Sale strong again for 5 IP, Red Sox beat Rangers 6-0
Chris Sale pitched five shutout innings in his second outing since Tommy John surgery to help Boston beat the Texas Rangers 6-0 on Friday night and bounce back after the Yankees swept the Red Sox and knocked them into third place.
Xander Bogaerts homered and the Red Sox, who led the division on July 30, pounded out six doubles after returning to Fenway Park in third and out of playoff position. The Yankees also won, leaving the Red Sox 1 1/2 games behind New York in the AL wild-card race.
"That series got away from us," Sale said. "To be able to come here and post up and get us back on track, that's what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to win games."
Sale (2-0) threw 71 pitches, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out five for his second win in two starts since returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery. Manager Alex Cora said he would have gone back out after an eight-pitch fifth but the bottom half ran long, with Boston scoring three runs to take a 5-0 lead.
"It was just taking care of him right," Cora said. "This is April for him. There's more in the tank. We know that."
Sale also said it was like his usual progression to come out of spring training and get ready for the season.
With one big change:
"It's a little bit different hitting the ground with the tires already spinning. Not one part of me doesn't love that," he said. "I'm glad it's sink or swim. I live for the fact that it's do or die.
"I just have to pitch well for us to success. Not just me, but everybody on this team," Sale said. "We don't have the luxury of saying we have time. We've got to go. I enjoy that part."
Bogaerts singled in a run in the first inning and then hit a solo homer in the fifth. Kyle Schwarber followed with a walk, J.D. Martinez doubled and Alex Verdugo hit a two-run double to make it 5-0 and chase Dane Dunning (5-8).
The Rangers right-hander allowed five runs on nine hits, a hit batter and a walk in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out one.
Andy Ibáñez had two hits for Texas.
RIGHT OF WAY
Kiké Hernández had a pair of hits and drove in two runs for Boston and also was part of a scary play in the baseline in the fourth inning.
With runners on first and third, Yonny Hernandez popped a bunt attempt toward Hernández. When the Red Sox second baseman moved up to field it, he collided with Yohel Pozo as he tried to advance.
Pozo was called out for interference and Jonah Heim, who scored on the play, was sent back to third.
Rangers center fielder DJ Peters made a leaping catch at the Green Monster on Rafael Devers' fly ball in the fifth inning. Peters had a little bit of room but timed his leap perfectly to grab the ball before crashing into the manual scoreboard.
The catch received applause from Dunning, and even the Red Sox crowd interrupted a "Yankees Suck!" chant to acknowledge it.
Brock Holt played in front of fans at Fenway Park for the first time since leaving the Red Sox as a free agent after the 2019 season. Holt played third and batted leadoff, popping out on a foul to third on the first pitch of the game.
The Red Sox played a tribute video before the top of the second. Holt received a standing ovation and tipped his hat to the crowd.
Holt was a member of Boston's 2018 World Series championship team, and in the AL Division Series that year he became the first player in major league history to hit for the cycle in a playoff game.
Rangers: Placed RHP Joe Barlow on the 10-day injured list with a blister on his right index finger, and placed INF Charlie Culberson in the COVID IL.
Red Sox: Martinez fouled a ball off his left leg in the third inning. The training staff came out to talk to him but after flexing it around for a few minutes, he remained in the game.
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6) faces Texas' Jordan Lyles (5-10) on Saturday. Sunday's game is in jeopardy due to the approach of Hurricane Henri.