Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

Bosox build on AL East lead

BALTIMORE — Rick Porcello and the Red Sox appear poised to extend their late-season charge deep into October.

Porcello pitched a four-hitter, David Ortiz and Mookie Betts hit two-run homers and Boston beat the Orioles 5-2 on Monday night to pad its AL East lead.

Coming off a four-game sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox extended their surge in the opener of an important four-game series for both clubs. Boston has won 10 of 13 and stands atop the division by a season-high four games.

"It's never over until it's over, but we're definitely going to try to increase the gap between us and them," Porcello said.

Adam Jones homered and Mark Trumbo had an RBI double for the second-place Orioles, who started the day with a one-game lead over the Blue Jays for the top AL wild card.

"We've got three more here against" the Red Sox, Baltimore's Manny Machado said. "We'll just put it on a track where we need to be."

Boston's goal over the next three days will be to put away the Orioles for good.

"We're going to try," Ortiz said.

Porcello pitched his third complete game of the season and threw only 89 pitches, 65 for strikes. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 11 straight starts.

"When it's his day on the mound, he sets the tone for us," manager John Farrell said. "Did once again."

Betts put Boston up 2-0 with a homer in the third. It was his eighth home run in seven games at Camden Yards, most in a season by a Red Sox player in a visiting ballpark since Jimmie Foxx hit eight in St. Louis in 1939.

ROYALS 8, WHITE SOX 3: Yordano Ventura pitched a complete game, Kendrys Morales hit a three-run homer and host Kansas City won its third straight, keeping its faint playoff hopes flickering with 12 games left.

CUBS 5, REDS 2: Dexter Fowler hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the seventh inning for host Chicago. Fowler's line drive into centerfield capped a three-run rally for the Cubs after they were shut down by Tim Adleman most of the night. Former Ray Jason Hammel pitched seven solid innings for the NL Central champions.

MARLINS 4, NATIONALS 3: Giancarlo Stanton homered for host Miami, his first in eight games since returning from the disabled list. Stanton missed nearly three weeks with a groin injury.

BRAVES 7, METS 3: Aaron Blair pitched six solid innings, Freddie Freeman drove in three runs off a misfiring Noah Syndergaard and visiting Atlanta slowed New York's wild-card chase.

Around the league

METS: Left-hander Steven Matz, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 14 because of a shoulder injury, went through fielding and running drills and is on schedule to return to the rotation this week.

RANGERS: Rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo, out since Aug. 15 with a fractured left forearm, could return in time for the postseason, mlb.com reported.

YANKEES: The team will honor first baseman Mark Teixeira in a ceremony before the regular-season finale Oct. 2 against the Orioles. Teixeira, 36, announced in August his plans to retire after the season.

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