Hot-hitting Boston Red Sox use big inning to beat Texas Rangers

By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange  |  May 25, 2017 at 10:44 AM
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BOSTON -- The suddenly hot-hitting Boston Red Sox won their third straight game and actually got good news from not one, but two of their three aces Wednesday night.

Chris Sale won his fourth straight decision and the Red Sox scored seven runs off a pair of Texas pitchers in the seventh inning in a 9-4 win over the Rangers at Fenway Park.

Earlier in the evening, down I-95 in Pawtucket, David Price, yet to pitch this season because of a left forearm injury, threw 89 pitches in what could be his second and final actual rehab outing on his road back.

"We'll check with (Price) in the morning and make sure there's no physical ailments, which we don't expect any, and sit with him and map out the next step," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "No announcement at this point. We'll talk about what best for him, what's best for us as we move forward."

Price, who did give up six runs on seven hits in the rehab start, could make his 2017 debut on the next week. On this night, however, it was Sale raising his record to 5-2 with 7 1/3 solid-enough innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," Sale said of the big inning.

Sale struck out six and failed to strike out at least 10 for the first time in his last nine starts, but he did become the fifth pitcher since 1900 with at least 100 strikeouts in his first 10 starts of the season.

He was trying to become the first pitcher in the modern era to strike out 10 or more in nine straight starts. He has fanned 10-plus in eight straight twice and Pedro Martinez did it once.

But he was on the short end of a 3-1 count when the offense, which has 32 runs in the three games, broke loose.

"It was fun," Sale said. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Rangers starter Martin Perez was sailing along on a four-hitter and got the first out in the seventh before the roof caved in. With runners at first and third and one out, Sam Dyson came on and faced seven batters, retiring none, a stretch that included two intentional walks.

Pinch hitters Mitch Moreland and Josh Rutledge both had RBI singles, Dyson (1-5, 11.93 ERA) wild pitched a run home, Dustin Pedroia singled home two runs, Chris Young drew a bases-loaded walk and Andrew Benintendi hit a sacrifice fly. The Benintendi at-bat was prolonged by Mike Napoli's second botched catch of a foul pop in the game, Texas' second error of the inning.

"The seventh inning has been a challenge for us in quite a few games," said Texas manager Jeff Banister, who thought it was right time to pull his starter.

"It was time to go ahead to let the bullpen do what they're designed to do," he said. "The move didn't work."

The run on the wild pitch (one of six wild pitches in two games), was the third allowed by Texas in two games at Fenway, and the Rangers (24-23) have lost three of their last four after winning 10 straight.

Napoli homered off one of his former teams to help the Rangers to their lead.

The Texas lineup came in a collective 8-for-77 against Sale, who had a string of 19 straight scoreless innings against the Rangers dating back to 2014. He didn't give up a hit over the first four innings but a walk and passed ball led to an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly that tied the game 1-1.

Mookie Betts had a pair of RBI singles for Boston while Joey Gallo, 0-for-6 with six strikeouts against Sale coming in, singled home the third Texas run.

Rookie Sam Travis, making his major league debut for Boston (24-21), had singles his second and third times up, the second coming in the big inning. He finished 2-for-4.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," said Travis, whose family was on hand for the debut. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

NOTES: Mitch Moreland is 16-for-32 as a pinch hitter since the start of 2014. ... Red Sox manager John Farrell, appearing on the club's flagship station, WEEI, was asked about his job security and said, "There's been a lot more reports than just today or yesterday. ... That has never changed my approach." He was publicly backed by team president Dave Dombrowski Tuesday amid reports he was in trouble. ... Texas 3B Adrian Beltre, yet to play this season because of three separate calf injuries, will report to Arizona and play a minimum of three extended spring games. He could return, without a minor league rehab, as early as Monday. ... Two pitchers who have not beaten the other team meet in the series finale Thursday night -- RHP Nick Martinez, 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts against Boston, facing LHP Drew Pomeranz, 0-2 with one save in eight appearances, two starts, against the Rangers. Pomeranz has lasted a total of just 11 innings over his last three starts.

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