RIck Porcello

Rick Porcello pitches Red Sox past Yankees, 6-3

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Rick Porcello pitches Red Sox past Yankees, 6-3

BOSTON -- Rick Porcello looks a lot more like the pitcher who won the 2016 AL Cy Young Award than the one who lost 17 games last year.

That is one welcome development for the Boston Red Sox.

Porcello pitched seven scoreless innings, Mookie Betts drove in two runs and the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 6-3 on Thursday night.

Porcello stayed in after a 45-minute rain delay and was working on a no-hitter before Aaron Judge's leadoff double in the seventh. He struck out six and walked none in his third straight win to begin the year.

"It seemed like he threw everything where he wanted to throw it," Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "It's fun playing behind a guy when he's going like that. Rick's great. He was on display tonight."

The 29-year-old Porcello downplayed the significance of the delay before the between the fifth and sixth innings.

"I felt great," he said. "Honestly, it wasn't a big deal at all. I went back out there for the sixth and felt fine."

One night after the benches cleared twice and the longtime rivals brawled during New York's 10-7 win, there were no such incidents in the finale of the three-game set. Boston slugger Hanley Ramirez departed with a bruised wrist after he was hit by a pitch in the first, but everyone stayed in their respective dugouts.

The Red Sox won for the 10th time in 11 games, including a 14-1 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday. Moreland and Andrew Benintendi each had two hits and drove in a run.

It was more than enough offense for Porcello (3-0), who returned to the mound after the rain subsided and put the Yankees down in order in the sixth. Giancarlo Stanton followed Judge's double with an infield hit, but Porcello retired Didi Gregorius on a fly ball to right and struck out Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks to end the inning.

"This would have been nice after last night and getting beat up in Game 1, but we'll turn the page," New York manager Aaron Boone said. "I was frustrated in the first half of the game."

Sanchez got New York on the board with a three-run double to center off Marcus Walden in the ninth. Craig Kimbrel then came in and got three outs for his fourth save.

Boston manager Alex Cora said his relievers needed a break, so he had no problem bringing Porcello back out after the rain delay.

"We needed length tonight," Cora said, "he did it."

Yankees starter Sonny Gray (1-1) was pulled after a leadoff single by Moreland in the fourth. It was the seventh hit allowed by Gray, who also threw three wild pitches and hit a batter. He was charged with six runs and seven hits.

Gray threw a pair of wild pitches in the second and second baseman Tyler Wade made an error on a throw to home plate as the Red Sox sent nine batters to the plate.

"Kind of just one of those nights," Gray said. "Scuffling to find the zone, didn't execute very well and made it hard all the way around."

Eduardo Nunez led off the second with an infield single and Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a walk. Nunez advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Sandy Leon singled to right. Gray's troubles continued when he walked Brock Holt to load the bases with nobody out and Betts drove in Bradley with a sacrifice fly to center.

Benintendi hit a grounder right at Wade, whose throw to home got past Sanchez and allowed Leon to score. Moreland followed with a single to score Holt and put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Gray finally got out of the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: Hicks (right intercostal strain) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and started at designated hitter. OF Shane Robinson was designated for assignment.

Red Sox: Ramirez's X-rays did not show any fracture, the club said. ... Cora said LHP David Price, who left Wednesday's game in the first inning with tingling in his pitching hand, felt good playing catch Thursday and could start Monday against Baltimore. ... Boston placed LHP Bobby Poyner (strained hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled Walden from Triple-A Pawtucket.

RIVALRY REIGNITED

Major League Baseball suspended Boston reliever Joe Kelly for six games and New York's Tyler Austin for five games for their roles in the brawl Wednesday night. Each player appealed their punishments, and they are eligible to play while their appeals are considered. Kelly, Austin, Cora and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin also were fined.

UP NEXT

Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 4.82 ERA) makes his third start of the season as New York opens a three-game series Friday night at Detroit against Tigers RHP Mike Fiers (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-0, 7.36 ERA) faces Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (0-2, 8.68 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series against the Orioles.

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Bogaerts' grand slam, 6 RBI power Red Sox

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AP Photo

Bogaerts' grand slam, 6 RBI power Red Sox

BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts kept up his powerful start that's helped the Boston Red Sox get off on a fast run.

On Saturday, a few more bats in the lineup joined in, too.

Bogaerts hit the first grand slam by a Boston player since the end of the 2016 season and drove in a career-best six runs to carry the Red Sox to a 10-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays for their seventh straight victory.

MORE RED SOX

"He's been an unbelievable hitter every year," winning pitcher Rick Porcello said. "Now he's doing it with power. He's a big threat at the plate. He always had that ability."

In addition to his slam, Bogaerts drove in two runs with his seventh double in eight games.

J.D. Martinez hit his first home run since signing a $110 million, five-year contract during spring training as a free agent. Rafael Devers also connected.

This is just the second time in franchise history that the Red Sox have lost their season opener and won the next seven. The other came in 1904 when Boston captured the AL pennant.

"We've been on and off. We know we're a good offensive team," new manager Alex Cora said.

"We can do that often. We feel we have a good offensive team. It's just a matter of time," he said.

The Rays have lost seven straight and are off to their worst start ever after rallying for a win at home over the Red Sox on opening day.

"Nobody's happy we're 1-7," manager Kevin Cash said.

Tampa Bay infielder Daniel Robertson pitched a perfect eighth with a two flyouts and a popup, throwing seven strikes in 11 pitches.

Porcello (2-0) gave up three runs and six hits, striking out seven without allowing a walk over 7 1/3 innings. He retired 20 of 21 batters - and 17 in a row - after giving up two runs in the first.

Bogaerts' two-run double helped erase a 2-0 deficit during a four-run first. In the second, his second career slam completely left Fenway Park over the Green Monster and came after Jake Faria (0-1) walked the bases full to make it 8-2.

"I really don't think he wanted to throw me an offspeed (pitch) right there," Bogaerts said. "I think the cold may have bothered him a little. I think he was a little bit erratic."

Faria gave up a career-high eight runs while getting just five outs. He only threw 34 strikes in 73 pitches.

"It's frustrating, it's embarrassing," he said. "I'm in the big leagues and I can't throw strikes to anybody."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was out of the lineup because he was sick.

Red Sox: Cora said LHP Drew Pomeranz (strained left forearm flexor) was going to make a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday and is planned to go five or six innings. Cora also said that it's "most likely" that he'd return to the rotation if things went well.

STREAK CONTINUES

The Red Sox have won 22 straight games when they give Porcello three or more runs. In his last 33 starts when they've scored three-plus, he's 28-0 with a 3.26 ERA.

THEY END

The last slam by a Red Sox player was by Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 24, 2016, on the road against the Rays when Porcello picked up his last victory of his AL Cy Young Award-winning 22-4 season.

Also, Boston's starters had held opponents to one or no runs in the first seven games before the Rays scored twice on Brad Miller's double in the first.

CHILLIN'

With morning temperatures in the upper 30s, most of Boston's players that took BP on the field wore winter hats or had hooded sweatshirts over their heads.

Pitchers that got their throwing in were bundled up in right field. OF Andrew Benintendi and a few other starters decided to hit inside instead.

The Rays didn't hit on the field.

UP NEXT

Rays: With another bullpen game scheduled Sunday, Cash said they should be fine after using three relievers on Saturday, but he didn't name a starter.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez is set to make his 2018 debut. He's been on the disabled list since March 26th recovering from offseason right knee surgery.

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Pomeranz to make Pawtucket rehab start Sunday

Pomeranz to make Pawtucket rehab start Sunday

Heading into Saturday, Red Sox starters have the best ERA in baseball at 0.86 and they're close to getting the rotation they envisioned at the start of spring training back intact.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz, whose spring was derailed by a strained flexor tendon, will make a rehab start at Triple-A Pawtucket Sunday, manager Alex Cora said before the Red Sox' 10-3 victory over the Rays on Saturday at Fenway Park. Another rehabbing left-hander, Eduardo Rodgriuez, will make his first start of the season Sunday against the Rays. Rodriguez is coming off offseason knee surgery.

The Sox had figured on a rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Porcello, Pomeranz and eventually Rodriguez. Cora said if Pomeranz's Pawtucket start goes well, he could re-enter the rotation next week. After an off-day Monday, the Sox host the Yankees (Tuesday-Thursday) and Orioles (Friday-Patriots' Day, April 16).  

"He’s a lot more confident right now than when I met him and talked to him in Miami in late November, early December," Cora told reporters, including WEEI's Rob Bradford, of Rodriguez. "At that point honestly, I was like, this is going to take a while. In January he did everything, showed up to Fort Myers early. He worked hard. I’ve been mentioning that trio of Chris, David and Rick. They’ve been pushing him hard. We wanted him to be part of what we’re doing. All the credit goes to him. He worked hard. Pedro Martinez, too. Being around him the first part of spring training, helped him out a lot and we’re looking forward to him pitching [Sunday]."

With fill-in starters lefty Brian Johnson and righty Hector Velazquez likely headed to the bullpen or Pawtucket (Johnson is out of minor-league options), the Red Sox will have some roster decisions to make when Pomeranz is activated. After the game Saturday, right-handed reliever Marcus Walden was sent to Pawtucket to make room for Rodriguez. 

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