Sox heat up late to top A's, closing in on goals

Sox heat up late to top A's, closing in on goals

BOSTON -- Andrew Benintendi hit lasers all day and Drew Pomeranz turned in yet another strong performance in his breakout season, lifting the Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the A's on getaway Thursday at Fenway Park.

Benintendi went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Pomeranz (16-5, 3.28 ERA) cruised (six innings, one run, five strikeouts) while moving into a tie for the American League lead in wins, while counterpart Daniel Gossett took the loss after allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

"You look at the hits allowed, you look at the runs given up, the quality starts, the run of games he's been on for the better part of three months or more," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's been maybe our most consistent starter in our rotation for the better part of these three or four months."

Farrell on Pomeranz's outing

As they embark on their final road trip of the regular season -- a three-city venture against the Rays, Orioles and Reds -- the 83-63 Red Sox have a three-game lead in the American League East.

"It's a big win," said Pomeranz. "Any team win we can get this late in the year, especially right now as we make the the final push, is a big win for us."

Benintendi's three-hit game

The Sox are five games behind the Astros in the chase for the No. 2 seed in the AL, which would determine home field in an AL Division Series between the two clubs. Interestingly, the Red Sox and Astros close the regular season with a four-game series at Fenway Park.

After Pomeranz exited with a 3-1 lead, Addison Reed got himself into trouble in the seventh, putting runners at second and third with one out. But the righty setup man got out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Bruce Maxwell and Chad Pinder.

Reed strands the bases loaded

"I'm just out there doing my job, trying to get outs," said Reed. "Kind of left a slider over the middle of the plate for the double right there, but my mindset didn't change. I was trying to get two outs before any runs scored, and it worked."

"We had some opportunities and some baserunning mistakes that cost us a chance to score some more runs," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But our at-bats all the way to the end are still pretty good. They're still grinding."

The Red Sox provided three insurance runs in the seventh, two of them coming in on a line-drive single up the middle by Benintendi.

Healy's solo home run

Canha runs A's out of rally: On the same play in which the A's took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to left by Josh Phegley in the top of the fifth, they also lost some momentum. Because it was obvious the run was going to score easily, third baseman Rafael Devers cut off the throw to the plate. Noticing that Mark Canha was caught between second and third, Devers fired to second. Canha wound up taking off for third, and he was tagged out by shortstop Xander Bogaerts to end the inning.

Red Sox nab Canha in a rundown

"He knows. He's just trying to do a little too much there," Melvin said. "He's already in scoring position and just trying to be way too aggressive. He knows he made a mistake."

Vazquez mashes one over Monster: Christian Vazquez continued his habit of coming through in the clutch when he unloaded for a towering solo shot against Gossett that went over everything in left field to tie the game at 1. The shot led off the bottom of the fifth and came right after Canha had been caught on the basepaths. The catcher continues to be a force at Fenway this season, where he is hitting .375.

Vazquez's solo homer

"I love it, man. I love Fenway. I love the crowd. We have good support here from the fans," Vazquez said.

"Brock Holt taped the bottom handle of my bat with some Lizard Skin. My hand slips off the bat sometimes. When he does that, it tends to stay on, so you can give credit to Brock Holt," -- Benintendi, on the key to his most recent hot streak More >

Of the seven homers Vazquez has hit in his career, six have tied the game or given the Red Sox the lead. Six of the homers have come at Fenway. The Red Sox are 7-0 when Vazquez goes deep.

A's: The A's will head to Philadelphia for the first time since 2011 to take on the Phillies in a three-game Interleague set beginning Friday. Right-hander Daniel Mengden will be on the mound in the 4:05 p.m. PT opener at Citizens Bank Park, six days after holding the Astros to two earned runs (three total) in six innings in his first big league start since June 3.

Red Sox: Ace Chris Sale opens a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field when he takes the ball on Friday night. Sale has dominated the Rays this season, going 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts. The series kicks off a three-city, nine-game journey that will mark the final road trip of the regular season for the Red Sox.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.