July 15, 2013

Red Sox lead majors with 58 wins at All-Star break

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Boston Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia connects for an RBI single off Oakland Athletics' Bartolo Colon in the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Buchholz's turnaround has been the most impressive after he went 11-8 last year. Jon Lester won his first six decisions but has struggled since then. John Lackey, who missed all last season following Tommy John elbow surgery, leads Boston with a 2.78 ERA in 16 starts while walking just 23 in 100 1-3 innings.

The biggest problem has been finding a reliable closer.

Joel Hanrahan started in that role and struggled before also being lost for the season to Tommy John surgery. Andrew Bailey was ineffective. Now, Uehara has the job and has been strong, although the Red Sox have blown 14 of their 34 save opportunities, one of the worst averages in the majors.

They're 58-39 and lead the Tampa Bay Rays by 2½ games in the AL East. But the division's top four teams are all at least seven games over .500, and only six games separate them in the standings.

One of them, the New York Yankees, visit the Red Sox for the first time this season when play resumes Friday.

"We get back to a division that is deep and strong," Farrell said after Sunday's loss. "We look forward to getting back to Fenway and getting off the West Coast."

A victory would have given the Red Sox their 20th series win, matching their total for all last season.

Some other impressive numbers:

— No losing streak has been longer than three games.

— 58 wins is the most in their history at the All-Star break.

— And that same total is the most at that point in the majors since Detroit had 59 in 2006.

"I think we're all right," Gomes said. "The wins and losses speak for themselves. Health is the main thing. We're a little banged up, but no one's out for the year or anything. We'll get everyone back."

And, they hope, to keep playing the way they have.

"There are a lot of games left and we face a tough schedule," Farrell said. "We play more than half our remaining games against teams who are at .500 or better.

"The challenge is not any less."


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