By Ian Browne and Bill Chastain
MLB.com |@wwchastain |
BOSTON -- Rick Porcello turned in the type of strong pitching performance the Red Sox have lacked this season, firing seven strong innings en route to a 2-0 victory over the Rays on Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Mookie Betts was the Boston offense, belting two solo homers.
It was Boston's first win since April 29, and it snapped a four-game losing streak. Porcello has been the winning pitcher in the club's last two victories. Over those starts, he's allowed one run over 14 innings.
"We've got to step up as a staff and provide some stability for our offense," said Porcello, who struck out six and didn't issue a walk in his third victory. "It was a nice win. Hopefully it gets us headed in the right direction."
Rays lefty Drew Smyly was the tough-luck loser, giving up two hits and a run over six innings. The first hit Smyly allowed was a leadoff homer by Betts in the sixth that broke a scoreless tie.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Smyly goes five hitless: Smyly made his third start and held the Red Sox scoreless on no hits through five innings, but Betts broke the spell when he led off the sixth with a home run over the Green Monster. More >
Mookie's Monster shots: Betts hasn't had the start he was hoping for at the plate, but he's shown flashes of breaking out of it of late. His towering shot against Smyly hit a sign behind the Monster seats. Betts also went deep in the eighth off Ernesto Frieri to give closer Koji Uehara some breathing room in the ninth. In the fourth, Betts made a strong throw in center to double off Evan Longoria at second base in the fourth. More >
Kiermaier dazzles:David Ortiz launched a deep fly ball to the center-field triangle with no outs in the fourth. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier chased after the blast -- it traveled 408 feet and had an exit speed of 104 mph, according to Statcast™ -- jumped at the outfield railing and secured the ball in his glove for an out, bouncing off the wall as he did so. A smile flashed across Kiermaier's face, while Ortiz exhaled in apparent frustration. More >
Swihart adapting quickly: The fact that Porcello's seven shutout innings came on a night Blake Swihart was catching was good news for the Red Sox. With Christian Vazquez out for the season and Ryan Hanigan likely out until the All-Star break, Swihart has been thrust into an important role. He was in sync with Porcello all night.
"We talked a lot," said Porcello. "He did a great job back there. I had not thrown to him once. I didn't even throw a bullpen to him in Spring Training. We definitely talked a lot about our game plan and what we wanted to do to guys. He really did an outstanding job, especially not catching me before and facing big league hitters. Hats off to him. Nicely done." More >
"Any time [the ball is] hit to center, unless it leaves the park, I feel like he's going to catch it. He's so good out there, it's amazing. So, it's awesome to have him behind you." -- Smyly, on Kiermaier
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
At 22 years and 210 days old, Betts is the youngest Red Sox with a multihomer game since Jim Rice, who did it twice in 1975.
The Red Sox celebrated the 40-year anniversary of their 1975 American League pennant-winning team with a pregame ceremony. Carlton Fisk, who created the indelible image of waving his home run fair to win Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway, caught the ceremonial pitch from Luis Tiant. Fans received Fisk bobbleheads and the Red Sox wore 1975 throwback uniforms for the game. Just about every prominent member of the storied team participated in the ceremony along with Fisk and Tiant, including Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Rick Burleson, Cecil Cooper and Bernie Carbo. More >
Jake McGee pitched an inning of scoreless relief for Triple-A Durham on Tuesday night. The hard-throwing Rays left-hander could return to the back end of the bullpen by the next homestand.
In the top of the sixth, when Logan Forsythe took second on a wild pitch, Red Sox manager John Farrell challenged the call when it appeared Forsythe might have briefly come off the bag while being tagged. But the call was confirmed after a review of one minute, 17 seconds.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Alex Colome will make his second start in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET rubber game after throwing five scoreless innings Friday in his season debut against the Orioles. Though he's made relief appearances in between, Colome enters the start tied for the club record with three straight scoreless starts.
Red Sox: Right-hander Justin Masterson starts the finale of this three-game series. He is 2-7 with a 6.83 career ERA against Tampa Bay. With a win, the Red Sox would finish the homestand at 4-5.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.