A big night at the plate for Mookie Betts and more great relief pitching led to a third straight win for the Boston Red Sox over the Philadelphia Phillies, as the home and home interleague series switched from Boston to Philly last night and the Red Sox came away with a 7-3 win.
Betts singled, doubled, and homered twice and made a fine diving catch in right field to take away extra bases from Howie Kendrik in the fifth when the game was still close at 5-3. Brian Johnson started for the Red Sox and breezed through the first two innings without giving up a hit, but ran into trouble in the third when Aaron Altherr capped off a three run inning with his 10th home run of the year. Johnson left the game shortly thereafter with shoulder pain, and all credit to Hector Velazquez, who was called in for an emergency relief stint and pitched three and a third scoreless innings to pick up his first major league win. The Red Sox bullpen has been the strength of the pitching staff this season, and is now on a collective run of 21 and a third consecutive innings with no runs allowed. The Sox go for a four game sweep of the home and home series with ace Chris Sale taking the mound and hoping for his 9th win of the year.
The win also got the Red Sox a bit closer to the first place NY Yankees, now two games behind the Yanks for first place, after New York dropped the rubber game of their series in Anaheim against the Angels, losing 7-5 last night.
Andrelton Simmons broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run homer in the 7th off reliever Ronald Herrera, who was making his major league debut. Welcome to The Show, kid. Gary Sanchez had staked the Yanks to a 4-0 lead in the first when he smacked a three run homer, his 11th of the year, but the Angels kept chipping away until Simmons gave them the lead for good.
Michael Pineda struggled but pitched into the sixth and got a no decision. Eric Young Jr. had a great defensive game for the Angels, throwing out Aaron Judge at the plate in the fifth and making a diving catch of a Judge line drive in the 7th with two on to keep the game tied.
The bigger loss for the Yankees may be the news that CC Sabathia, who's been on a great run as a starter this season, will likely miss up to four weeks with what's being called a Grade two hamstring pull. I don't know if a grade one is appreciably worse but if you've ever pulled a hamstring in any grade all you know is it hurts a whole lot and can take some time to recover, so the Yankees will need to fill a spot in their rotation. The team moves on to from southern to northern California to take on the A's in Oakland tonight with Jordan Montgomery getting the start for New York.
The NY Mets and Chicago Cubs were all tied up at four heading into the bottom of the 8th at Citi Field in Queens last night when Curtis Granderson helped untie things with a milestone home run as part of a five-run exp0losion that led to a 9-4 Mets victory. Granderson belted home run number 300 for his career in the uprising, salvaging another poor start by Matt Harvey, who gave up three home runs in four innings, including a massive blast by Kyle Schwarber and another lead-off dinger by Anthony Rizzo, who stayed in the lead-off spot for Joe Maddon's Cuns for a second consecutive game. Harvey said after the game that his arm was "just not working at all" and plans to see a doctor today, just the latest blow to a Mets pitching staff that's gotten more than its share of bad news from medical folks this year, and can add Neil Walker to the wounded list as he left the game with a leg injury. Still, Lucas Duda blasted a three run homer as part of that big 8th inning, and the Mets got the win, while the Cubs continue to scuffle outside the Friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
The Toronto Blue Jays had a three run lead over the Tampa Bay Rays going into the top of the 8th at the Rogers Centre last night, then coughed up that lead when Logan Morrison hit his 19th homer of the year, a three run shot that tied the game at six, but the Jays recovered thanks to veteran catcher and Toronto native Russell Martin, who homered in the bottom half of the 8th to give the Blue Jays a lead they would not give up a second time en route to a 7-6 win.
In the NECBL, John Trousdale reached base three times and scored the only run of the game in the 7th inning last night for the Mystic Schooners as they eked out a 1-0 win over the Vermont Mountaineers in Connecticut. The Mountaineers nevertheless got great pitching from starter Grady Miller gave up just three hits and no runs over six innings of work.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks got great pitching as well, combining for a three hit shut-out of the Keene Swamp Bats in a 2-0 win. Charlie Sheehan led the way with six scoreless innings for Upper Valley. Two runs in the third inning via sac flies by Anthony Godino and Ryan Jeffers gave the Nighthawks all the runs they would need.