PHILADELPHIA -- Less than four innings into Wednesday night's 7-3 Red Sox win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Mookie Betts, rounding the bases after a solo home run that put Boston up by three, found himself a triple shy of his first cycle. Instead of completing the cycle,
PHILADELPHIA -- Less than four innings into Wednesday night's 7-3 Red Sox win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Mookie Betts, rounding the bases after a solo home run that put Boston up by three, found himself a triple shy of his first cycle. Instead of completing the cycle, Betts launched another homer, his 11th, for an insurance run in the ninth to finish 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
Pressed into service, the Red Sox's bullpen scraped together 6 1/3 shutout innings after starter Christopher Johnson left in the third after just 44 pitches due to left shoulder tightness. Johnson had surrendered three runs on four hits in the third, but the 'pen blanked the Phils on just two hits while striking out five.
"They got a good bullpen, what can I say? I think we're getting pitches to hit that we're just not capitalizing on," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
• Johnson (shoulder tightness) to have exam
He's right, to an extent. The Phillies did hit plenty of balls hard, but the Red Sox's rangy defense tracked everything down. Each outfielder had a spectacular play to his name: Betts laid out in right, Andrew Benintendi took a ball out of the seats down the left-field line and Jackie Bradley Jr. leaped to make the game-ending catch toward the deepest part of the ballpark. Pablo Sandoval checked in with a diving stop at third base, while Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts also turned in defensive gems.
Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson's worrisome May has moved into June. He allowed six earned runs over five-plus innings, walking three and striking out just one. In three June starts, his ERA is 6.61, just shy of the 7.04 he pitched to in May.
"The last month and a half has been pretty frustrating. ... I pride myself on being consistent and giving us a chance to win every night, and I haven't done that too often in the last seven or eight starts," Hellickson said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Up and in: On the day he was called back to the Majors, Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez was needed. And he delivered. Taking over in the third inning for Johnson, Velazquez got Maikel Franco to ground out to end the inning. He pitched three more innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit in his second Major League appearance.
"You don't expect to get called in that inning, so I just wanted to keep it simple," Velazquez, who picked up his first Major League win, said through a translator. "I wasn't trying to think too much. I just wanted to make sure I kept things simple."
Barnes storming: Facing Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, who represented the potential tying run in a 6-3 ballgame with two runners on in the eighth, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes shut the door. He got Rupp swinging with a 97-mph fastball up and away.
"I'm just happy we did it in under four hours." -- Betts, on Wednesday's three-hour, 26-minute game, which came on the heels of back-to-back extra-innings affairs that each lasted longer than four hours
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Phillies are the only team without an Interleague win in 2017 (0-8). Their eight-game skid against American League opponents is their longest since an eight-game slide in April-May 2014.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Phillies won a challenge in the fifth, overturning a call that Bradley was safe at first base trying to beat out a double play. Instead, Bradley was ruled out on a bang-bang play, and the double play helped Hellickson have his only three-up, three-down inning.
Tommy Joseph was initially called safe sliding into second in the eighth. However, a Red Sox challenge overturned the ruling on the field that Pedroia had not held his foot on the bag while leaning over to field the forceout, therefore ruling Joseph the second out of the inning.
ALTHERR'S ALL-AROUND EFFORT
Aaron Altherr continued to display both his offensive and defensive prowess, slugging his second two-run homer in two games and sparking a double play in the seventh.
Hanley Ramirez hit a ball to the track in right that Altherr tracked down and whipped to first to double off Benintendi, who had ventured too far from the bag.
Red Sox:Chris Sale will try to pad his Major League lead in strikeouts in Thursday's 7:05 p.m. ET series finale at Citizens Bank Park. In his first season with Boston, Sale has 126 strikeouts through 13 starts.
Phillies:Nick Pivetta is scheduled to start Thursday's culmination of the four-game home-and-home series. In his seventh Major League start, Pivetta will try to record an out after the fifth inning for the first time.
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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Red Sox on Wednesday.