BOSTON -- With a performance reminiscent of many from his American League Cy Young Award season of two years ago, Rick Porcello had the fans at Fenway Park roaring in the late stages of Thursday's gem, which resulted in a 6-3 victory for the 10-2 Red Sox in the rubber
BOSTON -- With a performance reminiscent of many from his American League Cy Young Award season of two years ago, Rick Porcello had the fans at Fenway Park roaring in the late stages of Thursday's gem, which resulted in a 6-3 victory for the 10-2 Red Sox in the rubber match of a three-game series against the Yankees.
"Excellent," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Changing speeds. Pitching in the bottom of the zone. Using his changeup. Elevating. Using both sides of the plate -- that was excellent."
The sinkerballer took a no-hitter into the seventh, but Aaron Judge ended the bid by leading off that frame with a rocket double (115.7-mph exit velocity) to center. Not to worry though, Porcello got right back on track from there.
After giving up an infield single to Giancarlo Stanton, Porcello struck out Gary Sanchez looking and Aaron Hicks swinging to cap a night that included two hits allowed, no walks and six strikeouts over seven innings. Porcello (3-0, 1.83 ERA) threw 99 pitches, 69 of them for strikes.
"He was attacking us," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "He was getting ahead early and I think that made the difference. He had a great night tonight."
"Changeup felt real good. Everything felt real good," said Porcello. "Sandy [Leon] called a hell of a game. Can't say enough about the pitch mix that he was putting down back there. We were on the same page. I was just trying to hit the glove."
The Yankees didn't muster anything offensively until the ninth, when Sanchez smashed a three-run double against Marcus Walden to slice the deficit to three runs. Cora then went to closer Craig Kimbrel, who got the final three outs to pin down his fourth save.
The only thing that could stop Porcello was rain, which delayed play for 45 minutes prior to the sixth. But that didn't faze him either. Porcello breezed through a 1-2-3 sixth with two strikeouts once play resumed.
Sensing something special could be happening, the Fenway faithful erupted when Porcello struck out Brett Gardner to end the sixth.
"I was staying loose on the bike, playing catch and doing anything I could to make sure I wasn't going to stiffen up or anything," Porcello said. "Tried to stay loose and go back out there."
Porcello was able to pitch with a lead for most of the night after the Red Sox put a four-spot on Yankees righty Sonny Gray in the bottom of the second.
By the third, it was 6-0, and the ineffective Gray was lifted just one batter into the fourth.
The only moment of concern in this one for the Red Sox was when Hanley Ramirez was smoked on the right wrist by a pitch from Gray in the bottom of the first and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative and Ramirez is day-to-day with a contusion.
The two rivals will renew acquaintances on May 8, when the Sox head to the Bronx for a three-game series.
This is the fourth time in Red Sox history the club has started 10-2, matching the teams from 1904, '18 and '52.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Jackie Bradley Jr. lofted what looked like a harmless and soft flyball down the left-field line that might go foul in the bottom of the third inning. Left fielder Giancarlo Stanton sure thought so, as he ran toward the side wall and gave up on the play. But the ball then drifted back and bounced into fair territory and then took a big bounce into the stands for a ground-rule double. Stanton's unfamiliarity with Fenway seemed to play a part in the misplay, but the Red Sox gladly took it as an RBI double that pushed their lead to 5-0.
HE SAID IT
"I was in the dugout watching it. I was sitting in the dugout the whole time. It was on the big screen. That was a nice goal, the one that looked like a bunt. That was cool. It's fun here. I remember playing here and all of a sudden, people go nuts. You hear a big roar and you're playing defense, you're like, 'What's going on?' Then they show they scored. So it was cool to see." -- Cora, on watching the Boston Bruins' playoff victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on the Jumbotron during the rain delay
After struggling with his consistency in his first start back from the disabled list, Eduardo Rodriguez will try to find his groove when he opens a four-game series on Friday night at Fenway against the Orioles. Rodriguez gave up five hits and three runs over 3 2/3 innings last time out against the Rays, but he did strike out seven. First pitch is slated 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.