Red Sox score 16 in Toronto to win eighth straight

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The Red Sox steamroller looked nearly unstoppable Saturday.  In their 16-4 drubbing of the Blue Jays, they…

– Tied the Phillies for the best record in baseball at 38-26.

– Torched Brandon Morrow for a career-high nine runs allowed in 4 1/3 innings.  He had never allowed more than seven runs in an outing.  Morrow also gave up a career-high 10 hits.

– Became the first team this season to score three runs off reliever Jason Frasor.  Frasor, who pitched two-thirds of an inning, saw his ERA jump from 2.10 to 3.08.

– Became the first teamthis year to score three runs off reliever Casey Janssen.  Janssen entered the day with a 2.10 ERA.  After giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, he’s at 3.04.

– Forced the Blue Jays to turn to infielder Mike McCoy in the ninth.  McCoy actually pitched a perfect frame, retiring Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew.

– Extended their winning streak to eight games, matching the longest by a major league team this season.  Only the Indians, from April 3-11, had won eight in a row previously.  The Red Sox previously had a seven-game winning streak from May 13-20.

– Expanded their major league lead in runs after taking over the top spot in the sweep against the Yankees.  They’ve scored 336 runs, 15 more than the Bombers. It is worth noting there that the Red Sox have played two more games than the Yankees.

– Had 18 hits to (momentarily) take over the major league lead with 618 hits in 64 games.  The Cardinals should take back over the lead tonight, but they’ve collected their 617 hits in 65 games.

Things went so well in this one that even Jason Varitek drove in four runs.  He had one RBI in all of April.

Scutaro ended up with four hits, even though his hardest hit ball — a comebacker that bounced off Morrow’s thigh — went for an out.

Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-5 with three RBI, leaving him 6-for-9 in two days since he returned from a knee scope.

The Red Sox will go for their third straight sweep Sunday behind Jon Lester. They’ll be facing a rookie in Kyle Drabek who could well find himself demoted to Triple-A if he can’t stop the bleeding and turn in a solid six-inning showing for the Jays.

 

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.