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Mitch's Sports Report: Bats Good, Arms Bad For Red Sox; Sharks Yet To Bite Penguins

The Boston Red Sox have been enjoying such good fortune this season, that even when they lose, as they did last night 13-9 to the Baltimore Orioles, there are good things to talk about.

But, as Pink Floyd would remind us, before we get the pudding, we have to eat the meat.

The Sox staked the O's to a 4-0 first inning lead, and if fans were encouraged by Joe Kelly's previous start when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and came away with a win, they will be equally as discouraged by his disastrous outing last night, and perhaps not surprised or upset that he was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket after the game. Kelly got knocked around for seven runs in just 2 and a third innings and his ERA soared to an unsightly 8.46.

But this was one of those back and forth games in which neither team seemed to want the lead and the Sox clawed back to tie things at eight apiece heading into the sixth, thanks to an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia, who would do something in the bottom of the inning that he almost never does: make an error that would lead to the loss. Pedroia was not entirely to blame. Clay Buchholz, who had provided some good relief out of the bullpen to that point, walked the first two batters of the inning, but then induced a perfect tailor made double play grounder hit right at Pedroia, but Pedey didn't get his glove down and saw the ball shoot right through his legs. That error, just his second in fifty games this season, led to two Orioles runs and there would be no comeback.

But now to the pudding. Mookie Betts continued his torrid offensive onslaught, setting a major league record becoming the first player in history to hit home runs in the first two innings of consecutive games. David Ortiz, who seems to be laughing at Father Time harder than a kid with milk shooting out of his nose, homered as well, his fifteenth of the year, moving him into a tie for third place on the all-time Red Sox RBI leader list, neck and neck with the great Jim Ed Rice. Oh, and if you like fantasizing about someone catching the immortal Joe DiMaggio for that 56-game hitting streak, you've still got some hope. Xander Bogaerts extended the second longest hitting streak in the majors this year to twenty-five games with a bloop single in the sixth. By the way, he's not going to catch Joltin' Joe. No one asked, but I think other than Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak, the 56-game streak is virtually unassailable in today's game, and much as I hate to admit it, someone will match Ted Williams' .400 batting average for a season before fifty six straight games with a hit. The Sox have one more with the O's tonight with Rick Porcello getting the start.

The NY Yankees will be happy just to get out of Toronto. The Blue Jays made it a clean sweep over the Yanks with a 7-0 win last night at Rogers Centre, behind Aaron Sanchez, who won his fourth straight start. The Blue Jays aren't just beating up on the Yankees. They've now won ten of their last thirteen while the Yanks have dropped six of their last eight. Masahiro Tanaka took the loss, but it's the Yankee offense that's let them down lately, scoring just five runs over their past four games.

The NY Mets went extra innings with the Chicago White Sox last night, losing 2-1 when pitcher Matt Albers drove in the winning run in the thirteenth inning. Albers, who had a cup of tea and a scone with the Red Sox once upon a time, hadn't batted at all since 2009, so when he sent a ball deep over the heads of all the drawn-in and shocked Mets outfielders to drive in the go-ahead run, the White Sox bench exploded with surprise infused with joy at the most unexpected of offensive heroics from a relief pitcher. Who says pitchers shouldn't be allowed to hit? Well, me for one, but that's a debate for another time.

To the Stanley Cup playoffs and if the San Jose Sharks are going to win the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup, they'd better win game three at home. Because last night in Pittsburgh the Penguins took a two games to none series lead when Connor Sheary wristed home the game winner in overtime for a 2-1 win. Apparently Sidney Crosby set up the play, telling Sheary to line up on the wall and wait for a pass after Crosby won the face off, which he did, getting the puck back to Kris Letang who feathered the puck to the rookie Sheary, who took care of the rest. The Penguins are gunning for their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history, which I find annoying, especially since this could be veteran Sharks forward Joe Thornton's last realistic shot at winning a Cup, and Jumbo Joe has suffered enough stinging playoff losses over the years, not to mention having been completely under-appreciated by the Boston Bruins, who dealt him to the Sharks in one of their patented horrible trades oh so many years ago.

At the French Open Serena Williams has breezed into the quarterfinals where she awaits a challenge today from Yulia Putintseva of Russia. Serena's older sister Venus has been knocked out of the tournament. On the mens' side, number one seed Novak Djokovic takes the court in about fifteen minutes against number seven Tomas Berdych. Andy Murray is still in the mix, and the number two seed has a big match today against the number three seed and defending champ Stan Wawrinka.

And a high school tennis championship will be decided today in Vermont, as number three South Burlington aims to upset number one and undefeated CVU this afternoon at Davis Park.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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