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hong wei Dec 6
As Boston Red Sox players donned red [url=http://www.officialcanucks.com/...stopher-tanev-jersey]Christopher Tanev Jersey[/url] , white and blue outfits to celebrate a 3-0 victory on the 4th of July that completed a sweep, the Washington Nationals held a players-only meeting to discuss a fifth consecutive loss and the precarious spot they’re now in beyond the halfway point of the season.

Done in again by small mistakes that get magnified in a stretch such as this, the preseason NL East favorites lost for the 17th time in 22 games Wednesday to fall below .500 for the first time this late in the year since being 60-61 on Aug. 21, 2015.

This time, it was a throwing error by Adam Eaton on a sacrifice fly in foul territory and a wild pitch by Ryan Madson (2-4) in a disastrous seventh inning that dropped the Nationals to 42-43 and kept them from making up ground on the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

”We’re a good team and we’re going to go out there and compete with anybody,” said Bryce Harper, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

”We just have to keep grinding and keep doing our thing and good things will happen. We’ve never been in this position before, and I think it’s an exciting time for us. In years past, we’ve won the division by a lot of games. We’re able to be behind right now and I’m excited to get there and test it.”

Powered by struggling outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two RBIs on the sac fly and a ninth-inning double and a strong start by Eduardo Rodriguez (10-3), the Red Sox moved 30 games over .500 under rookie manager Alex Cora.

”We know where we’re at, but we still have a long ways to go,” Cora said. ”(The Nationals) have a good team. They’ll figure it out. I’ve seen that before from them. They struggle a little bit and they’ll pick it up. They’ll be in the hunt.”

Bradley, who came into the game hitting .201, worked full counts on each of his at-bats that produced a run. He was hoping the ball Eaton caught deep in foul territory down the third-base line would go out of play so he could see another pitch but will gladly take the RBIs – the second time this season he has had two in a game without a home run.

”Just had to continue to battle and finally get a pitch I could handle,” Bradley said. ”Any time you can help the team win, it’s a positive. It’s good [url=http://www.officialcanucks.com/...-daniel-sedin-jersey]Authentic Daniel Sedin Jersey[/url] , any way you can do it.”

Rodriguez struck out six in six scoreless innings, mixing his change-up and slider in more often to keep Nationals hitters off-balance.

The Red Sox now have the first pair of 10-game winners in the majors with Rodriguez and Rick Porcello, whose double off Max Scherzer helped win them the first game of this series.

The Nationals have lost four series in a row. This freefall led to the postgame meeting Wednesday afternoon.

”It’s `Let’s get this thing going,”’ Nationals infielder Trea Turner said. ”We all know we’re capable of playing better baseball. It’s time we do it. It’s do or die now.”

FEDDE HURT

Nationals starter Erick Fedde left the game one batter into the second inning with right shoulder stiffness and gave way to left-hander Matt Grace, who allowed just one hit and struck out four in four innings of relief. Manager Davey Martinez said Fedde was scheduled to have an MRI.

”We watched him throw and his (velocity) was down,” Martinez said. ”He was out there and wanted to keep pitching. I went out there and they told me he was stiff and I said `No, we’re not going to do that to you.”’

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said LHP Drew Pomeranz (biceps tendinitis) would most likely make a second rehab start early next week. … RHP Tyler Thornburg was activated from the disabled list after rehabbing from shoulder surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last June.

Nationals: 1B Matt Adams was activated after missing 16 games with a broken left index finger. To clear room, LHP Tim Collins was designated for assignment. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) is doing some catching, but still hasn’t done enough running to be ready to return.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After a day off, LHP Chris Sale (8-4, 2.41 ERA) brings a 15-inning scoreless streak into his Friday start at Kansas City, which is expected to start Jason Hammel (2-10, 5.56).

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 2.63) will look to last at least six innings to spare a heavily used bullpen when Washington faces RHP Pablo Lopez (1-0, 3.00) to open a four-game series against the Miami Marlins.

Shane Bieber has made believers out of the Cleveland Indians. In return, they plan on making him a fan of the Grammy-winning singer with his surname.

The rookie right-hander walked onto the field with ”Baby” by Justin Bieber blaring on the sound system [url=http://www.billsfootballauthentics.com/...len-jersey-authentic]Youth Josh Allen Jersey[/url] , and then struck out nine in a career-high seven innings as Cleveland rolled to a 10-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Bieber (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third major league start. He jokingly dedicated the performance to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who sang along with the pregame music selected by staff ace Corey Kluber.

”I was laughing because Frankie was near the mound, singing along, making fun of me,” the 23-year-old said Bieber said with a smile. ”I thought it was him who picked it because he was enjoying it so much, but I found out it was one of the starting five.

”Being able to laugh something off early kind of helps, but you still have a job to do, to go out and be serious and try to execute a game plan.”

Bieber became the third Indians pitcher with six or more strikeouts in his first three big league appearances, joining Herb Score (eight in 1955) and Luis Tiant (three in 1964). His ERA is a tidy 2.45 through 18 1/3 innings.

Yonder Alonso hit a seventh-inning grand slam, and Edwin Encarnacion and Lindor also went deep for the Indians, who lead second-place Detroit by six games in the AL Central. Encarnacion finished with two hits and three RBIs.

”Shane is obviously fun to play behind because he works fast and he knows how to execute pitches,” said Alonso, who went 2 for 4 with his second slam of the season. ”The best thing I see is he’s always moving out there, attacking the hitters.”

Zach McAllister and George Kontos each got three outs to finish the five-hitter for Cleveland’s eighth shutout of 2018. The Indians are 5-0 against the Tigers at Progressive Field this year, outscoring them by a 28-5 margin.

Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4) surrendered four runs in five innings, including a two-run homer by Encarnacion and a solo shot by Lindor. He has one victory in his last seven starts.

”Their lineup is great from 1-through-9 [url=http://www.lionscheapshop.com/...enny-golladay-jersey]Kenny Golladay Jersey[/url] , so those two home runs kind of sealed the deal for them,” Fiers said. ”And hat’s off to (Bieber). No one has seen that guy, but he threw the ball great. He was awesome.”

Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez reached base for the 29th straight game, walking in his first four plate appearances and scoring twice.

The Tigers have dropped three in a row and fell to 2-4 on their eight-game road trip. The first pitch was delayed 1 hour, 41 minutes due to rain.

AILING

Bradley Zimmer, who opened the season as Cleveland’s starting center fielder, will miss four to six weeks with an inflamed right shoulder. Zimmer was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on June 5 to work on his swing after hitting .226 in 32 games in the majors.

”We know he’s a tough kid and all that, but it’s going to be a little while until he’s back,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. ”He’s going to be OK, but he’s missing out on the at-bats we really want him to get.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Johnny Barbato (sore arm) gave up Alonso’s grand slam and was placed on the disabled list. Detroit also optioned 3B Ronny Rodriguez to Triple-A Toledo and recalled RHP Artie Lewicki.

Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (bruised right elbow), who was struck by a line drive from Minnesota’s Joe Mauer on June 16, is still experiencing swelling but could throw a bullpen session next week.

UP NEXT

Tigers LHP Francisco Liriano (3-2, 3.90 ERA) will be activated off the DL to take on Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (6-5, 2.50 ERA). Liriano suffered a strained right hamstring against the White Sox on May 26 and will be restricted to 75-80 pitches in his return.