BOSTON – (Staff Report from Fenway Park) – Boston’s Tzu-Wei Lin made his first career appearance in the outfield as he replaced the injured Mookie Betts in the 6th inning, then stroked a clutch two-base hit to lead-off the 8th and later scored the game-winning run on an Andrew Benintendi sacrifice fly to lead Boston to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets. The win marked the Sox MLB-leading 103 victory of the season as they took two of a three-game series against the NL Mets.
The Red Sox victory, combined with the New York Yankees’ 3-2 loss to Toronto, cut Boston’s magic number to clinch the AL East title to two games. The Red Sox can clinch the division title with a single victory in any of their three games against the Yankees in the Bronx this week.
Benintendi recorded his 10th game-winning RBI of the season, his 81st RBI of the year.
Betts was removed from the game with “left side soreness” after making a throw to home plate in the 6th inning. He will be evaluated further, according to a team announcement.
The Red Sox started ace Chris Sale who pitched the first three innings of the game, tossing 42 pitches (27 strikes) as he works his way back into an expected full-time role for MLB postseason play. Sale allowed one hit and struck-out one Mets batter before giving way to Hector Velazquez. Boston used seven pitchers throughout the game, including knuckleballer Steven Wright who earned the save by pitching a scoreless 9th inning. It was his first save of the year.
Sale extended his career-long scoreless streak to 32.0 innings, the longest scoreless streak in the majors this season. Sale last allowed a run in the 2nd inning of a game against Kansas City on July 6.
New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom pitched well as he struck-out a dozen Red Sox batters, marking the 10th time this season he struck-out 10 or more. deGrom went 7.0 innings and allowed three earned runs, all from Boston’s big 3rd inning when the bottom of the order (Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez) made their way on base with singles. Devers scored on a Betts sacrifice fly and Vazquez scored when Boston’s utility man extraordinaire, Brock Holt, cracked his 5th home run of the season, a 402-foot drive over the right-center field wall. Holt started the game at shortstop as Boston manager Alex Cora gave ususal starter Xander Bogaerts a day off.
NY’s deGrom threw 107 pitches (73 strikes) and allowed only five hits with one walk before giving way to Seth Lugo in the 8th inning. Lugo took the loss and is (3-4) on the year.
Brandon Workman was credited with the victory for Boston and is (3-4) on the year. The Red Sox went 16-4 against National League clubs in 2018 and have lost only two of their last 21 series since July. (14-2-5).
GAME NOTES: This afternoon’s game concluded the penultimate home stand of the 2018 MLB season for the Red Sox. Boston heads out for its final road trip after a day off on Monday and will play three games at Yankee Stadium September 18-20 and three games at Cleveland September 21-23. … Boston returns home for its final home stand with three games vs. Baltimore September 24-26 and, after an off-day on September 27, will conclude the 2018 MLB regular season with three games against the New York Yankees September 28-30. … In the upcoming road series at New York, Boston will throw RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22 ERA) against NYY lefty J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.75 ERA), then Boston’s LHP David Price (15-6, 3.42 ERA) against NY’s RHP Luis Severino (17-8, 3.46 ERA). The series will conclude this Thursday in the Bronx with LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.53 ERA) against New York’s RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-5, 3.47 ERA). … Boston needs one more road victory to reach the 50-win on the road mark. If they can win at least one of the six remaining road games, and combine that with their 53 home wins, the Sox will win 50+ at home and away for the first time in franchise history.