David Ortiz

Red Sox score early and often, rout Yankees 11-6

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David Ortiz homered in a second straight game Wednesday as the Red Sox jumped all over Yankees starter A.J. Burnett on their way to an 11-6 win.

They improved to 7-1 against the Yankees this season and moved into the AL East lead by one game.

Helped out by two Francisco Cervelli throwing errors on steal attempts, the Red Sox scored four times in the first two innings for the second straight night.  They went on to take a 7-0 lead in the top of the fourth, only to watch the Yankees come back and make it 7-4 over the following two frames.

The Red Sox controlled the game from there, though.  After Burnett was pulled in the sixth, Boone Logan walked in a run to make it 8-4.  Those eight runs — seven earned — were all charged to Burnett in his worst start so far this season.

With the score 8-5, Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew homered in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Derek Jeter had a double in five at-bats, leaving him 11 hits shy of 3,000 with eight games left in the Yankees homestand.

Thursday’s series finale will feature the third matchup between Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia already this season.  Beckett prevailed in the first two, throwing 14 scoreless innings and striking out 19.  Sabathia pitched well in the first matchup, yielding one run in 5 2/3 innings, but he gave up six runs over six innings in a May 14 loss.

Sabathia, though, has been stellar since that last defeat.  He’s won four straight starts, pitching at least eight innings each time.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.