BOSTON -- There were roars of "MVP" for Mookie Betts at various points in the Red Sox's 9-4 victory over the Rays on Monday, in which the 23-year-old right fielder clubbed his 30th home run. In the coming weeks, Rick Porcello could start to hear some "Cy Young" chants.
The sinkerballer improved to 18-3 and passed J.A. Happ (who pitches Tuesday for Toronto) as the winningest pitcher in the Major Leagues this season. Over seven innings, Porcello allowed six hits and three runs, walking none and striking out seven. Porcello's home dominance continued, as he became the first Boston pitcher since Dave "Boo" Ferriss in 1946 to start a season 13-0 at Fenway.
"You know, another quality start on his part," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "What's recurring is that the deeper he goes in the games, the more efficient and sharp he becomes. That was the case again tonight. Rick has been a model of consistency."
With the win, the Red Sox remained two games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East while increasing their lead in the AL Wild Card standings to two games over the Orioles.
The Red Sox were playing without Dustin Pedroia for the second straight night, as the second baseman attended funeral services for a family member. The rest of the offense more than picked up the slack. Brock Holt stepped in for Pedroia at leadoff and smacked three hits. Betts (homer, double, two RBIs), Travis Shaw (three hits, RBI), Hanley Ramirez (two runs, two hits) and Sandy Leon (two hits, two RBIs) also made key contributions.
"We just got beat tonight," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They found a way to get on base, key hits with guys on base, and it just piled up and it was very difficult for us to overcome."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mookie mashes No. 30: When Betts smashed his second-inning solo shot off a sign behind the Monster Seats, he became just the third player in Red Sox history to have 30 homers in a season before turning 24. Ted Williams did it in 1939 and '41 while Tony Conigliaro achieved the feat in '65.
"It impacted the game, and that's what I set out to do. It's pretty cool, hitting 30," said Betts. "But that's not the reason you play, obviously you want to win a World Series, that's first and foremost." More >
Two out at the plate: While the Red Sox scored twice in the second, the Rays twice cut down baserunners at the plate. Chris Young grounded to Evan Longoria with one out. Ramirez was on third and broke for home, but Longoria's throw to Wilson at home beat him for the second out. Later in the inning, Holt singled to left and Leon tried to score from second. Dickerson's throw from left field was on the mark, though, and Wilson tagged out Leon for the third out.
Shaw breaks out : It had been a tough few weeks at the plate for Shaw until Monday, when he came through with a 3-for-4 performance. He came into the game in a 4-for-44 rut before producing his first multihit game since Aug. 4. Shaw contributed a double, scored twice and had an RBI.
"Yeah, it's nice to go home at night and feel like you've contributed to something," said Shaw. "It's been awhile since that's happened. It just feels good to actually do something positive for the first time in a while."
Dickerson raking: Dickerson went 6-for-12 in the weekend series against the Astros. On Monday night, he hit a leadoff ground-rule double off Porcello in the fifth to give him a career-high 28 doubles this season. Dickerson also had a single Monday night, making him 8-for-16 in his past four games. Dickerson and hitting coach Derek Shelton have been doing extra work lately, and that work seems to be paying off.
"They put some good swings on some pitches. I just wasn't at my best. That's kind of what happens when you leave some elevated pitches up there to a good hitting lineup. They made me pay." -- Andriese, on his outing
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Porcello is the fifth MLB pitcher since 1913 to start a season 13-0 at home. He is just the third Red Sox pitcher to win 18 of his first 21 decisions, joining Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008) and Cy Young (1902).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the top of the fifth with one out and a runner on third, Forsythe hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Xander Bogaerts made a terrific backhanded grab, spun and threw to first. Forsythe was called safe at the bag, but Farrell challenged the call. After a one-minute, four-second review, the call was overturned but a run still scored. The Red Sox maintained their challenge.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.53 ERA) will make his 28th start, and he is 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA since the All-Star break. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Red Sox. First pitch is 7:10 p.m. ET.
Red Sox: Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who has been on a roll of late, gets the ball in the middle game of this three-game series. Pomeranz is still looking for his first win for the Red Sox at Fenway, where he is 0-1 with a 5.02 ERA in three starts.