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05/08/2012 - 11:14pm
Billy Butler's home run does in Red Sox

Billy Butler hit a 1-1, 94 mph fastball from Matt Albers well over the left-field wall for a three-run homer in the eighth inning, giving Kansas City a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The end result was a 6-4 win for the Royals over the Red Sox in Kansas City.

Butler was the first batter of the night for Albers, who came on for starter Daniel Bard after he walked the first two batters in the home half of the eighth. Bard left the game having allowed just three second-inning runs, and departed with a one-run lead.

The Sox starter finished his outing throwing 96 pitches (having tossed 86 after seven), while striking out just one. Bard induced 15 ground ball outs, with just one out coming on a fly ball.

The visitors had carried a one-run lead into the eighth after getting Royals starter Danny Duffy out of the game after just 4 1/3 innings. Duffy threw 102 pitches while allowing seven hits and five walks. Once again helping key the Red Sox...

05/08/2012 - 10:41pm
No closure: C's denied road clincher

Al Horford scored 19 points and hauled in 11 rebounds while Josh Smith added 13 points and 16 rebounds to help the Hawks hold off the Celtics, 87-86, in a back-and-forth Game 5 Tuesday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The Hawks stay alive in the series, which the Celtics still lead, 3-2, with Game 6 Thursday at the Garden. Rajon Rondo stole an inbounds pass with 10 seconds remaining and came down with a chance to win the game and series but lost control in heavy defense and could not get a shot off. 

Horford -- playing in just his second game in three months -- was huge, scoring Atlanta's final four points on a pair of clutch low-post moves and putting defensive pressure on Rondo to keep him from getting off a shot in the closing seconds. Rondo had 13 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett each scored 16 points, while Ray Allen played his third straight game and tallied 15 off the bench. 

Pierce hit a 3-...

05/08/2012 - 9:17pm
Middlebrooks: Hamstring 'nothing serious'

Will Middlebrooks left Tuesday night's game against the Royals in the second inning with left hamstring tightness. The Red Sox third baseman was replaced by Nick Punto.

"It's nothing serious," Middlebrooks told reporters after the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Royals. "It's not a big deal, it was just a precautionary thing coming out of the game, so hopefully I'll be back in there [Wednesday]. It was just a type of cramping, tightness in the hamstring, so we really didn't want to mess with it. Wanted to be safe."

Middlebrooks, who missed Saturday's game with "cramping" in his hamstring, didn't appear to be running at 100 percent while rounding third from second base on Marlon Byrd's single to right field. The rookie had reached second with one out in the second inning after doubling down the right-field line.

After his second-inning hit, Middlebrooks' batting average stands at .409. The double was his seventh extra-...

05/08/2012 - 7:11pm
Sox 'tossed around' Middlebrooks in OF

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that while nothing is imminent, the idea of playing third baseman Will Middlebrooks in the outfield has been "tossed around in some quarters."

"Well, it hasn't been a tabled discussion yet, so I don’t think it even has to enter his domain," Valentine told reporters prior to his team's game against the Royals Tuesday night in Kansas City. "That being said, I think he's a pretty –– again, small sample –– but my being around him is he's a pretty mature baseball guy. He's not going to be flustered by a lot of things."

Valentine went on to pass along his experiences regarding such a move, saying, "I've seen it not work. I tried some early on. Dean Palmers of the world, I don't know if you remember him. He's more fleet. He runs a little better than a lot of third baseman, which might give him a little upside. It's just a little different."

...

05/08/2012 - 1:56pm
Ross: Valentine has been 'great'

Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross was a guest of the Mut & Merloni Show on Tuesday. Ross -- batting .257 with five home runs and 21 RBI in his first season with the Sox -- was asked about Will Middlebrooks. The third baseman slugged a pair of home runs in Monday's win over the Royals and is hitting .381 with an OPS of 1.361 in 21 at-bats since being promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 2.

"He's got a ton of potential," Ross said of Middlebrooks. "To do what he's done has been outstanding, I'm so happy for him, he's such a good kid. He works hard, does everything the right way and everyone can see his potential. … The future is really bright for him, he's definitely going to be a really, really good player for a long time."

Much has been made of the relationship between Bobby Valentine and the players, but Ross was quick to defend the manager when asked to evaluate Valentine's performance this season.

...

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