Red Sox trounce Blue Jays again, win ninth straight game

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A day after scoring 16 times, the Red Sox settled for 14 runs in this one while beating the Blue Jays for their third straight series sweep.  With nine straight victories, they’ve put together the longest winning streak for a major league team this season, overtaking the Indians’ streak from back in April.

What’s really incredible is just how many runs this team is scoring.

On May 25-26, the Red Sox became the first team since the 2008 Rangers to score 14 runs in back-to-back games.  Now, less than three weeks later, they’ve done it again.  Before they did it in May, they hadn’t had back-to-back games like that since July 1998.

Today’s victory came with homers from Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis.  Gonzalez has driven in runs in every game during the winning streak and is now up to 60 RBI in 65 games for the season.

But as good as the offense has been, the biggest bright spot today was Jon Lester’s performance.  He entered with a 6.17 ERA in his previous six starts, but he won four of them anyway because the offense has been so strong.  In this one, he completely shut down the Jays, limiting them to one run and two hits over eight innings.  The lone run came on a Jose Bautista homer that Jacoby Ellsbury just missed catching as it bounced off the top of the center-field fence at Rogers Centre.

In torching the Blue Jays, the Red Sox probably punched Kyle Drabek’s ticket back to the minors.  Drabek gave up three of the four homers and and a total of eight runs in four-plus innings.  He’s struggled mightily in three straight starts, and his ERA is up to 5.70 ERA for the season.

The Blue Jays are expecting Jesse Litsch (shoulder) back by the end of the month, but they probably can’t wait for him to replace Drabek.  They may bring up Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas to serve as their fifth starter until Litsch returns.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.