BOSTON -- For each victory by the Red Sox this season, an action shot has been posted in manager Alex Cora's office to serve as a lasting memory of what went right that particular day.You can be sure that David Price will be the player pictured from Wednesday night, when
BOSTON -- For each victory by the Red Sox this season, an action shot has been posted in manager Alex Cora's office to serve as a lasting memory of what went right that particular day.
You can be sure that David Price will be the player pictured from Wednesday night, when he was masterful in leading the way to a 1-0 triumph vs. the Blue Jays that gave the Red Sox 100 wins in a season for the first time since 1946.
The last Red Sox pitcher to win the 100th game of the season for the club was the late Dave "Boo" Ferriss. Seventy two years later, Price earned that distinction, stifling the Blue Jays over seven marvelous innings in which he allowed three hits, walked none and struck out seven.
"Pretty crazy," said Price. "As a storied franchise as the Red Sox are, that's pretty cool. They've had a lot of really good teams here and to be in that same conversation with those teams, that's a lot of consistency."
Speaking of consistency, this latest performance was the continuation of what has easily been Price's best stretch in three years with Boston. In his nine starts since the All-Star break, Price is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA. He continues to own Toronto, improving to 21-3 lifetime against his former team.
The surge by Price couldn't have come at a better time, given that ace Chris Sale has pitched just six innings since the start of August due to left shoulder inflammation.
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"I have heard and read what David had to say about this is the guy the organization signed a few years ago and he's here now, and you can see he's in control," said Cora. "He's under control the whole time out there. Inside part of the plate, outside part of the plate, changeup, fastball up, he's been amazing and he's been very important. You lose one of your horses and the other guys have to step up. It's not that he had to but he did -- and he's been great."
The changeup was a top weapon for Price -- he threw 31 of them, generating 10 swings and misses.
"It was a very big pitch," Price said. "Being able to throw it if I was behind in the count, or ahead in the count being able to locate it down, that's a big key for that pitch for me. To be able to execute that pitch, for the most part wherever I was trying to throw it, that was big."
A day after clinching a spot in the playoffs, the 100-46 Red Sox moved another step closer to the American League East title, reducing their magic number to seven after the Twins beat the Yankees, 3-1, at Target Field.
Boston is just six wins from establishing a new franchise record for wins in a season, which is currently held by the 1912 team.
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"The main goal now is to win 101," said Price. "Like I said, this team is real focused on today. Today is over, so we want to get to 101. That's what we've done all year long. That's why we have 100 wins right now. That's what we need to continue to do."
It was clear from the outset that Price had his very best stuff. He retired the first 13 batters he faced until Yangervis Solarte smacked a clean single with one out in the fifth.
Aaron Sanchez was also shutting down the Red Sox, but they were able to plate the lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth when Rafael Devers scored on a wild pitch.
The one run proved to be enough on a night Boston achieved a three-digit milestone.
"It's been fun," said J.D. Martinez. "We've played good ball all year. We've had our downs, we've had our ups, but I think the biggest thing is we've been consistent."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wright's escape: Cora went to knuckleballer Steven Wright as the eighth-inning guy, with the Red Sox clinging to that 1-0 lead. Wright started on shaky ground, serving up a double to Rowdy Tellez and walking Danny Jansen. But the righty buckled down and got the next three batters, giving a clean handoff to Craig Kimbrel, who recorded his 39th save in the ninth.
"Today was a little bit tough at first, but I was able to get the ball down," Wright said. "It sucks when you give up a double and walk a guy, but I knew I just had to bear down. It's one of those things. You can get in a lot of stuff, but get out of a lot of stuff."
Cora became the first manager to lead a team to 100-plus wins in his first year with a team since Felipe Alou (2003 Giants). Cora is the first rookie manager to win 100 games since Dusty Baker (1993 Giants).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the top of the fifth, Kendrys Morales hit one deep in the hole and Xander Bogaerts slid on one knee to field it. He then got up and made a cannon throw to first in time to get the the slow-footed Morales for the first out of the inning.
HE SAID IT
"Like I said yesterday, proud of the guys, proud of the medical staff, the organization, the coaches. It seems like everything was clicking in Fort Myers, [Fla.,] and we haven't deviated from the plan. We've been very consistent on a daily basis of preparing, going out there and playing. Don't get me wrong, 100 is 100, but we've got bigger goals, honestly. Today we got closer. We're getting closer to one of the goals and we've got to keep playing." -- Cora
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
It looked like Bogaerts might get a double in the bottom of the fourth when he laced one to left, and Teoscar Hernandez dropped it on the dive. As Bogaerts motored in, it looked like he might have gotten in under the tag of second baseman Devon Travis. However, Bogaerts was ruled out. Cora called for a challenge, but the initial call was upheld.
Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.64 ERA) will close out this three-game series against the Blue Jays when he pitches on Thursday night. Rodriguez was brilliant in his first start back from the disabled list and shaky in his second outing. He'll try to get back on track in this one against a team he has fared well against this season, going 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in three starts. The Jays counter with righty Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.