BOSTON -- Finally, the Red Sox's offense came to the aid of Rick Porcello.
Boston's bats got off to a quick start against the fledgling White Sox on Thursday night, posting seven runs in the first two innings to propel the Red Sox to a 9-5 victory in the series opener at Fenway Park. Coupled with the Yankees' loss to the Indians, Boston holds a two-game lead in the American League East.
Porcello (5-14, 4.70 ERA) earned his first win since June 23, however, the right-hander didn't make it an easy night for himself. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings. In the third, Porcello gave up his career-high 26th home run of the season to Nicky Delmonico, who hit a three-run shot for his first big league dinger.
"Early on, there were a couple of offspeed pitches that found their way into the middle of the plate," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The biggest one obviously is the leadoff breaking ball to Delmonico."
"Uncharacteristically for Rick, there were a couple of walks mixed in there, which has not been the case," Farrell added. "But then he got better location with his fastball and attacked a little bit more the next couple innings."
Luckily for Porcello, Boston's bats were firing on all cylinders, amassing 15 hits. The offense seems to be hitting the groove that fans have been expecting all summer, scoring six or more runs in four of the past five games. Every starting position player had at least one hit and eight players scored at least one run. Rookie Andrew Benintendi, who had gotten the past two games off to clear his head after a tough July, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI single and reached base all five times.
"We are swinging the bats well and have to continue to throw the ball well," Porcello said. "That's the recipe right there. If we do that, we'll win a lot of games. We need to do that for the next two months."
Rafael Devers' impressive first homestand at Fenway Park continued, with the 20-year-old hitting an opposite-field two-run shot over the Green Monster in his first at-bat. Mookie Betts followed that blast the next inning, sending a two-run moonshot onto Landsdowne Street in the second.
Miguel Gonzalez (5-10, 5.15 ERA), who has been kryptonite to the Red Sox, had a performance he'd like to quickly forget. The right-hander gave up seven earned runs and two home runs in just 1 2/3 innings.
"He just left some balls out over the plate," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "These guys are good hitters and they take advantage of mistakes."
"I felt really good in the bullpen. Command-wise, good," Gonzalez said. "But then in the game, things changed. It's something I'm going to have to work on and move on."
For the White Sox, the loss was their 20th in their past 24 games.
In his first appearance at Fenway since being traded over the offseason, White Sox top prospect and second baseman Yoan Moncada went 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored in his return from a collision Monday.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Devers delivers, Moncada watches: In the first, Boston's new golden boy made a statement in front of the man who once held that moniker. Devers, the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect, hit his third homer of the season to extend the Red Sox's lead to 4-0. As he rounded first base, Devers trotted past Moncada, the Red Sox's former No. 1 prospect, who was included in the Chris Sale trade in the offseason. According to Statcast™, the shot went 357 feet and was hit with an exit velocity of 97.8 mph.
"The Green Monster definitely affects me in a positive way," Devers said. "Just being able to hit it towards the wall and have it give me some extra-base hits is clutch."
"There's a natural confidence in there that he exudes and you can never replace getting off to a quick start," Farrell said of Devers. "That's going to build. But the beauty of what he's doing is that he hasn't really swung at pitches outside of the strike zone. He's very disciplined."
Porcello gets his revenge, saves run: With two outs in the fifth and a man on third base, Porcello faced a batter in Delmonico who had bested him earlier in the evening. With the score at 7-5, Porcello had to leave no room for error to keep himself in line for the win. In the culmination of an eight-pitch at-bat, the right-hander fooled Delmonico with a four-seam fastball for a called third strike.
"I just wanted to pitch as deep as I could and not let anyone else cross the plate," Porcello said of the fifth.
"Yeah, just felt like I was in the zone too much. I was getting ahead and things didn't work out. They capitalized early. They hit every single mistake. And that's the type of ballclub they have. They are going to be aggressive no matter what." -- Gonzalez, on his rough night
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With his homer, Devers became the fourth Red Sox player since 1900 to hit three home runs in his first eight games. The last to do it was Mo Vaughn in 1991.
"I didn't think that it was going to be this good, but at the same time, I put in the work and I worked so hard to get good results," Devers said about his hot start. "I think that's what we're seeing."
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: On Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT at Fenway, Carlos Rodon (1-4, 5.23 ERA) makes his seventh start of the season since returning from the 60-day disabled list. The southpaw has fanned 20 over his past two starts against the Cubs and the Indians, but did not pick up a victory in either game.
Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3, 4.16 ERA) will try for his first win since coming off the disabled list in mid-July when he takes the Fenway mound Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Rodriguez has a 6.75 ERA in his three starts since his return.