Will Middlebrooks pulled from game with hamstring tightness

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From Tim Britton of the Providence Journal comes word that Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks had to be lifted from Tuesday’s game against the Royals after experiencing left hamstring tightness while running the bases in the second inning.

Middlebrooks finished the evening 1-for-1 with a double and is now batting .409 with a 1.435 OPS and seven extra-base hits in 22 at-bats this year. Nick Punto replaced him at third base and seems likely to draw the start there in Wednesday’s series finale.

Kevin Youkilis (back) recently began a walking program and is about two weeks from making his return. The Red Sox have discussed the idea of shifting Middlebrooks to the outfield when that happens.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.