Two things have been near-constant for the Boston Red Sox this season: winning games and Chris Sale mowing down opposing hitters.
Both were on full display Wednesday night.
The Sox completed their third straight series sweep and won their ninth consecutive game as they beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 in the series finale at Fenway Park.
Sale punched out 12 batters in the victory, upping his season total to an insane 188 as he made his last start before the All-Star break.
With the win, the Red Sox climb to 65-29, while the Rangers fall to 40-54.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
Wednesday’s win was all about the starter as he continued his trend of dominating the opposition.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale earned his 10th win of the season as he tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out 12 while allowing six hits and one walk.
Although he allowed his share of hits, the Rangers hardly made the ace sweat. Multiple runners reached base in an inning just once all night, as Sale overmatched the Texas lineup all night long.
Everything in Sale’s arsenal was working for him. His fastball hit 99 mph on multiple occasions, and his slider was biting and fooling hitters left and right.
— Heath Hembree entered in the eighth and found himself in some trouble. Elvis Andrus hit a one-out single, but got to third during the next at-bat after he stole second and advanced again on a wild pitch. Nomar Mazara brought Andrus in with a single to right that just got past Holt at second base, cutting Boston’s lead to 4-1. Rougned Odor followed that up with a two-out double that moved Mazara to third. Hembree then walked Jurickson Profar to load the bases and spell the end of his night.
— Craig Kimbrel entered with a three-run advantage and two outs with the bases juiced in the eighth. The closer immediately brought in a run by walking Robinson Chirinos on four pitches, which trimmed Boston’s lead to 4-2. But he responded by striking out Joey Gallo to end the inning.
Kimbrel slammed the door in the ninth, striking out the side to earn the save.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— A stroke of luck in the second inning put the Sox on the board first. Xander Bogaerts began the inning with a single, then moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. Brock Holt pushed Bogaerts to third with a groundout to second. Then Eduardo Nunez lofted a fly ball to shallow right, but Odor couldn’t track it down, with the ball dropping and scoring Bogaerts to make it 1-0.
— Boston proceeded to give itself a comfortable advantage in the fifth. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi hit one-out singles, with both coming in on a J.D. Martinez double, upping their advantage to 3-0. Two batters later with two down, Bogaerts clubbed a triple that scored Martinez from first and give Sale a four-run cushion.
— Bogaerts led the Sox with three hits.
— Betts, Benintendi and Nunez had a pair of base knocks each.
— Martinez and Sandy Leon each registered one hit.
— Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Holt went hitless.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Red Sox will begin a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. David Price is set to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by J.A. Happ. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
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