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Ranaudo likely to stay in rotation rest of season

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NEW YORK -- Anthony Ranaudo already experienced the thrill of beating the Yankees, the team he rooted for as a kid, in his Major League debut on Aug. 1.

On Wednesday, the New Jersey native will get another night to savor, as he pitches for the first time in Yankee Stadium.

Ranaudo was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for the fourth time on Tuesday in advance of the start. This time, he is expected to remain in Boston's rotation for the remainder of the season.

"I'm trying not to think about that," said Ranaudo, who is ranked the club's No. 5 prospect. "Whenever they ask me to take the mound, I'm just going to go out there and focus on that start. I've done a pretty good job mentally this year of focusing on the things I can control. Wherever my start is, or whenever it is, I'll take the ball and just be aggressive and stick to my strengths."

The righty won his first three starts in the Majors, and the Red Sox look forward to watching him try to build off this momentum.

"The one thing that has been consistent in the three outings he's made for us is maybe the handling the environment, the handling of the situation in the Major League setting," said manager John Farrell. "He's not deviated away from what has made him successful prior to getting here and it's been encouraging to see the use of his fastball, which his secondary pitches clearly play off of that."

The Red Sox will bring another pitcher up from the Minors to start Thursday's game in Brandon Workman.

Farrell will deploy a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future, perhaps for the rest of the season.

Dan Butler was also added to the roster on Tuesday to be a third catcher.

{"event":["prospect" ] ,"content":["rivalries_east" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] ,"content":["rivalries_east" ] }
{"content":["rivalries_east" ] }

Reports on Bradley 'mixed' at Pawtucket

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Reports on Bradley 'mixed' at Pawtucket play video for Reports on Bradley 'mixed' at Pawtucket

NEW YORK -- While Jackie Bradley Jr. is still expected to rejoin the Red Sox at some point this month, he is still working on the offensive inconsistencies that led to his demotion to Triple-A on Aug. 18.

"Jackie was well aware when we sat down and described what needs to be the focal point," said manager John Farrell. "I don't know that necessarily needs to be repeated right now. The reports have been mixed. There have been days as he's executed between the lines as he's been working on, but it's still a work in progress."

In 14 games for the PawSox, Bradley is hitting .212 with one homer, five RBIs and a .519 OPS.

Bradley will be with Pawtucket for a playoff run that starts on Wednesday.

Top prospect Mookie Betts has been playing center since Bradley got sent down. Rusney Castillo is expected to take over that spot when he's gotten enough at-bats in the Minors. Castillo will be with Double-A Portland for the playoffs.

{"content":["rivalries_east" ] }

Cespedes forces extras, but Sox suffer loss

Slugger hits game-tying single in eighth; Napoli belts 17th home run

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Cespedes forces extras, but Sox suffer loss play video for Cespedes forces extras, but Sox suffer loss

ST. PETERSBURG -- Yoenis Cespedes had already kept the Red Sox in the game with his bat, rifling a game-tying single in the eighth inning.

Two innings later, he tried to keep them in it once more with his cannon arm.

Ryan Hanigan led off with a hard grounder that went all the way to the wall. Against any other left fielder in baseball, it's an automatic double. But there is never any certainty in running on Cespedes, who made a tremendous throw to second.

The Red Sox didn't get the call, even after manager John Farrell challenged it. That double by Hanigan wound up being the key for the Rays in their 4-3, 10-inning win over the Red Sox.

"I thought he was out," said Farrell. "I thought it was a [darn] good throw, which we've seen any time there's been opportunities for him to cut down a baserunner. It's a true weapon."

Burke Badenhop then issued an intentional walk to Kevin Kiermaier. After a sacrifice bunt by Ben Zobrist, Badenhop also intentionally walked Wil Myers.

If Badenhop, a noted ground-ball specialist, could get one, perhaps the Red Sox could test their luck in the 11th inning. But Matt Joyce stung a flyball to deep left that went down as a walk-off RBI single.

Cespedes probably could have caught the ball if he pursued it. But knowing it was plenty deep enough to be a sacrifice fly, the left fielder walked off the field without giving pursuit.

"I was surprised they walked [Kiermaier], and I was still surprised that they walked Wil," said Joyce. "But, obviously, I was excited about the opportunity and ready for that challenge."

And Hanigan was relieved that his gamble to run on Cespedes paid off.

"I was already committed to going, and it was obviously as close as it gets, really," said Hanigan. "But hey, we got a call, and it looked like I got it in there. It set us up to get a guy in scoring position for that W."

Just a half-inning earlier, the Red Sox took themselves out of scoring position.

Christian Vazquez tried to get a go-ahead rally started for Boston in the 10th when he raked a one-out single. Off the bench came Jemile Weeks, who was making his debut for the Red Sox two days after being traded over from the Orioles. Weeks was swiftly picked off by Rays right-hander Grant Balfour.

"At some point, out of those next two batters, I was going to make an attempt," said Weeks. "Percentages show he wasn't going to pick off again, so we kind of leaned toward going at that moment. You play the percentages sometimes. He broke the percentages that time. I tried to get back and didn't make it."

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Cespedes came up with a game-tying RBI single to left on a 3-2 pitch from Steve Geltz, who was making his Rays debut.

Top prospect Mookie Betts got the rally started with a one-out single to left and scored from second on the equalizer by Cespedes.

"Yeah, his RBI-ability, when RBIs are presented, regardless of the time of the game, but particularly late, it's been very impressive," said Farrell. "He's not fearful of situations. He likes the moment and repeatedly comes through."

Rubby De La Rosa turned in a decent performance, going 5 1/3 innings while allowing six hits and three runs. He walked none and struck out four.

"He's powerful, he had better secondary stuff than last time out," said Farrell. "I thought he made a number of quality pitches. So many foul balls, which is a product of very good stuff. That ran the pitch count up and we're not at the point where we're looking to extend him too far. I thought he kept composure. I thought he repeated his delivery well. That was a solid 5 1/3 innings of work today."

The Red Sox jumped out first. Vazquez reached on a two-out walk in the third against lefty Drew Smyly and wound up scoring on an RBI double to the gap in left-center by Betts.

De La Rosa gave the momentum right back to the Rays in the bottom of the third. Hanigan opened the rally with a leadoff single. Zobrist reached on a one-out infield single. Myers pummeled an RBI double to right to tie the game at 1. Evan Longoria then struck a two-out, two-run single up the middle to make it 3-1, Tampa Bay.

"Ideally, it's a zero following the times we score," said Farrell. "It continues to be a point of emphasis with young pitchers, young starters in particular. A couple of base hits the other way and then obviously Longoria hits a good pitch down and away for the two-RBI [single]. But still, he kept things in check for the most part."

Mike Napoli drew Boston a run closer in the fourth when he hammered his 17th homer of the season, a one-out solo shot to left.

In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts helped run the Red Sox out of a possible rally. After a one-out double, he was caught trying to steal third.

"With Smyly's unloading time getting up to the 1.7 range, we feel like we've got the ability to take an extra 90 feet," said Farrell. "But he's typically going to score on a base hit. One of the prerequisites is to make sure that runner feels like he can have a success rate of 100 percent. You're never looking to get a guy thrown out, particularly at third base."

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Pedroia unlikely to return until weekend series

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Pedroia unlikely to return until weekend series play video for Pedroia unlikely to return until weekend series

ST. PETERSBURG -- Dustin Pedroia, who sustained a concussion on Saturday, reported following Monday's 4-3 loss to the Rays that he's feeling better.

"There's a part where you feel normal and then they've got to take all these tests and stuff. I've got to pass them," said Pedroia.

Still, it seems doubtful the second baseman will return from his concussion in time to play at Yankee Stadium from Tuesday-Thursday.

"Yeah, I mean, I hope," said Pedroia. "Whenever I go through that and I don't have any symptoms, then I'll be out there as fast as I can."

It's far more likely Pedroia will be back in action at some point during the next homestand, which starts on Friday against the Blue Jays.

"He still has some of the symptoms," said manager John Farrell. "So this is clearly a day-to-day thing. We're probably at least another day from any kind of exertion test or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there's still some residual [symptoms]. But he's sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As I mentioned the other day, we'll be cautious with this."

Pedroia experienced symptoms consistent with a concussion after taking a blow to the head in Saturday's loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. Logan Forsythe unintentionally struck Pedroia in the face while he was sliding into second base as he tried to swim-move around Pedroia's tag.

"I don't know, it happened fast," said Pedroia. "I just went down there to get the tag and got kind of hit in my jaw or my ear. I got real dizzy when I was out there, and I didn't really like it. Not a good feeling."

With Pedroia again out of action, Brock Holt moved to the No. 2 spot in the order and played second on Monday against the Rays. Top prospect Mookie Betts made his first career start at leadoff and played center field against Rays lefty Drew Smyly.

Though Betts came through the ranks as a second baseman, Farrell doesn't plan on having him play there during Pedroia's absence.

"No, because it's been quite a while since Mookie has had any reps at second," said Farrell. "He's had a lot on his plate this year with defensive positioning and changes to it and don't want to take him back and forth."

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Call at second key play in Rays' walk-off win

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Call at second key play in Rays' walk-off win play video for Call at second key play in Rays' walk-off win

ST. PETERSBURG -- When Ryan Hanigan was bold enough to run against the cannon arm of Yoenis Cespedes in the bottom of the 10th inning on Monday, Red Sox manager John Farrell hoped he would be the beneficiary of a replay challenge.

But after a review of two minutes and 20 seconds, the call stood, and Hanigan was ruled safe.

It was hard to tell on replay, as some angles made it seem as if Brock Holt got the tag in on Hanigan before he reached the base.

"I thought he was out," said Farrell after Tampa Bay's 4-3 win in 10 innings. "I thought it was a [darn] good throw, which we've seen any time there's been opportunities for him to cut down a baserunner. It's a true weapon."

Sean Rodriguez, pinch-running for Hanigan, wound up scoring the winning run on a single by Matt Joyce.

"I was already committed to going, and it was obviously as close as it gets, really," said Hanigan. "But hey, we got a call, and it looked like I got it in there. It set us up to get a guy in scoring position for that W."

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Castillo to join Sea Dogs' playoff roster Wednesday

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Castillo to join Sea Dogs' playoff roster Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Center fielder Rusney Castillo will move up the Minor League chain and play for Double-A Portland, starting with Wednesday's playoff game against Binghamton.

This, after Castillo played in back-to-back Gulf Coast League playoff games in Florida on Sunday and Monday.

Castillo went 0-for-3 with a walk on Monday in Tampa while playing six innings in center field.

The Red Sox are fortunate to have both Portland and Pawtucket still playing, and that will allow Castillo to get the at-bats he needs to shake off the rust after not playing competitive baseball for more than a year.

"I think we've looked at it as, 'Let's get him every available at-bat before those teams shut down' before we would entertain the thought: 'Is the next step here with us?" explained manager John Farrell.

Castillo signed a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox on Aug. 23.

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Rookie-level Red Sox win Gulf Coast League title

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Rookie-level Red Sox win Gulf Coast League title play video for Rookie-level Red Sox win Gulf Coast League title

After splitting the first two games of the Gulf Coast League championship series, the Rookie-level Red Sox secured the title with an 8-1 victory against the Yankees in Monday's decisive third game.

The Red Sox took the lead when Michael Chavis, the club's No. 15 prospect, drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the top of the first inning. They didn't look back, pounding out 13 hits and drawing six walks in the victory.

Chavis, the 26th overall pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, served as the designated hitter and finished the day 1-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Third baseman Rafael Devers, the Red Sox's No. 6 prospect, went 1-for-5.

The Red Sox's lineup also included newly signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who made his organizational debut Sunday. He played center field and batted leadoff, going 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in five innings.

Right-hander Jake Cosart, the Red Sox's third-round pick this year, started the game and threw three scoreless innings. He struck out five, walked none and held the Yankees to one hit. Left-hander Luis Ramos allowed one run in four innings of relief to pick up the victory.

The Gulf Coast League is the first U.S.-based Minor League to award its championship. The Red Sox went 36-24 in the regular season and won the South Division before defeating the Cardinals in the semifinals to reach this weekend's championship series.

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Buchholz dazzles with three-hit shutout of Rays

Righty strikes out six, retires final 12 in order in command performance

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Buchholz dazzles with three-hit shutout of Rays play video for Buchholz dazzles with three-hit shutout of Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- It was no great secret how Clay Buchholz beat the Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field. The man threw the ball over the plate. A lot.

They weren't meatballs, either. Buchholz was running pitches onto the corners from the first batter of the game to the last. He pitched his second shutout of the season and picked up his first win since July 18 as the Red Sox silenced Tampa Bay, 3-0. Boston took a 2-1 lead in the series between the two teams at the bottom of the American League East heading into Monday's finale.

"He was hitting all the spots, every pitch," said Christian Vazquez, who was behind the dish for Boston. "He was painting every pitch. He was pitching to his best, and it was easy for me."

Buchholz threw strike after strike -- 15 straight to start the game, in fact. By the time he threw his 50th strike of the day, there were only 15 balls to go along with them. Buchholz didn't walk a batter, and he didn't go to a three-ball count until the seventh inning, when Matt Joyce worked a count full -- and struck out on the next pitch.

"Fastball command, both sides of the plate, was probably the best it's been ... ever, maybe," said Buchholz, who's also thrown a no-hitter, in his second career start on Sept. 1, 2007.

So ... ever? Really?

"Yeah, probably ever," Buchholz said. "Just having the ball move, criss-cross both corners with the cutter and sinker. I've been able to do that before, but today the execution of it was better."

Buchholz had total control of the zone, locating his fastballs, cutters, curves and changeups, no matter the count. That kept his pitch count extremely efficient, as he mowed down the Rays on a lean 98 offerings, 69 of which went for strikes. Buchholz held the Rays to a three-hit sprinkling and struck out six batters along the way while retiring the final 12 in order.

His manager, John Farrell, wasn't quite ready to say it was the best he'd ever seen Buchholz -- he held that out for the no-no -- but it was close.

"I had a chance to, fortunately, witness the no-hitter," Farrell said. "But today he was extremely efficient. When you consider the number of first-pitch strikes that he threw, the number of overall strikes, command of the count, multiple pitches for strikes -- he was very good.

"He was in complete command for nine innings today. It was an outstanding effort."

Buchholz has now thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings against Tampa Bay, a run that didn't go unnoticed among Rays hitters or their manager.

"I feel like every time he pitches here, when we face him, he's just on," Joyce said. "I really don't ever remember facing him when he's off. ... He just did everything that you want to do as a pitcher."

The pair of RBI singles the Sox managed against Rays starter Alex Cobb -- the first from Vazquez in the third, and another from Mookie Betts in the fifth -- were more than enough to back Buchholz.

"He was that good. He was that good," Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon said. "Today, there was nothing he did not have going on."

Boston's first run was unearned, resulting from an errant pickoff throw Cobb skipped down the right-field line that let Xander Bogaerts go first to third before Vazquez singled him in.

The second came from Sunday's replacements for Dustin Pedroia, who's out for the immediate future with symptoms consistent with a concussion. In the first game with Pedroia absent from the lineup, Brock Holt -- filling in at second base, Pedroia's position -- and Mookie Betts -- batting second, Pedroia's usual spot -- combined to produce the fifth-inning run.

With two outs, Holt singled and stole second off Cobb, and Betts knocked him in with a two-strike opposite-field liner.

"With the two guys at the top of the order with basestealing ability, it poses another dynamic," Farrell said. "And that's not to take anything away from Pedey."

David Ortiz tacked on an insurance run with a shift-beating RBI single left of second base off Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta in the eighth.

Then it was just up to Buchholz to keep pounding the zone for the last six outs. And Sunday didn't turn out anything like his last start, when the right-hander cruised through eight shutout innings in Toronto but loaded the bases with one out in the ninth and was pulled for Koji Uehara, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.

"It was a no-doubter for me today," Buchholz said. "I felt good on pitch count, it wasn't anything to worry about. And I felt good with all my pitches. It doesn't always happen that way, but it's fun when it does."

{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Castillo rips a hit in first game in over a year

Cuban outfielder eager to continue ascent after Minor League debut

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Castillo rips a hit in first game in over a year

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the not too distant future, Rusney Castillo will get to a bigger stage such as Fenway Park and revel in all that that comes with it.

But for one searing Sunday afternoon, the relative anonymity of Field 1 of the Red Sox's Player Development Complex suited Castillo just fine.

It was in a Gulf Coast League playoff game that the Cuban outfielder played his first baseball game since signing a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox on Aug. 23. In fact, it was the first time Castillo played in any baseball game in over a year.

Three pitches into his professional career in the United States, Castillo turned on a 2-0 pitch from Yankees Minor Leaguer Luis Cedeno and hammered it into left field for a single.

"I feel great," Castillo said through an interpreter. "It was a good day. I've wanted this day to come for a long time now. It finally got here. I feel good physically and mentally."

Moments later, Castillo, who is known for his speed, bolted for second but was caught stealing.

It didn't take long for him to get back in the flow of being a baseball player.

"That's my game," said Castillo. "Try to get on and try to steal. It was something I was definitely thinking about."

Castillo seemed unfazed by getting a hit following such a layoff.

"I've done this for a long time," said Castillo. "It's like riding a bike. I felt good and I was happy I was back out there today."

Castillo served as the designated hitter in his debut and struck out looking in his second at-bat.

There have been various estimates about when Castillo played his last game before he was suspended for trying to defect from Cuba. When asked Sunday, Castillo estimated it was July 2013.

On Monday, Castillo will play at one of the club's Minor League affiliates, though the Red Sox haven't announced which one yet.

Perhaps the most intriguing development left in the 2014 season for the Red Sox will be when Castillo gets called up to the Majors. The outfielder is keeping an open mind as far as how many at-bats he needs before making that step.

"There's no specific number of [at-bats]," said Castillo. "I's a matter of just playing, and the goal from the beginning for me is to play in the big leagues this year."

Of late, Cuba has been a pipeline for successful Major League players such as Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and Red Sox slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

"It's definitely added a lot of confidence, it's definitely motivated me," said Castillo. "I want my countrymen to do well -- guys that I played with. It's definitely a motivating factor and something that's assisted me with my confidence level."

But Castillo won't try to follow in the footsteps of those players as much as he will try to create his own.

"My No. 1 objective would be to be the same player I've always been," said Castillo. "Play my game and not try to do too much or try to become someone else -- another type of player I'm not."

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Sox send Johnson to Orioles for infielder Weeks

Clubs also swap Minor Leaguers as De Jesus rejoins Boston organization

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Sox send Johnson to Orioles for infielder Weeks play video for Sox send Johnson to Orioles for infielder Weeks

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kelly Johnson's stint with the Red Sox was a short one. Almost a month to the day they acquired him from the Yankees for Stephen Drew, Boston dealt Johnson to the Orioles for infielder/outfielder Jemile Weeks and Minor League infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr.

Johnson will now complete his tour of the American League East after already having played for Boston, New York, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

"Yeah, it was crazy," said Johnson. "Obviously I'll be familiar with the surroundings. It's exciting. It's cool to be in the playoffs or to be on a team that's in first and going to the playoffs. I'll be excited to get there and try to contribute and do some good things."

After losing Manny Machado for the season, the Orioles needed some more depth at third base.

The Red Sox also included Minor League third baseman Michael Almanzar in the deal.

The 27-year-old Weeks will report directly to the Red Sox, while De Jesus will go to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Weeks played just three games for the Orioles this season, hitting .273. He is the younger brother of Brewers infielder Ricky Weeks.

Once a highly touted prospect, Weeks was a first-round Draft pick by the A's in 2008.

This is the second stint in the Boston organization for De Jesus, who was part of the Adrian Gonzalez-Josh Beckett-Carl Crawford blockbuster of Aug. 25, 2012. He played in eight games for the Red Sox in the final month of 2012, going 0-for-8.

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Sox lose Pedroia on rough night for Webster, offense

Battling command issues, righty allows six runs; club held to one hit

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Sox lose Pedroia on rough night for Webster, offense play video for Sox lose Pedroia on rough night for Webster, offense

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox had yet another night of offensive futility Saturday night at Tropicana Field and to make matters worse, they also lost Dustin Pedroia for at least a few days.

The Boston bats were limited to one hit for the third time this season, as Jake Odorizzi was dominant over his seven innings while lifting the Rays past Boston, 7-0.

Pedroia, trying to make a tag play at second base in the bottom of the second, got belted on the head by Tampa Bay's Logan Forsythe.

"He's got some symptoms that are consistent with a concussion," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's improved as the game has gone on, as the night has gone on here. Not as dizzy as he was when he first came off. But we'll take every precaution necessary with Dustin."

Meanwhile, the promise that Red Sox right-hander Allen Webster had showed recently has been washed away in the last two starts, as he's been unable to make it out of the fifth inning on both occasions.

He was victimized by a familiar problem Saturday night -- lack of command.

Webster (3-3, 6.69 ERA) gave up five hits, six runs and three walks while hitting two batters over four-plus innings.

"I fell behind batters, didn't get ahead, and when I had to make pitches I left them over the middle of the plate," said Webster.

Will Middlebrooks, who came into the game to replace Pedroia in the lineup, had the only hit for Boston, a single in the fourth inning.

"Odorizzi shut us down," said Farrell. "Quality fastball. A very good changeup. He had a consistent mix. Kept us off balanced and off stride throughout the game."

After an easy first, Webster got into immediate trouble in the second when he hit Evan Longoria. James Loney followed with an RBI double to right. Brandon Guyer kept the rally going with a single. Forsythe drew a walk to load the bases.

Then came an unfortunate play for the Red Sox. Ryan Hanigan lofted a sacrifice fly to deep right. Forsythe tagged and went to second, and as he slid into the base, he slammed Pedroia's head with his right forearm.

Pedroia was on the ground for a bit, and when he got up, he immediately exited the game.

"It was just a hustle play," said Forsythe. "I didn't even know I really hit him, and when I turned back and I saw him down -- I'd felt my arm hit something, and I put two and two together and figured it was his head. I didn't see where I hit him until replay, I looked at it."

A fielder's choice RBI by Ben Zobrist made it a 3-0 game.

In the fourth, Webster gave up two singles and hit a batter to load the bases with one out. That allowed the Rays to get another run on a fielder's choice grounder by Zobrist.

Webster had some more trouble in the fifth when he opened the inning by walking Matt Joyce and giving up an infield hit to Evan Longoria. Alex Wilson came on in relief, and Guyer reached on a bunt single that turned into a lot of trouble. Catcher David Ross made an errant throw to first, and two runs scored on the play. Forsythe's sacrifice fly pinned Boston in a 7-0 hole.

"Inconsistent command," Farrell said of Webster. "He'd go out and show you good stuff for a couple of hitter stretch and then would lose his fastball command. I thought he flashed very good secondary stuff and a good sinking fastball at times, but the inning-to-inning consistency was lacking here tonight."

If Webster is going to be a player the Red Sox can depend on next season and beyond, he needs to be able to display more consistency.

"Yeah, we've been working hard between each start, working on mechanics, doing dry work and stuff," Webster said. "Just the last two games haven't worked out for me."

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Farrell leaning toward implementing six-man rotation

Optioned to Class A on Saturday, Ranaudo likely to be among group of starters

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Farrell leaning toward implementing six-man rotation play video for Farrell leaning toward implementing six-man rotation

ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox manager John Farrell expects to go to a six-man rotation as early as next week.

And even though Anthony Ranaudo was optioned to Class-A Greenville on Saturday to make room for the return of shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the young right-handed prospect is expected to be one of the six starters Farrell deploys.

With Greenville's season ending Monday, the same day Major League rosters are expanded, the Red Sox can then bring Ranaudo right back in the fold.

Ranaudo defeated the Rays on Friday night, giving him three wins in as many starts.

Look for Ranaudo to start at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday or Thursday.

"We may look at going to a six man rotation just to build in an added day of rest," said Farrell. "How we then factor in the off-day that's coming after that, we can adjust again and go back for a turn through and not get too far removed from a previous start. There's quite a bit of possibility we'd go to a six-man rotation."

Part of the reasoning behind that is that the Red Sox have a number of young pitchers in the rotation at the moment who are approaching career highs in innings, including Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Ranaudo.

Workman was optioned to Triple-A last week, but he could return at some point next week to become the sixth man in the rotation.

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Rays lose review as call upheld in Red Sox's favor

On separate play, Boston's Farrell waits too long to issue challenge on HBP

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Rays lose review as call upheld in Red Sox's favor play video for Rays lose review as call upheld in Red Sox's favor

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays lost their challenge in the fourth inning of Saturday night's 7-0 win over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Minutes later, Boston squandered an opportunity to challenge a play by waiting too long.

With Tampa Bay holding a 3-0 lead, Brandon Guyer led off the bottom of the fourth by chopping routinely to short, but Boston's Xander Bogaerts sailed his throw high of Allen Craig at first base. Craig managed to make a leaping catch and attempted to swipe-tag Guyer as he was crossing the bag.

First-base umpire Mike Estabrook called Guyer out, ruling that Craig had tagged him, and Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to challenge the call.

After a one-minute, 34-second review, the ruling on the field stood.

Three batters later, after singles by Logan Forsythe and Ryan Hanigan, Kevin Kiermaier was awarded first base by home-plate umpire Mike DiMuro on a hit-by-pitch. Boston skipper John Farrell thought the pitch had hit Kiermaier's bat, not his arm, as DiMuro ruled.

"Partially, it did hit the bat, but it also pinched my skin to the bat, and that's why I had the reaction I did," Kiermaier said. "Like, it actually did hit me. I was looking at my hand hoping I had a mark so I could be like, 'Hey, look at this' -- so I could prove it. And I was like, 'Man, this is going to go against me, I'm going to have to go hit again with an 0-1 count.'"

Farrell requested a challenge, but the umpires determined that by the time he did, the next play had started, with pitcher Allen Webster on the rubber and batter Ben Zobrist in the box. That would mean the Red Sox could no longer challenge the hit-by-pitch.

The umpires convened in the infield to discuss whether the play had indeed started, and they decided that it had. Zobrist went on to drive in Forsythe on a fielder's choice, Tampa Bay's only run of the frame.

The Rays protested a game against the Blue Jays last week when the umpires allowed a challenge in a similar situation. Toronto manager John Gibbons successfully challenged a safe call on a pickoff of Wil Myers at first base, even though the Rays argued that Toronto pitcher Mark Buehrle had already stepped back onto the rubber and Yunel Escobar had entered the box.

Did Maddon feel vindicated that Saturday's umpiring crew didn't allow Farrell's challenge?

"Just another win for the Rays," he said.

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Start of Rays-Red Sox delayed by power outage

Lightning strike at substation knocks out some of lights at Tropicana Field

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Start of Rays-Red Sox delayed by power outage play video for Start of Rays-Red Sox delayed by power outage

ST. PETERSBURG -- The start of Saturday night's game between the Rays and Red Sox at Tropicana Field was delayed by 12 minutes due to a partial power outage at the ballpark.

With thunderstorms in the area, a lightning strike to the 16th Street substation knocked out power to some of the park's lights minutes before the 7:10 p.m. ET scheduled start time. The same substation was struck Aug. 3, delaying the game against the Angels.

After power was fully restored, Rays starter Jake Odorizzi delivered Saturday's first pitch at 7:22 p.m.

The outage also forced the Rays to delay their Star Wars Night pregame activities, stranding Chewbacca in front of the Tampa Bay dugout, waiting to deliver a ceremonial first pitch to Tampa Bay reliever Kirby Yates.

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Betts' first slam helps Red Sox cruise over Rays

Rookie youngest on club to achieve feat since '65; Ranaudo now 3-0

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Betts' first slam helps Red Sox cruise over Rays play video for Betts' first slam helps Red Sox cruise over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Mookie Betts, at the age of 21 years old, hit his first Major League grand slam on Friday night against the Rays.

Just don't bother asking Betts how old he was the last time he came up with four RBIs on one swing.

"I can't tell you the last time I hit a grand slam, going back to high school," said Betts. "I honestly don't remember hitting one in high school, either. Just to hit one is pretty enjoyable."

The slam by Betts led the Red Sox to an 8-4 victory at Tropicana Field.

It was the latest highlight of a surreal season for Betts, who made his debut at Double-A in April, which was followed by a promotion to Triple-A in May before the ultimate ascension to the Red Sox.

Where did the slam rank in a season full of firsts?

"Probably No. 1," said Betts.

Anthony Ranaudo, another potential key piece for the future, came up from Triple-A Pawtucket for the third time and won.

Ranaudo (3-0, 4.50 ERA) allowed five hits and three runs over six innings, walking three and striking out four.

"I thought tonight, of the three starts he's made for us, this was probably the best overall mix of three pitches that he had -- particularly a little bit more use of his changeup tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "A solid night all the way around."

After being sent down following victories in each of his first two starts, Ranaudo will stick around this time, most likely for the rest of the season.

"That'll be nice," said Ranaudo. "I don't know what the plans are. I'm taking every day as it is. If I'm here, that's great, that's another day to get better and learn a little bit more and be a part of the team. If I can do that, that'd be great. But I don't know what the plans are going forward."

As for Betts, he became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a grand slam since Tony Conigliaro, who did it as a 20-year-old in 1965.

Coming up through the Minors, Betts was known more as a speed guy. But he has made it clear this season there is some power in that bat.

"I kind of knew I had the ability to do it," said Betts. "I don't think anybody else believed in me, but I believed in myself to do it. It was just a matter of learning the pitches to swing at and grooving my swing to where when I get those pitches, I'm able to do something with it."

Early on, the offense allowed Ranaudo plenty of run support at the expense of Rays starter Chris Archer.

Brock Holt opened the game with a single. With two on and one out, Yoenis Cespedes looped in an RBI single to right. Daniel Nava delivered a two-out RBI single to left. And Boston got some help when Archer bobbled a slow roller by Betts for an error that loaded the bases. Will Middlebrooks hit an RBI infield single to make it a 3-0 game.

Not only did the Red Sox bat around in the first inning, but they did the very same thing in the second. Again, it was Holt who started things with a single. Cespedes ripped an RBI double to the gap in right-center. Archer got himself into more trouble by walking Mike Napoli and hitting Nava.

Then came the big blow, as Betts smashed a liner to left on a 1-0 fastball for his grand slam, and third career homer. Just like that, the Red Sox had an 8-0 lead.

"The home run to Betts, that's just good hitting," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I don't know him, but you can see, he reminds me a little bit of the left fielder in Milwaukee [Khris Davis]. They've got this little thing in the bat, the ball comes off it pretty hot. He's a nice-looking player. I've never seen him before, really, to that extent. Look at the replay. He just dragged his hands inside and got the barrel to the ball."

It was the first time the Red Sox batted around in their first two innings of a game since Aug. 14, 1962, against the Angels.

Though the Red Sox would much prefer to be in contention at this point of the season, their place in the standings gives them a chance to get extended looks at players like Betts.

"Yeah, you know he generates quite a bit of bat speed, so it's not so much the size that's the predictor of power," said Farrell. "But in a short period of time in his pro career he's, I think the last two years, he's led the organization in extra-base hits or slugging percentage, and it is a little surprising when you see the stature of him. When you boil it down to the bat speed, it's very good."

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Red Sox making the most of a down year

GM Cherington's roster overhaul has included additions of Cespedes and Craig

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Red Sox making the most of a down year play video for Red Sox making the most of a down year

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, diminutive 21-year-old rookie Mookie Betts sent a Chris Archer fastball screaming to the left-field seats, and it was over.

The new-look Red Sox, whose roster was overhauled by general manager Ben Cherington a month earlier, were up, 8-0, en route to an easy 8-4 conquest of the skidding Rays.

This was Friday night at Tropicana Field.

For Betts, Boston's No. 1 prospect, his shining moment punctuated a storybook summer during which he's bolted from the shadows of the Minor Leagues to the bright lights of baseball's biggest stage.

Really, though, Betts is what the Red Sox -- less than a year removed from their dizzying World Series celebration -- are about today as they look up from the darkness of last place in the American League East.

Cherington deserves enormous credit. The impatient Red Sox Nation may disagree, but when it became obvious weeks into this season that the 2013 glory was nothing but a fading memory, he didn't hesitate.

And this is what the best of baseball's general managers do. They refuse to hold on to the players who helped build a championship, but whose presence will not reverse a downward trend.

Almost from the moment Boston polished off St. Louis last October to win its third World Series championship in 10 years, the roster turnover has been staggering, especially for a championship team.

On the negative side, I believe Cherington miscalculated the value of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who left to sign a lucrative free-agent contract with the Yankees.

But since the Red Sox played the Rays at Tropicana Field in late-July, pitchers Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Andrew Miller have been traded. Also gone are outfielder Jonny Gomes, shortstop Stephen Drew, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and first baseman-outfielder Mike Carp.

In dealing Lester and Lackey, Cherington parted with two of Boston's best and most reliable pitchers. But as the dust from the flurry of deals settled, Oakland's best offensive player, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, was aboard, as is former Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig.

Cherington was able to pull the trigger on these deals because his system is loaded with good young pitchers, a la top prospects Henry Owens, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Anthony Ranaudo.

Oh, yes, the 24-year-old Ranaudo, made his third -- and best -- start in the Major Leagues on Friday. He was the winning pitcher and is now 3-0 with a 4.50 ERA.

"If I had done a better job to begin with, we wouldn't have been in the position we were in in July and considering the moves we made," Cherington said. "This all starts with taking responsibility for that. The team's performance for the year hasn't been nearly good enough.

"Ultimately, the offense just didn't perform. We weren't able to get out of that. Going back to last offseason and Spring Training, we felt we had a team that could win."

The pitching was solid, but the Red Sox just couldn't score runs.

"Once we reached that point, we started looking at how to improve the offense and how to build a team that can win quickly again," Cherington said. "We were concerned about going into the offseason and being able to do that. We weren't sure how much offense was going to be available.

"We wanted to focus on getting a head start on improving our offense. As it turned out, we were able to add Major League pieces [Cespedes and Craig] as opposed to the typical prospect deals."

And just last week, the Red Sox signed 27-year-old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal. He'll play in his first Minor League game Sunday at Fort Myers, Fla., in a Gulf Coast League playoff game. It will be Castillo's first organized game since the end of the 2012 season.

"He's going to play in something similar to a rehab progression," said Cherington. "He's probably going to play three innings, and we'll ramp him up from there. Hopefully he'll be with the big club sometime in September."

After the four-game series against the Rays, the Red Sox will go Yankee Stadium, followed by home games against the Blue Jays and the AL East-leading Orioles.

"We're going into every game expecting and planning to win," said Cherington. "The players are smart. You cannot make up a story like, 'Win 27 in a row and get back in this.' Our approach is this: Every game is meaningful, because we have a chance to make an impact in the race. Secondly, individual players have a chance to tell us something and, to some degree, shape our approach for the offseason."

Manager John Farrell said "regardless of the changes we've made, we cannot sacrifice our standard. That is our preparation, our competitive approach and the energy we play with. To me, those are non-negotiables.

"We do have some answers to get with some young guys," he said. "We have a youthful rotation right now, so getting exposure for them is important for our decisions during the offseason. Our style of play will not be sacrificed."

Betts, as an example, has surprised Farrell & Co. with his power. He's just 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds. Betts didn't make his first start in Double-A until April, but after hitting .355 in 54 games at Portland, he was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he batted .335 in 45 games.

Betts is in his third stint with the Red Sox this season, but nothing had been as rewarding as his grand slam, especially for a guy known more for his speed than power. He became the youngest Boston player since Tony Conigliaro, who did it as a 20-year-old in 1965.

As for the new-found power, Betts said, "I kind of knew I had the ability to do it. I don't think anybody else believed in me, but I believed in myself to do it. It was just a matter of learning the pitches to swing at and grooving my swing, so when I get those pitches, [I am] able to do something with them."

Pausing, and flashing a smile, he added: "I'm still getting more comfortable each and every day. Every day I run out there, I feel like it's a good thing, so I can be comfortable going into next year."

And "next year" is what these Red Sox are all about.

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Castillo set to debut in Gulf Coast League playoffs

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Castillo set to debut in Gulf Coast League playoffs play video for Castillo set to debut in Gulf Coast League playoffs

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rusney Castillo will see his first game action on Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla., in a Gulf Coast League playoff game.

The Cuban outfielder signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox last week, and this will mark his first organized game since the end of the 2012 season.

"I think we're all looking forward to seeing him on the field, no doubt," manager John Farrell said before the Red Sox's 8-4 win over the Rays on Friday.

Once Castillo gets enough at-bats at the Minor League level, he is expected to play for the Red Sox at some point during September.

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Inbox: A good problem to have

Beat reporter Ian Browne takes fans' questions on outfield surplus, more

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What are the Sox going to do with the surplus of outfielders in 2015?
-- Mark, Centreville, Va.

I'm pretty sure not all of them will be with the team when the 2015 season starts. But you're right, the outfield has gone from a clear weakness to a probable strength. At this moment, the starting outfield looks like it would be Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. But where does that leave Shane Victorino, assuming he gets healthy coming off back surgery?

Daniel Nava is all but certain to become a part-time player in Boston unless he gets traded or non-tendered. Jackie Bradley Jr. also looks to be at a crossroads after a tough season offensively.

The Red Sox certainly have enough outfield chips to package some of them in a trade to fill another need on the club.

Do you see the Sox going after Giancarlo Stanton after the recent signing of Castillo?
-- Matthew H., Shelby, N.C.

If the Marlins make Stanton available, I'm sure the Red Sox will try to put a package of talent together to bring in a player who looks like he was born to play in Fenway Park. Boston is probably one of the few teams out there that has the chips to make a legitimate offer.

Do you think there is a chance Boston will send Castillo to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra work in?
-- Chris K., Scottsdale, Ariz.

I'm guessing winter ball is a more likely option for Castillo; as the quality of competition is higher and more seasoned, it will probably get him more ready for next season.

Are the Red Sox going to play Castillo in center field? Six years and $72 million says they should.
-- Alan, Dorchester, Mass.

The plan is for Castillo to be the center fielder. Boston is of the belief that it needs two outfielders who are basically center fielders playing in Fenway, since there is so much ground to cover in right field. But I think the Sox would prefer that Cespedes make the move to right field next season, giving him the best spot for his cannon arm. Castillo seems best suited for center.

Do you see Nava on the Opening Day roster in 2015?
-- Mark, Watertown, Conn.

I'm guessing Nava will be playing somewhere else next year. He is a good piece to have for a lot of teams, but given the sudden depth the Red Sox have in the outfield, there doesn't seem to be much of a role for him.

Is there any chance of Mookie Betts eventually moving to third?
-- Lenny H., hometown not given

The beauty of Betts is that he can play just about anywhere. I think Boston will just have to evaluate where he fits best. Brock Holt could settle in as the third baseman for next season. Betts could probably stand to get some more at-bats in the Minor Leagues. Remember, Betts is all of 21 years old.

What front-line starter do you want to see the Red Sox target this offseason?
-- Jason, Seattle

How about a guy named Jon Lester? Lester is battle-tested and loves pitching in the Boston market. How many times can you sign a major free agent who would need no adjustment period getting used to a "new" team? Also, it would make the trade for Cespedes a pure genius move by Ben Cherington. If not Lester, then Max Scherzer would be a great option if the Red Sox are willing to be bold and make that big of a financial investment.

Will Cole Hamels' shaky numbers against the American League -- in particular the AL East -- make the Sox hesitant to make a trade?
-- Ryan, Lowell, Mass.

Not necessarily. I'm sure that a pitcher with the talent that Hamels has could probably make the proper adjustments needed to succeed in the AL, if that was where he was pitching full time.

Should the Red Sox consider shutting down Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa for the season, considering their heavy workload the last two years?
-- Brian G., Bennington, Vt.

Once rosters are expanded and John Farrell has more pitching to choose from on a nightly basis, I'm guessing Tazawa and Uehara will both have a significantly reduced workload. To be honest, they've both looked fatigued of late. Perhaps the only bonus for Boston of not making the postseason this year is that players who were taxed deep into last October will get a chance to catch their breath.

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Tazawa's woes vs. Blue Jays continue in loss

Papi notches RBI in return to lineup; Kelly takes no-decision

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Tazawa's woes vs. Blue Jays continue in loss play video for Tazawa's woes vs. Blue Jays continue in loss

TORONTO -- Junichi Tazawa has struggled against the Blue Jays and at Rogers Centre throughout his five big league seasons, and on Wednesday, those woes sunk the Red Sox's hope of a sweep.

With Boston clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh inning, Danny Valencia belted a 2-0 fastball over the left-field wall as Toronto took the final match of the three-game series, 5-2.

"It leaped back quite a bit and went inside and I missed my location," Tazawa, who's allowed eight of his 20 career homers to the Blue Jays, said through an interpreter. "I'm aware of the history, but I blocked that out and I was just trying to be aggressive."

In seven career innings pitched at Rogers Centre, Tazawa has allowed eight runs on 12 hits. For his career against the Blue Jays, he's 1-3 in 20 appearances, over which he's worked 19 1/3 innings and given up 16 runs on 29 hits for a career 7.45 ERA.

After leaving his previous start with a sore right shoulder, Joe Kelly was on a pitch count. After allowing a leadoff double to Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth, manager John Farrell turned to lefty Tommy Layne.

Layne appeared to have the first out, but Red Sox catcher David Ross dropped a routine popup in foul territory from Dioner Navarro. The Toronto backstop used his second chance to swat a single to left field to put runners on the corners.

Ross was at a loss for words about what happened.

"I just missed it. I don't know what to say," he said.

Farrell said it looked like the wind played a factor in his catcher's error.

"The wind was whirling, and it pushed it back to him," said Farrell. "[It] caused him to turn his glove over and it went off the glove."

With Valencia waiting in the on-deck circle to bat for Juan Francisco, Farrell said Tazawa was the best option available at that point in the game.

Farrell said he thought the club had thought it corrected some problems Tazawa was having against the Blue Jays two months ago, and the Valencia homer was simply the result of a bad pitch.

"Well, we knew they we going to pinch-hit, so we went right-handed reliever," Farrell said.

That seventh spoiled a solid start from Kelly, who lasted six-plus innings and gave up two earned runs on three hits as he battled Toronto starter Marcus Stroman in what was a pitchers' duel until the later innings.

After giving up a solo shot to Jose Bautista in the first, Kelly settled in and allowed only a hit over the next five innings before exiting.

Kelly was the beneficiary of some stellar defensive plays all the way around in the infield, courtesy of diving stops from Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli and an outstanding barehanded grab-and-throw from Brock Holt.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple of Top 10 plays in there," said Kelly. "Brock made an unbelievable play. I can't give him enough credit. ... It's fun to watch."

Stroman, meanwhile, held the Sox to one hit through five innings, inducing groundout after groundout as he cruised into the sixth.

The rookie right-hander stumbled in the sixth as the Red Sox put up three hits and two runs for a 2-1 lead. All said, Stroman went 7 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts and a walk.

"He's a strong kid," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's coming out of college, he's still a youngster, but he has some innings in the Minor Leagues, too. It crosses your mind when he has a couple of outings when he struggles. Is he tired out a little bit, running out of gas? Who knows where it goes from here, but he's put together pretty good. Strong guy, low center of gravity. I don't think that will be a problem with him."

David Ortiz made his presence felt, returning to the lineup after missing a pair of games with a bruised right foot. Big Papi had a pair of singles in his first three at-bats and drove in the Red Sox's first run of the sixth inning.

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Escobar fires scoreless frame in debut with Sox

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Escobar fires scoreless frame in debut with Sox play video for Escobar fires scoreless frame in debut with Sox

TORONTO -- Edwin Escobar made his Red Sox debut in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday, tossing a scoreless inning of relief.

Escobar retired Steve Tolleson, Edwin Encarnacion and Dioner Navarro in order.

The Red Sox optioned Heath Hembree to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and recalled their No. 11 prospect in a corresponding move.

Hembree allowed three hits and three earned runs in the 11th inning of the Red Sox's 11-7 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday. He was largely shielded from the Blue Jays' late offense after Boston put up a seven-run 11th. After playing two consecutive extra-innings games, the Red Sox were in need of a fresh bullpen arm.

"[Escobar] is here for bullpen depth," said manager John Farrell. "If something unforeseen happens tonight, we have to cover ourselves about the innings."

Acquired in the Jake Peavy deal from the Giants, this is Escobar's first trip to the Majors in a Red Sox uniform. He made four appearances (three starts) last season with San Francisco, posting a 5.19 ERA over 8 2/3 frames.

The left-hander has split his time in 2014 between the PawSox and Fresno of the Pacific Coast League. Escobar was 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA in 20 starts with Fresno and 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA in five starts with Pawtucket.

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After missing two games, Papi returns to lineup

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After missing two games, Papi returns to lineup play video for After missing two games, Papi returns to lineup

TORONTO -- David Ortiz was back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing the previous two games with a bruised right foot. Big Papi singled twice and drove in a run during a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Ortiz has now reached base safely in 13 straight games. In the bottom of the fourth, Ortiz went up the middle on a fourth-pitch curveball from Toronto starter Marcus Stroman to record Boston's first hit. In the sixth, he sent a first-pitch heater to right field, cashing in David Ross to give the Red Sox a temporary 2-1 lead.

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Spot on: Sox use seven-run rally to sink Jays

Pedroia gets it started, then Napoli, Craig break it open with home runs

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Spot on: Sox use seven-run rally to sink Jays play video for Spot on: Sox use seven-run rally to sink Jays

TORONTO -- Powered by a pair of big homers in the 11th, the Red Sox took an extra-innings bout from the Blue Jays for the second night in a row on Tuesday.

After playing small ball to break a tie, the Red Sox showed some muscle and went deep twice to put the game out of reach. Mike Napoli crushed a three-run shot to the fifth deck, and Allen Craig swatted his first homer as a member of the Red Sox to lift Boston to an 11-7 victory at Rogers Centre, creating the opportunity for the sweep on Wednesday.

"The ability to score multiple runs was key for us, to give us some breathing room," manager John Farrell said. "Nap with the huge swing on a three-run homer, good to see Allen drive the ball out the other way, and we executed the small things. Got a couple of bunts down, Mookie [Betts] ran the bases well, put a good swing on Casey Janssen, and we were able build one of the bigger innings of the year so far."

Farrell's comments were an apt synopsis of what turned out to be a crucial late offensive outburst for the Red Sox, who needed the padding as the Blue Jays put up a futile three runs in their last at-bat.

Even though they squandered a three-run lead for the second consecutive night and twice allowed the Blue Jays to creep back into the game, the Red Sox managed to stay ahead when it counted.

"It was a real grinder of a game," said Craig. "A battle back and forth. ... It was huge for our team to be able to do that."

Betts jump-started the rally with a single and was moved over to second on a bunt from Christian Vazquez, narrowly beating the throw from Janssen. Betts was originally called out, but following a challenge from Farrell, the call was overturned to give Boston a pair of runners with no outs. Brock Holt then put down a bunt of his own and reached on a Janssen error, loading the bases for Dustin Pedroia, who hit a two-run single for a 6-4 lead.

The Sox were far from done. With Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos in the game, Napoli crushed a fastball to the fifth deck, scoring three, and Craig sent a two-run shot to right to put the game out of reach.

"We just played two big games back to back and we're just worried about winning. ... That's our offense," Napoli said. "Coming up with big hits, hitting with runners in scoring position. … That's what it's all about."

Quick to brush aside the magnitude of his moon shot, Napoli said he was pleased to see Craig go opposite field with his homer.

"That's him," Napoli said. "He's a good hitter. We talk hitting."

The big rally marked the first time in Blue Jays history that Toronto has allowed seven runs in the 11th inning.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said it's tough to lose in extra-innings two nights in a row, but he's hopeful his squad will bounce back.

"They're feeling it like everybody else," Gibbons said. "We've lost some tough ones, games we could have won every one of them, but we haven't done it. If you're going to get to the top, you have to win those games, because that's what elite teams do."

Boston put up three runs in the first, but it gave up one in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings as the Blue Jays tied it at 3 after five. The Red Sox jumped ahead again when Yoenis Cespedes made it 4-3 with an RBI single that scored Holt in the seventh, but again, the Blue Jays surged back. Boston's Alex Wilson couldn't lock it down and surrendered a solo homer to Jose Bautista to make it a 4-4 game, which persisted until the 11th.

Rubby De La Rosa went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, and six Red Sox relievers combined for 6 1/3 innings of work, with Junichi Tazawa taking the win.

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Napoli joins elite company with massive blast

Slugger becomes just 17th player to hit homer to Rogers Centre's fifth deck

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Napoli joins elite company with massive blast play video for Napoli joins elite company with massive blast

TORONTO -- Mike Napoli's mammoth home run in the 11th inning marked the 17th time in Rogers Centre history that a player has gone deep to the fifth deck.

Napoli crushed a three-run shot from Sergio Santos above the Level of Excellence in extra innings of the Red Sox's 11-7 win on Tuesday, joining Manny Ramirez as the only other Boston player to accomplish the feat.

Moonshots
Mike Napoli is the 17th player to have a homer reach the 500-level at Rogers Centre.
Player Team Date
Mike Napoli Red Sox 8/26/2014
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 4/30/2013
Shelley Duncan Yankees 5/31/2011
Jayson Werth Phillies 6/27/2009
Gary Sheffield Yankees 7/28/2004
Josh Phelps Blue Jays 7/7/2004
Josh Phelps Blue Jays 8/29/2002
Raul Mondesi Blue Jays 4/17/2002
Manny Ramirez Red Sox 6/3/2001
Shawn Green Blue Jays 4/22/1999
Jose Canseco Rays 4/12/1999
Jose Canseco Blue Jays 9/5/1998
Carlos Delgado Blue Jays 7/19/1998
Joe Carter Blue Jays 7/27/1996
Mark McGwire A's 7/25/1996
Jose Canseco A's 10/7/1989

Ramirez went 491 feet to left field off Chris Carpenter in 2001, hitting the longest home run in the stadium's history.

Napoli was quick to brush off the moon shot as just another homer, but he said he was glad to be able to get the team buzzing on the bench.

"It's always nice to mess around with your teammates and everyone's just going crazy in the dugout," Napoli said. "But it's just a homer."

Others were slightly more impressed.

"I think that's the third one I've seen to the fifth deck. ... I haven't seen anyone go there on an 0-2 count, so it might be at the top of the list," said manager John Farrell.

Dustin Pedroia said they all count the same, but he admitted that the homer was something else.

"They all count. It doesn't matter how much they go over, but yeah, that was pretty impressive," said Pedroia, who hit a two-run homer in the first.

Napoli's homer effectively put the game out of reach, but not before Allen Craig hit his first long ball as a member of the Red Sox. Craig hit a two-run shot to right field to bury any hopes the Blue Jays had of a comeback.

Still, Craig preferred to talk about Napoli's feat above his own.

"That homer he hit, that was really impressive and huge for our team," said Craig of Napoli's shot. "I've never seen one hit that far in person. I didn't catch much of the buzz on the bench, because I was going up to hit, but I told the guys after that was one of the best I've seen."

As for his own home run?

"It really felt great to get that first one in this uniform," Craig said.

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Overturned call at second pivotal in Sox's rally

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TORONTO -- For the second straight night, Mookie Betts was thrown out at second base. But just like Monday, the Red Sox's top prospect had the call overturned following a video review.

With the scored tied in the top of the 11th and Betts on first, Christian Vazquez laid down a bunt that bounced toward Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen, who attempted to get the lead runner at second for the force out. Betts narrowly slid in ahead of the throw, but he was ruled out by second-base umpire Eric Cooper, prompting Red Sox manager John Farrell to challenge the call.

Following a review lasting one minute and 16 seconds, the call was overturned.

"Mookie gets a good read, a good job and his speed carries him the rest of the way," Farrell said. "In the time he's been back, he's been doing things inside games he might not have done the first time he was here."

The play proved crucial, as Brock Holt bunted and reached on Janssen's error to load the bases on the next play, which ended up having a ripple effect.

"It was a good bunt, it was well placed, tried to be aggressive, tried to see what I could do once I got it and I just didn't get it," said Janssen. "Obviously that led to the bases loaded and nobody out."

Dustin Pedroia swatted a go-ahead, two-run single and then Mike Napoli blasted a three-run homer. Allen Craig capped the seven-run rally with a two-run blast as the Red Sox won, 11-7.

Even before two innings were in the books, there were two plays reviewed during Tuesday night's game at Rogers Centre.

Will Middlebrooks laced a double to centre field in the first inning, and Napoli scored easily from second. Craig attempted to score all the way from first base, but the relay throw home from second baseman Munenori Kawasaki beat Craig to end the inning.

There appeared to be a question about whether or not catcher Josh Thole had blocked the plate as Craig slid in. Farrell left the dugout to speak to home-plate umpire Hal Gibson, and after a quick meeting, the umpires initiated a crew chief review.

After a 29-second review, the original call was confirmed and the inning was over, but not before the Red Sox had given themselves a 3-0 lead. In the top of the second, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons used his challenge on a close play at first base. Betts walked and then almost got picked off first by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Dickey's throw was low and into the runner, which allowed Edwin Encarnacion to make the tag at first. First-base umpire Chris Guccione called Betts safe on the play, and after Gibbons challenged, the call on the field stood.

{"content":["replay" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Six prospects lined up for Arizona Fall League

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TORONTO -- Deven Marrero is the highest-ranked Red Sox prospect headed to the Arizona Fall League. Boston's No. 11 prospect according to MLB.com is one of six Red Sox Minor League players that'll suit up for the Surprise Saguaros when AFL play opens Oct. 7.

Marrero, the club's first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, has appeared in 44 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, going .215, with one homer, nine doubles and 19 RBIs. He'll be joined by No. 14 prospect Sean Coyle, an infielder who's hitting .299 with 14 homers and 56 RBIs in 91 games with Double-A Portland. Coyle was drafted by Boston in the third round (110th overall) in 2010. He appeared in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field as a member of the United States squad.

"We welcome the Class of 2014 and the arrival of the Arizona Fall League's 23rd season," AFL director Steve Cobb said. "It's an exciting array of top Draft choices and Minor League All-Stars who have excelled in the early stages of their professional careers. We continue to take great pride in the role the Fall League serves in Major League Baseball's player development process.

"Approximately 60 percent of our players will reach the Major Leagues. We want fans to know top young professional talent still will be playing baseball in October and November in Arizona."

Other Sox prospects include pitchers Keith Couch, Aaron Kurcz, Robby Scott, Madison Younginer and an outfielder to be named later.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Despite struggles, no plans to shut down Koji

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Despite struggles, no plans to shut down Koji play video for Despite struggles, no plans to shut down Koji

TORONTO -- Manager John Farrell said there are no plans to shut down Koji Uehara despite the closer's recent struggles.

Uehara recorded his second blown save in as many games on Monday in the Red Sox's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, prompting questions about whether or not the right-hander is experiencing fatigue.

"He's gone through a bit of a stretch where he hasn't been as efficient or effective as we're accustomed to seeing," Farrell said on Tuesday. "But that does not take away our belief or confidence in him."

Uehara has thrown 134 1/3 regular-season innings since the beginning of 2013, the highest combined total of any back-to-back seasons in his six-year Major League career. He also worked an additional 13 2/3 innings in Boston's run to the World Series last year.

Still, Farrell said Uehara has not reported any symptoms of fatigue following his regular throwing program. However, Farrell acknowledged that because of Uehara's workload the past few seasons, he could be tiring.

"We realize that he's thrown a lot for us. We're not going to apologize for playing a full month extra last year, so if there is some residual effects, it's possible," Farrell said. "And he's thrown some high-leverage innings for us this year."

Uehara has blown four saves this season. He's allowed seven earned runs over his last four outings (3 1/3 innings) after a span of 13 appearances without giving up a run.

Although he was the winning pitcher Monday, Uehara allowed a game-tying, two-run double to Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the ninth. Uehara had an unusually bad night against the Mariners on Friday, surrendering five runs over two-thirds of an inning with a walk and five hits.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Bogaerts feeling better, set to rejoin club this weekend

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Bogaerts feeling better, set to rejoin club this weekend play video for Bogaerts feeling better, set to rejoin club this weekend

TORONTO -- Xander Bogaerts is symptom free and should be ready to rejoin the team this weekend at some point during the Red Sox series vs. the Rays, manager John Farrell said on Tuesday.

"He's had a good day to day," Farrell said. "He's come in and he's pretty much feeling symptom free, so we'll go through the next steps to get approval from MLB."

Bogaerts was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list retroactive to Saturday. He suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch in the head by Felix Hernandez on Friday night. Bogaerts is eligible to come off the DL for the second match of the Red Sox's three-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Farrell said once Bogaerts gets medical clearance, he'll start ramping up his physical activities, although there will still be some hoops to jump through before he can be activated.

"Exertion test, [and an] exam by our own doctors that has to be submitted for approval by the association and MLB to be signed off on. It's pretty stringent protocol in place," Farrell said.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Holt's hustle, Cespedes' clutch single end skid

Buchholz's gem spoiled as Uehara allows inherited runners to score

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Holt's hustle, Cespedes' clutch single end skid play video for Holt's hustle, Cespedes' clutch single end skid

TORONTO -- Brock Holt singled, swiped second, third and then scored the winning run in extra innings as the Red Sox snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Monday night.

Holt's heroics came in the 10th after Boston squandered a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. With Holt 90 feet away, Yoenis Cespedes had the winning hit, taking an Aaron Sanchez offering to center field.

"It's been a while since we've been able to do it, but the way we responded in the ninth inning, coming back and putting up a run," manager John Farrell said. "Our recent stretch hasn't been for a lack of competitiveness or fight, but we haven't executed to the best of our abilities at times. Tonight we did."

Boston escaped what would've been an ugly collapse after blowing a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. Farrell said Cespedes' ability in big situations is what makes him such a valuable addition to the Red Sox since he came over from the A's in the Jon Lester trade.

"He's had some RBIs in key moments, late-inning situations, and once again, today with a game-winning hit," Farrell said. "With a base hit or the long ball, he's been big for us."

The Sox were in complete command until the Blue Jays' final at-bat, but Boston fell victim to a late surge that nearly cost it the game.

Starter Clay Buchholz, who'd been so good for eight innings, allowed back-to-back singles before walking Jose Bautista to load the bases with one out, giving way to closer Koji Uehara.

The right-handed reliever got Adam Lind to hit into a fielder's choice that scored Jose Reyes for the second out, but Uehara couldn't retire Edwin Encarnacion, who followed up with a two-run double to left field that tied the game at 3, sending it to extra innings.

Uehara has struggled in his past two save opportunities. On Friday night against the Mariners, the righty couldn't protect a three-run lead, as he allowed five runs on five hits and recorded just one out. Is fatigue setting in for the All-Star?

"I'm sure it's part of it, to say to what extent, that's probably debatable, but there's no denying the number of appearances he had over a very extended year last year and the number of appearances this year," said Farrell. "We try to give him ample rest in between outings, but he's been in a little bit of a tough stretch."

Despite Uehara's struggles, there are no plans to shut him down.

"We're being very conscious of the frequency of use," said Farrell. "Nothing physical that's of a restriction for him. We check in with him every day, he goes through his normal throwing program. Wouldn't rule it out, but at this point we haven't considered it."

Buchholz said the ninth inning was an exercise in frustration, but he was still pleased with the game's end result.

"The most important part is winning ballgames, regardless of individual stats or whatever," said Buchholz, who went 8 1/3 innings and allowed four hits and three earned runs. "You definitely don't want to go out there and give it up in the ninth, but the team was able to fight back."

After Holt scored to give Boston the lead, lefty Craig Breslow came in and steered the ship to port, retiring three of four batters he faced to earn his first save since Oct. 3, 2010, while he was with the A's.

Holt said his big 10th inning came down to having confidence in his own abilities on the basepaths.

"You've got to trust your speed, and if you think you can take it, take, it," he said. "To get on base in the 10th, you need to score a run and get out of there. Get your defense back on the field and try to win a game."

All that drama came after Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia each went yard in the fifth inning to give the Red Sox 3-0 cushion as Buchholz rode what was looking like his best performance of the season into the bottom of the ninth.

The right-hander, who hasn't won since July 18, a span of seven starts, tossed a gem for eight innings, and managed to keep the Blue Jays' bats at bay until the ninth.

Betts got the visitors on the board in the fifth, taking a full-count offering from starter J.A. Happ to the second deck in left field with a solo shot for a 1-0 Boston lead.

Happ walked Christian Vasquez, and two batters later, he allowed a first-pitch two-run shot to Pedroia as the Red Sox took a 3-0 lead.

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