Phillies beat Red Sox, spoil Sale gem
PHILADELPHIA — Ty Kelly put it in his top five moments as a major-leaguer.
On Thursday night, Kelly laced a pinch-hit RBI double down the left-field line in the eighth inning to spoil Chris Sale’s strong outing and end the Phillies’ eight-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park.
“I just threw the worst pitch of the game at the wrong time,” Sale said.
To have that type of a hit against a five-time All-Star and MLB’s strikeout leader?
“I would that that result against anybody,” Kelly said. “But it feels good against him. I don’t know — maybe more of my friends will text me tonight.”
The Phillies avoided being swept by Boston in a four-game, home-and-home interleague series with their first win since June 6. The Red Sox (37-28) fell to 16-8 since May 21.
Kelly, who Philadelphia acquired April 22 from Toronto, is now 6-for-28 as a Phillie but 2-for-13 as a pinch-hitter with two doubles. He was 2-for-3 as a pinch hitter in three games against Boston this week. He had a pinch-hit single Tuesday in the 12th inning of Philadelphia’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox.
“In Boston, Kelly got that hit for us late in the game,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “It’s always huge to get a pinch hit and it happens to win the game for you.”
Sale (8-3) threw a complete game in suffering his first loss since April 27. He allowed one run, four hits and struck out 10. It’s his 44th career double-digit strikeout game and ninth of the season.
“We’ve seen that type of performance a number of times,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Nearly 10 times he’s walked out and struck out double digits. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. That’s not an uncommon performance from the mound standpoint.”
Sale, who said he never hit in college, was 1-for-3 at the plate too. He led off the eighth with a double then advanced to third on a sacrifice fly but Phillies right-handed pitcher Pat Neshek got out of the jam.
“It’s tough. They picked me up my last handful of starts,” Sale said, “I wanted to pick them up. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when with this team. I really would have liked to get that one.”
Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta turned in the best outing of his career. He threw seven shutout innings and struck out nine batters — both career highs. He allowed four hits and two walks in pitching past the fifth inning for the first time.
“He’s a real competitor. He really likes to compete,” Mackanin said. “He hit 107 pitches and asked (pitching coach Bob) McClure why I was taking him out of the game.”
“I said that’s enough,” Mackanin added.
Pivetta didn’t get a decision and is 1-3 with a 4.46 ERA in seven starts. Neshek improved to 2-1 while Hector Neris earned his sixth save.
In the second inning, Pivetta escaped trouble after loading the bases with two outs. Sale had a chance to help himself and almost got a ball past Howie Kendrick, but the Phillies’ second baseman’s throw beat Sale in a bang-bang play at first.
“(Pivetta) had good stuff,” Farrell said. “Good fastball, kept the ball down. Had two types of breaking balls — actually, a four-pitch mix, changeup to lefties, backdoor curveball, threw a slider against some right-handers. He threw the ball very well.”
The Phillies mustered two runners — a second-inning double from Maikel Franco and a fourth-inning single from Tommy Joseph — through five innings. Sale struck out nine of the first 15 batters he faced.
Joseph’s single extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
NOTES: The Phillies are 13-31 against Boston since 2004. Thursday’s win is their first against the Red Sox since April 8, 2015. They’re 2-10 in their last 12 games versus Boston. Philadelphia is 10-17 against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park since it opened in 2004. ... Boston 1B Mitch Moreland has a fractured big toe but plans to play through the injury. He was in the lineup Thursday and was 1-for-4. ... The Red Sox placed LHP Brian Johnson on the 10-day disabled list Thursday because of left shoulder impingement. ... Boston heads to Houston for a three-game set. LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.48 ERA) faces RHP Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29) on Friday. ... Philadelphia opens a three-game series with the Diamondbacks on Friday. RHP Aaron Nola (3-4, 4.40 ERA) opposes Patrick Corbin (5-6, 5.38).