PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pinch-hitter Andrew Benintendi’s sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night. The Phillies were mathematically eliminated from the NL East race when the Braves beat Washington earlier in the day to increase their lead in the division to 10½ games over the Nationals.
Philadelphia fell 3½ games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card spot and also trails the Brewers and Mets.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez had a season-high 12 strikeouts for the defending World Series champions, who entered the night 10 games out of a postseason berth.
Mitch Moreland led off the ninth with a single off Hector Neris (3-6) and Christian Vázquez ripped a single to left-center, sending pinch-runner Chris Owings to third. Shortstop Jean Segura made a leaping catch on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hard liner but pinch-hitter Brock Holt walked to load the bases. Benintendi then sliced a fly ball to left that scored Owings to put Boston up 2-1.
Matt Barnes (5-4) tossed a scoreless eighth and Brandon Workman finished for his 16th save in 22 tries.
Rodríguez allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Phillies ace Aaron Nola gave up one run and four hits, striking out nine in seven innings.
Nola took a two-hitter into the seventh before running into trouble. Rafael Devers walked to start the inning and J.D. Martinez singled up the middle. After Moreland struck out, Vázquez drove a double off the wall in left-center to score Devers.
Nola then walked Bradley to load the bases but Gorkys Hernández grounded into a third-to-home forceout. Red Sox manager Alex Cora elected to keep Rodríguez in the game and Nola struck him out to end the inning.
But Rodríguez surrendered the lead in the bottom half.
Bryce Harper led off with a single and César Hernández hit a two-out single. Rodríguez hit Adam Haseley with a pitch to load the bases and Maikel Franco walked on a 3-2 pitch, forcing in the tying run.
Josh Taylor replaced Rodríguez and struck out pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin to end the inning.
Nola retired the first 10 batters before Xander Bogaerts lined a single to right in the fourth.
Red Sox: OF Mookie Betts was scratched because of a sore left foot and Holt was scratched due to illness. Cora said Betts could return Sunday or Tuesday.
Phillies: LF Corey Dickerson did not start because of a sore left foot. He could return Sunday.
RHP Rick Porcello (12-12, 5.83 ERA) starts for the Red Sox and LHP Jason Vargas (6-7, 4.31) goes for the Phillies on Sunday. Porcello is 1-1, 2.77 in two career starts in Philadelphia. Vargas is 3-3, 3.48 in eight career starts vs. Boston.
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