Ace. Stopper. Cy Young favorite. There are a lot of ways to describe Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale, who turned in yet another dominating performance on the hill yesterday when the Red Sox really needed it, throwing shut-out ball over seven innings, and striking out eleven in the Red Sox 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Sale gave up a mere three hits, improved to 13-4 on the season, and most importantly, put a stop to Boston's four-game losing skid to salvage the final game of a disappointing west coast road trip before the team begins a long homestand at Fenway Park tomorrow night. Sale has been the best Red Sox acquisition since another pretty good pitcher of lanky frame and overpowering stuff joined the fold, Pedro Martinez, and if Sale keeps leading the league in strike-outs and winning games to halt a losing skid or keep a winning streak going, he may join Pedro in that pantheon of best ever Red Sox starters.
And as amazing as Sale was yesterday, he didn't provide the only headlines. How about 20-year old third baseman Rafael Devers getting his first major league hit in his second major league game? And how about that hit being a home run blast to dead center field? The left handed Devers put a beautiful swing on a ball in the third inning to put the Red Sox up 2-0 and found himself circling the bases for a first hit in The Show he will never forget. He also singled later in the game, and if he gets the start at third Friday night against Kansas City will no doubt get a huge ovation from the Fenway Faithful who are more than eager to see a rookie, or anyone really, to settle the third base position, which has been the weak link in Boston's chain for more years than anyone cares to count.
One game does not even count as a small sample size, and the Red Sox will no doubt want to get the newly acquired veteran Eduardo Nunez some starts at the hot corner, but there are high expectations for Devers, and a reason his name was kept off a list of any potential deals when the Red Sox go looking for help before the trade deadline July 31st. With that home run yesterday, Devers became the youngest Red Sox rookie to hit a home run since Tony Conigliaro back in 1965.
The Red Sox needed that win to stay one game ahead of the NY Yankees, winners 9-5 over the Cincinnati Reds yesterday thanks mostly to a great start by Luis Severino, who went seven innings and struck out nine, and didn't allow a base runner past second until the seventh, giving up a pair of runs, both unearned. Severino got plenty of run support, with Didi Gregorius and the newly acquired Todd Frazier both going yard. The Yankees have shown a remarkable knack for bringing up rookie sensations and may have another one in Clint Frazier, who had two RBI singles yesterday. The Yanks open up a pretty intriguing series tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are just a game behind New York in third place in the A.L. east and two games behind the first place Red Sox. CC Sabathia gets the start for the Yankees against Chris Archer for Tampa.
Luis Torrens had three RBI's including his first major league triple as the San Diego Padres doubled up the NY Mets 6-3 in Southern California yesterday. Manuel Margot homered for San Diego off Steven Matz, who took the loss for the Mets, who trailed late and looked like they might rally to tie things up but a diving play by Allen Cordoba kept Rene Rivera's potential single up the middle from getting through and bringing in two runs that would have brought the Mets to within one.
The Toronto Blue Jays rewarded fans who stayed for the bottom of the ninth inning at the Rogers Centre last night with as dramatic a comeback win as you'll ever see, especially if you like the long ball. The Jays trailed the Oakland A's 2-0 going into the 9th, when Justin Smoak hit a game-tying two-run home run off Oakland's Santiago Casilla, who had walked the first batter he faced. And Kendrys Morales wasted no time ending the game when he followed Smoak with a game winning, walk off solo home run and a 3-2 Blue Jays win, their third in a row.
In the NY Penn League, the Vermont Lake Monsters were idle last night. They take on the team chasing them for first place division when they face the Tigers in Connecticut this evening, beginning the three game series with a two and a half game lead over Connecticut in the Stedler division.
In the NECBL, the Newport Gulls broke open what was a tight game with the Vermont Mountaineers, scoring six times in the sixth and adding four more in the bottom of the seventh to run away with a 13-2 win in Rhode Island.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks were off. They take on the Sanford Mainers in White River Junction tonight.
Finally, the U.S. men's soccer team won the CONCACAF Gold Cup yesterday, defeating Jamaica 2-1 on goals by Jozy Altidore and the game-winner in the 88th minute by Jordan Morris. It's the sixth Gold Cup soccer title for the U.S. men.