Red Sox extend lead over Rays in Game 3 of ALDS

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Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be a pain in the neck for the Rays.

After Clay Buchholz worked out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the Rays off the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, Ellsbury led off the top of the fifth with a liner which deflected off James Loney’s glove and bounced outside the first base bag. Ellsbury legged out a double on the play and eventually moved over to third base on an infield single from Shane Victorino. Yunel Escobar actually made an excellent play on the grounder and tried to throw out Ellsbury, who chose not to slide into third base. He was ruled safe, though replays showed that he may have been out. It ended up being a critical play in the inning, Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch after Alex Cobb was unable to handle a throw from Jose Molina. The Red Sox tacked on one more run on an opposite-field single from David Ortiz.

Ellsbury, an impending free agent, continues to have a heck of a series. He’s 7-for-12 with two doubles, two RBI, two stolen bases, and six runs scored.

The Red Sox lead this one 3-0 as we head to the bottom of the fifth inning. The Rays are running out of time to keep their season alive.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.