When shortstop Xander Bogaerts is cranking out home runs, and crawling around to save runs, the Boston Red Sox know they are in good hands.
Bogaerts hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning, and the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 on Thursday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
David Price (8-4) pitched seven inning of four-hit ball to earn his sixth victory over his past seven appearances. He gave up a run and struck out seven. Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to lock down his 22nd save, pitching around two inning-opening walks by striking out Kyle Seager and getting Ryon Healy to ground into a double play.
It was Boston’s major-league leading 48th win of the season, and snapped Seattle’s four-game winning streak.
“That was a pretty cool game, 2-1,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That is a good team over there.”
Bogaerts certainly had a crucial impact. He homered with two outs in the sixt, hitting a 2-2 fastall from Felix Hernandez over the left-center field wall to give Boston a 2-1 lead. It was Bogaerts’ 10th home run of the season, matching his total from 2017.
It was an at-bat that certainly impressed his manager, given that Bogaerts had struck out against Hernandez in his first two at-bats.
“It seemed like he had no chance, honestly,” Cora said. “He was swinging and missing. I think it was tough for him to see that ball when (Hernandez) was throwing the changeup.
“But he spread out and was trying to make contact. … And he gets a fastball, was short to it and he drilled it.”
Price was fantastic in outdueling Hernandez, who gave up both runs in seven innings, striking out six.
And after a slow first month, he has taken off. The zip has returned on his fastball, too, reaching 96 mph on Thursday.
“Velocity-wise, yeah (it was my best outing),” Price said. “Command (wise), it was there, and then it wasn’t – and then it was there again. Whenever I really needed to make pitches tonight, I did.”
Price got a key out in the sixth inning in Seatte’s Jean Segura, the AL’s second-leading hitter at .347. The 11-pitch at-bat ended when Segura grounded a ball up the middle, but right to Bogaerts, who took it from his knees and crawled over to touch second base before throwing over to complete a double play.
“They made (big plays) tonight, and we didn’t,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We had to somehow come up with a big hit and we just didn’t get it.”
The Mariners tied it at 1-all in the bottom of the fifth on Guillermo Heredia’s sacrifice fly to left field. Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s RBI double off Hernandez (6-6) in the second.
MARINERS PROSPECT FINISHES COMEBACK
Nearly a year ago, Seattle right-handed pitcher Rob Whalen walked away from baseball.
After a July 5 start for Triple-A Tacoma, Whalen left the team, citing issues with depression. Placed on the team’s restricted list, he didn’t return the rest of the season.
However, after rediscovering joy in life, which included his passion for baseball, Whalen nearly made the big-league ballclub out of spring training.
“I just wanted to come in and have fun, enjoy life and what I get to do for a living,” Whalen said.
It showed his his minor-league numbers. Whalen was 7-3 with a 4.50 ERA pitching for Tacoma, and was promoted Thursday by the Mariners to pitch in long relief.
BRADLEY SHOWING SIGNS
Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. came into the game in an 0-for-15 slump over his last four games, and just 1 for 23 over the previous week.
Cora said no hitter in the final two games at Baltimore hit the baseball harder than Bradley. He just did not have a hit to show for it. He did drive in the game’s first run Thursday with a sharp double to right field.
“We do feel now he is in a great spot,” Cora said.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) is still not doing any baseball activity, although he did work out in the visiting clubhouse gym Thursday. … LHP Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis) played catch and is feeling better, Cora said. … RHP Tyler Thornburg (right shoulder) was scheduled to make a start Thursday for Triple-A Pawtucket as he makes his way back from thoracic outlet surgery.
Mariners: RHP Nick Vincent (strained right groin) continues to play catch every day, as he did before the game Thursday. It is uncertain when he will get back on the mound for a bullpen session. Servais said he is hopeful Vincent and RHP Juan Nicasio (right knee) will be able to return from the 10-day disabled list early in the team’s upcoming road trip, starting Tuesday in New York.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (8-3, 3.54 ERA), the AL’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, has gone six innings and given up two earned runs in each of his past three starts (two wins). This will be his 13th career start against the Mariners, and he is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA at Safeco Field.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (6-1, 3.02 ERA) is 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA since early May. Paxton is 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA against Boston, having given up just one earned run in 23 innings. He beat the Red Sox last July with seven scoreless innings.
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