BOSTON — Rick Porcello shoots to become the Boston Red Sox’s first 10-game winner of the season when he pitches for Boston against the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Wednesday night.
The Red Sox remained a half-game behind the New York Yankees in the American League East by pounding out 10 extra-base hits in a 9-1 rout of the struggling Angels Tuesday night. They now send Porcello (9-3 Vontae Davis Jersey , 3.44 ERA) out to face the Angels’ Andrew Heaney (4-5, 3.43) in the middle game of the series.
Boston is 4-0 against the Angels this season, winning those games by a combined count of 36-4.
“We haven’t solved them,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the Red Sox (53-27) hit four homers and six doubles in Tuesday’s win. “We’ve tried to make some adjustments. We’re going to obviously work on it tonight and try to make some adjustments and hopefully have a better shot tomorrow.
“They’ve taken it to us. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. We’ve got to do a lot of things better.
Porcello, who is 2-1 in four June starts, is just 7-7 with 5.51 ERA in 17 career starts against the Angels, who have lost 11 of their last 15 games.
In his one start against Los Angeles this season, Porcello pitched six shutout innings in Boston’s 9-0 victory on April 18.
Before Tuesday’s game, the Red Sox placed Thursday starter Steven Wright on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee problem. Brian Johnson, who has been in the bullpen, will make the start in the series and homestand finale.
Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley Jr., the bottom two hitters in the Boston lineup (a problem spot for the team this season) Tom Brady Jersey , combined to go 5-for-8 with two homers and five RBIs on Tuesday.
Everyone in the starting lineup except Rafael Devers had at least one hit (in a 14-hit attack) and he scored a run.
“We’re swinging it great, you know, I think all up and down the lineup,” said Mookie Betts, who hit his 20th home run of the season. “It’s kind of contagious. Everybody’s getting hits and what not.”
The ever-streaky Bradley is 6-for-7 in the last two games to raise his batting average to .199.
“You know, he’s been swinging the bat great,” Betts said. “A couple line drives that go five feet one way or the other, we’re looking at a completely different number (average) that’s on the board.”
Heaney is also 2-1 in four June starts and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his 13 starts this season. He will make only his second appearance against Boston, his first at Fenway. He beat the Red Sox in Anaheim in 2015, yielding two runs in seven innings.
No one on the current Boston roster has more than three at-bats against Heaney. The team is 2-for-14 (.143) against him with Xander Bogaerts collecting both hits in his three at-bats (.667).
Ian Kinsler is 11-for-22 (.500) against Porcello, while Albert Pujols is 10-for-29 (.345) with a homer, while Cole Calhoun is 7-for-22 (.318) with two homers. Justin Upton is 2-for-12 (.167) and Luis Valbuena 4-for-19 (.211).
Chris Paul says that mid-range jumpers are like layups for him.
The Houston Rockets have emphasized dunks and 3-pointers in becoming one of the NBA’s most efficient offenses but Paul’s in-between jumpers proved to be the difference when the long-range shots weren’t falling.
”I wasn’t joking about that Philip Rivers Jersey ,” Paul said of his layup comment. ”If (Rudy) Gobert’s going to back, that’s what I’m going to shoot.”
Paul had 27 points and 12 rebounds while James Harden scored 24 points to power the Houston Rockets to a 100-87 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
”It showed a lot of grit for us to come in here and win two games,” Paul said.
Paul, playing the sidekick to Harden for most of his first season in Houston, took center stage, controlling the tempo and getting to his favorite spots as the Rockets led from start to finish.
”Chris is shooting those shots like a layup,” Harden said. ”He was extremely aggressive tonight, which we need from him.”
Donovan Mitchell scored 25 before fouling out and Joe Ingles had 15 for the Jazz.
Mitchell started finding lanes to the basket late and got the Jazz within 85-80 after he fueled a 10-2 run, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But Paul, who matched his scoring high for this playoff run, hit a pull-up jumper and found Trevor Ariza for a 3-pointer to put the Rockets back up by double digits and they never looked back.
Houston Drew Bledsoe Jersey , which has been known for their offensive firepower, put forth a disruptive defensive effort.
Clint Capela, the anchor of the Houston defense, had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks, one of which featured a Dikembe Mutombo-like finger wag in the fourth quarter.
”We missed 22 shots at the rim,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. ”We had our chances and didn’t convert. Some of them were contested. Some of them were open. You’re not going to get any better shot.”
The Rockets went up by 15 in the second quarter before the Jazz closed to 51-46 on back-to-back three-point plays by Mitchell. Utah trailed 58-48 at the half.
Neither team was accurate from beyond the arc as the Jazz were 7-for-29 and Houston went 10-for-38.
”There’s all different ways to win. We’re not strictly a jump-shooting team,” D’Antoni said. ”Chris has the mid-range, James gets to the hole and you got Clint down there. We’ve got a lot of other stuff we can go to.”
Already without Ricky Rubio, the Jazz lost back-up point guard Dante Exum in the third quarter, also to a hamstring injury. Exum was a surprising offensive spark for the Jazz with 9 points in the first period, but picked up three fouls guarding Harden.
”Houston is that good. Give them credit. They know how to control a game Danny Etling Jersey ,” Snyder said. ”In spite of that, I thought we just hung in there and took shots and kept coming and kept coming and eventually couldn’t get over the hill.”
Rockets: Harden’s 14 first-quarter points were the most for him in the opening period this postseason. … Flying to close out on an Ingles’ 3-pointer in the second quarter, P.J. Tucker raked the Jazz sharpshooter across the face and earned a Flagrant 1. … Capela and Mitchell got double technical fouls fighting for rebound in the fourth quarter and Houston coach Mike D’Antoni got another for his reaction to the play.
Jazz: Rubio missed his fourth straight game due to a left hamstring strain suffered in opening round but is close to returning.
Rudy Gobert is a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year but Capela has been the most significant deterrent to getting to the basket in this series. He altered 20 shots in this game and has 13 blocks in the series while also making his presence known on the offensive end with double-digit scoring in each contest. ”Every single night, he has our back,” said Harden, who got in Capela’s face and yelled his approval at the end of the game. ”He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it and doesn’t ask for a lot.”
Near the end of the game, Capela told D’Antoni he needed a rest. But the Rockets called a time out and then the big center said he could finish. He went out and got a couple more blocks. ”He pole-vaulted over the hurdle. He cleared it by a lot. The guy’s incredible the whole time,” D’Antoni said.
The series shifts back to Houston for Game 5.
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