Andrew Benintendi lofted the tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon as the Boston Red Sox edged the New York Mets 4-3 in the finale of a three-game series at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (103-47) won the final two games of the series. Their magic number for winning the American League East dropped to two. thanks to the New York Yankees falling to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2. Boston will have a chance to clinch the division at the Yankees’ expense when the two rivals begin a three-game series in the Bronx on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mets have lost consecutive games for the first time since a three-game skid from Aug. 26-29.
Cy Young Award candidates Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom each pitched up to their credentials in a matchup of marquee starting pitchers, though neither one factored into the decision.
Sale, who is being eased back into action after missing much of the second half with a sore shoulder, allowed one hit and struck out one over three innings as he lowered his ERA to 1.92 in 150 innings.
DeGrom, who is trying to become the first starting pitcher to win the Cy Young with fewer than 13 wins, allowed three runs on five hits and one walk while striking out 12 over seven innings. It was the 27th straight start in which he allowed three runs or fewer, extending his own single-season record. DeGrom’s record remained 8-9 while his major league-leading ERA rose from 1.71 to 1.78.
The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead against deGrom in the third, when Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez singled with one out before Mookie Betts hit a sacrifice fly. Brock Holt followed with a two-run homer.
The Mets at least spared deGrom another hard-luck loss by rallying for two runs in the sixth and the tying run in the seventh. Wilmer Flores delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Amed Rosario scored on a double by Michael Conforto. Rosario also laced an RBI single in the seventh to tie the game at 3.
The Red Sox broke the tie in the eighth against Seth Lugo (3-4). Tzu-Wei Lin, who entered when MVP candidate Mookie Betts left with a sore left side in the sixth, led off with a double, went to third on Holt’s fly out and trotted home on Benintendi’s sacrifice fly.
Brandon Workman (6-0), the Red Sox’s sixth pitcher, earned the win with a hitless eighth. Steven Wright recorded his first career save with a scoreless ninth.
—Field Level Media