September 14, 2017 / 9:26 PM / in 6 months

Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox past A's

Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox past A’s

BOSTON — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked after Thursday’s 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics where he would rank Drew Pomeranz among American League pitchers.

“You start to look at the numbers as they are and the things that we have to go by, and maybe sometimes people don’t put a lot of weight in wins, losses and ERA but they’re meaningful and he starts to put himself in a very small group around the American League,” Farrell said after Pomeranz went six solid innings to win his 16th game.

“You look at the hits allowed, you look at the runs given up, the quality starts, the run of games he’s been on for the better part of three months, or more, he’s been maybe our most consistent starter in our rotation for the better part of those three or four months.”

Pomeranz (16-5) is 10-1 with a 2.61 ERA since June 16. On Thursday, he moved back into a four-way tie for the AL lead in wins with staff mate Chris Sale and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer.

He gave up a run on five hits in six innings, leaving a 1-1 game before doubles by Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland brought home two runs and made Pomeranz a winner in the bottom of the inning.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin had Pomeranz on his team in 2014-15.

“He’s doing some things a little bit differently,” Melvin said. “He’s throwing a lot more curveballs, especially in off-counts. He has a little bit more movement on the ball, is able to pitch up and down some.

“Looks like he has better command.”

The A’s had their chances but Pomeranz continued his run of getting out of trouble.

“I’ve found a way this year,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been good at, over the years getting out of those jams.

“It’s really been key for me these last few months.”

The victory, their sixth in the last eight games, moved the Red Sox to 3 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East — the Yankees are hosting the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

The sixth-inning double was the second of the day and the fourth in his last seven at-bats for Benintendi. He then singled home two runs in a three-run seventh that broke the game open — and is 11-for-22 with eight RBIs during a five-game hitting streak.

Oakland’s Ryon Healy hit his 25th homer, a solo shot off Joe Kelly in the eighth inning. Mark Canha doubled home the first A’s run and had three hits — his second three-hit game of the season against Boston.

The A’s grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fifth on the first of two doubles by Canha, but Christian Vazquez answered that with his seventh homer of the year in the bottom of the inning. Vazquez has a .372 home batting average (he was tops in the AL coming in) and is hitting .222 on the road.

Reliever Addison Reed struck out Chad Pinder with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh. Kelly and Craig Kimbrel pitched an inning apiece.

Pedroia, serving as designated hitter to rest his sore knee, went 7-for-11 in the series and has hit in 27 straight games against Oakland.

The A’s, losing for the second time in their last eight games, had two runners caught on the bases and also had an error.

“We had some opportunities, and we had a couple actual base-running mistakes early in the game that cost us, or at least cost us another chance to score some runs,” Melvin said. “But our bats all the way to the end are still pretty good. They’re still grinding.”

NOTES: The Red Sox activated LHP David Price from the 10-day disabled list and he will work out of the bullpen for the rest of the season, including playoffs. “I think there will be some spots that will emerge naturally,” said manager John Farrell, who noted Price will likely work either Sunday or Monday. Price is 2-8 in the postseason, with both wins as a reliever. ... Oakland DH Khris Davis left the team to return home for the birth of a child and is expected to be away from the team for a few days. ... Slumping Boston DH Hanley Ramirez, who has a .171 September on-base percentage, sat Thursday. ... The Red Sox open a three-game series at Tampa Bay with LHP Chris Sale facing RH Matt Andriese on Friday. The A’s are in Philadelphia and will send RHP Daniel Mengden to the mound against RH Mark Leiter Jr. ... Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, reacting to the anti-racism banner that was hung from the Green Monster Wednesday night, defended the area by telling WEEI, “Let me say this about Boston and the state of Massachusetts: we are extremely proud to live here and be here.”

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