Red Sox

Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's


Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz knew it was likely the last batter he'd face. He figured he had to make one of his best pitches.

Pomeranz threw six innings of one-run ball, finishing by striking out Matt Olson with the bases loaded, and Andrew Benintendi had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Thursday.

With two outs, a full count and the game tied at 1, Pomeranz got Olson swinging on a high, 92 mph fastball.

"In that big situation, making a big pitch is a huge deal when you can wiggle your way out of a jam," Pomeranz said. "He wasn't chasing the curveball. I got 3-2 on him and I gave all that I have left to make one good pitch and he swung. Luckily, he missed it and that's what I wanted."

The added reward was that his teammates took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning, setting him up for the win.

"Another quality start on his part," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "There was a number of big moments in this game and for Drew himself, probably the last pitch he threw today, the strikeout to Olson, that was going to be his last pitch of the day."

Pomeranz (16-5) allowed five hits, walking three and striking out five to raise his record to 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last six starts in Fenway Park. He also tied teammate Chris Sale and two others for the AL lead in victories.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Mitch Moreland added an RBI double for the Red Sox, who have won six of eight. Boston began the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees.

Ryon Healy hit a solo homer for the A's, who fell for just the second time in eight games. The loss assured Oakland (64-82) of a losing record for the third straight season.

"We had some opportunities, and we had a couple base running mistakes early in the game that cost us," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Benintendi doubled high off the Green Monster, chasing Daniel Gossett (4-9) and scoring Dustin Pedroia to make it 2-1 in the sixth.

Trailing 1-0, Boston tied it when Vazquez's drive completely left Fenway over the Monster seats leading off the fifth.

The A's had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning on Josh Phegley's sacrifice fly.


Athletics: OF Khris Davis left the team to be with his girlfriend for the expected birth of their first child.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) was activated off the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined since July 28. Farrell said the plan is for him to work out of the bullpen. ... Farrell inserted 2B Pedroia into the DH spot to get him off his troublesome left knee that landed him on the DL for nearly two weeks last month and sat struggling regular DH Hanley Ramirez.


Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 27 games against Oakland. During the streak, which started July 14, 2013, he's batting .421.


Gossett gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first career Fenway start.

"It was awesome. Great environment, tons of people. Historic park," he said. "I got to be a part of something special. Not everybody can say that they pitched at Fenway. I got to sign the (Green) Monster, do everything. So that was special."


The A's had two runners cut down on the bases - Chad Pinder in the third and Mark Canha in the fifth - both on cutoff plays on balls hit to the outfield.


Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07 ERA) is set to make his first career start against Philadelphia on Friday when the A's face RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) and the Phillies.

Red Sox: LHP Sale (16-7, 2.76 ERA) is in line to start against Tampa Bay RHP Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.46) Friday when the Red Sox open their final road trip of the regular season. It's scheduled to be the Rays' first home game since Hurricane Irma hit the area last weekend.

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be the kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."