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Price sharp, Xander excels as Sox beat Seattle

Southpaw hurls seven frames of one-run ball while shortstop wows with bat, glove
June 15, 2018

SEATTLE -- With a combination of power and command, David Price was marvelous on Thursday night at Safeco Field, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the sizzling Seattle Mariners in the opener of a four-game series.Price topped out at 96.3 mph and averaged 93.8 mph with his

SEATTLE -- With a combination of power and command, David Price was marvelous on Thursday night at Safeco Field, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the sizzling Seattle Mariners in the opener of a four-game series.
Price topped out at 96.3 mph and averaged 93.8 mph with his two seamer over seven brilliant innings, besting Felix Hernandez in a duel of former Cy Young Award winners.
Boston's veteran lefty scattered five hits and didn't walk anyone while allowing one run and striking out seven.
"Velocity-wise, yeah. Command, it was there, and then it wasn't, and then it was there again," said Price. "Whenever I really needed to make pitches tonight, I did, and that was good."
In his last seven starts, Price is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA.

"I'm just feeling better," said Price. "Everything is starting to feel better and better day in and day out, so we'll stick with what we've been doing and hopefully it continues in that direction."
Helping make the win possible was a strong, two-way performance from Xander Bogaerts. The shortstop smashed his 10th homer of the season -- matching the total he had in 2017 -- to snap a 1-1 tie with two outs in the sixth.
The shortstop also started two tremendous double plays, the latter of which ended the game, rescuing closer Craig Kimbrel from trouble and helping the flame-throwing righty pick up his 22nd save.
Jackie Bradley Jr. staked Price to a 1-0 lead when he smoked an RBI double into the right-field corner in the second. The Mariners got that run back on a sacrifice fly by Guillermo Heredia in the fifth.

After Bogaerts put Boston ahead, Price and the bullpen took it from there. The Red Sox are 4-0 on this 10-game road trip, and have a 48-22 record, putting them two percentage points behind the Yankees in the American League East. Seattle entered this series riding a four-game winning streak and a 15-5 mark in the last 20 games.
"It was good," said Price. "We've won a couple games in a row, they've won a couple games in a row and a couple of them have been walk-off wins. For us to be able to do that and Craig finishing that game the way that he did with first and second and nobody out, that was good."
The way Price has picked it up of late can only mean good things for the Red Sox.
"Outstanding," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "A few breaking balls, changeups, fastballs up in the zone, in and out. He won some battles. We've very pleased with the way he's throwing the ball. You see the velocity. He went seven. So, he's right where we want him to be."
Kimbrel weaves out of trouble: The Mariners have been the masters of the late-inning win of late, and looked like they were up to their old tricks again when Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz drew walks to open the ninth against Kimbrel. But Kimbrel made a nice recovery, striking out Kyle Seager on three pitches for the first out, capped by a 96.9 mph heater. Then he got the grounder he needed from Ryon Healy, and Bogaerts did the rest.

"He used that fastball up. This is a team that we feel we can exploit a few things. We can expand. We can go up and down. And he had Seager swinging up and away, kind of got him back in the groove," said Cora. "He didn't give in to Nelson. We were OK with it. The situation we're in, man at second, no outs, you can't let Nelson swing the bat there. It's either a strikeout or a walk, so it's a walk, and he made some good pitches to Seager and then we turn a good double play."
Price's streak of eight consecutive starts of at least seven innings pitched against the Mariners is the longest active streak in the Majors, surpassing teammate Chris Sale. Price has thrived against Seattle in his career, going 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in those eight starts.
Bogaerts starts and finishes DP: In the top of the sixth, Bogaerts gave the Red Sox the lead with his homer. In the bottom of the inning, Jean Segura spun a grounder toward the middle that Bogaerts made a sliding play on. In one motion, he tagged the bag with his glove for the force and then, from his knees, fired a strike to first for the double play.

"They made an adjustment with Segura," said Cora. "They switched coverage, him and [second baseman Eduardo] Nunez. He was in the spot, he got to it, and had the presence of mind just to get to the bag, get the lead runner first, and for him to be able to turn it -- that's a fast runner -- it was a great play."
"I was looking horrendous, man. I'm not going to lie. I was looking real bad. Fouled off some tough pitches, but no one thought I was going to hit it out. I don't even think I did. I was just trying to hit the ball in play, get on base." -- Bogaerts, on rallying back from 0-2 to hit his game-deciding home run

Despite taking a loss in his last start, Rick Porcello was solid, allowing five hits and two earned runs to the White Sox. Overall, Porcello has been strong this season, holding opponents to a .239 average. Lifetime at Safeco Field, the righty is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts. He'll face James Paxton at 10:10 p.m. ET on Friday.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.