TORONTO -- Boasting a lineup that is relentless and deep, there is simply no cooling off the Red Sox these days. They have won six in a row, 10 of 11 and 25 of 30.In Wednesday night's 10-5 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, everyone in the lineup
TORONTO -- Boasting a lineup that is relentless and deep, there is simply no cooling off the Red Sox these days. They have won six in a row, 10 of 11 and 25 of 30.
In Wednesday night's 10-5 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, everyone in the lineup but Jackie Bradley Jr. had at least one hit.
After building the early 4-0 lead, Boston chipped away the rest of the night. The Red Sox own an 81-34 record for a .704 winning percentage, and have a nine-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East.
This team isn't just the best in MLB this season, it is joining some rarified air. The Red Sox are just the seventh AL team in history to win 81 of its first 115 games. Four of the first six went on to win the World Series.
But Boston is still too focused on its accomplishments to be impressed by them.
"It's just fun. I don't think anybody is thinking much of it," right fielder Mookie Betts said. "I think we're just going out and playing, and that's all we can do."
J.D. Martinez led the attack with three hits to raise his average to .332. Rafael Devers made a strong return from the disabled list, belting a two-run homer and adding a double that sparked a four-run rally in the third inning. Andrew Benintendi, who is quietly having a strong sophomore season, smacked a pair of doubles and walked twice.
Mitch Moreland continued to demonstrate that he is over his recent slump with a two-run double. Xander Bogaerts added three RBIs.
"It's good, especially when Andrew is getting on base at this pace again, and Mookie's getting on base, J.D. is getting on base," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We can put Mitch in between Andrew and J.D. and create more traffic for him. He's been putting good swings the last two days. You see Xander doing his thing."
The beneficiary of the run support was winning pitcher Christopher Johnson, who again came through during a spot start. Though Johnson's overall line (seven innings, six hits, five runs, two walks, six strikeouts) wasn't glittering, he had a shutout going through five and had only allowed two runs through six innings. In the seventh, the Blue Jays got a three-run homer from Randal Grichuk to make it an 8-5 game.
"He did an outstanding job," Cora said of Johnson. "I know they scored five runs and people are going to say, 'Why did he pitch the seventh?' but we needed a seventh. We were in the bullpen and for him to go seven innings, that was excellent for us."
But the Red Sox increased the spread back to five runs in the eighth when Martinez got an RBI single and Benintendi scored on a wild pitch.
"Obviously, you don't want to go out there and give up five, but as long as the team gets the 'W,' that's honestly all that matters," Johnson said.
As for those W's, they just keep piling on top of each other.
"It's good to see, obviously," Cora said. "We know what we're doing, but like I said, we win today, we talk about it, we move on, we show up tomorrow and we play hard again."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sudden impact: Devers didn't take long to reintroduce himself to his teammates. After missing 10 days with a left hamstring injury, the third baseman showed no rust by smashing a double in his first at-bat and then unloading for a two-run homer in the sixth that left his bat at an exit velocity of 109.2 mph and traveled a projected distance of 425 feet according to Statcast™.
"It's cool to see him around," Cora said. "He brings a lot of joy to the game, a lot of smiles in the clubhouse. Everybody's happy; he's like the little brother. For him to go out there and perform, it's good to see."
In a lineup that includes Betts and Martinez, it's easy to see why Benintendi can get overlooked. But his contributions continue to add up. The left fielder is hitting .398 in his past 24 games. He has 41 multi-hit games this season.
HE SAID IT
"A little bit, yeah. In some ways, there's laughing and joking more. And in some ways, we're focused on the task more. It's kind of that balance of enjoying it but making sure you get your job done, too." -- Betts, on the difference in the clubhouse between last season and this one
Coming off the best start of his career, a complete-game one-hitter against the Yankees that required just 86 pitches, Rick Porcello (14-4, 3.84 ERA) is back at it again Thursday night when he closes out this three-game series for the Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Porcello has faced the Jays three times this season, going 1-1 with a 7.47 ERA. That line is skewed by Porcello having his worst outing of the season (two innings, eight runs) against the Blue Jays on July 13. Toronto will counter with lefty Ryan Borucki (1-2, 2.30), who is having a strong rookie season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.