Boston closes out a strong road trip with a Rick Porcello win and a sweep of Kansas City
(July 7, 2018 – Source: Brian Davidson/Getty Images North America)
The Red Sox entered game three of their early July series against Kansas City riding a 5 game winning streak. That streak would hold up Wednesday night, as the bats backed a solid 7 inning performance from Rick Porcello to guide the Sox to their second straight series sweep.
Boston opened up the scoring in the top of the third. Facing Royals starter Heath Fillmyer, the newly acquired Steve Pearce drove in Mookie Betts from third with a sac fly to left to grant Boston an early 1-0. The lead wouldn’t last, however. Drew Butera and Whit Merrifield knocked back to back singles and were both driven in by Jorge Bonifacio‘s fourth double on the year.
The back and forth scoring would continue in the early innings. Eduardo Nunez would tie the game on an RBI single the very next inning, but Kansas City soon reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth. After surrendering those first 3 runs, Porcello settled into a groove. He tied his season high with 9 strikeouts and earned his 11th win on the year, pitching through the seventh inning.
The player of the game was most certainly the red hot Andrew Benintendi. He went 4-5 on the day, his third four-hit game of his career. He started the day going 2-2, giving him 10 straight at bats reaching base. He scored 2 runs on the day. Benintendi had 6 hits overall in the series along with a homer, four walks, and seven runs scored.
The Red Sox really opened up the scoring in the seventh. After taking a 4-3 lead in the top of the 5th, they added 3 more runs to the lead. With Pearce on first and Benintendi on second, Mitch Moreland drove in Benny with a single to center. Xander Bogaerts then doubled, knocking in Pearce from third for his 54th RBI, his second on the day. Nunez capped off the inning with an RBI single, scoring Moreland from third, giving the Sox a 7-3 lead. The Royals were able to scratch across one final run in the bottom of the ninth on a Whit Merrifield RBI single. Merrifield had himself a day, going 5-5 with an RBI. It wasn’t enough for Kansas City, however, as they dropped ninth straight game. Craig Kimbrel came on with one out in the 9th to earn his 27th save of the year.
Boston (62-29) and Kansas City (25-64) are on polarizing streaks. The Sox earned their second straight series sweep along with their sweep of the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, the Royals have been swept by Seattle, Cleveland, and now the Red Sox in succession.
Steve Pearce had a solid game, filling in for J.D. Martinez at DH. He scored a run, drove in another, and added two walks. Since joining Boston, Pearce has been a productive contributor off the bench. He’s slashing .389/.389/.611 with four doubles. Having a reliable bat available in the dugout will be a great luxury down the stretch for the Sox as they head towards the second half of the season.