Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

For a team like the Red Sox, who has seen their closer, Craig Kimbrel, sidelined for the past few weeks with a knee injury, and then his replacement, Koji Uehara, also hitting the shelf due to a torn pectoral muscle, Ziegler has been exactly as John Farrell described after his team’s 8-7 win over the Twins Sunday.

“He’s been a Godsend, to be honest,” the Red Sox manager said after another 1-2-3 ninth inning from Ziegler. “It’s a comfortable inning. It’s balls on the ground. I think he’s given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he’s faced. He’s very calm. He’s experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji and Craig.”

Since the Red Sox sent minor leaguers Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe to Arizona for Ziegler, things could have not gone better for the 36-year-old or his new team. (And, for what it’s worth, neither prospect has distinguished themselves as of yet for their new team, Single-A Kane County.)

While Sunday marked his first save with the Red Sox (and 82nd for his career), seemingly everyone of Ziegler’s 68 pitches in his new uniform has been spot-on. He has been the kind of anchor that the Sox had to make a priority with August bearing down.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere,” he said. “It’s fun to be on a team when you show up to the park, you expect to win. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what stadium we’re in. My second game here, we’re going into Yankee Stadium right after the All-Star break and I know the rivalry and had never been part of that and we went out and beat them the first two games there. It’s a lot of fun. This is kind of, when you dream about playing as a kid, you dream about being in a pennant race and getting big if you’re a pitcher. Getting big outs in games that matter. I think everybody is just kind of feeding off each other right now. Like I said, we’re playing really good ball.”

And, for now, the guy who idolized Dan Quisenberry and John Smoltz growing up has become the star the Red Sox’ bullpen.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s fun when the third out happens and we feel the crowd explode a little bit. At the same time, I’m not looking to supplant anyone’s job or anything like that. I hope both those guys are back here in about a week or two and I’ll slot in wherever they need me to and I just want to win games. It’s so much fun to win and to get to go experience the rest of the day and just sit and relax and enjoy what happened here and come back tomorrow ready to go again.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.

Rick Porcello pitches, the Red Sox win. The pattern held up Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

This time the Sox starter’s didn’t offer mind-blowing statistics, finishing his 6 2/3-inning stint having surrendered four runs. But it was once again plenty good enough, paving the way to the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Twins.

Hanley Ramirez celebrates his third-inning home run Sunday. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Images)

Hanley Ramirez celebrates his third-inning home run Sunday. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Images)

Rick Porcello pitches, the Red Sox win. The pattern held up Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

This time the Sox starter’s didn’t offer mind-blowing statistics, finishing his 6 2/3-inning stint having surrendered four runs. But it was once again plenty good enough, paving the way to the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Twins.

The Sox improve to 15-5 in Porcello’s starts this season, with the righty winning his 13th game. At Fenway, he remains unbeaten, having gone 10-0, with the club winning all 11 of his home starts. He becomes the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first 10 home starts in a season since Curt Schilling managed the feat in 2004.

It was an afternoon where it did seem Porcello pitched better than his line indicated, having struck out seven and walked one during his 99-pitch performance. After the outing, the righty’s ERA stands at 3.44.

Run support also wasn’t a problem for Porcello, with Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Dustin Pedroia all going deep to pace the Sox’ attack.

Things did get a bit dicey in the eighth inning after Minnesota managed a pair of runs against relievers Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa. But runners on first and third with two outs and the count full, Tazawa got Byron Buxton to swing and miss at a splitter, ending the threat.

With the Orioles walk-off win over the Indians, the Red Sox remain 1 1/2 games in back of Baltimore for first-place in the American League East.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have homered in each of their last 15 games, the second-longest streak of the season.

For a complete recap of the game, click here.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Ramirez continued his power surge of late, getting the Red Sox on the board with a three-run homer against Minnesota starter Tommy Millone in the third inning. It was his fifth homer in the last five games, and his second home run as a designated hitter.

– Kicking off the Sox’ five-run fifth inning was edroia, whose 10th homer of the season — sailing just over the left field wall — gave his team the lead for good. He finished the four-game series having scored seven runs.

– Xander Bogaerts claimed his 12th steal of the season with one out in the fifth inning, beating the throw from first baseman Joe Mauer after it initially looked like he would be picked off. Bogaerts had been called out, but was allowed to keep the base after a review showed he adeptly got his hand around the tag of second baseman Brian Dozier. The play would ultimately result in Bogaerts scoring the Sox’ fifth run. The Red Sox came into the game with the best stolen base percentage in the majors, claiming 60 in 70 attempts.

– The Red Sox truly pulled away in the fifth when Shaw launched a three-run homer into the hosts’ bullpen. It was Shaw’s 12th homer of the season, and second while playing first base.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Porcello was unable to hold the lead the Red Sox managed to claim in the bottom of the third, giving up a tying run in the next half inning to knot things up at 3-3. The run was a product of a leadoff triple by Max Kepler, which sailed just out of the reach of right fielder Brock Holt. He would come in via Kennys Vargas’ ground out to second.

– While Bogaerts was awarded his stolen base after a review, Brock Holt saw his sixth-inning attempt get over-turned following the umpires going to replay.

– Holt experienced trouble in the field, dropping a routine fly ball off the bat of Juan Centeno. The double — ruled such due to the right fielder losing the ball in the sun — ultimately led to a pair of runs thanks to Byron Buxton’s two-run single in the next at-bat.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Saturday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-50): L, 10-6, at Columbus (Indians)

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Saturday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-50): L, 10-6, at Columbus (Indians)

— First baseman Chris Marrero had two hits, including his 19th home run, tying him for the International League lead. Marrero, who also had a double, is hitting .289/.344/.516 in 93 Triple-A games this season.

— Second baseman Mike Miller was 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs. The 26-year-old is hitting .271/.335/.327 in 59 games with the PawSox after spending the first week of the season with Portland.

— Designated hitter Jantzen Witte went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and three runs scored. Witte is hitting .253/.332/.372 in 71 games with the PawSox.

— Right-hander William Cuevas allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and three walks with one strikeout. It was the second straight game Cuevas allowed 11 hits. He’s now 6-5 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 17 Triple-A starts.

— Right-hander Noe Ramirez was impressive in relief, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out six batters in a row. Righty Pat Light pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing two hits.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (36-63): L, 7-4, vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— Third baseman Ryan Court went 2-for-2 with two walks. The 28-year-old is hitting .311/.399/.396 in 48 games after starting the season with the PawSox.

— Andrew Benintendi, again playing left field, went 1-for-3 and picked up his 34th RBI in 56 games with the Sea Dogs. He’s hitting .281/.346/.476 since his call-up from Salem.

— Designated hitter Tim Roberson (1-for-3) hit a two-out, two run double to tie the game in the sixth inning, but relievers Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez were touched up for two runs apiece in their two-inning stints. Both of Buttrey’s runs were unearned, although he allowed two hits and two walks. Jerez allowed one hit and three walks. Neither reliever recorded a strikeout.

— Left-hander Jalen Beeks started and allowed three runs in the first inning, then pitched four scoreless frames before being lifted. He gave up four hits and five walks with four strikeouts.

Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (58-39): W, 4-2, at Frederick (Orioles)

— Hard-throwing right-hander Michael Kopech started and was lifted after four innings and 83 pitches, as he struggled with his control. The 20-year-old former first-round pick allowed two runs (both in the first inning), two hits and four walks with two hit batsmen and three wild pitches while striking out four. Kopeck is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in four starts with Salem.

— Right-hander Mario Alcantara picked up the win after pitching three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. He’s now 8-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 22 relief appearances with Salem.

— Righty Jamie Callahan pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two singles in the ninth before closing things out and earning his second save. Callahan, who had two strikeouts, is 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 24 appearances.

— Third baseman Rafael Devers and right fielder Danny Mars each went 2-for-4 with a home run. Designated hitter Mike Meyers also went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Luis Alexander Basabe

Luis Alexander Basabe

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (49-48): L, 2-1, at Asheville (Rockies)

— Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe upped his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single to provide Greenville’s lone run. The switch-hitting Venezuelan finished the game 2-for-4 with a walk and now is batting .262/.333/.475 in 75 games this season.

— Designated hitter Kyri Washington went 2-for-4. Left fielder Derek Miller went 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and a run scored.

— Right-hander Daniel Gonzalez, making his return to Greenville, pitched five innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The 20-year-old right-hander started the season with the Drive but after struggling in seven starts was sent to extended spring training and then a seven-game stint with Lowell before rejoining Greenville this weekend.

— Right-hander Austin Glorius relieved Gonzalez and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Righty Trevor Kelley pitched a hitless eighth, walking one and striking out one.

Bobby Dalbec

Bobby Dalbec

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (20-15): L, 7-2, at Mahoning Valley (Indians)

— Bobby Dalbec, the Sox’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, made his professional debut and went 2-for-4, collecting two doubles and factoring in both of his team’s runs. Appearing as the designated hitter, he hit a two-out RBI double in the fourth inning, then scored in the ninth on a single by Carlos Tovar.

— Right fielder Matt McLean also went 2-for-4. A ninth-round pick this year, McLean is hitting .266/.373/.328 in 17 games with the Spinners.

— Dakota Smith, who joined the Spinners on Thursday after being signed from the independent Gateway Grizzlies, started and pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks with three strikeouts. The 23-year-old Smith, primarily an outfielder at the University of Kansas, transitioned to pitcher after going undrafted last year and joining Gateway. “Dakota has swing-and-miss type of stuff while he’s still young and relatively new to pitching,” Gateway manager Phil Warren said in a story on the team’s website, adding: “He’s a hard-worker, and the sky is the limit for Dakota.” With the Grizzlies this season, Smith was 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 42 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 40 innings.

— Right-hander Dioscar Romero relieved Smith and was touched up for three runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. Right-hander Stephen Nogosek, Boston’s sixth-round pick this year, then pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk with four strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

In the Red Sox-Twins series finale on Sunday afternoon, Rick Porcello will throw for the Sox, while left-hander Tommy Milone will represent the Twins.

Porcello is 12-2 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP in 19 starts. Porcello is coming off of a stellar performance against the Giants last Tuesday. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, four hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 4-0 Sox win.

“He was at his best right after the first couple leadoff base hits,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Great job putting up a zero , with three consecutive strikeouts. Two opportunities for shutout innings, which he converted. As we talked about before the ballgame, very comfortable in this ballpark.”

It was Porcello’s fourth consecutive win. He is also undefeated at Fenway this season, which makes him one of three pitchers in the MLB to be undefeated at home in their first 10 starts this season.

In 26 career starts against the Twins, Porcello is 8-9 with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.370 WHIP. Porcello faced the Twins on June 12 of this year. In that outing, he threw seven innings, allowing four runs (but only one earned), five hits and two walks, while recording five strikeouts.

Milone is 3-2 in 10 games (nine starts) with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.430 WHIP. Last Tuesday, Milone pitched for the first time since his wife gave birth. In a season-high 8 1/3 innings, the 29-year-old left-hander allowed two runs, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 6-2 win over the Tigers.

“It is what it is. Milone threw the ball great,” Tigers’ designated hitter Victor Martinez said. “You have to give credit. He deserves credit. He did a great job.”

Milone is 0-2 in four starts with a 9.64 ERA, which is his career worst against any team with more than one start, and a 2.036 WHIP. Milone last faced the Sox in June of last season. In that start, he threw five innings, allowing four runs (two earned, both on home runs), nine hits and one walk with no strikeouts.

Twins vs. Porcello (RHP)

Joe Mauer (60 plate appearances): .255 AVG./.317 OBP/.345 SLG, 5 doubles, 6 RBIs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts

Brian Dozier (37): .235/.297/.529, 1 double, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Kurt Suzuki (29): .217/.310/.304, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, 4 walks, 1 strikeout

Eduardo Escobar (19): .333/.333/.389, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Danny Santana (17): .250/.250/.375, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Eduardo Nunez (11): .300/.364/.300, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Robbie Grossman is 2-for-6 with 1 double, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts.

Eddie Rosario is 2-for-6 with 1 home run and 1 RBI.

Kennys Vargas is 3-for-5 with 1 triple, 1 home run, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Byron Buxton is 0-for-3 with 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Juan Centeno is 0-for-3.

Max Kepler is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Red Sox vs. Milone (LHP)

David Ortiz (12 plate appearances): .300 AVG./.417 OBP/1.200 SLG, 3 home runs, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (12): .500/.583/.900, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks

Xander Bogaerts (9): .333/.333/.333

Aaron Hill is 0-for-5 with 1 strikeout.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 1-for-4 with 1 strikeout.

Ryan Hanigan is 0-for-4 with 1 strikeout.

Mookie Betts is 1-for-3 with 1 double.

Brock Holt is 1-for-3.

Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-3.

Michael Martinez is 0-for-2.

Blog Author: 
John Hand