The Red Sox were largely baffled by Detroit Tigers starter Mike Fiers, who went 6 1/3rd shutout innings while giving up 7 runs and3 walks, whiffing 6. Detroit’s bullpen, including Alex Wilson and Shane Greene, kept the Sox scoreless. Brian Johnson turned in a quality start for Boston, though he did give up 2 runs on 5 hits, including a 2 RBI double by our old friend José Iglesias, while walking none and punching out 5. The Tigers put the game pretty much out of reach off Tyler Thornburg, who relieved Johnson in the 6th, scoring 3 runs, two of which came on a jack to left field by Iglesias, who had a particularly good day against his old club, going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI. Johnson is starting because Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright are both on the DL. Wright is not close to a return, but Pomeranz is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Orioles. And not a moment too soon. Detroit beat Boston, 5-0, at Comerica Park. Record: 69-31. Game 100/62.
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Boston took this one, 1-0, against the Detroit Tigers, thanks to key early hits, some gutsy pitching, and a few breaks. Andrew Benintendi singled off Tigers starter Matthew Boyd in the 1st inning, reached 2nd on a JD Martinez walk, and scored on a Steve Pearce double. That, as it turned out, was enough for a win. David Price went 6 1/3rd shutout innings while giving up 4 hits and a walk, while whiffing 5. Relievers Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, and Craig Kimbrel held on to keep the Tigers scoreless. The weirdest inning was the 8th, when Matt Barnes struck out the first 2 swinging, but each reached on a wild pitch. Niko Goodrum reached 1st, then got to 3rd on the subsequent at-bat, though Jeimer Candelario was called out because 1st base was, technically, occupied. Goodrum was subsequently called out at the plate on a fielder’s choice tag play, and James McCann struck out to end the inning. Boston beat Detroit, 1-0, at Comerica Park. Record: 69-30. Game 99/63.
In this last game before the All Star break, the Red Sox pulled out all the stops against the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston started the scoring early, with a solo bomb by Xander Bogaerts in the very first inning. After that, JD Martinez walked, advanced to 2nd on a fielding error, reached 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a Brock Holt single. In the 5th, Sandy Leon doubled and scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. double. JBJ reached 3rd on a fly out, and scored on a fielder’s choice. In the 6th, Mitch Moreland walked, advanced to 2nd on a walk, and scored on a Brock Holt single. Brian Johnson had a pretty good start, though he did give up 2 runs in the 3rd when Brandon Grichuk doubled and scored on Teoscar Hernandez’s 2 run blast. Alex Cora lifted Johnson in the 5th with 2 out and one on, and the bullpen held the line from there. Because Johnson did not complete 5 innings, Brandon Workman got credit for the win. With the Yankees’ loss, Boston has opened up a 4.5 game lead in the AL East. Boston beat Toronto, 5-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 68-30. Game 98/64. Time for the All Star Game.
Chris Sale’s start against the Texas Rangers was a true work of art. He pitched 7 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits and 1 walk, while whiffing 12, and then it was up to the bullpen to preserve it. The Sox struck first in this one, as Xander Bogaerts singled in the 2nd inning off Texas starter Bartolo Colon, reached 2nd on a throwing error by Colon on a pickoff attempt, got to 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored an an error by Rougned Odor. The big Boston inning was the 5th, when the Sox had 4 hits, including a double by JD Martinez and a triple by Xander Bogaerts, to score 3 runs. The Rangers got 2 back in the 8th when Heath Hembree came on in relief of Sale, and gave up two singles and a double by Odor that scored one run, and after a walk loaded the bases with 2 out, yielded to Craig Kimbrel. Was Craig spooked by the situation? It seemed so as he waked the first runner he faced on 4 pitches to force in a run, but then buckled down to strike out Joey Gallo, and in the 9th, got 3 straight Ks to end the game. This is the third straight sweep for the Sox, while the Yankees lost to Baltimore, 6-5. Boston beat Texas, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 65-29. Game 94/68.
Boston was without a regular starter today, since Brian Johnson (hip) and Steven Wright (knee) are both on the DL, and Drew Pomeranz is on his rehab assignment, so this was a bullpen game. Hector Velázquez started, going 3 innings and giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks with 2 Ks. Rookie Jalen Beeks surrendered 3 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk, with one whiff. The rest, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier held the Texas Rangers scoreless. The Rangers scored 4 runs; 1 in the 2nd inning on a Rougned Odor solo blast, one when Odor (who had been hit by a Beeks pitch) scored during a double play, and 2 when Odor singled, Isia Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo doubled. For Boston, the big explosion came in the 3rd off starter Yovani Gallardo, when 6 hits, including doubles by Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Andrew Benintendi, and a triple by Xander Bogaerts produced 5 runs. In the 5th, Mookie Betts doubled reached 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a Mitch Moreland sac fly. In the 6th, singles by Brock Holt and Swihart, and a JBJ double produced another run. In the 7th, Mookie Betts singled and scored from 1st on a Benny double. All in all, the Red Sox went 12-for-32, with 4 doubles and a triple. Boston beat Texas, 8-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 64-29. Game 93/69.
Eduardo Rodriguez had an excellent start today, holding the Texas Rangers to 3 hits and 3 walks over 5 /3rds shutout innings while whiffing 5, and the bullpen kept the Rangers firing blanks over the next 3 1/3rd innings. Meanwhile, Boston started scoring in the very first inning with a JD Martinez single off Texas starter Mike Minor, and a 2 run jack by Steve Pearce. In the 8th, singles by Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi off Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez set the stage for JD Martinez’s 3 run dinger off the top of the Monster, enabling JD to widen his lead in the MLB home run chase to 3 over Aaron Judge and Mike Trout with 28. Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier completed the Boston shutout of Texas. Boston beat Texas, 5-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 63-29. Game 92/70.
The Red Sox completed their sweep of the Kansas City Royals with another late inning surge. Rick Porcello did not have his best stuff, but hung in there and battled. He gave up 2 runs in the 3rd on 3 hits, including a double by Jorge Bonifacio. In the 4th, Alex Gordon singled, reached 2nd on a fielder’s choice, advanced to 3rd on a Porcello wild pitch, and scored on a single by Adalberto Mondesi. In the 7th, after a single and a Whit Merrield double put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, Alex Cora came to the mound. We all expected him to lift Porcello, but instead, he seemed to give him a pep talk and left him in. Porcello responded with his best pitching of the day, striking out 2, and inducing a lazy fly ball from Lucas Duda. The Royals picked up one more run in the 9th when Mondesi doubled off reliever Tyler Thornburg, and scored on a single by Merrifield. For Boston, the scoring started in the 3rd when Mookie Betts was walked by Kansas City starter Heath Fillmyer, went 1st to 3rd on a single by Andrew Benintendi, and scored on a sac fly. In the 4th, a 2 base error put Xander Bogaerts at 2nd, and he scored on a single by Eduardo Núñez. The 5th seemed to be Fillmyer’s undoing; with one out he surrendered 3 successive singles to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who walked, to force in a run. On came Glenn Sparkman, who allowed another run on a sac fly. The final flourish came in the 7th when 5 hits, including doubles by Benny and the X-Man, resulted in 3 more runs. This was the end of a most successful road trip; now it’s home to face the Rangers. Boston beat Kansas City, 7-4, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 62-29. Game 91/71.
David Price struggled with his control throughout this one; his breaking ball wasn’t breaking, he was going into deep counts, and that wasn’t the worst of it. Over 4 2/3rds innings against the Kansas City Royals, he thew 102 pitches, 69 for strikes, and in the first 4 innings gave up 3 runs on a solo dinger by Lucas Duda in the 2nd and 2 runs in the 3rd on 3 hits, including a Jorge Bonifacio double, and a sac fly. In the 5th, he seemed to come completely unraveled when, after White Merrifield led off with a single, he hit three hitters to force in a run and end his short night against the Royals. So, a miserable loss for the Red Sox, right? No, actually they blew out the Royals despite David’s woes. In the 5th, Mookie Betts singled, reached 2nd on a walk to Andrew Benintendi, and scored on a JD Martinez hit. Mitch Moreland then walked, loading the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who hit a bases-clearing double for a 4 run inning. In the 7th, after Benny walked and Martinez doubled, Moreland drove Benny in with a sac fly, and after an IW to the X-man and a Devers walk loaded the bases again, Christian Vázquez singled to drive in 2, making the score 7-4, Boston. Benny’s solo blast in the 8th provided the Sox with their 8th run, and, leaving nothing to chance, Sox hitters exploded in the 9th. 7 hits, including back-to-back doubles by Mookie and Benny, and 2 walks resulted in 7 total runs for the inning, turning this game into a laugher. And kudos to Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, and Hector Velázquez for holding the Royals hitless. On a sour note, Martinez is sitting for a couple of games after battering his leg with foul balls, Vázquez is out with a broken pinkie finger, and pitcher Brian Johnson is also on the DL with a sore hip. Get well soon, guys. Boston beat Kansas City, 15-4, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 61-29. Game 90/72.
Chris Sale had another terrific start for Boston, going 6 innings against the Kansas City Royals, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, with 12 punch-outs. Meanwhile, the Sox lineup did their best to make the outcome a foregone conclusion. In the very first inning, Mookie Betts led off with a solo blast to left center off struggling Kansas City starter Jason Hammel to set the tone for the game. After singles by JD Martinez and Steve Pearce, Xander Bogaerts walked to load the bases for Brock Holt, whose line drive single scored 2 runs to boost the Sox total to 3, and Sandy Leon’s single brought in a 4th run. In the 2nd, JD Martinez slammed a 2 run homer (his 27th) off the faltering Hammel, and after Steve Pearce doubled, Xander Bogaerts hit a 2 run no-doubter to left that pretty much locked down the game. In the 8th, Eduardo Núñez doubled and scored on a double by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and in the 9th, Blake Swihart singled and scored on a double by Steve Pearce. The Royals scored in the 2nd off Sale when Jorge Bonifacio doubled and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar. They picked up another run in the 7th when Lucas Duda tripled and scored on a sac fly, in the 8th when Mike Moustakas hit a 2 run dinger to right, and in the 9th when Adalberto Mondesi singled and scored on a hit by Whit Merrifield. Boston beat Kansas City, 10-5, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 60-29. Game 89/73.
Not only did the Red Sox complete their sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in this series, but Mookie Betts seemed to return to his home run hitting form. Chris Sale had a fine start, going 6 innings while giving up just 1 run on 2 hits and 4 walks with 9 Ks. The one run came in the 7th after Sale was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. He had thrown a number of pitches at the edges of the strike zone, and the calls were going against him, to the point where he had the bases loaded in the 4th, though no one scored. After walking 2 straight in the 7th, his remonstrance led to a trip to the showers. Before he left, however, he gave home plate umpire Brian Knight more than a piece of his mind in a shouting tirade. Brandon Workman came on in relief, and saw the runner on 2nd, Mark Turbo, reach 3rd on a fielder’s choice and score on a sac fly (the run was charged to Sale, of course). The Red Sox opened their scoring in the 3rd, with a very welcome solo blast by Mookie Betts off the Orioles’ starter, Yefry Ramírez. In the 5th, a succession of walks, a sac fly and a pair of deep singles plated 3 more Boston runs. In the 7th, JD Martinez rounded out the scoring with a solo jack of his own (his 22nd). Baltimore’s Jace Peterson also doubled in the game off reliever Justin Haley, but did not score. Boston beat Baltimore, 5-1, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 47-22. Game 69/93.