BOSTON (AP) — Chris Sale was dominant with 12 strikeouts over seven innings for his first victory with Boston, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Saturday.
Sale (1-1) allowed one run on three hits with three walks, striking out seven of the last nine batters he faced.
Boston acquired the 6-foot-6 left-hander from the White Sox for four prospects during the offseason. The Red Sox had lost five of eight. The Rays dropped their fourth in five games.
Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi left his start after throwing one pitch in the second inning with left hamstring tightness.
In each of Sale’s three starts the Red Sox have done very little offensively, collecting only three total runs.
But they got just enough on Saturday.
Sandy Leon’s broken-bat, bases-loaded ground out pushed across the tiebreaking run in the seventh. They loaded the bases on two singles and a walk against Tommy Hunter (0-1).
Matt Barnes worked a hitless eighth despite two walks, and Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his fourth save.
Erasmo Ramirez relived Odorizzi and Moreland belted his first pitch deep into the right-field seats, making it 1-0.
Longoria’s RBI single tied it in the third before Sale escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Derek Norris with a sharp slider in the dirt.
Sale breezed through the first inning, throwing only 11 pitches to retire the side in order, but the strikeouts and some long at-bats added to his 111-pitch total.
Rays: Odorizzi bent down in apparent pain after the pitch and threw two warmup pitches in front of manager Kevin Cash and a trainer before walking off slowly.
Red Sox: Lefty ace David Price, out since early spring training with a strained left elbow, threw a bullpen session. He said he hopes to face hitters next week “depending how I feel tomorrow.” He also said: “I haven’t had any setbacks yet” in discussing his progress from the injury. . CF Jackie Bradley Jr., on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right knee, took BP on the field.
There was a moment of reflection before the game, marking the fourth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Two bombs went off near the finish line a little less than an hour after the Red Sox had beat the Rays, also on Jackie Robinson Day.
The explosions were about a mile away and could be heard at Fenway Park.
“Today also has a great significance in Boston of what happened four years ago today,” manager John Farrell said.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (1-1, 3.46 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday. He went 7 1/3 in his last outing, the longest since he returned from Tommy John surgery last September.
Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 1.50) is in line to make his second start of the season. He went six innings, allowing one run in his debut on Tuesday.
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