SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Boston Red Sox are leaving the country and taking something with them: sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Travis Shaw, Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt homered and David Price threw seven solid innings to lead Boston past the San Diego Padres 7-2 on Wednesday night.
After securing the series win at San Diego, the Red Sox open a three-game series at Toronto on Friday.
“That’s what makes it fun to play this time the year,” Price said. “You are playing the teams right in front of you or right behind you. To be in this position is huge. It’s a testament to the work we have done all year.”
The Red Sox took a one-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost 2-0 to the New York Yankees. Boston, which completed interleague play with a 14-6 record, will play only AL East teams in the final 23 games.
Shaw, inserted into the lineup for a slumping Yoan Moncada, hit his 16th homer in the second inning, a two-run shot, and added an RBI single in the fourth.
“He obviously made an impact,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He squared some balls up.”
Ramirez’s homer came in the eighth off Jake Smith’s first major league pitch.
Holt added a pinch-hit homer in the ninth
Price (15-8) won his season-high sixth straight start, allowing two runs and six hits. Price, who has won four of his last five road starts, struck out eight.
“I definitely felt good tonight to keep the ball away from the middle of the plate and execute pitches,” said Price, who threw 76 strikes in 98 pitches.
“(He) was extremely efficient with the number of pitches he threw,” Farrell said
Three relievers finished off the Padres, with Craig Kimbrel getting the final out.
Jarred Cosart (0-3) left after 3 1/3 innings after hurting his right leg while covering first base on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s grounder. Cosart landed awkwardly after reaching for Wil Myers’ erratic throw which drew an error and led to the Red Sox rally. Cosart strained his right hamstring and groin.
“Not really sure which one is worse right now,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Boston’s three-run fourth inning was the difference. After Shaw’s RBI, Dustin Pedroia drove in Shaw and Chris Young with a double down the left-field line. Pedroia has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games.
“It’s pretty cool to go out there and face those guys, it’s a playoff team,” Cosart said. “I was holding my own against one of the best pitchers in baseball and was finally getting in a good rhythm and I just hit a bump in the road.”
Myers’ sacrifice fly tied the game 2-2 in the third. Cosart came around after opening the inning with a single.
The Red Sox went ahead 2-1 when Shaw crushed Cosart’s 93 mph fastball 425 feet for a two-run homer. Shaw replaced Moncada, a prized Cuban prospect, at third base after Moncada struck out seven straight times.
Yangervis Solarte’s RBI double in the first scored Myers for a 1-0 lead. Myers had reached on a single.
It’s no stretch to state the Red Sox starting pitching has been stellar. The starters have pitched to a 3.31 ERA in the last 54 games.
“Our rotation, with Clay (Buchholz) being put back in, it just seems like it’s one guy passing it off to the next guy,” Farrell said.
Price has done his part, going 11-7 in his last 23 starts.
“I knew this was going to happen,” Price said.
Red Sox: RHP Steve Wright (bursitis right shoulder) remains out and Farrell said he doesn’t know an end date to the injury.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (19-3, 3.23) opens a three-game series in Toronto on Friday. Porcello has thrown eight straight quality road starts. In three starts against the Blue Jays this year he is 2-0 with a 5.21 ERA.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (1-3, 3.29) gets the nod as the visiting Colorado Rockies arrive on Thursday. Richard threw five innings of one-run ball on Sept. 1 against the Dodgers but didn’t factor into the win. He is 1-2 in four starts with the Padres this year.
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