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Mitch's Sports Report: Porcello Escapes Shaky Fourth To Propel Red Sox To Much-Needed Win

Maybe it was the closed-door meeting manager John Farrell had with the team after the Red Sox loss to Tampa Bay Monday night, but more likely it was Rick Porcello working into the sixth inning and getting out of a big jam in the fourth that led to Boston's much-needed 8-2 win over the Rays last night.

Porcello picked up his ninth win of the year, and avoided an early hook, laboring through a fourth inning in which he loaded the bases and walked in a run with the Red Sox clinging to a 2-0 lead, but gave up nothing more, then settled down to keep the Rays off the board and giving the beleaguered Boston bullpen a fairly good rest. Travis Shaw had a big night on offense, hitting a solo home run in the second and doubling in two more runs in the seventh to provide some breathing room. Shaw drove in five runs overall, the third time this season he's had a five-RBI night. More importantly, the win avoided what would have been a fifth loss in a row for the Red Sox, who are the only team along with the Cleveland Indians yet to have a losing streak beyond four games this season. The Indians, by the way, are the hottest team in baseball right now, with an eleven game winning streak after their 5-3 win over the Braves last night.

The NY Yankees' struggles continue and it doesn't help that they're facing one of the other red hot teams in baseball right now in the Texas Rangers, who beat the Yanks 7-1 at the Stadium last night. Cole Hamels went seven innings for the win. Adrian Beltre homered and drove in three for Texas, who've won four in a row and sport the best record in the American League. CC Sabathia actually pitched well for the Yankees and all the way into the eighth but that inning proved to be his downfall. An error on a comebacker to the mound led to a two-run inning with the Yanks already behind 2-0 and he was done for the night, falling to 5-5 on the year.

The Washington Nationals had to sit through a one hour rain delay but it was worth the wait to see their highly touted pitching prospect Lucas Giolito make his major league debut. Giolito gave up just one hit in four innings of work and if not for Mother Nature's interference would have picked up his first big league win in the process, but the rains lasted too long for him to keep pitching past the fourth and Oliver Perez got the win in the Nationals' 5-0 victory over Matt Harvey and the Mets. Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the fifth after Harvey had left the game. Keep an eye on Gilolito. The 21-year old six foot six rookie has a nasty twelve to six curve ball and a fastball in the mid to high 90's and could make the Nationals already impressive pitching staff even tougher.

Rain played a role here locally as well, washing out games scheduled for the Vermont Mountaineers and then Lake Monsters. The Mountaineers' game against the Plymouth Pilgrims is re-scheduled for Friday night in Montpelier. The Lake Monsters will playa double header against the Aberdeen Iron Birds today.

Serena Williams is still seeking that elusive 22nd grand slam tennis title that would tie her with Steffi Graf for most womens' singles grand slam titles, and she took a modest step yesterday cruising to a first round victory at the All-England club. No other major upsets other than perhaps number thirteen seed Svetlana Kuznetsova defeating unseeded but former number one Caroline Wozniacki, but Wozniacki hasn't won a match at a major at all this year.

It'll be interesting to see if the love-fest for Lebron James continues in Cleveland now that King James has decided to opt out of his contract with the Cavaliers that would have paid him $24 Million next season, electing to go the free agency route instead. Who knows where he'll go after finally delivering Cleveland its first sports title in 52 years, and we'll see if that little accomplishment will keep any hard feelings at bay for the Cleveland faithful who were less than pleased when Lebron shunned them some years ago to take his talents to south beach in Miami.

One quick note on former Tennessee womens' basketball coach Pat Summit, who died this week after a 5-year battle with early onset dementia. She is being remembered around the country including here in Vermont where she brought her Lady Vols to Patrick Gymnasium for a game against the UVM Catamounts womens' team in 1996. UVM's newly named Athletic Director Jeff Schulmann tells the Burlington Free Press he was shocked when Summit expressed a desire to take her team to Vermont, one of two states she had never visited at the time, and milestone win number 600 of her amazing career, which included eight national championships, was achieved on the court of Patrick Gym in Burlington.

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 WBUR...as 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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