Chris Sale's final start of the first half was merely a continuation of the run of starts he's been on for the last five weeks.
Sale tossed seven shutout innings, striking out a dozen and walking just one, while the Red Sox used an unearned run, a two-run double from J.D. Martinez and a run-scoring triple from Xander Bogaerts to beat the Texas Rangers, 4-2 for their ninth straight win.
Things got a bit hairy in the eighth when the Rangers used three hits, a walk and a wild pitch to get a run and load the bases off Heath Hembree. Craig Kimbrel walked in another run before fanning Joey Gallo to end the inning. Kimbrel then retired the side in order in the ninth for his 28th save.
9:49 Tough outing for Heath Hembree, who allows and a run and fills the bases, requiring Craig Kimbrel to come in for the eighth in a game the Sox led by four not long ago.
9:19 Yet another start for Sale in which he's throwing fastballs in the upper 90's in his final inning of work. Second pitch to Joey Gallo was clocked at 98 mph.
8:43 This start is far different than Sale's last two, in this respect: the last two times out -- in NY and again in KC, he got a lot of early support and led 4-0 before he threw a single pitch. Not the case tonight, where it was scoreless for an inning and a half and a one-run game ever since.
8:25 Ageless Bartolo Colon has the Red Sox pounding the ball into the ground - eight outs via the ground in the fourth inning.
7:50 The Rangers brought the infield in with a runner on third and one out in the second. Can't blame them, I guess, with Chris Sale on the mound. But the strategy backfires when Eduardo Nunez hits a popup to shallow center, and a twisting, turning Roughned Odor can't track it down. Balls falls in for an error, run scores.
7:40 It's early yet, of course, but Sale's slider is even more devastating than usual, with a huge horizontal break to it. Several Rangers have flailed away with futility already.
WHO: Red Sox vs. Rangers
WHEN: 7:10 p.m.
WHERE: Fenway Park
WHAT'S UP: The Sox are in the middle of their third winning streak of at least eight games this season, having won 13-of-15 and 15-of-18, en route to the best record in baseball. They've also won their last five in a row against the Rangers and 11 of their last 13 in head-to-head meetings. The Rangers, meanwhile, are 2-4 in their last six games and have lost five of their last eight.
STARTING PITCHERS: LHP Chris Sale (9-4, 2.36) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (5-6, 4.65).
TV/RADIO: NESN/ESPN; WEEI 93. FM
NEWS AND NOTES