BOSTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit his major league-leading 28th home run, Steve Pearce added a two-run shot and Eduardo Rodriguez pitched 5 2/3 innings on Monday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers and their seventh straight win.
The Red Sox won for the 14th time in 17 games to end the day with their biggest lead over the Yankees in the AL East since April. Boston led New York, which lost the opener of a doubleheader in Baltimore, by three games pending the outcome of the nightcap.
Pearce, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays last month, lined a 3-2 pitch into the Monster Seats with two outs in the first inning to make it 2-0. It stayed that way until Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi singled to lead off the eighth and Martinez put one into the Monster Seats to give the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.
That was plenty for five Red Sox pitchers, who combined on a five-hitter.
Rodriguez (11-3) held Texas hitless until Adrian Beltre singled with one out in the fourth. He allowed just three singles and three walks, striking out five. No one made it past second base for the Rangers until Robinson Chirinos tripled to lead off the seventh. He was stranded there when Brandon Workman struck out Joey Gallo and then retired Delino Deshields and Elvis Andrus on groundouts.
Mike Minor (6-5) allowed two runs on six hits, striking out four in 5 1/3 innings for his first loss since May. The Rangers have lost five of their last seven.
Mookie Betts made a running catch on Andrus’ line drive to left-center in the fifth. Betts, who played center field for just the fifth game all season, was elected to the All-Star Game for the third straight year. He also had a ground-rule double to center in the fifth and a single to lead off the eighth.
In their first game since the All-Star selections were announced, the Red Sox played all three regulars who were selected to the AL roster for next week’s game in Washington: Betts, Martinez and Mitch Moreland. Closer Craig Kimbrel sat back down after Martinez’s homer; Chris Sale is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
Benintendi is among those eligible for the final spot to be determined by a fan vote. The Red Sox campaigned for him by writing #VoteBenny in chalk in the dirt behind home plate. He had a double, a single and struck out twice.
MOVING UP I
Beltre, the active major league leader in hits, moved past Dave Winfield and into 20th place on the career list with his fourth-inning single. He now has 3,111, four behind Alex Rodriguez at No. 19.
MOVING UP II
The Rangers activated RHP Corey Gearrin a day after he was acquired from San Francisco along with OF Austin Jackson and RHP Jason Bahr. Austin Bibens-Dirx was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to open a spot on the roster.
Gearrin got five outs, striking out one batter.
Red Sox C Christian Vazquez will need surgery on his right pinky and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. He was placed on the disabled list Sunday.
Rangers: RHP Yoviani Gallardo (3-0, 8.17) makes the start in the second game of the series.
Red Sox: The Boston starter for Tuesday night’s game against Texas was not announced.