Another Rookie Stars For Red Sox

Monday, September 3rd 2007, 12:59 pm
By: News On 6

The rookies keep coming through for the Boston Red Sox.

One day after Clay Buchholz pitched a no-hitter in just his second major league start, Jacoby Ellsbury hit his first career homer, made a diving catch while racing in and stole a base as Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Sunday.

The Red Sox increased their lead in the AL East to six games over the New York Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay.

Ellsbury and Buchholz, considered two of the team's top prospects, were called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday when teams could expand their rosters. Rookie Dustin Pedroia has been the regular second baseman all season and made another diving stop behind second base and threw out a runner _ just like he did to preserve Buchholz's no-hitter in the seventh.

``We talk for a few years now how our biggest organizational challenge is to develop players who can come up and contribute during a pennant race,'' general manager Theo Epstein said. ``We saw a little bit of that this weekend.''

In other AL games, it was: Texas 8, Los Angeles 7; Oakland 8, Detroit 7 in 10 innings; Chicago 8, Cleveland 0; Tampa Bay 8, New York 2; Toronto 6, Seattle 4; and Kansas City 8, Minnesota 1.

Two pitchers who were rookies last season, Jon Lester (3-0) and Jonathan Papelbon, who got his 31st save in 33 chances, held the Orioles in check. Lester pitched six strong innings and Papelbon retired the side in order in the ninth.

Pedroia went 2-for-4 and was 8-for-14 in the series. He is batting .347 in his last 40 games after getting off to a slow start at the plate.

``We've got a lot of talented young players,'' Pedroia said. ``I came up here, took my lumps, but the organization has confidence in the young players.''

Hideki Okajima, a major league rookie after 12 seasons in Japan, escaped a one-out jam with the tying run at third in the eighth by striking out Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff.

``When you get scoring opportunities against this club, you better take advantage of them,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said, ``and we didn't.''

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead against Daniel Cabrera (9-14) in the first on a single by Pedroia, a walk to David Ortiz and a run-scoring single by Mike Lowell.

They made it 2-0 in the fourth on Ellsbury's first career homer. He had 19 at-bats in two previous stints with Boston this year.

``That gets a lot of firsts out of the way,'' he said. ``After that's over, you just go out and play.''

The Orioles lost their second straight game after breaking a nine-game losing streak with a 9-8 win Friday night.

They lost 10-0 Saturday and had gone 12 1-3 innings without a hit before Huff singled with one out in the second off Lester. Their next hit came in the fourth, a single by Huff that loaded the bases. But Melvin Mora lined out to Pedroia and Ramon Hernandez hit into a double play when right fielder J.D. Drew caught his short fly and threw out Tejada trying to score.

``Nothing's working for us now,'' Huff said. ``If there are baseball gods, they're certainly frowning on us.''

Rangers 8, Angels 7

At Anaheim, Calif., Hank Blalock returned to the Texas lineup with a bang, hitting a dramatic go-ahead grand slam against Scot Shields (3-5) in the eighth inning as the Rangers rallied for the win.

Staked to an 8-5 lead, Rangers closer C.J. Wilson struggled in the ninth, giving up three hits, including an RBI single to Robb Quinlan. After hitting a batter to load the bases and walking in a run, Wilson struck out Garret Anderson looking for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Athletics 8, Tigers 7, 10 innings

At Oakland, Calif., Jack Hannahan blooped a game-winning single to shallow left in the 10th inning to score Mark Ellis from first, and Detroit blew a chance to gain ground in the AL Central.

Kurt Suzuki hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth off Todd Jones, and Huston Street (4-2) pitched a perfect 10th with two strikeouts for the win in the A's fourth extra-inning contest in their last six games.

White Sox 8, Indians 0

At Cleveland, Jose Contreras (8-16) held the Indians to four singles pitching into the seventh inning, and A.J. Pierzynski tied a career high with four hits as Chicago snapped the Indians' eight-game winning streak.

Jake Westbrook (5-8) allowed three earned runs and 11 hits over five innings.

Devil Rays 8, Yankees 2

At New York, Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer to tie Tampa Bay's single-season record and the Devil Rays sent the Yankees into a pivotal series on a sour note.

Tampa Bay beat Andy Pettitte (12-8) for only the second time in 20 career starts and won a series at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2005.

Rookie Jason Hammel (2-4) struck out seven in five-plus innings, allowing just one run and five hits.

Blue Jays 6, Mariners 4

At Toronto, Matt Stairs and Gregg Zaun each hit two-run homers, A.J. Burnett (8-7) pitched seven sharp innings and Toronto sent Seattle to its season-high ninth consecutive loss.

Jeff Weaver (6-11) allowed five runs and eight hits in three-plus innings. He walked one, struck out one and lost for the second time in three starts against Toronto this season.

Royals 8, Twins 1

At Minneapolis, Alex Gordon hit two home runs and Brian Bannister (12-7) won for the fourth straight time for Kansas City.

Minnesota starter Boof Bonser (6-12) allowed seven hits and five earned runs in 1 2-3 innings, the shortest outing of his career.