PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Pivetta figured that if the Phillies were going to end their losing streak he needed to keep up with Boston ace Chris Sale.
Pivetta did just that with the best performance of his young career in a pitchers’ duel with Sale. Pinch-hitter Ty Kelly doubled home the only run in the eighth inning to lead the Phillies to a 1-0 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday night.
“It was the first time I faced a guy like that,” Pivetta said. “It was really exciting. I tried to go toe to toe with him and stay with him as much as I can.”
Sale (8-3) was cruising until a one-out single by Andrew Knapp set the stage for Kelly’s game-winning hit that ended the Phillies’ eight-game losing streak. Kelly lined a slider into the left-field corner. Andrew Benintendi’s throw sailed over the cutoff man and was a tad late, allowing Knapp to score from first for the only run of the game.
Kelly said the hit was in the top five moments of his big league career.
“It feels good,” he said. “Maybe more of my friends will text me tonight.”
Sale allowed four hits with 10 strikeouts, upping his major league-leading total to 136. It was his 44th career double-digit strikeout game and ninth this season.
“He was outstanding once again,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.”
Said Sale, “It was fun, but I would have liked to have gotten the win.”
Pat Neshek (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Pivetta and Hector Neris earned his sixth save in seven tries with a scoreless ninth to help Philadelphia win its first interleague game of the season.
“That was nice to see,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The Phillies salvaged a game in the four-game home and home series with the Red Sox to improve to 1-8 in interleague games.
Pivetta went past the fifth inning for the first time in his seventh start. He allowed four hits in seven innings and nearly matched Sale with nine strikeouts against two walks.
“He just pounded the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “He didn’t get in trouble and start nitpicking.”
The Red Sox threatened in the eighth against Neshek when Sale led off with a double, his first career extra-base hit that drew the large contingent of visiting Red Sox fans to their feet. Sale went to third on Mookie Betts’ lineout to right field, but Neshek struck out Dustin Pedroia and got Xander Bogaerts to pop out in foul territory to first baseman Tommy Joseph to end the threat.
Joseph singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Joseph is batting .364 with four doubles, a homer and seven RBIs over the stretch.
Pedroia finished 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, ending his streak of five straight multi-hit games.
Sale became just the fifth Boston pitcher to record an extra-base hit, joining Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Derek Lowe and Jake Peavy.
The game continued in the fifth inning despite a fire alarm that rang loudly throughout the stadium and a message on the scoreboard that asked fans to leave the ballpark. The alarm stopped just before Sale struck out Daniel Nava for the first out.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland returned after he was out of the lineup on Wednesday after getting hit by a pitch on the left foot in Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia. … RHP Tyler Thornburg will undergo season-ending surgery on Friday for thoracic outlet syndrome. Thornburg hasn’t pitched all season after feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder this spring. … RHP Carson Smith will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday at Triple-A Pawtucket. Smith hasn’t pitched this year after having Tommy John surgery last season.
Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.48) pitches for Boston against Astros RHP Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29) on Friday night in the first of a three-game set in Houston.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (3-4, 4.40) opens a three-game home series against Arizona on Friday night. LHP Patrick Corbin (5-6, 5.38) goes for the Diamondbacks.
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)