July 22, 2018

G101: Red Sox 9, Tigers 1

Red Sox - 020 400 300 - 9  9  1
Tigers  - 000 000 100 - 1  5  0
Good news: The Red Sox have not forgotten how to score runs. After scoring only one run in the previous two games in Detroit, the best team in baseball returned to their usual romping and routing ways.

Jackie Bradley knocked in a run in the second inning and his three-run homer in the fourth doubled Boston's lead to 6-0. That was more than enough of a cushion for Chris Sale (6-2-0-0-9, 99) and a trio of relievers. The Red Sox improved to 70-31 and have four more wins than any other team.

Bradley, Steve Pearce, and Xander Bogaerts each had two hits, with Pearce and Bogaerts scoring two runs apiece. Eduardo Nunez and Andrew Benintendi each drove in two runs. After a disappointing outing on Saturday, Tyler Thornburg pitched a clean ninth inning, throwing only seven pitches, all strikes. The start of the game was delayed 95 minutes by rain.

Pearce singled to lead off the second and he went to third on Bogaerts's double. Rafael Devers's groundout scored one run and Bradley's two-out infield single made it 2-0.

Pearce and Bogaerts repeated themselves in the fourth. Pearce singled and Bogaerts doubled. Devers reached on a fielder's choice, loading the bases. That was it for Blaine Hardy (3-5-4-0-3, 55) and Drew VerHagen took the hill.

Nunez was safe on an infield chopper that tipped off the glove of third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Pearce scored but Bogaerts was held at third. Devers thought X had also scored and he was about 10-15 feet from the bag when he realized his mistake. He was easily tagged out. (NESN, of course, botched the camera work on the play because it HAD to show Pearce jogging from the plate to the dugout. NESN believes that a Red Sox run does not count unless the player is shown on screen crossing the plate.)

Bradley then hit his seventh home run of the season, an opposite-field dong. (And when NESN showed the replay, it split the screen because we could not miss Bradley being congratulated in the dugout. Honestly, NESN, one player high-fiving his teammates is not all that exciting anymore.) Rob Bradford of WEEI reminded us that Bradley has hit .319 since June 24.)

Boston went in order in the fifth and sixth before tacking on three runs in the seventh. Daniel Strumpf walked Sandy Leon with one out. Mookie Betts singled to left. Benintendi drove the ball to left-center for a triple. Tigers left fielder Victor Reyes dove for the ball, but came up empty. His momentum pushed the ball back towards center and when he remained on the grass for a few seconds, JaCoby Jones had to reverse course to get it. J.D. Martinez's sac fly made it 9-0.

Benintendi has six triples this year. That is not unusual. Bogaerts had six last year and Bradley had seven in 2016. In 2015, Betts had eight and Brock Holt had six. ... Going back in time, Jacoby Ellsbury had 10 in 2009, Johnny Damon had 11 in 2002, Jose Offerman had 11 in 1999, and Nomar Garciaparra had 11 in 1997. Jim Rice hit 15 triples in both 1977 and 1978! ... The team record is 17, set in 1920 by Harry Hooper and tied by Russ Scarritt in his rookie season of 1929.

Brandon Workman gave up a home run in the seventh. Joe Kelly walked two men in the eighth and left the bases loaded.

Ian Browne, mlb.com:
A few weeks back, Sale told pitching coach Dana LeVangie that he was ready to put the Suburban away and go with the Ferrari. In the eight starts since that chat, Sale is 6-1 with an 0.84 ERA, notching 87 strikeouts while walking just 10 in 54 innings. He's allowed no runs in four of the eight starts, two or fewer in all of them, and he hasn't allowed a home run. The only loss during the marvelous stretch of pitching was by a score of 1-0.

The Red Sox ... are on fire as well, with 14 wins in their past 16 games, and 19 over their past 23. On Sunday, they became the first team in MLB to hit the 70-win mark this season, and they are 39 games above .500.
AL East: NYM/MFY, 8 PM. The Yankees are 4.5 GB.
Chris Sale / Blaine Hardy
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Pearce, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Over his last seven starts, Sale has a 0.94 ERA. He has pitched at least six innings each time and allowed more than one run only once. He has also had 11+ strikeouts in five consecutive starts.

Andrew Benintendi has at least two hits in eight of his last nine games (18-for-33, .545/.625/.788/1.413).

The Red Sox have scored one run in their last 20 innings.

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