Boston left fielder Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs to help lift the Sox to a 6-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon – a day after the Athletics scored seven runs on the Sox.
Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (16-5, 3.28 ERA) had another solid outing, pitching six innings, giving up five hits, one run, three walks and striking out five.
There was no scoring until the fifth inning where Boston scored two runs and ran away with the game when they pulled ahead of Oakland by five runs in the seventh inning.
Sox catcher Christian Vazquez got the offensive spark started in the fifth inning when he hit his fifth home run of the season – a solo shot.
First baseman Mitch Moreland and designated hitter Dustin Pedroia each added a run of their own while relief pitchers Brandon Workman, Robby Scott, Addison Reed and Joe Kelly all pitched in relief with Kelly surrendering a run which allowed the A’s to come within four runs.
Closer Craig Kimbrel came in to the game in the ninth where things got scary after he gave up a single followed by a walk to put two on with one out.
He settled down and didn’t allow the runners to score as he got the final two outs of the game on a flyout and strikeout to seal the win and earning Kimbrel his first save since Sept. 1.
Boston improved to 83-63 on the season while Oakland fell to 64-82. The magic number for the Red Sox to clinch the division is now 14 games – while a playoff berth can be clinched with nine more wins with 16 games left to play.
Game MVP: Andrew Benintendi: He went 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two doubles, scoring a run and collecting three.
Fun fact: Pedroia now has a 27-game hitting streak against Oakland – the longest ever by a Red Sox player against the franchise.
What’s on deck: The Red Sox fly to Tampa to start a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays (72-75) at Tropicana Field. Boston ace Chris Sale (16-7, 2.76 ERA) will take the mound to oppose Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.46 ERA).
First pitch is slated for 7:10 PM.