The Boston Red Sox knew they'd have a tough time scoring runs against Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber last night, and indeed that was the case, with Kluber striking out twelve. But Kluber did give up a solo home run to Mitch Moreland in the fifth inning and ultimately the Red Sox came away with a 6-1 win.
That's chiefly because Drew Pomeranz, who had to leave his previous start with back spasms, showed no lingering effects and was every bit as good as Kluber, striking out 9 while not allowing a run in five and a third innings to win his seventh straight start. The Red Sox got a little bit of breathing room in the eighth when Kluber walked Brock Holt and then hit Eduardo Nunez with a pitch after Nunez had swung and missed so hard at the previous pitch that he fell down in the batter's box. It's a weird thing with pitchers that they feel a batter swinging so hard is trying to show them up, especially when in this case it was Nunez who suffered the embarrassment of twisting himself like a corkscrew into the dirt, but there's no doubt Kluber meant to hit Nunez with the following pitch and that emotional response cost him because it put Holt into scoring position with two outs and Mookie Betts delivered him with a sharp RBI single to make it 2-0.
Nunez got some measure of revenge himself in the ninth when he added insurance runs with a two-run homer off reliever Brian Shaw. The Boston bullpen was very good in this one, with Joe Kelly, Addison Reed, and Craig Kimbrel holding the Cleveland bats at bay except for Reed giving up a solo home run to Edward Encarnacion in the eighth.
All good news for the Red Sox who have their own ace Chris Sale going in the final game of the series tonight. News on the injury front, however, not so good regarding outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who was placed on the ten day disabled list with a sprained thumb. Bradley's defense is irreplaceable but he was also going through an excellent stretch at the plate so it's unfortunate to have that hot streak put on hold.
The Red Sox did make a move to add some insurance, trading a minor league prospect to the Oakland A's to acquire Rajai Davis, the speedy outfielder who nearly won the World Series for Cleveland last year when his late inning home run tied up game seven before the Chicago Cubs went on to win in extras. Davis provides solid outfield defense, though not at Bradley's elite level, but he's struggled at the plate this year, with just a .233 batting average. He still has wheels, though, even at age 36, and is 26 for 32 in stolen base attempts this year. The hope is that Bradley's injury won't prove to be too serious but it's good to have a guy who can come off the bench and be a pinch running threat in any event.
The Red Sox again needed to win to keep the NY Yankees from creeping any closer to their first place lead in the A.L. east because the Detroit Tigers are putting up about as much resistance as a screen door would to a Rhinoceros. In fact, the Yankees could have just sent Gary Sanchez out for the game and come away with a win. In game one, the Yankees catcher homered twice, and he went yard again in game two last night, driving in three runs in the Yankees 10-2 victory. Sanchez now has 26 home runs on the season, ten of them in the month of August, and Luis Severino breezed through seven innings for his eleventh win of the year. Jordan Zimmerman gave up seven runs, the third time in a row he's done that for Detroit as their staff outside of Justin Verlander continues to pitch more like kittens than Tigers. It would be nice if Michael Fulmer could salvage at least one game for Detroit in the series finale today when he opposes Jaime Garcia for New York, but I'm not counting on it, and neither should the Red Sox, so Sale will need to be, well, himself, when he pitches for Boston tonight.
The NY Mets are looking to the future and got a nice glimpse with six strong innings from rookie pitcher Chris Flexen and a home run from newbie Dominic Smith in a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Toronto Blue Jays hit six home runs in a 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays last night, Kevin Pillar breaking the tie in the 8th with his solo bomb.
The real story in baseball last night, though, was lefty Rich Hill, formerly of the Boston Red Sox and now pitching for the L.A. Dodgers. Hill took a perfect game into the 9th inning against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and that perfect game was broken up only because Dodgers third baseman Logan Forsythe made an error at third base that allowed a runner to reach.
But Hill still had a no-hitter intact and he took that right into the bottom of the tenth inning in a 0-0 game. And because the baseball deities often display a streak of cruelty, Hill lost the no-hitter and the game when he gave up his only hit of the contest, a solo home run to Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison, marking the first time in Major League history that a no-hitter has been ruined by a walk-off home run.
One night after allowing double digits in runs to the Lowell Spinners the Vermont Lake Monsters turned the tables, pummeling Lowell 15-2 in front of their own fans in Massachusetts.
Just about every Lake Monster had a big night at the plate, led by Anthony Churlin, who went 4 for 6, including a two-run homer and two-run triple as part of a four-run first inning for Vermont. The fifteen runs were the most by a Lake Monsters team since 2005 when they put up the same number against Tri City. Jesus Luzardo and Wyatt Marks combined to allow just five hits in the win for Vermont.