Rick Porcello pitched seven sparkling innings in his return from a triceps injury, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Porcello and Chris Sale had nearly identical lines, but Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer off Nate Jones (1-1) with two outs in the eighth. Robbie Ross Jr. then got three outs for the Red Sox before Junichi Tazawa finished the six-hitter for his third save in nine chances.
Porcello (6-11) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked none in one of his best starts in a disappointing debut season with Boston. The right-hander was acquired in a December trade with Detroit, and then agreed to an $82.5 million, four-year contract in April.
But it was Porcello’s first win in six weeks. He had been sidelined by a right triceps strain since he was tagged for five earned runs and 10 hits in two-plus innings in a loss to the White Sox on July 29.
Sale also pitched seven innings of five-hit ball. The lanky left-hander struck out seven, running his major league-leading total to a career-best 229 in just 171 1-3 innings.
The Red Sox played without sluggers David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval, who each got a day off. But Josh Rutledge contributed two hits, a ninth-inning sacrifice fly and an outstanding play at second base.
Porcello retired his first 10 batters before Melky Cabrera doubled with two outs in the fourth. The White Sox had runners on the corners with one out in the fifth, but Porcello wiggled out of the jam with some help from Rutledge.
After Tyler Flowers flied to shallow right for the second out, rookie Tyler Saladino hit a slow bouncer to second. Rutledge rushed in and made a terrific diving throw that just beat the athletic Saladino to first.
The White Sox threatened again in the sixth, putting two runners on with one out. Porcello then struck out Avisail Garcia and got Adam LaRoche to fly out to center.
The Red Sox had their best scoring opportunity against Sale in the third, loading the bases with two outs. But Sale fanned Hanley Ramirez for his 226th strikeout, matching his previous single-season high set in 2013.
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