Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Price wins Sox debut in Papi's final opener

 In search of an ace, the Red Sox invested heavily in David Price this winter. In an Opening Day outing opposite Indians righty Corey Kluber on Tuesday, Price once again showed his worth in guiding Boston to a 6-2 victory over the Tribe.
David Ortiz also began his farewell tour by launching the 504th home run of his career.
"It's the beginning of the season," said Ortiz. "When the light goes on, Papi goes on."
Backed by a strong day by outfielder Mookie Betts, who belted a home run to kick off his encore to last year's breakout campaign, Price piled up 10 strikeouts en route to his first win of the season. Pitching in extremely cold temperatures, the Boston lefty limited Cleveland to two runs on five hits in a 103-pitch performance.
"It was a good win," said Price. "We threw the ball well at times. We had some good defensive plays and big hits. That's what you have to do. The guys came in after me and threw the ball extremely well. That was all part of it."
Kluber -- making his second straight Opening Day start for the Indians -- struck out five and walked two in 5 1/3 innings, in which he allowed four runs on nine hits. Betts delivered a two-run shot off the former American League Cy Young Award winner in the third inning, andBrock Holt contributed an RBI single off Kluber in the sixth.
"[Kluber] came out and threw a bunch of strikes early," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And I thought they did a pretty good job of taking what he gave them. They hit the ball the other way, they bunched some hits together. He kept us right in the game and let us have a chance to come back."
Ortiz's blast came in the ninth inning, when Indians righty Trevor Bauer made his season debut out of the bullpen. Bauer, who was bumped out of the rotation for the start of this year, issued a leadoff walk and later surrendered a two-run home run to Big Papi to help Boston to the win column.
Two-way show by Mookie: Betts wasted no time displaying his array of skills. In the top of the third, he pummeled a two-run homer to left-center to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. The homer had an exit velocity of 107-mph. Of the 18 homers Betts hit last year, his best exit velocity was 105.7 mph. In the fifth, Betts raced back and made a tremendous snare on a liner by Rajai Davis.  More >
"Mookie takes over the game in a couple different ways," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He makes one heck of a catch in the fifth inning. He gets us on the board with a two-run homer in a pretty stiff breeze with a cold wind today."
Two-run rally: After an 11-pitch battle between Price and Mike Napoli, who ultimately struck out, the Tribe got aggressive to pull the game into a 2-2 tie in the fourth. Carlos Santanafollowed with a single, and then sprinted to third on an RBI base hit from Yan Gomes that glanced off the glove of a diving Dustin Pedroia. That hustle allowed Santana to score from third on a sacrifice fly to left field by Marlon Byrd.
"We have to do the little things," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "I don't think we have the talent to go out there and just show up and win. I think we're going to have to compete day in and day out. We've got the talent to win, but not just to go out there and … be like, 'All right, we'll win no matter what.'" More >
Bridge to Kimbrel sturdy: The addition of closer Craig Kimbrel allowed Red Sox manager John Farrell to move Koji Uehara to the eighth inning and Junichi Tazawa to the seventh, creating what could be an elite bullpen. Tazawa and Uehara looked like a formidable setup duo on Tuesday, as the two Japanese righties retired all six batters they faced, striking out three of them. Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.
"Any time he's going to walk to the mound, if it's not a situation where he's just getting some work in, we're probably in a pretty good spot," Farrell said of Kimbrel. "The power which he's got, the breaking ball he has, we're fortunate to have him closing out games."
Kluber flinches: With his pitch count nearing the century mark, Kluber labored and could not escape the sixth inning. Hanley RamirezTravis Shaw and Holt connected for three straight singles to open the inning, putting the Red Sox ahead, 3-2. A wild pitch by Kluber then allowed Shaw to sprint home from third to pad Boston's lead.
The first-pitch temperature of 34 degrees was the coldest season opener on record for the Indians. The previous low on record was 36 degrees in 1907. Tuesday's opener was a makeup of a postponement on Monday, when the Indians and Red Sox had their season-opener pushed back due to cold weather and precipitation.
Price became the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out 10 in his debut with the team since Daisuke Matsuzaka. In fact, Price's performance came on the ninth anniversary of Matsuzaka's 10-K performance in Kansas City. The last Red Sox pitcher to strike out 10 on Opening Day was Josh Beckett in 2009 at Fenway against the Rays. More >
"I don't think the conditions are an excuse. Yeah, it was cold out there, but both teams dealt with it. You have to find a way to get it done. I don't think that that's something I'm looking to use as an excuse." -- Kluber
"To be honest, the only time I felt it was when I rolled over my first at-bat. I couldn't feel my fingers. After that, I was fine. They were cold as well, so it's not an excuse. We played hard and we did our best. We didn't come out with a win today, but that's OK. We've got 161 games to go." -- Lindor
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz makes his return to action after his 2015 season ended on July 10 with a right elbow injury. Buchholz was on a hot streak at the time he was hurt, posting a 2.02 ERA in his last 11 starts. Game 2 against the Indians is scheduled to start at 6:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Progressive Field.
Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco -- considered a Cy Young contender by many preseason prognosticators -- is slated to take the mound against the Red Sox. Last year, Carrasco won 14 games, posted a 3.63 ERA and piled up 216 strikeouts in 183 2/3 innings.

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