BOSTON — That’s more like it.
For the first time in nearly a month, the Red Sox sent their ace to the mound and got ace-like results, as David Price dazzled the Tampa Bay Rays over eight strong innings Sunday to lift Boston to a 4-0 win at Fenway Park.
The win completed a series sweep for the Red Sox, who have won six of their last seven games and enter Major League Baseball’s All-Star break 11 games over .500 with a 49-38 record.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox scored four runs in the first two innings and coasted from there, as Price stifled the Rays’ bats en route a relatively painless victory that took just two hours and 31 minutes.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
David Ortiz launched one over the Green Monster in the first inning.
Tampa couldn’t get anything going at the plate, meaning Big Papi’s two-run blast to cap off Boston’s three-run first inning was all the Red Sox needed to pick up the W.
ON THE BUMP
— Price finally returned to form in his final start before the All-Star break.
The left-hander’s only real trouble came during a 27-pitch first inning, which saw him surrender a double and hit a batter. After that, Price pretty much dominated his former team, scattering four hits over eight innings while racking up 10 strikeouts for the third consecutive start.
He hit two batters but walked just one, throwing 113 pitches to improve to 9-6 on the season and lower his ERA to 4.34.
— Brad Ziegler made his Red Sox debut in the ninth and looked impressive, striking out two batters in a quick 1-2-3 inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox jumped on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi right out of the gate, as Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits. Xander Bogaerts brought in Betts with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the game.
— David Ortiz extended Boston’s lead to 3-0 with a two-run, first-inning blast over the Green Monster. Ortiz’s 22nd home run of the season was the 525th blast of his career and his third in four games. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
— Betts had an excellent day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI single in the second to extend his season-long hitting streak to 11 games.
— Sandy Leon went 2-for-3 and enters the All-Star break with a .455 batting average through 60 plate appearances.
— Aaron Hill had his first tough day in a Red Sox uniform, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
TWEET OF THE DAY
These guys have set the gold standard for Boston so far this season.
The All-Star break is upon us, as Boston won’t play again until next Friday. The Red Sox will send six players to the All-Star festivities in San Diego, then return to action next weekend with a three-game set against the Yankees in New York.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images