Devers, Turner Lead Boston’s HR Derby; Red Sox Top Cubs 8-3 for 6th Straight Win
Rafael Devers hit two long solo homers off Kyle Hendricks, Justin Turner had a two-run shot and three RBIs in his first start at second base in nearly eight years, and the Boston Red Sox powered past the Chicago Cubs 8-3 on Friday for their sixth straight win.
Adam Duvall, Triston Casas and Yu Chang also went deep to help Boston win for the ninth time in 10 and climb six games over .500 (49-43) on a warm night at Wrigley Field with the ball carrying well.
“Obviously, today (the park) played pretty small here,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We hit the ball in the air and we got rewarded.”
Devers used the All-Star break to return to his home in the Dominican Republic. So did Friday's starter, Brayan Bello, who threw between outings at the Red Sox development academy there.
On a flight to Chicago, Devers kidded Bello he would hit two homers on Friday.
“We were just on the plane and having fun, laughing,” Devers said through a translator. “I jokingly said I'd hit two homers today, but it ended up happening.”
Devers, an All-Star the previous two seasons, said he used the time off to “chill." The slugger returned refreshed and boosted his season home run total to 22.
Bello tossed six innings for his fourth win in five starts, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking none. Bello (7-5) has reached six or more innings in seven straight outings.
Cody Bellinger hit a pair of solo drives. Christopher Morel had three hits and Mike Tauchman doubled in a run.
The Cubs loaded the bases against Tayler Scott in the ninth. Kenley Jansen fanned Tauchman for the final out and his 20th save with thunderstorms moving into the area.
Hendricks (3-4) allowed five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking none. The right-hander yielded four homers, all solo drives, for the first time since May 20, 2022.
“That guy (Devers) can hit, man. I'll tell you that,” Hendricks said. “Just puts really good swings on balls, man. Obviously, one of the best players in the league for a reason.”
Devers and Duvall crushed changeups from Hendricks in the second inning to put Boston ahead 2-0.
Devers launched a 417-foot drive to right-center. Duvall turned on a low pitch and sent it down the left-field line out to Waveland Avenue.
Turner made it 3-0 in the third with a sacrifice fly to deep right. Devers went deeper two pitches later, sending a blast to the base of the right-field video board.
Casas reached the basket in left in the fourth to make it 5-1. Bellinger’s first homer, in the bottom half, narrowed it to 4-2. He added his second of the game and 10th of the season in the sixth.
Turner’s towering drive to left-center in the seventh, his 14th homer, made it 7-3. Chang topped it off in the ninth.
Devers' fourth multihomer game this season was the 16th of his career.
Bellinger’s multihomer game was his first since Aug. 7, 2022, with the Dodgers. The fleet outfielder also has 16 in his career.
Turner started at second for the first time since Sept. 6, 2015, when he was with the Dodgers, then moved to first in the eighth. The 38-year-old Turner played second four times previously this season following an in-game position switch or as a late replacement.
Jed Hoyer, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, said his team needed to “make up ground on first place” in the NL Central “and make up ground on .500” before determining if Chicago would become a buyer or seller heading into the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Hoyer admitted he was frustrated with the Cubs' performance in the first half. “I think from a component standpoint, from a run-differential standpoint, we were a better team than our record,” he said.
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said RHP Corey Kluber (shoulder inflammation) will pitch in a rehab assignment “if everything goes well” on July 21, a month after the two-time AL Cy Young winner went on the IL …. RHP John Schreiber (teres major strain) was expected to pitch in a rehab appearance at Triple-A Jacksonville on Friday. LHP Richard Bleier (shoulder inflammation) is will toss there on Sunday. …LHP Chris Sale (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on July 18.
Cubs: SS Dansby Swanson (bruised left heel) has resumed hitting and throwing, but manager David Ross wouldn't predict a return date. … INF Nick Madrigal (right hamstring strain) has resumed jogging. … RHP Adrian Sampson (right meniscus) was set to pitch for Triple-A Iowa on Friday.
Boston LHP James Paxton (5-1, 2.73) faces Chicago RHP Marcus Stroman (9-6, 2.96) on Saturday afternoon.