The magic of the yellow City Connect uniforms continued at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, as the Red Sox absolutely teed off on the Mets yet again.
Boston steamrolled New York, 12-5, to finish off another sweep and extend their winning streak to seven consecutive games.
Matched up against Mets starter Taijuan Walker to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox did not waste any time in getting on the board, as Kyle Schwarber got his productive night at the plate by crushing a 434-foot solo shot over the center field wall with one out in the first inning.
Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers followed by each reaching base to put runners at the corners for J.D. Martinez, who doubled the lead on a line-drive RBI single that plated Bogaers and made it a 2-0 game.
That early production gave Chris Sale a decent cushion to work with right out of the gate essentially, though the veteran left-hander was not particularly at his best on Wednesday.
Sale, in what his seventh start of the season and second start back from the COVID-19 related injured list, allowed two runs — both of which were earned — while scattering six hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts over five full innings of work.
Despite being given a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Sale gave one of those runs right back to the Mets in the top of the second, as he issued a leadoff walk to Javier Baez, who stole second base with two outs and promptly scored on an RBI double off the bat of Jeff McNeil.
The Red Sox, however, responded immediately — and then some — in their half of the second, with Hunter Renfroe ripping a leadoff double and moving up to third on a Christian Vazquez lineout before Jose Iglesias drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners once more.
As the Boston lineup flipped back over for Enrique Hernandez, the leadoff man stayed hot by lacing an RBI double down the left field line that brought in Renfroe and moved Iglesias up to third while giving the Sox a 3-1 lead.
With two runners still on base, Schwarber came through yet again, this time tattooing a high, 94.4 mph fastball from Walker that he sent flying over the visitor’s bullpen.
Schwarber’s second homer of the evening — and 31st of the year — was a booming three-run shot that left his bat at 105.8 mph. It also put the Sox up 6-1 after just two innings.
In the third, after Iglesias turned a slick, 4-6-3 inning-ending double play to help Sale escape a jam, back-to-back doubles from Martinez and Alex Verdugo pushed across another Boston run off newly-inserted Mets reliever Trevor Williams.
Verdugo advanced up to third on a groundout to the right side of the infield from Vazquez, then scored himself on a hard-hit triple that was stung to right field by Vazquez and deflected off the glove of old friend Kevin Pillar.
Center fielder Brandon Nimmo got the ball back into the infield quickly, but Baez, the second baseman, overthrew Jonathan Villar at third base, thus allowing Iglesias to easily score to cap off the little-league home run and make it a 9-1 contest.
After Schwarber blooped a leadoff double in the fourth and Bogaerts moved him up to third on a single, Devers plated his side’s 10th run of the night on a run-scoring double play.
Sale, meanwhile, ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth following a pair of scoreless frames in the third and fourth, as the lefty issued a leadoff walk to James McCann that was later followed by a scorcher of a run-scoring infield single courtesy of Francisco Lindor.
That cut New York’s deficit down to eight runs at 10-2, but Sale was able to rebound by fanning the final batter he faced in Baez to end his outing on a somewhat more positive note.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (56 strikes) the 32-year-old hurler ultimately picked up his fifth win of the year to improve to a perfect 5-0, though he did raise his ERA on the season from 2.40 to 2.57.
Iglesias got the final run Sale gave up back on an RBI groundout that scored Renfroe in the bottom half of the fifth, and the Red Sox bullpen took over from there — with Matt Barnes getting the first call from manager Alex Cora.
Barnes, like Sale, was making just his second appearance since returning from the COVID IL last Friday, and he only managed to get the first out of the sixth before loading the bases on a six-pitch walk of Pillar.
Ryan Brasier was then dispatched to get out of the mess Barnes had created, and he did just that while only allowing one of the runners he inherited to score by getting McCann to fly out to center field.
Villar attempted to advance to third while J.D. Davis tagged up and scored, but was instead thrown out there by Hernandez, who ended the inning by notching his eighth outfield assist of the season and his second in as many games.
From there, the Sox and Mets continued to exchange one-run innings, with Verdugo picking up another RBI on a groundout in the bottom of the sixth and the dangerous Pete Alonso taking Adam Ottavino deep on a solo shot to right field in the top half of the seventh that made it a 12-4 contest entering the late stages.
After the Boston bats failed to score a run in an inning for the first time all night in the bottom of the seventh, left-hander Josh Taylor put up another zero in the eighth, setting the stage for fellow southpaw Martin Perez in the ninth.
Perez, in turn, surrendered a run on two hits, but otherwise slammed the door on New York to secure a commanding 12-5 victory for the Sox to finish off a quick two-game sweep.
With the win, not only do the Red Sox extend their winning streak to seven straight games, but they also improve to 88-65 on the season. With the Yankees winning and the Blue Jays losing on Wednesday, Boston now holds a two-game lead over New York for the top American League Wild Card spot.
Next up: Huge weekend against the Yankees at Fenway
After an off-day on Thursday, the Red Sox will welcome the Yankees, who have won three straight, into town for a pivotal three-game weekend series that begins on Friday night.
Friday’s series opener will feature a star-studded pitching matchup, as right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston while fellow righty Gerrit Cole is in line to do the same for New York.
With plenty of Wild Card implications on the line, first pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.
(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)