Brewers complete sweep of Red Sox
BOSTON — Last season, the Boston Red Sox were swept once in a three-game series, lost three in a row five times and never lost four straight games en route to winning the World Series.
That’s what makes the Milwaukee Brewers’ three-game weekend sweep at Fenway Park, capped by Sunday’s 4-0 win, pretty impressive.
“That shows the kind of team we have in this clubhouse,” righty Yovani Gallardo said after pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Sunday’s win, which capped Milwaukee’s first three-game sweep at Fenway Park since 1993. “The hitters they have ... it’s not an easy lineup, it’s definitely not an easy lineup.”
The Boston lineup collected nine hits off Gallardo (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and two relievers but failed to cash in on any of them in falling to 2-4 — after not spending a single day in 2013 under the .500 mark.
Gallardo talked in spring training about getting off to a good start, and he has — as have the rest of the rotation. The Milwaukee starters have pitched to a 1.65 ERA as the team is off to a 4-2 start.
“It’s been outstanding. Hopefully this is a sign that it’s going to be a great year on the mound, and I think it is going to be,” said manager Ron Roenicke. The manager, asked about sweeping the champs at Fenway, said, “It’s big. I think in 13 years coming here maybe we’ve won one other series. It’s really difficult here.”
Gallardo won a duel with Sox lefty Jon Lester (0-2 despite two strong starts). He left with second and third and two out in the seventh.
Zach Duke ended that threat. Tyler Thornburg pitched the last two innings as the bullpen capped the nine-hit shutout and a weekend that saw the relievers allow four hits and an unearned run in 11 2/3 innings.
Left fielder Khris Davis finished off his terrific series (8-for-15) with a double and bunt single, the bunt building Milwaukee’s two-run second inning against Lester, who retired 16 straight before Davis doubled and scored his second run in the seventh.
Lester left with a man on and one out in the eighth and Edward Mujica, the loser in relief on Friday, gave up an RBI single to designed hitter Aramis Ramirez.
“I thought he did another outstanding job for us,” manager John Farrell said of Lester. “He pitched into the eighth inning with only three runs on the board.”
Lester lost, 2-1, at Baltimore on Opening Day.
“It’s two outstanding games he’s pitched,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “It’s really tough on him. Hopefully the next time out we’ll help him a lot more.”
The Brewers, who pulled out last at-bat wins Friday and Saturday, took a 2-0 lead aided by Red Sox sloppiness in the second inning. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy led off with a double and took third when Lester and third baseman Jonathan Herrera couldn’t get together on Davis’ bunt. With first and third, Mark Reynolds dropped a single into short right that scored one run — a second run scoring when right fielder Daniel Nava allowed the ball to get by him.
Jeff Bianchi drove in the third run with a two-out single — his first hit in seven at-bats on the season. He added another later.
Farrell lost his first attempted challenge in the second inning, when right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was called out on a close play at first base.
Farrell’s team went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and is just 6-for-44 (.136) on the young season.
“We’ve had a difficult time bunching the hits together,” Farrell said. “We had a bunch of opportunities, but the ability to build an inning. They didn’t get into any trouble with base on balls.”
Milwaukee pitching didn’t issue a walk on Sunday and had three on Saturday night, all in the first five-plus innings.
NOTES: Boston placed 3B Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list with a right calf strain and recalled IF Brock Holt from Pawtucket.