BOSTON — The Red Sox have gotten occasional good pitching performances and plenty of good hitting performances this season. On Saturday, they got both.
Joe Kelly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start since April 19, and Mookie Betts clubbed two home runs as part of a nine-run offensive outburst as the Red Sox cruised to a 9-1 win over the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Kelly carried a perfect game into the fifth inning and looked sharp in his return from the disabled list, while the offense got at least one hit from seven different players, including Jackie Bradley Jr., who extended his hitting streak to 26 games.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
This contest wasn’t even close. Red Sox mashed their way to nine runs on 13 hits, while the Indians tallied just one run on two hits and managed just six baserunners all game.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Betts blasted a grand slam onto the Green Monster in the seventh inning.
Betts’ second career grand slam also was his second homer of the day and gave him a career-high five RBIs on the day. It also transformed a 5-0 Boston lead into a 9-0 gap — not that the Red Sox’s pitchers needed the extra padding.
ON THE BUMP
— Kelly was excellent in his return to the mound save for a minor blip. He retired the first 13 batters he faced and surrendered just one hit, a Juan Uribe double with two outs in the seventh that ended his outing after 104 pitches.
Kelly likely would have lasted longer if it wasn’t for a 30-pitch fifth inning in which he loaded the bases with three walks. Ryan Hanigan helped him escape that jam, as the Red Sox catcher made a great play to corral Kelly’s wild throw home on a Chris Gimenez ground ball and put his foot on the bag in the nick of time.
Kelly allowed no runs on one hit in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three. He threw 60 of his 104 pitches for strikes.
— Junichi Tazawa came on in the seventh to strike out Lonnie Chisenhall and end the Indians’ threat, then worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
— Heath Hembree allowed a solo homer to Carlos Santana with two outs in the ninth to spoil the Red Sox’s shutout bid.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox got all the runs they needed in the third inning with three runs generated by five consecutive hits. Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez did the damage with an RBI single and a two-RBI base-knock, respectively, while Betts started the offensive surge by ripping a one-out double off the Green Monster.
— Betts blasted a solo homer in the fourth inning to extend Boston’s lead to 3-0. The right-fielder was the star of the day, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored.
— Bradley extended his career-long hitting streak to 26 games with an infield single in the sixth inning that was upheld after an Indians challenge. It’s a good thing the Red Sox center fielder capitalized on that at-bat, because he was walked on 12 total pitches, twice intentionally, in three of his four other at-bats.
— Bradley’s free passes set up chances for Hanigan, but he couldn’t capitalize, stranding a total of five runners in his first two plate appearances.
— Hanigan was hit by a pitch in his third at-bat and exited the game with a left hand contusion. Christian Vazquez pinch-hit for him in the seventh and grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
— The Sox broke it open with a five-spot in the seventh thanks to Betts’ second homer of the day. Travis Shaw plated the other run of the inning after Blake Swihart drew a bases-loaded walk.
— Shaw went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, joining four other Red Sox (Betts, Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Ramirez) as players with multiple hits.
— Bogaerts (2-for-5, one RBI, one run scored) now boasts a 15-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in Major League Baseball behind a certain Red Sox teammate.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Life imitates art. Or something like that.
Rick Porcello will take the ball for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon in their series finale with the Indians. Cleveland will counter with right-hander Danny Salazar. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images