Mookie Betts was given the day off yesterday and his fill-in Chris Young made the most of the opportunity, hitting two home runs including the tie-breaking three-run shot in the fifth to go with a double and five RBI's on the day in the Red Sox 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the fifth the Red Sox had two outs and a runner on second with Andrew Benintendi coming to the plate. But even though Young had already homered in the game White Sox manager Rick Renteria elected to intentionally walk Benintendi in order to get to Young, and so it must have felt extra satisfying for Young when he launched a home run to left that hit the foul pole for a three-run dinger. The win for Boston put the finishing touches on a four-game sweep of Chicago and was the Red Sox' sixth win in a row overall, tying their season high winning streak.
And kudos to Doug Fister, who turned in his second consecutive strong start. Fister gave up three runs in the second inning but none of the hits against him were very loud, instead some floaters that landed in no-man's land and a bunt single accounted for the runs, but Fister didn't let it rattle him and settled down to pitch into the seventh with a season high seven strike-outs, and left to a standing ovation. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 27th save and the Red Sox with the win maintained their 3-game lead over the NY Yankees for first place in the A.L. east. The Sox get a day of rest today before taking on the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
The Yankees had their ace Luis Severino on the mound and cruised to an 8-1 win over the Cleveland Indians thanks in part to a badly misplayed fly ball by Cleveland rookie Abraham Almonte in the sixth inning. The game was tied at one apiece when Jacoby Ellsbury sent a shot to right field that Almonte had trouble tracking and he pulled up a bit anticipating a collision with the wall. In doing so he failed to reach out for a ball that could have been caught at the track and it went for a three-run triple. Aaron Judge added a home run in the seventh, his 35th of the year, and like the Red Sox, the Yankees also have a baseball free Monday before they head north for a series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
The NY Mets lost to the L.A. Dodgers yesterday, but who hasn't? The Dodgers are having a season that defies convention, logic, and perhaps history. The Elias Sports Bureau, which tracks all things statistical in America's pastime, reports that the Dodgers are just the fourth team ever to win 43 or more games over a 50-game stretch and you have to go back to the 1912 New York Giants to find the team that did so most recently. Rookie phenom Cody Bellinger hit his 32nd home run of the season and former Met Justin Turner turned on his old team for another in the Dodgers 8-0 win. Turner is batting .349 for the year, which leads the National League, a stat Mets fans probably look at the same way you'd look at potato salad that's been left out too long in the sun. The Dodgers are threatening to break the all time best regular season record of 116 wins shared by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners, and don't forget all this winning is happening with their best pitcher, and one of the best in the game, Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list since July 23rd.
Roberto Osuna has been very good as closer for the Toronto Blue Jays this season. In fact, he was named to the all start team, but Osuna had a rough outing in Houston yesterday, as the Astros rallied for four runs against him in the bottom of the 9th, shocking Toronto 7-6. Rookie Juan Centeno had the game winning, walk off hit for Houston with two outs after Alex Bregman tripled to tie the game with the bases loaded.
In NY Penn League play, Behind a strong six inning pitching effort and a six-run ninth inning, the Vermont Lake Monsters routed the Hudson Valley Renegades 9-1 in upstate New York last night. The only run allowed by Ivan Andueza was a second inning solo homer and otherwise he yielded just three hits over six innings to improve to 6-2 on the year with a 3.04 ERA. The Lake Monsters had a 3-1 lead heading into the top of the ninth when they broke the game open with a six-run outburst, the biggest blow a bases loaded triple to right center by Payton Squier.
The playoff dream has ended for the Upper Valley Nighthawks, eliminated from the NECBL playoffs yesterday in a 2-1 loss to the Valley Blue Sox, who swept the two-game series to vault themselves into the championship game.
The Nighthawks did have their opportunities, loading the bases in the seventh and again in the ninth but Blue Sox closer Tyler Smith struck out the side to work out of the bases loaded jam in the final frame. The Blue Sox will play for the league title against the Ocean State Waves in a best of three series beginning today. Still, it was a great season for Upper Valley, who went 29-17 in just their second full season in the league.
Vermont can now claim back to back wins against neighboring New Hampshire in the annual Shrine Bowl football game with a 19-0 shut out victory at Spartan Stadium in Castelton yesterday.
The gridiron contest features the best recently graduated high school players from both states. Dylan Ellis had an 11-yard reception for the game's only touchdown and the Vermont defense held New Hampshire to just 132 total yards on the day.