Jon Lester lost two no-hit bids on Monday night against the Cardinals, and one of them has been a long time coming.

Jon Lester lost two no-hit bids on Monday night against the Cardinals, and one of them has been a long time coming.

In the second inning against former teammate John Lackey, Lester lined an infield single off of Lackey’s shin, legging out the first hit of his career.

Lester had started his career 0-for-66 (with another 0-for-5 in the World Series) before he finally ended his record run of futility. It was the longest hitless streak to start a career in big league history.

Lester had another no-hit bid end in the seventh when Jhonny Peralta lined a single off the glove of third baseman Kris Bryant with one out. A Bryant error extended the inning, and the Cardinals went on to score two runs to take a 2-0 lead in support of Lackey.

Win or lose, at least Lester doesn’t have to worry about getting that first hit anymore.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Brock Holt wasn’t the only member of the Red Sox to be named an All-Star on Monday.

After being optioned back to Triple-A last week, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was added to the International League All-Star team. He had received the most votes prior to his big league call up on June 25.

Bradley, Jr. is hitting .319 in 54 games for the PawSox this season. He is currently second in the International League in batting (.319), second in on-base percentage (.396) and third in slugging percentage (.460). He also leads the PawSox with 18 doubles and has four home runs to go along with 16 RBIs.

The PawSox also announced left-hander Brian Johnson, who was elected to the International League All-Star Team, will not participate as he would have been unable to pitch in the game as his next PawSox start is July 11.

The Triple-A All-Star Game is slated for Wednesday, July 15 at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox have their All-Star representative and as expected, it’s shortstop Xander €… wait a minute, it’s Brock Holt?!?

Brock Holt hit for his first cycle at any level in the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Braves in June. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brock Holt hit for his first cycle at any level in the Red Sox‘ 9-4 win over the Braves in June. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have their All-Star representative and as expected, it’s shortstop Xander €… wait a minute, it’s Brock Holt?!?

In what almost certainly goes down as a surprise even to Holt himself, Royals manager Ned Yost chose the utilityman as Boston’s lone All-Star representative among the reserves announced on Monday night.

“What impressed me is his versatility,” Yost said on the selection show. “Super-utility guys should be celebrated.”

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was widely expected to be the team’s lone All-Star, will instead appear on the five-man final-player ballot, where he’ll square off against Detroit’s Yoenis Cespedes, Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, New York’s Brett Gardner and Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas.

While the choice is a surprise, Holt isn’t undeserving. The 27-year-old is hitting .295 with an .807 OPS while appearing at every position except pitcher and catcher.

This is Holt’s first All-Star berth, though he noted on Sunday that he has made All-Star teams at other levels.

“My first four years in the minor leagues, I made the All-Star team,” he said. “That year I got traded, that was the first time I didn’t make it. I made the Little League All-Star teams all the time.”

Holt open the season on the bench in a reserve role, but basically became a full-time starter in early May, albeit one without a set position. He has started 30 of 32 games since June 3, hitting .303 with a home run and 10 RBIs. Included in that stretch was the game of his life against the Braves on June 16, when he hit for the cycle in a 9-4 victory.

On the season, Holt has two homers, 21 RBIs, and 30 runs. He also ranks seventh in the American League in on base percentage (.383) and 10th in WAR among position players (3.1).

On Sunday, Holt was asked about the possibility of being an All-Star.

“I’m not really thinking about that at all,” he said. “If it happens, great. If not, I’ll enjoy the days off. I’m just trying to go out and help us win.”

Holt becomes the second player featured in the Joel Hanrahan trade with the Pirates that brought him to Boston to become an All-Star. The 2012 deal sent closer Mark Melancon, a 2013 All-Star, to the Pirates.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-47): L, 4-1, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— LHP Henry Owens (Boston’s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) had just one trouble inning, with less-than-perfect defense played behind him, but it was enough to saddle Owens with the loss and drop his record to 2-7 on the season while tarnishing his final line: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO (102 pitches, 65 strikes).

In the third, a leadoff walk and double against Owens gave Syracuse a 1-0 lead. After a bunt single put two aboard, Owens induced back-to-back ground balls to third, the second of which probably could have been a double play if not for a drop on the exchange by second baseman Mike Miller. Instead, another run crossed the plate and Owens then allowed a two-run homer to center by Syracuse cleanup hitter Kevin Keyes.

Owens, 22, recovered to retire 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. The seven strikeouts tied a season high for Owens, as did the four earned runs allowed. A 6-foot-6 lefty from Huntington Beach, California, Owens was selected by Boston with the 36th overall pick of the 2011 draft out of high school. In 2014 Owens was 17-5 with a 2.94 ERA over 26 combined starts between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket.

— RHP Dayan Diaz made his sixth straight scoreless appearance out of the bullpen, adding 1 1/3 spotless innings of action to his ledger on Sunday. The 26-year-old Colombian, signed by the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in 2013, was promoted to Triple-A this year on May 11 after striking out 17 in 15 2/3 innings with Double-A Portland. Since June 13 Diaz has pitched 12 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts to four walks.

— The PawSox offense managed just four hits in the game, including one from rehabbing right fielder Daniel Nava (sprained thumb). The 32-year-old Nava also stole a base and now is 2-for-8 through three rehab games. The final 14 Pawtucket batters were retired in order on Sunday.

— Center fielder Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a walk, as did Allen Craig as the DH.

Manuel Margot

Manuel Margot

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (30-53): W, 6-1, at Binghamton (Mets)

— Eight Portland batters had hits, including center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston’s No. 5 prospect at MLB.com) who tripled home a run in the fourth and also walked and scored an insurance run in the ninth. It was Margot’s first triple with Portland, driven over the head of the center fielder, as the 20-year-old Margot improved his slash line to .296/.356/.463 with eight RBIs in 14 games since his promotion from Single-A Salem.

— Margot’s triple scored third baseman Jantzen Witte, who had bounced one over the center field wall for a double to lead off the fourth. The 25-year-old Witte now has the Eastern League lead in doubles with 24, as well as a four-game hit streak over which Witte has gone 7-for-19 (.368) with three doubles and four RBIs. Witte, drafted by Boston in 2013 in Round 24 out of Texas Christian University, hit .325 combined in April and May (57-for-175) before scuffling to a .193 month of June (17-for-88).

— RHP Justin Haley pitched six scoreless innings and earned the win (3-9, 4.84 ERA), gaining his fourth quality start of the season as he scattered five hits while striking out six and walking one. The 24-year-old Haley, Boston’s sixth-round draft choice in 2012 out of Fresno State University, has thrown six scoreless frames in three of his last four starts sandwiched around allowing five earned over three innings in an outing on June 30.

Haley told the Portland Press Herald after the game that he had his good stuff working on Sunday. “Quality fastball, a solid slider with good movement late and a quality changeup,” Haley said. “Just staying down with my stuff is the biggest thing.”

In 2014 Haley went 10-6 with a 2.35 ERA combined between 19 appearances with Single-A Salem and six starts with the Sea Dogs.

Aaron Wilkerson

Aaron Wilkerson

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (42-39): W, 5-3, at Lynchburg (Indians)

— RHP Aaron Wilkerson bounced back from his worst start of the season (6 ER in 3 2/3 innings on June 30) to pick up the victory (5-1, 2.88 ERA) with a final line of: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO. The nine strikeouts tied a season high for the 26-year-old Wilkerson, as he struck out the side in the first inning and whiffed two each in the third and sixth frames to pitch out of some trouble. All four hits allowed by Wilkerson were doubles.

— First baseman Mario Martinez hit a bases-clearing double in the third, and later scored when Mauricio Dubon (Boston’s No. 29 prospect at MLB.com) doubled him home. It was the first extra-base hit with Salem for the 20-year-old Dubon, playing shortstop. He also walked twice, scored a run and stole a base. Dubon hit .301 this year with Greenville, where he was named a South Atlantic League All-Star, but had started slowly with Salem over his first eight games since his promotion as he’d gone just 3-for-28 (.107) entering Sunday’s action. Dubon was drafted by Boston in 2013 in Round 26 out of high school in California.

— Second baseman Jose Vinico picked up a hit and now has hit safely in nine of 10 games, going 13-for-36 (.361) over that span to pick up his average from .268 to .287. The switch-hitting Vinicio, 21, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for $1.95 million.

Joseph Monge

Joseph Monge

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (43-38): L, 8-6, vs. Savannah (Mets)

— Second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston’s No. 1 prospect at MLB.com) stayed hot at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a single and a run scored in the first inning, an RBI double in the second and a game-tying sacrifice fly in the eighth. The switch-hitting Moncada, 20, also hit a ball on the screws in the sixth with two aboard, but it was directly at the left fielder, who recorded the out. Over his last 10 games Moncada is hitting 13-for-38 (.342) with four extra-base hits, eight runs scored and four RBIs, raising his average from .200 to .242.

— Center fielder Joseph Monge went 4-for-4 with a double, an RBI single, a stolen base and two runs scored. It was the first four-hit game of the season for the 20-year-old Monge, a Round 17 draft choice of Boston in 2013 out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. Monge’€™s stolen base was his 15th in 16 attempts this year, and he is off to a 8-for-15 (.533) start to the month of July, raising his average to .233 on the season after mostly struggling at the plate for the first half (38-for-182, .209).

— Four other Greenville players had two-hit games, with left fielder Bryan Hudson, right fielder Nick Longhi, shortstop Javier Guerra and catcher David Sopilka all chipping in on a 15-hit night for the Drive offense. Hudson improved to 11-for-36 (.305) over his first nine games with Greenville since his promotion, while Guerra picked up his third multi-hit game in his last four to raise his season-long average to .275.

— The Greenville offense took a 3-0 lead in the first, and even came back from a 6-4 deficit to tie the game in the eighth, but in the end the Drive dropped to 0-9 on the season against Savannah as starter Jeffry Fernandez allowed six earned runs over five innings and reliever Ryan Harris allowed two in the ninth to take the loss.

Hector Lorenzana

Hector Lorenzana

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (12-5): L, 6-5 in 14 innings, at Tri-City (Astros)

— The Lowell offense dug out of a 4-1 deficit, hit four home runs and took a lead in extra innings but nonetheless came up on the losing end of a 6-5 game in the 14th frame. The four Spinners homers came off the bats of:

Catcher Alex McKeon, whose solo shot in the third inning gave Lowell a short-lived 1-0 lead. It was the first professional home run for the 22-year-old McKeon, a Round 31 draft choice of Boston in 2014 out of Texas A&M-International.

Second baseman Chad De La Guerra, who hit a solo dinger in the sixth inning to cut a deficit to 4-2 just after leadoff man Luis Alexander Basabe was erased on the bases via a caught stealing. It was the second homer of the year for the 22-year-old De La Guerra, a Round 17 selection by Boston in this year’€™s draft from Grand Canyon University.

Third baseman Victor Acosta, whose solo home run in the eighth inning tied the game at 4-4. Acosta, a 19-year-old Venezuelan who is off to a 15-for-42 (.357) start to the season, picked up his first homer of the season after hitting a combined 10 over his first two professional seasons in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League.

Shortstop Hector Lorenzana, his second homer of the year and in as many days, which gave Lowell a 5-4 lead in the top of the 11th inning. The 23-year-old Lorenzana was drafted by Boston in Round 37 out of the University of Oklahoma in 2014.

— Infielder Aneudis Peralta came in as an emergency pitcher for Lowell in the 13th inning, getting through one frame scoreless with help from a double play at the plate as Basabe made a catch and then gunned down a runner attempting to score from third. However Peralta, 21, came undone in the 14th with a leadoff walk, a balk, a fielding error and finally an RBI single by Tri-City to end the game.

— LHP Randy Perez pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief of starter Luis Ramos. Perez, a 21-year-old Dominican, allowed just one hit while striking out two and walking two in his fourth relief appearance of the year. Perez has allowed just one run in 10 1/3 innings in 2015, after spending much of 2014 on the disabled list.

Check out the weekly WEEI.com Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

Hanley Ramirez has helped the Red Sox remain in the American League East conversation.</p>
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It wasn’t the greatest of Eduardo Rodriguez’s first eight starts in the majors, but even with the average performance he was still able to keep the powerful Astros offense in check.

Eduardo Rodriguez has now allowed one earned run or less in six of his eight major league starts. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez has now allowed one earned run or less in six of his eight major league starts. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

It wasn’t the greatest of Eduardo Rodriguez’s first eight starts in the majors, but even with the average performance he was still able to keep the powerful Astros offense in check.

While he needed 101 pitches to get through five innings, struggling with his command at times, the left-handed rookie allowed only one run on six hits while walking two and striking out a career-high eight batters taking a no-decision in the Red Sox‘ 5-4 win.

With Sunday being his eighth start, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA in those starts, he’s starting to feel more comfortable being in the big leagues.

“Yeah, I feel way better now here with everybody,” the soft-spoken Rodriguez said. “They try to teach me like how to pitch, all the starting pitchers try to help me a lot, so that’s what I feel right now.”

With allowing only one run, Rodriguez became the first Red Sox player in the live ball era (since 1920) to allow one run or less in six of his first eight starts. He’s also the first left-handed pitcher in the live ball era to record seven or more strikeouts and allow one run or less four times over his first 18 starts.

Catching Rodriguez for the first time in a game, Ryan Hanigan came away very impressed.

“I got a chance to catch a couple bullpens when I was coming back and he was just on point. Then [today] it was awesome,” he said. “When he was missing, he was just missing, so his pitch count got a little high by the fifth. His command, his execution, just his stuff in general is pretty impressive for a guy his age, for sure.”

“It’s fun,” Hanigan added. “His stuff is explosive. When he shakes, I always have a lot of confidence in him because he just knows what he’s doing out there. He can read swings, he can read hitters timing. He can do different things with his pitches. It’s fun to catch him, for sure.”

Rodriguez liked working with Hanigan for the first time as well.

“It was pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “He called the right pitches — what I wanted to throw, when I wanted to throw. He was pretty good behind home plate with me.”

The left-handed also said he’s put the tipping pitches stuff behind him.

“I can’t control that now, don’t tip pitches anymore,” he said.

With allowing now allowing one earned run or less in six of his eight starts, Rodriguez has every right feel like a big leaguer.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable