RECAP: Rafael Devers Sets Tone Early and Chris Sale Fans 11 as #RedSox Shut out Yankees.

Coming off a game in which they were held to just one run by CC Sabathia and the Yankees pitching staff, the Red Sox made sure that was not the case on Saturday night. With Chris Sale on the mound though, they didn’t need much to pick up a series-evening win.

Making his 18th start of the season last night, Chris Sale wrapped up his stellar month of June with yet another superb performance against a team he has a solid track record against.

Going into what was his 14th career start against the Yankees, Sale owned a 1.73 ERA in 93.2 innings against New York over nine seasons, including one outing this season in which he allowed one run in just six innings pitched back on April 10th.

Right from the get go, it was clear that Sale meant business in a decently important game. And given the fact he had a four run lead to work with before he even took the mound, the lefty was not put in all that many stressful spots on Saturday.

In a full seven innings pitched, Sale held the Yankees to just three total baserunners on one hit, one walk, and one HBP while recording a healthy 11 strikeouts on the evening.

What was most impressive about the Florida native’s night would have to be his sixth frame of work, in which he struck out the side on 20 pitches, the most he threw in an inning. Can’t forget to mention the help he got from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the bottom half of the third as well.

Retiring the last 16 batters he faced, Sale finished with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes) after ending the seventh. Topping out at 100 MPH in that seventh inning, the 29-year-old hurler went to his four-seam fastball 36% of the time on Saturday.

A performance certainly worthy of a win, Sale improved to 8-4 on the season last night. He’ll look to build on a successful June in his next time out, which should come against the lowly Kansas City Royals on Friday.

In relief of Sale, Alex Cora turned to two relievers out of the Red Sox bullpen for what was essentially mop-up duty in a blowout game. First, Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless eighth inning, then Hector Velazquez tossed a scoreless ninth to wrap this thing up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup made people forget about their one run clunker on Friday night very quickly.

Facing off against a pitcher who has struggled against Boston in the past in Sonny Gray, Rafael Devers got the scoring started right away in the first.

After recording the first two outs of the inning, Gray allowed the next three batters he faced to reach base on two singles and a walk. That set up an ideal scoring situation for Devers, and he capitalized on it.

Mookie’s reaction:

That grand slam was the first from the Red Sox since April 30th. With that slam, Devers became the youngest player in the history of Red Sox vs. Yankees matchups to go yard in that fashion.

An inning later, a leadoff double from Sandy Leon followed by a Mookie Betts walk set up another great scoring spot, this time for Andrew Benintendi. On the third pitch of his at bat, Benintendi ripped a single to right field to score Leon from Second and collect his 53rd RBI of the year.

Speaking of RBI, JD Martinez had three of them on Saturday, and he picked up his first in the second when a 322 foot sacrifice fly to right field scored Betts from third and put the Red Sox up by six runs early.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth now, with Gray well out of this game, and Martinez struck again. This time on an RBI single to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second.

In the seventh, after Rafael Devers lined a one out double off of Yankees reliever Giovanny Gallegos, Sandy Leon blasted is his second home run is as many starts 388 feet into the right field seats.

From that point on, JD Martinez notched his 3rd RBI of the night in the eighth, and Brock Holt picked up one in the ninth on a pinch-hit RBI single to score his teams 11th and final run of the game. Not like it was needed, but it was still nice to see that production come from the bottom of the lineup after a quiet night on Friday.

Some notes from this win:

Alex Cora on the big win, “”The guys came out with an attitude today. It was fun to watch. There was something different with this group today.”

From @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 1.03 ERA in his last 5 starts. Among the 500+ pitchers who have made at least 10 starts vs. NYY in the Live Ball Era (1920-pres.), Sale owns the lowest career ERA (1.61) against the Yankees, as well as the highest SO/9.0 IP ratio (11.62).

With his five-hit performance at the plate on Saturday, Rafael Devers raised his batting average by 12 points, his OBP by 10 points, and his SLG by 22 points.

Entering July, JD Martinez leads all of baseball in HR (25) and RBI (67).

In this first day of July, the finale of this Red Sox-Yankees series will receive plenty of attention via Sunday Night Baseball. For David Price, this particular start looms large. A career 4.27 ERA in 19 starts at Yankee Stadium, the lefty will have plenty to prove in what should be a playoff atmosphere in the Bronx tonight.

He’ll be matched up against the best pitcher on this Yankees staff in Luis Severino. New York specifically moved their rotation so Severino would start tonight’s contest, so you know it means a lot for them as well.

First pitch of the final game is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET on ESPN.

 

 

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RECAP: #RedSox Held to One Run by CC Sabathia as Yankees Win Big in Series Opener.

Entering Friday with sole possession of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox had a big task at hand in the form of a three game weekend series against the New York Yankees. While splitting the season series thus far at 3-3, this particular series, although relatively early in the year, could prove to be quite meaningful for the division race later in September.

Making his 16th start of the season on Friday night, Eduardo Rodriguez was not as effective as he was in his only other appearance against the Yankees this season. In that start, back on May 10th, New York was held scoreless in the five innings the lefty pitched in.

Last night though, although he did pitch deeper into the game, Rodriguez got rocked for five runs on seven hits and two walks while only recording two strikeouts.

Things began to go awry for the Venezuela native starting in the bottom half of the second inning, when Yankees rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres ripped a hard-hit triple to lead off the frame.

That was followed by an RBI single off the bat of another Yankees rookie in Miguel Andujar, and just like that, the Yankees had a one run lead which they would not have to look back from.

After tossing a scoreless third, the fourth inning is where Rodriguez struggled the most. In fact, the southpaw needed 30 pitches to get through the frame in which he surrendered four runs, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Andujar and then Greg Bird.

From that point on, Rodriguez did hold the Yankees scoreless while retiring six of the seven batters he faced to end an otherwise disappointing night.

Over his last two outings, the 25-year-old hurler’s ERA has inflated from 3.59 after his start in Seattle, all the way up to 4.11 after his performance on Friday. He’ll look to get back on the winning side in his next time out, which is more than likely to come against the Washington Nationals on Independence Day.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox only turned to one relief pitcher in this one, and that was Justin Haley. Given the fact they were already trailing by four runs by the time Haley entered in the seventh inning, it makes sense that Alex Cora would want to save the rest of his bullpen for the remaining two games of this series.

In the two innings he pitched in, Haley got hit decently hard. First, Aaron Judge, a college teammate of Haley’s, blasted a two-run home run for his 21st of the season in the seventh. And in the eighth, Greg Bird struck once again for his second homer of the night to essentially put this game out of reach if it was not already at 8-1.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited to just one run thanks to Yankees starter CC Sabathia.

In his only other start against Boston this season on May 10th, Sabathia surrendered four runs on nine hits in a rain-shortened four innings of work. That was not the case last night.

Nope, the 18 year veteran lefty gave up one run in the fifth inning, which is all the damage the Red Sox could do in this one.

That run came on an Andrew Benintendi RBI double to score Mookie Betts from second, in case you were interested. Other than that, guys like JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers were all held without a single hit.

On the bright side things, newly acquired Steve Pearce made his Red Sox debut at first base last night, and in his very first at bat with his new team, ripped a leadoff double on the first pitch he saw from Sabathia in the second inning.

The former Blue Jay also collected his second hit of the night later on in the fourth, so recording a multi-hit game in your first game with a new team is not too shabby, I guess.

Heading into tonight’s contest now in a deadlock atop the AL East, Chris Sale will be given the responsibility of trying to lead the Red Sox to just their second win at Yankee Stadium this year. He’ll be matched up against Yankees righty Sonny Gray, who in his only other start against the Red Sox this season, gave up six earned runs in just three innings pitched back on April 12th.

First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX. Time to even this series up.

RECAP: Jackie Bradley Jr. Gets It Done in More Ways Than One as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Angels.

Before heading to the Bronx for a pivotal three-game weekend series against the Yankees, the Red Sox had some business to take care of against a Los Angeles Angels team they had yet to lose to this season.

With Steven Wright being placed on the disabled list on Tuesday, Alex Cora went with Brian Johnson for the spot start in the knuckleballer’s place last night.

Having already appeared in 22 games for the Red Sox this season, this was just Johnson’s second start. The first came back on April 2nd against the Miami Marlins, where he tossed six innings and only gave up one run on six hits and two walks.

This time around, the lefty hybrid was efficient yet again. In four innings pitched, Johnson held the Halos to just one run while scattering three hits, one walk, and two punchouts. He received some help from his outfield as well with this phenomenal catch from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the first.

The only real mistake the former Florida Gator made came in his final frame of work, when with one out in the fourth, Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons leaned into a 1-0 75 MPH curveball and sent it 375 feet into the Monster seats in left field.

Other than that, it was a solid outing from Johnson. And given the fact he has transitioned into more of a reliever now, it’s understandable why he only pitched into the fourth inning of this one. But with Hector Velazquez, the Red Sox essentially have two guys in their bullpen who are capable of both starting and working in relief.

Speaking of Velazquez, he got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen starting in the top half of the fifth. In the two innings he appeared in, the Mexico native held the Angels to just two baserunners to go along with three K’s. Since his team scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, Velazquez was able to pick up his sixth winning decision of the season thanks to his efforts.

From that point on, Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless seventh inning for his third straight scoreless appearance. That made way for Joe Kelly in the eighth, and for the second time in as many nights, the Angels made things a little interesting.

After walking Mike Trout to lead off the inning, Kelly gave up back-to-back singles to Justin Upton and Albert Pujols to score Trout from third to make it a 4-2 game and put runners on first and second with still no outs.

With Angels rookie David Fletcher at the plate now, Kelly gave up what looked like what could have been a double to left field. Instead, the Red Sox outfield came through yet again, as Andrew Benintendi made the leaping catch against the wall for the second out of the inning.

Kelly escaped any further damage by getting Luis Valbuena to fly out to center field and end a hellish eighth inning for the Red Sox set up man. Over his last seven appearances, Kelly owns a 7.20 ERA and 2.20 WHIP in five innings pitched.

Entering the ninth with a two run lead to work with, Craig Kimbrel made his second appearance of this series, and he managed to strike out the side on the way to his 24th save of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held scoreless over the first four innings of this one against Angels righty Jaime Barria.

It wasn’t until fifth when, already trailing by one run, Rafael Devers tied things up at one run a piece by mashing his 13th home run of the season. A 414 foot shot sent to dead center.

An inning later, with Halos reliever Jose Alvarez on the mound and JD Martinez at first after taking the walk, a double off the bat of Mitch Moreland put the Red Sox in an ideal scoring spot.

Oddly enough, Mike Sciosca decided to pitch around Xander Bogaerts and pitch to Brock Holt with the bases loaded. That decision clearly did not pan out the way he wanted it to, because Alvarez walked Holt on seven pitches to drive in the go-ahead run.

In the seventh, Jackie Bradley Jr. decided to top his stellar catch earlier in the first inning by coming through with arguably the clutchest hit of the night.

Facing off against old friend Noe Ramirez with Christian Vazquez at first, Bradley Jr. went down 0-2 on the first two pitches of the at bat. On the very next pitch though, he must have seen something he liked, because he took a 91 MPH two-seam fastball from Ramirez and sent it into the first row of the bleachers in right field on the hardest hit ball of the night, 110.1 MPH.

That two-run blast put the Red Sox up by three runs, and they would not have to look back on their way to win number 55.

Some notes from this W:

From @SoxNotes: The Sox went 6-0 against the Angels this season, marking the first time Boston has ever swept an opponent in a season series of at least 6 games.

From @RedSoxStats: (In this series)

Trout: 2-10 3 BB

JBJ: 5-11 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI

The bottom third of the Red Sox lineup (Devers, Vazquez, Bradley) went 4/9 with two home runs and three RBI last night.

Heading into New York winners of their last four and sole owners of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound for the series opener later tonight. He’ll be matched up against another lefty in CC Sabathia for the Yankees. I don’t need to tell you this series is important, because it 100% is.

Do the Red Sox really belong amongst the elite teams in all of baseball? Well this series is a sure-fire way to find out about that. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

Also, shout out to Steve Pearce. You can read about him here.

 

#RedSox Acquire 1B/OF Steve Pearce from Blue Jays.

Following their 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night, the Red Sox announced that the team had acquired 12-year veteran Steve Pearce from the Toronto Blue Jays.

In exchange for the long time outfielder and first baseman, Boston will be sending 23 year-old prospect Santiago Espinal back to Toronto. Espinal, a shortstop who had been with the organization since he was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 amateur draft, owned a .313/.363/.477 slash line in 65 games with High A Salem this season.

Pearce is a player well familiarized with the American League East, as he has appeared in 481 total games with the Orioles, Rays, Yankees, and most recently, the Blue Jays.

With a career .840 OPS against left-handed pitching, expect Pearce to slide into a utility role with the Red Sox. Capable of playing both first base and corner outfield, I would not be surprised if Blake Swihart’s role with the big league club becomes even more suppressed. A corresponding roster move will have to be made prior to tomorrow’s night game in New York, so could Swihart be the one to go?

Regardless of that, this is the first trade the Red Sox and Blue Jays have made with one another since Boston acquired John Farrell from Toronto in exchange for Mike Aviles following the 2012 season.

During his impromptu presser tonight, Dave Dombrowski said he expects Pearce to join the team tomorrow in New York.

One things for sure, when it comes to Pearce’s uniform number with the Red Sox, I can confidently report that he will not be assigned #28. Recap of tonight’s win coming tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

RECAP: JD Martinez Makes History as #RedSox Halt Angels Comeback Attempt in 9-6 Win.

In a game that took exactly four hours complete, the Red Sox found themselves alone in first place in the American League East by the end of Wednesday night. It took a while to get there, but at the halfway point of the season in terms of games played, no team in Major League Baseball has more wins than the Red Sox.

Making his 17th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not at his best in this one. The righty pitched into the sixth inning for the sixth time in a row, but yielded four runs, all earned, on eight hits and two free passes while striking out five.

Things were going decently smooth for the Red Sox hurler up until his fifth frame of work. With a six run lead to work with, you would figure that Porcello, who is arguably at his best when pitching with a lead, would cruise to his 10th winning decision of the year. Instead, he gave up a solo shot to the first batter he saw in the inning in ex-teammate Ian Kinsler.

That homer gave the Angels just their second run of the series up until that point and cut the Red Sox lead to five runs. An inning later, that lead shrunk some more when, after recording the first out of the inning on three pitches, three straight Angels reached base off of Porcello, with the last one being a three-run jack off the bat of catcher Martin Maldonado. 6-4 game now.

In my mind, this was the turning point of the game. Easy to say I know, but up until that point, it appeared as if the Red Sox had this thing in the bag. They have stomped on the Angels in all of their meetings this season, and it looked like we were headed in that direction once again last night up until that home run.

Porcello’s night would come to an end after he followed up that homer by getting outfielder Michael Hermosillo to ground out to short for the second out of the sixth.

Finishing with 104 pitches (66 strikes), the New Jersey native topped out at 93.4 MPH on his four-seam fastball in the first inning. He’ll miss this upcoming series against the Yankees in New York, but expect Porcello to bounce back in his next time out against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree got the first call of the Red Sox bullpen. Entering the game with two outs and the bases empty, Hembree retired the only batter he faced on three pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

Joe Kelly was next up for the beginning of the seventh, and he greeted the Angels by allowing four straight batters to reach base after recording the first out of the inning. Two singles from Justin Upton and Albert Pujols put runners on first and third with one out.

Kelly had the opportunity to turn a double play after Luis Valbuena grounded a comebacker right to him, but the Red Sox flamethrower made an awful throw to Xander Bogaerts covering second base, which allowed the ball to roll into the outfield and Justin Upton easily scored from third.

Now with Andrelton Simmons at the plate, who had already collected two hits on the night, Kelly could not sneak a 88 MPH slider by the Angels shortstop, as he drove in Pujols from second on an RBI double to knot this thing up at six runs a piece.

The Red Sox would escape any further damage thanks to two clutch strikeouts to retire the side in the top half of the seventh. The first coming from Kelly against Kole Calhoun for the second out of the inning and the second coming from Matt Barnes against Martin Maldonado for the final out.

Speaking of Barnes, the UCONN product came back out for the eighth inning as well, this time with a two run lead to work with. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between the first two outs of the frame were an E5 committed by Rafael Devers and a six pitch walk to Mike Trout.

That put the Angels in an ideal scoring spot, so Alex Cora made the bold decision and turned to his closer in the eighth inning.

In a rare situation, Craig Kimbrel got his night started by loading the bases after throwing a wild pitch and walking Albert Pujols.

The drama ensued into the next at bat with Luis Valbuena at the plate. After getting ahead in the count with a first pitch strike, Kimbrel missed three straight times to move the count to 3-1. Thankfully, the other Red Sox flamethrower rebounded by getting the next call in his favor on what could have been ball four, then got Valbuena swinging on a 98 MPH heater to retire the side.

Coming back out for the ninth, Kimbrel had a much easier go at it, as he retired the side in order to pick up his 23rd save of the season, the first for him since June 14th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had their way against another Angels starting pitcher in lefty Andrew Heaney.

Going off for three home runs in the second inning, Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started by blasting his fifth of the season to lead things off.

After Rafael Devers reached first on a single, Sandy Leon drove him in along with himself on his third homer of the year.

Four batters later, with runners on first and third, JD Martinez capped off the home run frenzy by mashing his 25th big fly of the season, making him the first player in Red Sox history to hit as many as 25 home runs before the first of July.

Heading into the third inning with an early six run lead, the bats went quiet for a bit. There was a time in the bottom of the fifth where it looked like another rally was about to take shape when Eduardo Nunez led the inning off on what should have been an infield single.

The original ruling was an out, but after the replay from NESN, it was pretty clear that Albert Pujols missed the tag and the Red Sox challenged it. I don’t know what they saw in Hoboken, but after the review, Nunez was ruled out. So, what’s the point of replay review if the call ends up being wrong AFTER the review? Very confusing.

Anyway, once the Angels stormed back to tie things up in the top of the seventh, the Red Sox lineup responded by tacking on two of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

With two outs, a walk drawn by Eduardo Nunez and back-to back RBI knocks for Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon put some distance between the Red Sox and Angels, and they would not have to look back.

In the ninth, a wild pitch with Mitch Moreland at the plate allowed JD Martinez to score from third after he reached base on a force out. Unfortunately, the Angels pitcher who slid into home trying to get the out, Jake Jewell, took a nasty tumble and landed awkwardly on the right handle. I won’t share the video, but I wish him the best.

On a less somber note, here are some notes from this win:

JD Martinez has already hit more home runs this season (25) than anyone on the Red Sox had in 2017 (Mookie Betts led the team with 24).

The 6-9 hitters in the Red Sox lineup (Nunez, Devers, Leon, and Bradley Jr.) went 7/15 with two home runs and five RBI last night.

With the series already in hand, the Red Sox will look for the sweep later tonight before a huge series against the Yankees this weekend. Brian Johnson gets the start in Boston in place of the injured Steven Wright. It will be his first start since April 2nd when he gave up one run in six innings pitched against the Marlins in Miami. He’ll be matched up against Angels rookie Jaime Barria, who owns a 3.40 ERA in 10 starts this season. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

 

 

RECAP: David Price Tosses Six Quality Innings and #RedSox Lineup Explodes for Four Home Runs in 9-1 Win over Angels.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox were back at it against another AL West opponent in the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. Before the game though, Steven Wright was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to left knee inflammation. Wright was the starter for Thursday’s contest against Los Angeles, but it will be Brian Johnson getting the nod in his place.

Speaking of starting pitching, David Price made his 16th start of the season last night and wrapped up his month of June with yet another impressive outing. Going six full innings in this one, the lefty yielded just one earned run on five hits and two walks while fanning seven Angels on the night.

Price got off to a great start by retiring the first seven batters he saw going into the third inning. However, that was where he also struggled the most. In total, the Angels reached base four times off the Tennessee native in the frame, but fortunately for Price, they could only muster one run out of it. That one run came off the bat of old friend Chris Young on a solo homer with one out in the inning.

The Angels threatened again by loading the bases with two outs in the inning, but Price escaped any further damage by getting Albert Pujols to ground out to third to retire the side.

Needing 34 pitches just in the third inning, the Red Sox were only able to get six innings out of Price. He essentially breezed through the next three frames, but with his pitch count at 99 (60 strikes) going into the middle of the sixth, the 32 year-old’s night would come to an end.

In total, Price went to his four-seam fastball 30% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 94.5 MPH in the third inning.

With another quality start in the books for Price, that marks five straight outings where he has gone at least five innings deep and given up three or fewer runs.

Finishing June with a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings pitched, the Red Sox hurler will look to build on a successful month in his next time out against the New York Yankees this Sunday night on the first of July.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was perfect. Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, and just called up Justin Haley combined to toss three perfect, scoreless innings against the Angels bats to wrap up their teams 53rd win of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on Angels pitching once again. If you recall the first series between these two teams back in the middle of April, the Red Sox outscored Los Angeles by an average of eight runs per contest in a three game series. And what do you know, they scored eight more runs than the Angels last night.

Right from the get go, the Red Sox were in control of this game. Before Angels starter John Lamb could even settle into his first career outing at Fenway Park, Mookie Betts took him deep on the first pitch he saw to put his team up early.

An inning later, after Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers reached base and advanced to second and third on a Christian Vazquez groundout, Jackie Bradley Jr. built on his three-hit performance on Sunday and drove both runners in on a two RBI double.

After Mookie Betts drew a five pitch walk off of Lamb, Andrew Benintendi came through with his 51st RBI of the season to score Bradley from second.

Two batters later, an intentional walk to Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases up for Mitch Moreland. I’m not sure why the Angels wanted to do this, considering how hot Moreland has been recently, but they did, and Moreland made them pay for it by reaching first and scoring Betts from third on an infield single.

With Lamb now out of the game for the Angels, Jackie Bradley Jr. introduced himself to new pitcher Deck McGuire by collecting his fifth home run of the season on a ball that had a hit probability of 20% in the third.

The bottom half of the fifth and sixth innings of this one saw home runs from two different types of players.

First, Christian Vazquez mashed his third homer of the season in the fifth with an exit velo. of exactly 100 MPH.

And in the sixth, JD Martinez followed suit by ripping his 24th homer of the year into the Red Sox bullpen. Yet another opposite field home run for the league leader in that category.

Finally, to put an exclamation point on a stellar night at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. racked up his fourth RBI of the game on a line drive single to score Blake Swihart from third.

Some notes from this win:

In four games this season, the Red Sox have outscored the Angels by a total score of 36-4. The Red Sox are 4-0 in those games.

From @SoxNotes: David Price has allowed 3 runs or fewer in 9 consecutive starts, his longest such streak since joining the Red Sox.

Over his eight game hitting streak, Mitch Moreland is slashing .419/.471/.677 with eight runs driven in.

Prior to this past Sunday against the Mariners, Jackie Bradley Jr. had eight hits in 63 at bats this month. In his last two games, the Red Sox outfielder has collected six hits.

JD Martinez is one home run away from having the most by a Red Sox player through the month of June in the franchise’s history.

Looking to take the series with another win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. He’ll be matched up against Angels lefty Andrew Heaney, who only has one career start against Boston in which he surrendered two runs in seven innings pitched back in 2015. First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans 13 in Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Take Series from Mariners.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, a left-handed pitcher tossed a shutout at Fenway Park. Mike Leake did it for the Mariners with eight scoreless innings in a win last night, and Chris Sale did it for the Red Sox with seven scoreless frames this afternoon.

In his 17th start of the season on Sunday, Sale looked as dominant as ever. Coming off a performance against the Twins in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning last Tuesday, the lefty did not give up his first hit in this one until there were two outs in the third.

Ending his day with a line of 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB Sale never found himself in too much troubles in his ninth career start against the Mariners. After he gave up his first hit of the game to Denard Span in the third inning, the 29-year-old escaped any further stress with a nice pick-off move on Span to retire the side.

An inning later, another two out situation arose when Nelson Cruz ripped a triple off of Sale. Regardless of the fact that Cruz should have been out at third base, the Red Sox hurler rebounded by striking out Ryon Healy on four pitches to escape the jam.

In the sixth, it looked as though the Mariners were about to tack on their first two runs of the day when, after Andrew Romine reached first on a bunt single, Mitch Haniger hit a sharp line drive towards Seattle’s bullpen. Instead of  a home run though, Mookie Betts came up with the clutch inning-ending snag to rob Haniger of what would have been his 17th long ball of the season.

If not this catch, the highlight of the afternoon might just be how Sale ended his day in his final frame of work. It was more than likely the Florida native’s toughest inning, as he allowed two to reach on a single and a walk and needed 19 pitches, but it was all worth it thanks to his last pitch against Mike Zunino.

100.5 MPH(!!!) on that fastball, the fastest pitch recorded by Sale on 93 attempts, 71 of which went for strikes. Going to his four-seamer 44% of the time on Sunday, 20 of the 21 fastest recorded pitches in this game belonged to Sale.

With the Red Sox lineup actually giving the southpaw some run support today, Sale was able to notch his seventh winning decision of the season.

And thanks to two additional scoreless innings from Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes out of the bullpen, the Red Sox recorded their sixth shutout win on the year as well.

On the flip side of things, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was the one starter the Red Sox did not see in Seattle. With a cumulative .685 OPS against lefties this season, it was going to see how the lineup would stack up the day after getting shutout by another left-handed starter.

After being held to one hit over the first four innings, Xander Bogaerts got a three-run rally started in the fifth with a leadoff double. Following that up with a single off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, Rafael Devers put his team on the board first by ripping an RBI double to the right field corner to score Bogaerts from third. Two sacrifice flies from Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts later, and the Red Sox found themselves up by three going into the sixth inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Mitch Moreland stayed hot and wrapped up the scoring on the afternoon by mashing his 11th home run of the season, a 415 foot two-run missile hit to dead center field.

That put the Red Sox up by five runs, which is all they would need to pick up their 52nd win of the season.

Some notes from this W:

The Red Sox improved to 2-4 in games started by Chris Sale when he records 10 or more strikeouts. Maddening stuff.

Per @RedSoxStats: Most swing and misses by a Sox starter in the pitch tracking era:
26 of 93 Chris Sale, today
26 of 114 Clay Buchholz, April, 2010
26 of 116 Chris Sale, May 2018

With that home run, Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to seven games. Over that stretch, the Red Sox first baseman is 12/27 with seven RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3/3 at the plate batting ninth today, his first multi-hit game since June 5th against Detroit.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox will welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into town for a three-game series set to kick off Tuesday night. In a matchup of elite outfielders in Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, I’m fascinated to see how much national attention this series will receive.

For the opener, it will be another starting pitching matchup featuring two lefties. John Lamb will be making his third start of the season for the Angels, and David Price will be making his 16th start of the season against the Red Sox. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday.