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05/20/2011 - 12:04am
Julien: That was more like it

TAMPA -- After his team recorded its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the the 2-0 win was more like the defensive battle everyone was expecting between the Bruins and Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals. He added that he was also happy his team came out on the right end.

"I think tonight's game probably resembles a lot more of what I think everybody expected from this series, two teams that make it hard for you to score, and I thought our team tonight was very good in regards to that," Julien said. "We made some stronger plays, some better decisions, and seemed a little bit more aware out there of what was going on. So comparing it to last game where I thought it was pretty sloppy, I thought we bounced back well tonight."

Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Lightning shots, and the Bruins defense was strong all night, clearing most loose pucks away and receiving a boost with the return of the team's...

05/19/2011 - 11:07pm
Sox trade for Morales, designate Okajima

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told reporters following Thursday night's 4-3 walkoff victory that his team had completed a trade with the Rockies for left-handed reliever Franklin Morales in exchange for either a player to be named or cash. In order to clear a roster spot for Morales, the Sox designated left-hander Hideki Okajima for assignment.

Morales, 25, was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 games (spanning 14 innings) for the Rockies this year, striking out 11 and walking eight. In parts of five seasons, he is 7-11 with a 4.83 ERA, 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 5.3 walks per nine. He has been far more effective this year against right-handed hitters (.172 average, .595 OPS) than lefties (.250, .935), but in his career, he has enjoyed significantly greater success against southpaws (.185, .624) than right-handed hitters (.272, .788).

Okajima was 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA, six strikeouts and five walks in seven games (8 1/3 innings). But the Sox...

05/19/2011 - 10:44pm
Down and dirty: B's blank Bolts in Game 3

TAMPA -- David Krejci scored his team-leading seventh playoff goal and then withstood a vicious hit at the end of the first period as the Bruins beat the Lightning, 2-0, Thursday night at St. Pete Times Forum to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Andrew Ference added insurance midway through the third while Tim Thomas stopped all 31 shots in posting Boston's first playoff shutout this season.  

Returning from a two-game absence due to a mild concussion, Patrice Bergeron skated 29 shifts in 19 minutes on the second line for the Bruins, who scored just 69 seconds into the game when Milan Lucic took the puck from the corner boards and fed Krejci, who was left all alone in front of Dwayne Roloson. After deking Roloson out of position, Krejci easily put the puck in the open net. 

Krejci was at the center of action again in the final four minutes of the period when he was leveled by a shoulder hit from Marc-Andre...

05/19/2011 - 10:18pm
Sox, Crawford walk off again

The Red Sox and Carl Crawford continued their flair for the dramatic in May. The Sox claimed their fourth walkoff win of the month, and Crawford delivered his third game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth, to claim a 4-3 victory over the Tigers that extended the Sox' winning streak to six games. 

The winning rally started when Kevin Youkilis walked against reliever Al Alburquerque and then pinch-runner Jose Iglesias advanced to third on a David Ortiz single. After an intentional walk to J.D. Drew loaded the bases, Jed Lowrie's 10-pitch at-bat concluded with a bloop to shallow left that resulted in a rare 7-2 forceout at the plate. But with one out, Carl Crawford lined a 93 mph fastball down and away for a single over the head of center fielder Austin Jackson for the game-winning hit, adding to the May 1 and May 9 walkoff hits he'd already claimed.

The Sox appeared set to be on the winning end of a pitchers' duel between two of the best...

05/19/2011 - 9:54pm
Francona: Beckett 'OK' despite stiff neck

Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett left Thursday night's start early with neck stiffness, according to the team. He had pitched six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out three. He had thrown just 83 pitches before his premature exit. The team said the move was just a precautionary measure. 

"I’m never going to talk to most pitchers, especially Beckett, but he gave us a heads up after that [sixth] inning, so we got [reliever Matt Albers] up in a hurry," manager Terry Francona said after the game. "Neck got stiff, and that’s not something to play around with, especially on his side with his throwing shoulder. He pitched a whale of a game, but he got stiff and he was getting stiffer. That’s not something to mess around with. He’ll be OK."

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox ...

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