to be a nice catalyst for a Nationals lineup that has been run-starved in the early going. Batting ninth, the center fielder legged out a two-run double during the fifth inning, which saw Washington break out for six runs and bat around for the first time this season. He finished the day with two hits, three RBIs and a stolen base. He also made an impressive leaping grab after struggling in the field the day before.
"Better at-bats today," Taylor said. "I felt like I was on time today, except for that last at-bat." More >
Masterson's meltdown: Justin Masterson seemed in control and on his way to outpitching Strasburg, taking a 5-1 lead into the fifth. But it all fell apart for the lanky righty when he hit two batters and committed an error while getting tagged for six runs during that fateful fifth. Masterson had fared well in his first game back with the Red Sox, earning the win with six solid innings (seven strikeouts) over the Phillies.
"Didn't have his best stuff overall," said Farrell. "I thought he threw enough strikes early on to keep away from a big inning, and then it seemed like the stuff kind of ran out of gas a little bit with a couple of walks in that fifth inning -- where multiple baserunners and a pitch up on the plate, where they're able to start chipping away." More >
Nats' bullpen implodes: Spotted a 7-5 lead entering the seventh inning, Washington surrendered three runs amid a combination of shoddy fielding and poor pitching. Desmond began the frame by committing his sixth error of the season, and relievers Matt Thornton and Treinen each hit a Boston batter to load the bases.
"Felt like I got to it perfectly fine. Told myself just to be smooth and get to the plate," Treinen said of his seventh-inning error. "Just the transition between the glove and my hand, I just bobbled it, it fell to the ground. Just had to get rid of it quick and made a terrible throw. It ended up costing us." More >
"It's the same recipe. If you put all the ingredients together the same way every time, then you're going to get the same -- and that's what we've been getting. There's nothing to be said that already hasn't been said. We got the pitches we wanted to get. Didn't make the plays. So that's the same recipe." -- Nationals manager Matt Williams on his team's poor defensive play
Pedroia belted his third homer of the season on Tuesday, which is significant for this reason: In 2013, Pedroia didn't hit his third long ball until May 27. Last year, he didn't hit his third until June 7. Clearly, Pedroia is over the hand injuries that sapped his power the past couple of years.
Already down Xander Bogaerts (sore right knee), the Red Sox lost Pablo Sandoval in the top of the sixth inning with a bruised left foot. That led toHanley Ramirez switching from left field to third base, marking the first time he played the hot corner since 2012. A shortstop most of his career, Ramirez transitioned to left field this season and didn't even play the infield during Spring Training. If not for the injury to Bogaerts, Holt would have moved to third, but he was the starting shortstop.
Did Ramirez play third base at all in Spring Training?
"Yeah, I did it in PlayStation, when I put myself in third and put Panda in left,"quipped Ramirez. "In reality, no. We don't have nobody else. I have to do it for the team. It was a pleasure for me. John asked me if I can play third, and I said, 'Yeah.' Actually, he asked me which one I preferred -- short or third -- and I said third." More >
Nationals: Southpaw Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals wrap up their road trip with one final game in Boston on Wednesday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Gonzalez put up a quality start in his first outing of the season, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Phillies, but he issued as many walks as he did strikeouts (four).
Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley will make his home debut for the Red Sox, who will host Jackie Robinson Day. Miley held his own in his first start at Yankee Stadium, giving up four hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.

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