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Pearce, Martinez go deep in Sox' shutout of Rangers

Field Level Media
July 09. 2018 10:54PM
Boston's Steve Pearce reacts after hitting a two-run homer during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)



J.D. Martinez slugged a three-run shot for his major league-leading 28th home run, Steve Pearce added a two-run blast and the host Boston Red Sox blanked the Texas Rangers 5-0 to begin a three-game series Monday night.

Martinez also extended his majors lead in RBIs with 77. Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez (11-3) struck out five over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks to tie Rick Porcello for the staff lead in victories.

It was the seventh straight win for the AL East-leading Red Sox.

Rangers starter Mike Minor (6-5) gave up two runs on six hits and struck out four in a 5 1/3-inning loss.

Texas lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Pearce ripped a full-count pitch from Minor into the Green Monster seats in left field with two outs in the first inning. It was Pearce’s fifth homer of the season and his first in eight games with the Red Sox.

Robinson Chirinos tripled off Boston reliever Brandon Workman to lead off the seventh, but pinch hitter Joey Gallo struck out and Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus rolled back-to-back groundouts to end the rally.

Martinez clubbed his own Monster shot off Texas reliever Jesse Chavez with nobody out in the eighth.

Before the game, the Red Sox announced that catcher Christian Vazquez (right fifth finger fracture) will undergo surgery today to have a pin inserted and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Veteran righty Yovani Gallardo (3-0, 8.17 ERA) will start tonight’s game for the Rangers. The Red Sox did not announce a starter before the game, but righty Hector Velazquez (6-0, 2.76) is a candidate to make a spot start.

Moreland an All-Star

When the names of the five Red Sox All-Stars were revealed to the team, one particularly raucous round of applause could be heard from outside the closed doors of the visitors’ clubhouse.

It’s not that four Red Sox who already have been to at least one All-Star Game — Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Craig Kimbrel — didn’t generate a few claps.

It’s just that when a relatively unheralded yet popular 32-year-old veteran got the nod in the players and coaches vote, his teammates were especially thrilled.

After nine years in the big leagues, Mitch Moreland is an All-Star, and that was worth a standing ovation.

“A huge honor, something I didn’t know if it would ever be quite possible — definitely excited about the opportunity and appreciative of having that opportunity, I’m excited about it for sure,” said Moreland. “You can look around this clubhouse and it’s full of All-Stars, guys who have done it before and are having that kind of season this year. It’s huge to have everyone behind me. I’m appreciative of it.”

“Everybody got a round of applause but he definitely got the biggest — he deserved it,” said Betts, making his fourth appearance. “He deserves it, he’s put in so much work, he plays through so many injuries, to see him come out and make the team is definitely huge and definitely happy for him.”

Manager Alex Cora delivered the news before Sunday’s game and described the reaction as “a huge standing ovation.”

The reaction was earned, said Cora.

“(Moreland) didn’t start the season as an everyday player, he earned it,” said Cora. “We made a huge move (designating for assignment Hanley Ramirez) because we wanted him to play every day and he’s doing it. Out of all of them — and I’m very proud of all of them — but to tell the team that he’s an All-Star, that was amazing.”

Andrew Benintendi has a chance to go as well because he is one of five candidates in the Final Vote.

Sale will be attending his seventh Midsummer Classic and is just as giddy about being back on the AL team as one player can be.

“Every time — I could go to 30 All-Star games and I’d be excited to go to the 31st one,” said Sale. “It’s an honor. I know that this is something that does not happen every day, not everybody gets to experience this in their big league career. I’ll never take it for granted, I’ll never be unsatisfied with it. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s a lot of fun, too, I’ve enjoyed it. If you had told me when I was 12 years old I was going to take my dad and my two boys and my wife to an All-Star Game, I’d probably just laugh at you.”

If Houston manager A.J. Hinch decides Sale’s stats are a tad better than the Yankees’ Luis Severino — right now, that argument can be made — the lefty could become the first American League pitcher to start three All-Star Games in a row since Lefty Gomez started the first three games beginning in 1933.

“Just want to take the ball when they hand it to me — more important, just excited about going,” said Sale. “Doesn’t really matter where I pitch or anything like that. If they ask me, I will.”

This will be just the second ASG for Martinez, who went as a Tiger in 2015.

“It’s an honor, it’s one of those things where, I don’t know, you do well and you kind of hope everyone kind of sees it,” said Martinez. “It’s one of those things, you get noticed and it’s a humbling thing.”

Martinez and Betts will be in the starting lineup, Betts in the outfield, Martinez as DH. Martinez is happy to have company.


Red Sox/MLB