SEATTLE -- Chris Sale proved to be the perfect solution to a four-game Red Sox losing streak Wednesday, firing seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field to claim the three-game series finale.The Red Sox completed a 2-4 road trip to Anaheim and Seattle, during
SEATTLE -- Chris Sale proved to be the perfect solution to a four-game Red Sox losing streak Wednesday, firing seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field to claim the three-game series finale.
The Red Sox completed a 2-4 road trip to Anaheim and Seattle, during which Sale won the first and last games, with Wednesday's victory preserving Boston's one-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East at 56-47.
"I don't know if you gear up [more], but you definitely want to shorten those [losing streaks] as much as we can," said Sale. "We've been playing well and have just been on the wrong side of it a couple times. Heading into an off-day, a long flight home, it's nice to get this one."
Sale allowed just three hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts in a 115-pitch outing, as he upped his record to 13-4 with a 2.37 ERA and extended his scoreless streak to an MLB-leading 21 2/3 innings. In three starts since the All-Star break, Sale hasn't allowed a run over 20 2/3 innings.
"We're watching one of the better years ever pitched by a Major League pitcher in the American League, and we're fortunate it's in our uniform," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The fact is, we were coming off a four-game losing streak, and, yeah, he stops it right there."
Mariners rookie Andrew Moore fell to 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA, as the 23-year-old gave up four runs -- on a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly in the second inning, a homer by third baseman Rafael Devers in the third and a two-run shot by catcher Sandy Leon in the fourth -- in his 6 2/3-inning performance. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of doubles, and the highly touted Devers also went 2-for-4 in his second Major League game.
"The home run ball continues to get him a little bit," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Moore, who has surrendered 11 long balls in the first 36 2/3 innings of his career. "After the two-run homer to Leon, the mistake he made there with the curveball, he settled in and got [nine of] the next 10 guys out. He's learning. I certainly like his competitiveness and how he goes about it. He just didn't have that pitch to finish them today, and the home run ball got him."
Left fielder Ben Gamel had two of Seattle's five hits and extended his hit streak to 13 games. The Mariners have won eight of 13 games since the All-Star break, but missed another chance to push past .500, as they dropped to 51-52.
• Series provides Mariners good barometer
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Devers does it: The Red Sox's top prospect -- and No. 4 prospect in all of baseball, per MLBPipeline.com -- made his first Major League hit memorable, as he blasted a 2-1 fastball from Moore over the fence in dead center, which isn't an easy reach at Safeco. Statcast™ projected the poke at 427 feet with an exit velocity of 108.5 mph. At 20 years and 275 days, Devers became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run since Tony Conigliaro in 1965.
"It was surreal," said Devers. "When I got back to the dugout, I could barely walk, to be honest with you. I was just so happy about it. But it was a good moment." More >
No Sale for Seattle: The Mariners rarely threatened Sale, and when they did, the 28-year-old quickly slammed the door. One of Seattle's best chances came in the third when Jean Segura laced a one-out double to left. But Sale immediately struck out Gamel and Nelson Cruz and proceeded to notch his 14th game of the season with double-digit strikeouts, the most any pitcher has had in a season since Randy Johnson (15) and Curt Schilling (14) for the D-backs in 2002. Sale leads the Majors with 211 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings.
"There's a reason Sale has been probably the most dominant starter in the American League, and we saw it today," Servais said. "We created a couple opportunities. I thought the double by Segura that inning might get us going, but he just dialed it up another notch after that."
"I think we're all seeing what Ben Gamel can do on an everyday basis against the best pitchers in the league. He hangs in there. It was [Yankees left-handed closer Aroldis] Chapman last series. Today it was Sale. It doesn't get any tougher for a young left-handed hitter. Ben doesn't back off. He's got a good swing, and when he's on time, he can hit a lot of different pitches in the zone. He's not intimidated by anybody out there." -- Servais on Gamel, who is hitting .324 as a rookie
"That was big. That was a big-boy fly. First hit being a homer, and to dead center at that, that was not a cheap shot. It looks like he's having a lot of fun." -- Bradley, on the first career hit and homer by Devers
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gamel extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a sixth-inning single off Sale, and he earned this one, finally winning a 10-pitch battle against the tough lefty with a flare to right-center off a 97-mph fastball. Gamel is hitting .358 (29-for-81) against left-handers, the top average in the Majors by a left-handed hitter against southpaws.
Devers became the youngest player to hit a homer in the Majors since Carlos Correa on June 23, 2015.
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price opens a 10-game homestand for the Red Sox when he faces the Royals for the first time this season on Friday night. Price has pitched well at Fenway this season, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts. He is 4-0 with 2.14 ERA in his career against the Royals. First pitch will be at 7:10 p.m. ET, and infielder Eduardo Nunez is expected to make his debut after being acquired in a trade with the Giants on Tuesday.
Mariners: After an off-day on Thursday, Ariel Miranda (7-4, 4.30 ERA) opens a three-game series against the Mets on Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT. He'll face right-hander Rafael Montero (1-7, 5.19), as the Mets make their first visit to Safeco since 2014.
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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.