Red Sox

Betts, Benintendi lead sizzling Red Sox past Angels, 8-2

Betts, Benintendi lead sizzling Red Sox past Angels, 8-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With a homer-happy lineup and a lights-out pitching staff, the Boston Red Sox have been mowing down their opposition since the day after opening day.

Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels were the latest contenders who could only applaud Boston's formidable start.

Mookie Betts hit his second leadoff homer in three games, Andrew Benintendi homered and drove in three runs and the Red Sox completed a dominant sweep of the AL West leaders with an 8-2 victory Thursday night.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers also drove in runs during the seventh consecutive victory by the major league-leading Red Sox, who have won 16 of 17 since losing on opening day. Boston outscored the Angels 27-3 over 27 innings in the series, batting .371 while pounding out 43 hits.

"We're playing quality baseball," said Alex Cora, the first manager since 1900 to win 16 of his first 18 games in his debut season with a club. "We're pretty good right now. We're pitching and we're playing good defense, and we're driving the ball. That's a good team (in the Angels' clubhouse). For them to score three runs against us, we're on a good roll."

It's more than good: It's historic.

Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0) pitched six innings of three-hit ball as Boston extended the best start in the 118-year-old franchise's history. Boston's 11 homers off the Angels are the franchise's most in a three-game series since 1977.

"We're having fun, and usually when you do that, you play quite well," Benintendi said.

The second-year slugger acknowledged that the Red Sox aren't overly excited about their first three weeks, however. Benintendi noted that several of the hard-hit balls that went for homers in Anaheim's pleasant weather wouldn't have done the same in frigid Boston.

"What do we have left, 150 games maybe?" Benintendi asked. "We hold ourselves to high standards, and we just try to go out and play well."

Betts opened the series with a homer off Ohtani and went on to a three-homer game. Betts added another homer off Nick Tropeano (1-1) in the series finale, giving him six this season - the same number as Mike Trout.

Chris Young homered for the Angels, who started the season 13-3 before running into the Boston buzzsaw. The 11 homers also matched the Angels record for home runs allowed in a three-game series.

"We didn't swing the bat to help (Tropeano) too much," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had to make a lot of pitches with his back against the wall. Give those guys credit. They had a great series."

Zack Cozart had an RBI single for Los Angeles in the second inning, but Boston reclaimed the lead in the fourth with RBI hits by Martinez and Devers.

Young hit his first homer for the Angels in the fifth. The veteran outfielder spent the previous two seasons with the Red Sox.

But Benintendi hit his first homer of the season and Devers added an RBI single in the sixth. Benintendi added a two-run single in the ninth.

Tropeano yielded seven hits and five runs in his second start of the season.

NO SHO

Ohtani went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts as the Angels' designated hitter in his first action since taking his first career loss on the mound Tuesday. Although he's still batting .324, the two-way rookie struggled while moving up to sixth in Scioscia's lineup.

THREE FROM NINE

Shortstop Brock Holt, Boston's No. 9 hitter, had his first three-hit game since Aug. 29, 2016.

UMP INJURED

Plate umpire Jerry Layne left in the bottom of the first inning after a foul ball from Trout hit him on the right elbow. Layne doubled over in obvious pain while trainers attended to him, and first base umpire Greg Gibson moved behind the plate when the game resumed after a long delay. The 59-year-old Layne, a major league umpire since 1989, had deep bruising in his elbow but no broken bones, according to X-rays.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia will travel to Boston to be with the team next week, but he's not close to returning from offseason knee surgery.

UP NEXT

Red SoxDrew Pomeranz makes his season debut in the opener of a weekend series at Oakland. The left-hander strained his forearm in his first start of spring training, but has made two rehab starts in the minors to prepare for the beginning of his second full season with Boston.

AngelsAndrew Heaney (0-0, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start of the season when Los Angeles opens a weekend interleague series against San Francisco. The left-hander has never faced the Giants, and he missed the first 14 games of this season with inflammation in his pitching elbow.

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Price goes 7, Martinez hits 38th HR; Red Sox beat Rays 5-2

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File Photo

Price goes 7, Martinez hits 38th HR; Red Sox beat Rays 5-2

BOSTON (AP) — David Price pitched seven solid innings, J.D. Martinez hit his major league-leading 38th homer after Boston jumped to a quick lead and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Saturday night for their 17th victory in 20 games.

Mitch Moreland added an RBI double during Boston’s four-run first inning. The Red Sox, who own the majors’ best record, improved to a season-high 52 games over .500 and maintained their 10 ½-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

C.J. Cron hit a two-run homer for the Rays. Tampa Bay fell to 4-11 against Boston this season.

Price (13-6) gave up two runs on five hits, striking out eight, walking two and hitting a batter. He is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his five starts since the All-Star break.

Tyler Glasnow (0-1), making his fourth start since being acquired from Pittsburgh at the non-wavier trading deadline, gave up five runs, four earned, and three hits. He walked three and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings.

Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 37th save.

The Red Sox took advantage of Glasnow’s wildness to jump ahead 4-0 in the first. Moreland’s RBI double made it 1-0 before Martinez and Xander Bogaerts walked to load the bases. The righty then walked Ian Kinsler, forcing in a run.

First baseman Jake Bauers then fired Brock Holt’s grounder into left field attempting a force at second and two runs scored, making it 4-0.

In the third, Martinez homered into Boston’s bullpen.

Cron’s homer cleared the Green Monster and left Fenway Park completely in the sixth.

HEADS UP

Tampa Bay’s Carlos Gomez advanced to third when it was left uncovered on a popup that was caught between first and the plate in the first inning.

NOT HEADS UP

With Kinsler on second and Holt on first in the first, Kinsler got caught trying to steal third too quickly when Glasnow stepped off and got him in a rundown. Holt was unsure where to go, standing between first and second before he was tagged out in a rundown for an inning-ending double play.

Three innings later, Tampa Bay’s Tommy Pham was doubled off second on a fly ball to the left-field warning track.

FRIENDLY FENWAY

The Red Sox improved their home record to a majors’ best 44-15.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: C Jesus Sucre missed his fourth straight game with a sore right wrist.

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Chris Sale returns to the disabled list

Chris Sale returns to the disabled list

The Red Sox have again placed left-handed ace Chris Sale on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation after he returned from the DL on Sunday and was dominant in a five-inning start.

Sale (12-4, American League-leading 1.97 ERA) was placed on the DL July 31 with left shoulder inflammation after one of the most dominating stretches of his career (5-0, 0.23 ERA, 67 strikeouts in 39 innings in his previous five starts) and returned to pitch five shutout innings in Baltimore on Sunday when he allowed one hit and struck out 12.

He leads the major leagues in opponent batting average (.175) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.50). He has not allowed a run in his past 28 innings or given up a home run in his past 68 innings, both the longest streaks in the majors this season. Sale is 6-0 with a 0.20 ERA (1 ER/44.0 IP) in his past seven outings, recording 79 strikeouts and six walks in that time. 

Manager Alex Cora told reporters before the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night at Fenway Park that Sale has not had an MRI on his shoulder but the lefty hadn't bounced back from his start in Baltimore the way the Red Sox would have liked. The Sox (87-36) entered Saturday with a 10 1/2-game lead over the second-place Yankees in the American League East, their largest lead of the season. 

"We have to take care of him," Cora said. "This guy is very important for what we're trying to accomplish, and if he needs to skip one, two, three, whatever, we're willing to do that. He'll be back. Like he said, he feels better than the last time we put him on the DL. So, he'll get his rest, he'll go through treatment, and we'll go from there."

Talking to reporters before the game Saturday, Sale said his shoulder feels better than it did before his first DL stint.

"It's a little bit less in the pain range and the mobility range than last time, so that's a good sign," Sale said "When I started throwing again, it kind of didn't respond the way we wanted it. Didn't really bounce back like we wanted it to."

He said if the division race were closer, he would probably push himself to be out there. 

"Probably [if it was closer], I would assume so. It’s kind of hard to say given the situation we’re in. A lot of what if’s in that scenario. I feel like I could probably get out there if push came to shove.”

The ultimate goal, Sale said, is to be right for the postseason. 

"We want to be able to sprint across the finish line and not limp into it..," Sale said. "Given where we are, it's the right call to give it some rest. Obviously terrible timing, not exactly the most ideal situation. To be honest, quite miserable for me. But, at the same time, I’m not going to sit around and pout,” he said. “I’m going to keep my chin up. I’m on the best team that ever walked the planet. I’ve got good teammates that have my back and I appreciate that.”

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