Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Mass
BOSTON — The Red Sox bats have finally arrived, and Thursday night, they even came through for Rick Porcello.
First-place Boston won its third straight and fourth in the last five games, pounding out 15 more hits in a 9-5 victory over the lowly Chicago White Sox in the opener of a four-game series.
“It is awesome the way the guys swung the bats today and knocking their starter out so early,” Porcello said after going 5 1/3 innings in his first win since June 23. “They carried us. It was awesome.”
They certainly haven’t been carrying Porcello, who had four runs of support in losing his four previous starts, as he had fallen to 4-14. Last year, the righty received more support than any other pitcher in baseball, but that hasn’t been the case in this dismal year after.
On Thursday night, he got the support as the new-look Boston offense, spurred by the arrival of veteran Eduardo Nunez and rookie Rafael Devers, delivered again.
The Red Sox have 27 runs on 43 hits during the three-game winning streak that has helped them open a two-game lead over the losing New York Yankees in the American League East. They are averaging 7.8 runs and 13 hits in their last five games.
Asked about the resurgence of the offense, manager John Farrell said, “I think it’s more about the two additions, certainly, with Eduardo and Raffy — those are two key contributors in all this.”
He then went on to list others.
On Thursday, Devers and Mookie Betts both hit two-run homers, Andrew Benintendi returned from clearing his head for three days with three hits and a walk, Mitch Moreland had two doubles, Christian Vazquez two more hits, Hanley Ramirez two hits. The Red Sox got rid of Chicago starter Miguel Gonzalez (5-10, 2-10 since a 3-0 start) with seven runs in the first two innings.
Porcello hardly cruised. He gave up two runs in the second and then surrendered the first homer of Nicky Delmonico’s big-league career, a three-run shot that made it 7-5 in the third.
Porcello used a pair of called third strikes to strand a runner in the fifth and was gone with one out and one on in the sixth. Five relievers finished it off.
“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.”
As far as the two-game lead, Porcello said, “Everyone in this clubhouse feels like we haven’t played our best baseball. As frustrating as it can be from time to time, as we look up in the standings, we are right there.
“We have weathered the storm at this point and being where we are shows a lot about our ballclub. We need to continue to play well and have some consistency. Our main goal is to fire on all cylinders. Hopefully our best baseball is in front of us.”
The White Sox, who have been trading off their veterans, sunk to their 20th loss in their last 24 games and their 16th in 19 contests since the All-Star break.
“Our guys don’t quit; they have been this way all season,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Easy to lose sight of the fact most clubs have a tendency to (lie) down when they get down big early.”
Devers went 1-for-4 with a walk and is 13-for-32 with six RBIs and seven runs scored in his first eight major-league games. Nunez, acquired just last week from the San Francisco Giants, delivered his 10th RBI in six games and finished with two hits.
Devers became the first player in modern MLB history (since 1900) with at least 13 hits and three homers in his first eight games before turning 21.
The red-hot Vazquez is 12-for-21 in the last five games (multiple hits in all five), while Nunez is 13-for-27 with his new team.
NOTES: Boston RHP Joe Kelly, recovering from a hamstring injury, is expected to be activated Saturday. … 2B Yoan Moncada, a prized Boston prospect traded to the White Sox in the Chris Sale deal, made his return to Boston and to the Chicago lineup — after missing two games with a bruised knee. He walked twice and scored twice. … OF Willy Garcia, whose face collided with Moncada’s knee, has a broken jaw and will undergo surgery that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. … Boston C Sandy Leon, who hasn’t started since injuring his knee on an acrobatic slide home with the winning run Saturday, should be able to start by Sunday but continued to be available for emergency duty. … LHP Carlos Rodon, 1-4 with a 5.23 ERA after starting his season June 28 (biceps) but much better his last time out, faces Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez in the second game of the series Friday night. Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts since coming off the disabled list following his latest knee injury.