Even on a night when the Red Sox had to cobble together a start from two pitchers, they continued to steamroll their opposition. Thanks to a five-run third inning, the Red Sox sailed to their eighth straight win, 8-4 over the Texas Rangers.
Four different Red Sox hitters knocked in two runs each in a balanced, 12-hit attack. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi combined for four hits, two RBI and three runs scored at the top of the lineup, and at the bottom, Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr. gave them the same output.
Hector Velazquez, filling in for the injured Brian Johnson, gave the Sox three innings of one-run ball, and was followed by rookie lefty Jalen Beeks, who allowed three runs in 2.1 innings.
9:38 Matt Barnes is on a great run. He hasn't allowed a run over his last nine appearances and he's struck out the last five hitters he's faced, dating back to an inning of work in Kansas City on Sunday.
9:00 That's it for Beeks, who last 2.1 innings and gives up some hard-hit balls, allowing four hits. He's responsible for two runners, with Workman coming in. Beeks still needs to work on his command before he can pitch successfully at this level.
8:39 Spectacular catch by Mookie Betts, who leaps up to take a two-run homer away from Nomar Mazara -- and then nearly doubles up Elvis Andrus at first. Incredibly, those catches are becoming almost routine in right field for Betts.
8:08 Nice last-minute campaign by Andrew Benintendi, who's on the ballot as one of the Final Five in the American League. He drilled a double to deep center to score a run, making him 11-for-16 with five walks in his last five games. Yowza.
8:00 That's probably the hardest-hit ball from Blake Swihart all season - a rocket of a ball into the triangle for a one-out ground rule double in the third.
7:56 Best guess is that three innings will be it for Velazquez, who has thrown 49 pitches, the most he's thrown since he threw 52 in relief against Seattle. Jalen Beeks, called up from Pawtucket earlier in the day, has been warming for a while and looks ready to handle the fourth.
7:28 Hector Velazquez sailed through the first four hitters of the night, but paid the price when he left a sinker up for Roughned Odor. The free-swinging infielder swatted the pitch into the right field seats to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
WHO: Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers
WHEN: 7:10 p.m.
WHERE: Fenway Park
WHAT'S UP: The streaking Red Sox have won seven straight and 14-3 in their last 17. They also have their biggest lead over the Yankees -- 2.5 games -- since April 30, when they led by three. Red Sox starters have allowed two runs or fewer in 23 of their last 33, while the offense is ranked in first in runs per game (5.37), OPS (.798) and extra-base hits (342). The Rangers are 2-3 in their first five games of a 10-game trip and are just 1-4 against the Red Sox this season.
STARTING PITCHERS: RHP Hector Velazquez (6-0, 2.76) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-0, 5.87).
TV/RADIO: NESN/MLB; WEEI 93.7 FM
LIVE BOX: MLB Gameday
NEWS AND NOTES