PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Red Sox sure didn’t look like a team that didn’t get to bed until the sun came up Wednesday.
Mookie Betts homered twice, Xander Bogaerts had three RBIs and the bullpen continued to be lights out as the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 for their third straight win.
It would have been understandable if Boston were sluggish in this game after travel issues didn’t have their plane land in Philadelphia until 4 a.m.
But the Red Sox weren’t looking for excuses and came out from the first pitch and pounded the Phillies.
“It just kind of happened,” Betts said. “One guy follows the guy in front of them and it just kind of worked out. It feels great after all the things that went into getting here. I’m happy we did it under four hours and we can get a little rest before tomorrow.”
Betts had four hits and drove in three to lead an offensive barrage off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson (5-5). Boston tagged him for six runs on nine hits in just five innings.
Betts led off the game with a single, had an RBI double in the second, but his biggest hit was a solo home run, his 10th of the season, in the fourth inning after the Phillies had scored three runs to close within 5-3.
He had a chance to get the cycle in the ninth inning, but instead of a triple connected for home run No. 11 to put the game out of reach. It was his eighth career multi-homer game.
“When Mookie gets a lead off base hit we were trying to create some energy because of the time we got (into town),” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We were able to string a bunch of hits together and Mookie had some big swings to get it started and we were able to build a five-run lead.”
Betts was dazzling defensively as well, and made a stellar diving catch in right field to rob Howie Kendrick of a hit in the fifth inning.
Bogaerts was also impressive, with a two-run double off Hellickson in the first and a single that scored Betts in the second. He also had a fine defensive play robbing Hellickson of an infield hit, squashing a potential Phillies rally in the fourth.
Andrew Benintendi drove in the other Red Sox run with a sacrifice fly.
Both teams had multiple highlight plays defensively. Aside from Betts and Bogaerts, Benintendi made a leaping catch in foul territory taking a ball out of the stands, Pablo Sandoval made a pair of diving plays at third, Dustin Pedroia stretched his errorless game streak to 88, which included some difficult chances and Jackie Bradley Jr. made a running, over-the-shoulder grab to end the game.
“We made a number of great defensive plays tonight,” Farrell said.
For its part, Philadelphia did a fine job defensively as well, turning four double plays.
The Phillies scored three runs off Boston starter Brian Johnson in the third inning on a two-out single by Kendrick and a two-run home run by Aaron Altherr, his 10th of the season.
Johnson left the game with an arm injury, but the Red Sox bullpen shut the door on the Phillies, as four different relievers combined to allow just two hits over the final 6 1/3 innings. Hector Velazquez (1-1) was credited with his first major league win.
The Boston bullpen has now gone 21 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
Not much is going right for the Phillies who have the worst record in baseball. They have lost eight consecutive games as well as all eight interleague games this season, matching a franchise record for consecutive interleague losses since games between the two leagues started in 1997.
Red Sox: Starting pitcher Brian Johnson left the game in the third inning with what the Red Sox indicated was left shoulder discomfort. He will be reevaluated in Boston Friday. Johnson said he started to feel tightness in warmups and came out as a precaution. After two strong innings, Johnson lost a lot of velocity on his pitches, leading to the Phillies only offensive outburst of the game.
Phillies: 2B Cesar Hernandez will be out of action for at least six weeks with an oblique strain, but that doesn’t mean the Phillies are going to call up red hot prospect Scott Kingery, who leads all of minor league baseball with 18 home runs at Double A Reading. Kingery isn’t on the 40-man roster currently and Phillies GM Matt Klentak said before the game that Kingery isn’t ready for a call-up. He did suggest, though, that Kingery will likely be moved to Triple A soon.
Recalled prior to the game RHP Hector Velazquez was pressed into emergency duty when Johnson was injured. After getting hammered in his first major league appearance in May, Velazquez was solid against the Phillies allowing just one hit and two walks in 3 1/3 scoreless innings and earning his first big league victory.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 2.97) has won each of his last seven decisions and leads the majors with 126 strikeouts.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (1-3, 5.52) will be making his seventh major league start. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his first six contests and the Phillies have lost five of those six games.
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