By Alex Putterman and Craig Forde
Special to MLB.com |
BOSTON -- Mookie Betts supplied the offense and Chris Sale provided the pitching Saturday, as the Red Sox beat the Rays, 6-3, at Fenway Park.
Betts, who was the Red Sox's offensive engine on the team's last road trip, bounced back from an 0-for-5 day Friday by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs on Saturday. The American League All-Star outfielder put Boston on the board with a two-run home run in the third inning off Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell, then added an RBI double in the fifth.
"[Betts is] now three or four weeks into a really good run, where the impact of the baseball has been there," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The two-run homer to get us [on the board], and then another double in left-center field -- he's done that repeatedly in recent games, where it's been multiple extra-base hits. He's giving us a spark in that leadoff spot, that's for sure."
On the mound, Sale's 12 strikeouts gave him double-digit punchouts for the seventh consecutive outing, bringing him a game away from tying the record he already shares with Pedro Martinez. He allowed just two hits in seven innings -- home runs, off the bats of Logan Morrison and Kevin Kiermaier.
Snell lasted 5 2/3 innings for the Rays, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks. The lefty said afterward he was frustrated to have given up two leads, in the third and fifth innings.
"With Sale, when you face him and your team gives you three runs, that inning you need to lock it down," Snell said. "Then we hit the two-run home run, and I need to lock it down. I need to throw zeros there. Frustrating, because my team did everything they could to give me a chance to win that ballgame."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Marrero gives Red Sox a lead: With three third basemen on the disabled list, the Red Sox have been forced to shift their utility men into the hole at the hot corner. On Saturday, Deven Marrero excelled at the task, making several impressive defensive plays and putting his team ahead with a two-run double in the fifth inning. The hit, a liner high off the Green Monster, drove home Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. and put Boston ahead 4-3. Marrero scored one batter later on a double from Betts.
"It was a fastball up, and I just got on top of it and beat it off the wall," Marrero said of his go-ahead hit. "It was good to get those runs back for Sale."
Farrell was happy to get contributions from his third baseman.
"He went out and made plays," Farrell said. "Timely, two-out RBI hit, with a double. But just to see the game clean was a really good step."
Lefties lumber up against Sale: Entering the game, Sale had allowed only three hits to left-handed hitters all season. So, when Morrison barrelled a 1-1 offering in the top of the second inning for a solo home run, there was cause for surprise. When Kiermaier took a 98-mph Sale fastball deep for a two-run homer, things seemed downright strange in the baseball world. It was only the third time that the Red Sox ace, who entered the day having yielded just eight career home runs to lefties, had surrendered two homers to left-handers in the same game.
"We knew we were coming in to face Chris Sale," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He was pretty lights-out again. It was nice to see LoMo and KK hit the home runs. Obviously, a little unusual for lefties to have that kind of success against him."
"I believe in myself a lot. I believe that I can compete with [Sale], and I need to. I'm aware of what I'm doing and I need to be better. I know I can. So, it's frustrating that I'm not doing what I know I can do." -- Snell
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the top of the eighth inning, the Rays challenged a play in which Corey Dickerson was called out on a throw to first base. The 1-minute review concluded Dickerson beat the throw, and the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays: Right-hander Matt Andriese gets his second consecutive Mother's Day start, after earning a win against the Angels in his season debut in 2016. The 1:35 p.m. ET Sunday start time may not jibe with the Rays' starter, who is 0-1 with a 4.50 in two day starts this season. This is Andriese's first start versus Boston this year, and third career start at Fenway, where he is 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA.
Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz will take the mound for the Red Sox in the series finale. The lefty is coming off his shortest outing of 2017, during which he allowed season highs of seven hits and six runs in four innings in a loss to Milwaukee. Last time he faced Tampa Bay, on April 16, he struck out 10 and allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings.