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Sports

July 16, 2013

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

(Continued)

The Red Sox lead the majors in many major offensive categories — runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, walks and on-base percentage. They’re second in batting average, triples and slugging percentage.

At .277, they trail only the Detroit Tigers in batting average. And six players who started Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics, the Red Sox’s last game before the break, are batting .300 or higher.

Last year, the Red Sox hit .260 and didn’t spend a single day in first place. This year, they’ve led their division for 87 days, including the last 49.

Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz all made the All-Star game, although Buchholz was replaced because of injury.

Pedroia has been outstanding all season. He’s hitting .317 and has been spectacular on defense at second base. Ortiz missed the early part of the season with a heel problem. Since returning, he’s been a dangerous slugger with a .316 batting average and leads the team with 19 homers and 65 RBIs.

“The All-Star break comes at a good time,” said Gomes, whose presence has helped knit a once-fraying clubhouse. “We’ve got some guys heading up there to New York who will hopefully get us some home-field advantage and give us an opportunity to lick our wounds and get back to work.”

Farrell’s influence has been significant on the pitchers. He worked with some of them in his four years as Terry Francona’s pitching coach from 2007-10.

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.

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