BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox rolled through the pre-All-Star game portion of their schedule piling up wins. Now, they’ll have a few days to sit back, relax and enjoy their historic start.
Xander Bogaerts homered in his first at-bat a day after hitting a walk-off grand slam and drove in two runs, leading the Red Sox past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Sunday to enter the break with their best record since 1949.
“I think we did great. I think the record shows,” Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts said. “We were pretty much in every game, had a chance to win every game and we won a lot of them.”
That ball is gonna hurt in the morning. pic.twitter.com/y4ZPtwqrnr
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 15, 2018
Brock Holt also drove in two runs for the AL East-leading Red Sox (68-30), who own the major league’s best record and have won 12 of their last 13 games. They lead the Yankees by 4½ games going into the break.
“Anytime you’re winning you’re having fun,” Boston outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said. “Just keep winning and you’ll keep going good.”
The Red Sox are 4.5 games ahead of the Yankees, their largest lead of the season.
The Sox have won 12 of their last 13 games and are 17-3 in their last 20.
This is the first time since 2007 that Boston enters the All-Star break with MLB’s best record (68-30, .694).
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) July 15, 2018
Betts went 0 for 3, lowering his major league-leading batting average to .359, and fellow-All Star J.D. Martinez enters the break with 29 homers and an MLB best 80 RBIs.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays (43-52). Toronto’s dropped seven of 10 and fell to 3-10 against the Red Sox this season.
“Just to reset. I think that’s the mindset of anyone,” losing pitcher Marcus Stroman said before storming off later in the interview after a question from a reporter. “Even if you’re playing well, it’s definitely good to get the break to kind of get away from the game, clear your head and hopefully come back and put some wins together.”
Stroman was upset when asked him about pitching at a field in Vancouver, Canada.
Brandon Workman (2-0), the first of five relievers, struck out the only batter he faced in the fifth after starter Brian Johnson was pulled with the score tied.
All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 30th save, his eighth straight season with 30 or more. Johnson gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 15, 2018
Bradley’s RBI double against Stroman (2-7) pushed Boston ahead 3-2 in the fifth, and he scored on Bogaerts run-scoring grounder off Stroman’s foot.
Holt’s second RBI single made it 5-2 an inning later.
Bogaerts, whose 10th-inning slam on Saturday gave Boston a 6-2 win, homered on the third pitch he saw, sending it completely out of Fenway Park over the Green Monster for his 16th of the season in the first. Holt’s RBI single made it 2-0 in the inning.
Hernandez’s shot went over the Monster in the third.
Stroman gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits in five innings.
Going to the All-Star game will have special meaning for Kimbrel, who is planning to take his 8-month-old daughter and his wife, Ashley, on the trip to Washington D.C.
“Yeah, it is,” said Kimbrel of his seventh All-Star selection in the clubhouse Sunday morning. “It’s been a busy day trying to get everything ready.”
Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, had two open-heart surgeries shortly after her birth, the second causing him to miss most of spring training.
First-timer Mitch Moreland has a different reason with his 5-year-old son, Crue.
“I think the biggest thing over the years is watching the Home Run Derby, the guys having their kids with them out on the field,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing that with my son, my oldest, and I think he’s looking forward to that, too.”
Lefty ace Chris Sale rounds out Boston’s five All Stars.
Blue Jays: Placed CF Kevin Pillar on the 10-day disabled list with a sternoclavicular joint injury suffered making a diving catch and rolling over Saturday. … INF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was also placed on the 7-day concussion DL after sliding headfirst into first and colliding with Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s leg.
Red Sox: DH Steve Pearce did some early-morning running on the field and was back in the lineup after missing two games with a bruised left shin from getting hit by a pitch on Thursday. . ..Rodriguez went on the 10-day DL with a sprained right ankle, opening a spot for Johnson, who was activated after a stint on the DL with left hip inflammation.
“There’s some serious damage in the ankle, no surgery required,” manager Alex Cora said about Rodriguez. “He’s going to have a boot for two weeks and we’ll evaluate to see where he’s at, no surgery, that sounds promising.”
Blue Jays: Open their post-break schedule with the first of three at home against Baltimore on Friday.
Red Sox: Begin a three-game series in Detroit on Friday.