Red Sox Notes: ‘Nobody Can Take’ First Place From Boston, Despite Recent Plateau

'We expect better than this'

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Falling in a finale against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox now have dropped each of their last two series.

Not an ideal way to enter an All-Star break that apparently was much needed, evident in the 5-4 loss Sunday at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox stranded 10 runners, including a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning of a one-run game. An error on the basepaths perhaps ended a comeback prematurely, and three fielding errors took away from some great plays on defense.

Still, Manager Alex Cora was looking on the bright side.

“We’re in first place in the East,” Cora said after the game. “Nobody can take that from us. We’ve been playing good baseball. A little disappointed that we lost the last two series, but good teams get disappointed when that happens. We expect better than this. We had our chances today. It wasn’t a perfect game. We have a few days to reset, recharge and be ready for Thursday. For how disappointing it feels right now, losing two out of three to end the season, we’ll look at the positive. We’re in first place, so that’s a good feeling.”

The Red Sox are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Here are other notes from Red Sox-Phillies on Sunday:

— Christian Arroyo was a huge silver lining for Boston, going 3-for-3 at the plate with a run, RBI and a walk.

“He had a great game today, he was scuffling there for a few days after he hit the home run, but that’s what we’re trying to get from him, just swing at strikes,” Cora said of Arroyo, who has had a tough go with injuries this season.

“Today was a big day for him. The double to right-center, the walk at the end was good. He’s been amazing the first half. He makes the team, we knew he was talented, obviously he’s a first-round pick. It’s a matter of being patient, keep preaching his strength. And if he sticks to them, he’s going to be OK.”

— The Red Sox hoped Marwin Gonzalez’s latest injury wouldn’t result in a stint on the injured list, but it looks like that’s where he might be headed, still dealing with some hamstring tightness.

“Not great,” Cora said. “Something we felt he was good to go and he felt it right away. This looks like it’ll be an IL thing. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow but it doesn’t look too promising.”

— Some better news: Cora says Chris Sale texted back and forth with him after a two-inning pitching session Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla. The manager revealed Sale is feeling great a day later and likely will pitch Thursday in a Florida Complex League game.

— Boston has five players going to the All-Star game in Denver on Tuesday. After that, they face the New York Yankees on Thursday as they begin the unofficial second half of the season.

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