Jason Varitek, David Ortiz

Red Sox score 16 in Toronto to win eighth straight


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.


Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
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Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

cardinals logo

The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.


Video: Josh Donaldson and Keone Kela exchange words, benches clear

Josh Donaldson
The Associated Press

The Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ benches emptied in the bottom of the 13th inning after Josh Donaldson barked at reliever Keone Kela. Donaldson had smoked a Kela offering home run distance but foul, then sent a salvo of not-fit-for-TV words in the right-hander’s direction. Kela barked back and both benches emptied. There was no violence and no ejections.

Donaldson apparently believed Kela was trying to quick-pitch him, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That the pitch was quickly thrown didn’t seem to bother him any, considering the type of swing he put on the ball.

Here’s video of the incident at MLB.com.

Quick pitching has been one of a handful of unwritten rules getting more attention, it seems, this year. In August, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa took issue with Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick pitching.