The Red Sox got another strong pitching performance from an unexpected source, as rookie Kason Gabbard pitched seven shutout innings to help the Red Sox to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Fenway Park. The game also featured the return of Big Papi to the home town lineup.

In Gordon Edes‘ lead story, Gabbard’s win takes a back seat to the good news from Jonathan Papelbon’s MRI. Jeff Horrigan agrees that it was a good night all around at Fenway for the Red Sox. Joe McDonald looks at Gabbard’s strong outing for his first major league victory. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox continuing their streak of strong performances from unlikely starters. Garry Brown reports on the Red Sox muzzling the White Sox powerful lineup for the second night in a row. David Borges asserts that Red Sox fans have seen plenty of miracles the last couple nights at Fenway. Bill Ballou looks at the Sox lineup getting back to normal last night with the return of Ortiz.

Jeff Jacobs says that Big Papi scared us all, but we’re glad to have him back among us. Michael Silverman looks at David Ortiz’s return to the Red Sox lineup last night. Sean McAdam says that Ortiz made Fenway a happier place just by being back in the lineup. Alex Speier has another look at the return of Big Papi. Dan Shaughnessy says that it is great and all that David Ortiz is back in the lineup, along with the rest of the injured Sox hitters, but says fans need to a get a grip if they think there are still playoff hopes on Yawkey Way.

David Borges has Kevin Youkilis irked by fans who boo his teammates, and the Sox first baseman places the blame for the fan’s venom on WEEI. Karen Guregian reports on the results of Jonathan Papelbon’s MRI, which revealed no tears in the rookie closer’s shoulder. She also has a column urging the Sox to shut Papelbon down for the rest of the season. Jon Couture also has a look at Papelbon, and the relief felt by all at his diagnosis. Silverman has a look at Mike Timlin making his case as closer while Papelbon is sidelined. Steven Krasner’s Inside the Game looks at a number of things from last night’s game, including Terry Francona’s decision to stick with Timlin for two full innings.

Edes’ notebook has a look at the White Sox struggles against Gabbard. Horrigan’s notebook has Julian Tavarez earning another start for the Red Sox. McDonald’s notebook has more on Papelbon’s medical reports. Heuschkel’s notebook also updates us on the rookie closer’s shoulder. Borges’ notebook has the Red Sox finally getting a dose of good news with the report on Papelbon. Ballou’s notebook also has coverage of Papelbon. Couture’s notebook has more on Tavarez sticking in the rotation for another turn.


Alan Greenberg has a nice mini-feature on Junior Seau, and how Bill Belichick and the Patriots are counting on their new #55 to take care of things in the middle of their defense. Michael Parente says that the Patriots will be hard-pressed to recognize the Buffalo Bills who come to town on Sunday. Michael Felger tells us once again that the Patriots have no depth. He says that it is “frustrating” that Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick weren’t more aggressive this summer in building the team for this season. Felger says the team looks like a 10-6 squad with a loss in the second round of the playoffs, just like last year. Felger hasn’t been dubbed the “shrieking panic monger” for nothing this summer…I struggled to find the point of Lenny Megliola’s column today…yeah, Bill Belichick is dry, and doesn’t say a whole lot. Yeah, he’s a good coach too. Where’s the story here? I did find this line curious though: “it’s fair to say that at the least this team has to make the playoffs, and get by the second-round this time, or else they become the Bruins.” What?

Felger and Ron Borges report on the latest in the Deion Branch saga. Borges has the Patriots and the NFL taking issue with the arbitrator having the power to rule over Branch’s non-injury grievance. Felger’s piece has Branch’s attorneys looking even more silly and desperate:

Kessler revealed that if Branch loses both grievances, he will seek damages (through arbitration) against the Patriots for extra compensation this year. Kessler said Branch will seek to be paid the difference between what the Pats are scheduled to pay him this season (just over $1 million, minus fines) and the first-year money being offered by Seattle and the New York Jets, deals that guarantee Branch $13 million in bonuses.

Riiight. So if Branch loses both grievances, he’s then going to attempt to seek damages from the Patriots…Bob Duffy has rookie Ryan O’Callaghan catching on quick to the Patriots and NFL way of business. Greenberg also has a Q&A with Rodney Harrison in today’s paper. Albert Breer has a quick look at rookie tight end Garrett Mills.

NESN has Red Sox/White Sox at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally)