Red Sox hammer Cole, rout Yanks for another 3-game sweep

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The Yankees were hoping a faster start might help them find a way to slow down the rival Red Sox.

Instead, Boston beat up on their best pitcher on the way to posting its most-lopsided win of the series.

Kiké Hernández and Rafael Devers homered in the first inning as Boston hammered Gerrit Cole, routing New York 9-2 Sunday to complete a second straight sweep of its longtime rivals.

J.D. Martinez and Christian Vázquez also homered for the Red Sox. Boston outscored the Yankees 18-7 in the three-game series at Fenway Park, improving to 6-0 against them this year and improving to a season-best 16 games above .500. It was Boston’s first time sweeping New York in consecutive series since 2011.

With the Rays’ loss Sunday on the road to the Angels, the Red Sox moved back into first place in the AL East.

“All around probably the best series we’ve played the whole season,” manager Alex Cora said. “We played defense. We ran the bases well. We put pressure on them and we got timely hitting.”

Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4) was solid in earning his first win in nine starts. He gave up a two-run homer to Aaron Judge in the sixth but held New York to five hits and struck out eight in six innings.

“That’s what we’ve got to do with every team,” Rodriguez said.

Cole (8-4) allowed six runs on eight hits, including three homers, in five innings. He walked two, struck out six and threw a wild pitch.

Cole’s spin rates have slipped in recent starts, adding to speculation he’s had trouble adjusting to MLB’s recent crackdown on pitchers using substances to get traction on balls. He was checked by umpires for sticky stuff after giving up four runs and four hits in the first inning.

He said he was never able to locate his pitches where he wanted.

“I think everybody was well aware of the importance of the game,” Cole said. “It’s a pretty brutal feeling to let the team down like that.”

Boston quickly put Cole and the Yankees in a hole.

Hernández jumped on Cole’s first pitch of the game — a 96 mph fastball — and drove it just over the top of the Green Monster for his seventh home run of the season. It marked the first time Cole had allowed a homer on his first pitch of a game.

Alex Verdugo then doubled and Martinez drew a walk. Xander Bogaerts flied out, but three pitches later Devers got ahold of Cole’s 100 mph four-seam fastball and crushed a drive 450 feet into the right-field seats for his 19th home run of the season.

“That crooked number was hard for us obviously to overcome,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Never before in Cole’s nine major league seasons had he surrendered multiple homers in the first inning.

“After we scored those four runs, my mind was just go out there and put zero on the board,” Rodriguez said.

Things got worse in the third when Martinez sat on Cole’s knuckle-curve and roped his 15th home run of the year to straightaway center to make it 5-0.

Trailing 6-2. New York loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. But Garrett Whitlock struck out DJ LeMahieu looking and got Judge to pop out to shallow right.

Whitlock said he hopes this series can be a spark for the Red Sox moving forward.

“I think the statement is we’re here to win,” Whitlock said. “This isn’t just another year for the Red Sox.”

Dodgers 7, Cubs 1

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw racked up a season-high 13 strikeouts over eight dominant innings, and Zach McKinstry hit a grand slam in the second inning as Los Angeles beat Chicago.

Cody Bellinger homered in his second straight game and drove in three runs in the Dodgers’ third consecutive win over Chicago after four Cubs pitchers combined for a no-hitter in the series opener Thursday.

Kershaw (9-7) yielded four hits while flummoxing the Cubs with his slider, recording his highest strikeout total in a regular-season game since July 2017 and getting a season-high 25 swings and misses.

Javier Báez hit his 18th homer for the Cubs.

Athletics 6, Giants 2

SAN FRANCISCO — Cole Irvin struck out eight in eight innings to remain unbeaten in five June starts, and Oakland avoided a three-game sweep.

Matt Chapman had two hits and two RBIs for the A’s. Aramís García added a pair of RBI singles.

Buster Posey and Darin Ruf had two hits apiece for the Giants. San Francisco missed a chance to move 25 games over .500 for the first time since 2012.

Angels 6, Rays 4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shohei Ohtani hit his 25th homer and drove in three runs, and the Angels stopped a five-game losing streak.

Ohtani hit an opposite-field shot to left in the ninth against Pete Fairbanks. He also had a run-scoring double in the sixth and a tying RBI triple during Los Angeles’ two-run seventh inning.

Phil Gosselin put the Angels up 5-4 with his leadoff homer in the eighth against Matt Wisler (1-3).

Tony Watson (3-3) worked one inning for the win, and Raisel Iglesias got four outs for his 13th save.

Brandon Lowe and Ji-Man Choi homered for the Rays, who had won four in a row.

Twins 8, Indians 2

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer shortly after Cleveland right fielder Josh Naylor was carted off the field following a frightening collision with a teammate.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Naylor had suffered a broken bone, but didn’t say which one, and was being treated at a hospital.

Naylor and rookie second baseman Ernie Clement chased a popup in short right field in the fourth inning on a ball hit by Jorge Polanco. Naylor went flying after the collision and had his right foot catch underneath him, twisting the foot the wrong way.

Naylor writhed on the ground in pain and teammates immediately called for medical attention. His foot was placed in an air cast and he was taken off the field on a stretcher.

Andrelton Simmons and Josh Donaldson also homered for Minnesota, which has won seven of nine. J.A. Happ (4-3) pitched six innings of two-run ball.

René Rivera went deep for Cleveland, which has dropped five of eight.

Nationals 4, Marlins 1

MIAMI — Washington ace Max Scherzer allowed one run in six innings and passed two umpire inspections without a fuss.

Trea Turner and Josh Bell each hit a two-run homer in the sixth against Sandy Alcantara to break the game open. The Nationals earned a split of their four-game series.

Scherzer (7-4) struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.14. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who has been animated in his unhappiness about baseball’s recent crackdown on sticky substances, underwent two brief checks at the end of innings with no complaint.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 4

SAN DIEGO — Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a go-ahead double during San Diego’s three-run rally in the seventh inning, and the Padres took two of three against the team with baseball’s worst record.

Arizona routed San Diego 10-1 on Saturday to snap its record 24-game road losing streak. The Diamondbacks were looking to win consecutive games for the first time since May 10-11 and take their first series win since the season’s first month.

But Trent Grisham hit three doubles and the Padres broke loose late to finish a 9-1 homestand. Tim Hill (5-3) got the win, and Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his MLB-leading 24th save in 27 chances.

Arizona reliever Matt Peacock (2-6) got the loss.

Brewers 5, Rockies 0

MILWAUKEE — Keston Hiura homered, doubled and drove in three runs to back a sharp performance by Eric Lauer, and Milwaukee beat Colorado for its fifth consecutive victory.

Lauer (2-3) struck out six over six innings of two-hit ball.

Omar Narváez also went deep as the NL Central-leading Brewers completed a three-game sweep and improved to 26-9 in day games, the best mark in the majors.

The Rockies have lost six of seven. They dropped to 6-31 away from Coors Field for the majors’ worst road record.

Colorado right-hander Chi Chi González (2-5) allowed one run and three hits in five innings.

Phillies 4, Mets 2

NEW YORK — Zack Wheeler threw seven scoreless innings against his former team, and the Phillies beat the Mets for a split of their four-game series.

Wheeler (6-4), who signed a five-year deal worth $118 million in December 2019 after spending his first seven seasons with the Mets, allowed four hits, walked two and struck out eight.

Archie Bradley worked the ninth for his first save of the season.

Kevin Pillar homered for New York, and Pete Alonso had an RBI single. Marcus Stroman (6-6) permitted four runs, two earned, and five hits in three innings.

Braves 4, Reds 0

CINCINNATI — Atlanta’s Kyle Muller earned his first career victory, and Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley went deep for the Braves.

Muller (1-1) who was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, cruised through five innings, allowing one hit with a career-high nine strikeouts.

Acuña connected in the fifth, making it 3-0 with a solo drive to center for his 21st homer. Riley led off the sixth with his 13th homer of the season.

Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle (7-3) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2

BUFFALO — Toronto star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in two runs to raise his major league-leading RBI total to 66.

The Blue Jays tallied 12 hits in closing out a four-game series with their seventh win in eight games. Five of those victories came against the Orioles, who have dropped 16 of 18.

Ross Stripling (3-4) earned his first win in four starts, allowing two runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Jordan Romano got three outs for his sixth save.

Orioles starter Jorge López (2-10) was charged with five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Ryan Mountcastle hit his 13th homer in the first, breaking a streak of five games without a homer for the Orioles, their longest in nine seasons.

Pirates 7, Cadinals 2

ST. LOUIS — Pittsburgh’s Max Kranick pitched five perfect innings in his major league debut before a 64-minute rain delay forced him from the game.

In a season in which there have already been a modern-day record seven no-hitters, Kranick (1-0) made a bid for perhaps the most unlikely premiere pitching performance of all-time.

The 23-year-old righty, who had never pitched above the High-A levels of the minors until this season, set down all 15 batters he faced against a Cardinals lineup that included All-Stars Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina.

Gregory Polanco and Ben Gamel homered for the Pirates, who won have won six of nine following a season-high 10-game losing streak.

St. Louis had three hits in its sixth loss in seven games. Johan Oviedo (0-4) got the loss.

Rangers 4, Royals 1

ARLINGTON, Texas — Joey Gallo homered and Jordan Lyles pitched seven strong innings after getting bumped from the rotation for one start, helping Texas finish a three-game sweep.

The last-place Rangers have won three consecutive games for the first time since sweeping Houston at home from May 21-23.

Whit Merrifield had an RBI single among three hits as the Royals lost their fifth straight on a 10-game trip that matches their longest of the season. Brady Singer (3-6) allowed two earned runs in five innings.

Kansas City is 4-17 since a five-game winning streak that put the club three games over .500.

Lyles (3-5) allowed seven hits — all singles — and a run in his longest outing this year. Ian Kennedy earned his 13th save.

Tigers 2, Astros 1,

10 innings

DETROIT — Robbie Grossman’s squeeze bunt in the 10th inning drove in the winning run, and Detroit beat Houston for a split of their four-game series.

In the Houston 10th, Gregory Soto (4-1) walked leadoff hitter Chas McCormick with automatic runner Abraham Toro on second. Jason Castro sacrificed the runners over, but Jose Altuve popped out and Myles Straw grounded out.

Houston brought in Blake Taylor (0-2) for the bottom of the inning, with Akil Baddoo starting on second. Jonathan Schoop’s groundout moved the winning run to third for Grossman.

Grossman bunted Taylor’s first pitch to the third-base side of the mound and Baddoo beat Taylor’s desperate flip.

The Tigers (34-44) went 5-2 against the Astros (48-30) this season.

By Jim Ellis