Red Sox back Porcello, crush Cardinals with eight-run fifth

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[August 16, 2017]  BOSTON -- Rick Porcello rode the loudest offensive support in the major leagues to a 22-4 record and a Cy Young Award last season.

This year, the support was down -- and so was Porcello.

That may be changing.

"Last three times out the worm has turned a little bit," Boston manager John Farrell said after Porcello cashed in on an eight-run sixth inning for his third straight victory, a 10-4 Red Sox win over the St. Louis Cardinals. "We've started to score some runs for him in a big way and he's gone out and logged innings."

After scoring four runs during the right-hander's four straight losses, the Red Sox have scored 27 runs in his last three starts. Suddenly, Porcello is 7-14 -- 3-0 in August.

"I feel good. The whole ballclub feels good right now," Porcello said. "So keep pushing forward and continue to play good baseball."

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon drove in two runs apiece in the big inning. Ten consecutive Red Sox batters reached base, and 13 came to the plate while chasing Mike Leake (7-11) and propelling Boston to its 11th win in 13 games.

Boston is 3-0 against St. Louis, 12-4 against the National League.

But despite a 15-hit attack, the highlight of the night was a 5-4-3 triple play turned on a Yadier Molina grounder, in a 1-0 game in the fourth inning.

It was started by rookie sensation Rafael Devers, a third baseman who also had two more hits and drove in another run.

"For him to be so young and play beyond his years has been special to watch," teammate Mitch Moreland said of Devers, 20.

Ahead 9-0, Porcello allowed three runs in the sixth inning. However, he worked through seven in his second straight quality start. He was supported by the team's first triple play in six years and a pair of double plays (one on the slow-footed Molina), in the first five innings.

"I thought he came out tonight very sharp," Farrell said. "He had good location early on and then when they did put a couple of men on, he found a way to put a ball on the ground."

The Red Sox maintained their 4 1/2-game lead on the New York Yankees in the American League East, winning in St. Louis' first visit to Fenway Park since it lost Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.

Jackie Bradley Jr. also drove in two runs, and Xander Bogaerts contributed three singles and his first RBI since July 21.

Dexter Fowler had three hits, including a two-run double, for the Cardinals, who lost their second straight after an eight-game winning streak. They remained 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.

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Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham (28) makes a sliding catch of a ball hit by left fielder Andrew Benintendi (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Leake was touched for eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. In his past two starts, he has allowed 20 hits and 13 runs (12 earned) in 9 1/3 innings.

"He pitched out of a pretty big mess in the first (after four straight singles had a run in and the bases loaded) and we thought he was going to roll for a while," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said, "but the fifth got him.

"You've got a team that's swinging the bat well. He wasn't getting a lot of chases, so he was trying a couple of different balls below the zone. Eventually you've got to come back and challenge them."

Said Leake: "I was just too much on the plate, letting them hit balls instead of making them see it move off the plate."

The triple play was the first for the Red Sox since they turned one against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 16, 2011. It was the first turned against the Cardinals since May 9, 2015 -- and Molina hit into that one, too.

"Those plays happen," Matheny said.

NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia will be out longer than the minimum 10 days in his second straight stint on the disabled list because of his balky left knee. ... Cardinals 3B Jedd Gyorko, who received a cortisone shot in his right knee Sunday, was able to return Tuesday after sitting out the weekend. ... Several members of the Cardinals visited the inside of the Green Monster earlier Tuesday. ... Boston LHP David Price (elbow) continues to throw off flat ground with no return date in sight. ... The Red Sox on Wednesday will honor the 50th anniversary of their 1967 Impossible Dream team that lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Cardinals. ... The Boston Globe reported domestic battery charges against Red Sox TV analyst Steve Lyons stemming from an argument with his girlfriend in January were dismissed in California. ... RHP Lance Lynn (10-6, 3.12 ERA) pitches for St. Louis against LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3, 3.80) in Wednesday's series finale.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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