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Sox off to MLB's best start since 1987

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox's historic march through April continued Thursday with an 8-2 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium, as they completed a three-game sweep. Boston improved to 16-2, joining rare company in MLB history.

The Red Sox are just the seventh team in the mordern era (since 1900) to win at least 16 of their first 18 games. They are the first to do it since the 1987 Brewers. Of the four previous teams, two won the World Series -- the 1984 Tigers and the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers.

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ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox's historic march through April continued Thursday with an 8-2 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium, as they completed a three-game sweep. Boston improved to 16-2, joining rare company in MLB history.

The Red Sox are just the seventh team in the mordern era (since 1900) to win at least 16 of their first 18 games. They are the first to do it since the 1987 Brewers. Of the four previous teams, two won the World Series -- the 1984 Tigers and the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers.

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"Whatever the record is, and you read about it and think, 'Wow, this is impressive,' they aren't getting caught up in it," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "They show up every day and play. [Now], we go to Oakland, and it's the same goal: try to win the series."

10 amazing facts from Red Sox's historic start

This victory had a familiar theme, with Mookie Betts hitting a leadoff home run and the pitching staff taking charge. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up two runs on three hits over six innings.

Betts also hit a leadoff home run in Tuesday's series opener, when he had his third career three-homer game. It was his 13th career leadoff homer, extending his Red Sox record, and his sixth home run of the season.

Video: BOS@LAA: Betts belts 13th leadoff home run of career

"I feel good, and I'm just trying to get good pitches and swing it the right way," Betts said. "This offense, we kind of feed off each other, so I know that if I can get things started there, I know we're going to score some runs."

The hottest starts in MLB history

The Red Sox, who have won seven in a row, not only outscored the Angels, 27-3, in the series, but they batted .371. Their 11 home runs were the third most in a three-game series in franchise history, and their most since hitting a franchise-record 16 against the Yankees from June 17-19, 1977. And it's also the first time Boston has gone 16-1 over a 17-game stretch since Aug. 16-Sept. 3, 2004.

So what do the Red Sox make of it all?

"Nothing," Betts said. "It's three games. We played well. We're a good team, they're a good team. It's still early. We have to turn the page and get ready for the next series."

Video: BOS@LAA: Martinez lines an RBI double to left

After the Angels tied it at 1 on a Zack Cozart RBI single in the second inning, J.D. Martinez ripped an RBI double and Rafael Devers had an RBI single in the fourth, giving Boston a 3-1 advantage.

The Red Sox added two more runs in the sixth on an Andrew Benintendi solo home run and another RBI single from Devers. One night after hitting his first career grand slam, Devers went 3-for-3. Martinez also had three hits for the Red Sox.

"It's been awesome ever since the start of Spring Training, and it keeps it loose and we're having fun," said Benintendi, who went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. "Usually, when you do that, you play well."

Video: BOS@LAA: Benintendi rips a two-run single in the 9th

Mitch Moreland added a run for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Benintendi had a two-run single in the ninth.

The Red Sox have 24 homers in 18 games this season. Last season, they hit only 168 home runs, the lowest total in the American League.

"And the weather is not too good in Boston," Benintendi said. "I'm sure there were balls hit there that would have been home runs, if it wasn't freezing cold. I think it's just how it's been this year. I don't think it's been a mentality, or anything like that."

Cora is the first manager since 1900 to win 16 of his first 18 games in his first season with a club.

"We're playing quality baseball, and we're pretty good right now," Cora said. "We're pitching, and we're playing good defense. We're hitting the ball, and we're driving the ball. We're impressive on the bases. We're putting pressure [on the opponent] in every aspect."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Halting momentum: Just when it seemed the Angels had a bit of confidence against the Red Sox for the first time in the series, the Red Sox took back the momentum. After Los Angeles' Chris Young trimmed Boston's lead to 3-2 with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, Benintendi answered with one of his own in the sixth. Devers had an RBI single later in the inning to make it 5-2.

Video: BOS@LAA: Devers hits his second RBI single of game

SOUND SMART
Before this three-game sweep, the Red Sox were 6-14 in their last 20 games at Angel Stadium. Their last sweep in Anaheim was a four-game set in 2011.

HE SAID IT
"We work on every pitch [between starts], but I worked a little more on [the changeup], because the last couple of starts, I didn't use it that much. Today, it was working," -- Rodriguez, after earning his second win of the season

Video: BOS@LAA: Rodriguez gives up three hits in six innings

UP NEXT
The Red Sox continue their three-city, nine-game road trip when they open a three-game series at Oakland on Friday at 10:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz is set to make his 2018 debut after opening the season on the disabled list with a mild flexor strain in his left forearm. He won a career-high 17 games last season. Kendall Graveman will start for the A's.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Eduardo Rodriguez