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First of all, let’s get this out of the way. After a demoralizing sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Red Sox have little or no shot of usurping the Rays or Yankees to earn a playoff berth this season. With that given, the Red Sox can make it interesting with a sweep of the recently reeling Rays, who entered Monday’s Labor Day contest with a two-game losing streak.
The Red Sox lineup showed they belong in October, blasting three runs in each of the first two innings of 6-foot-9 Jeff Niemann, who allowed four hits and three walks before being pulled with one out to go in the second. Recent call-up Andy Sonnanstine took over, and had trouble finding the strikezone in his 4.1 mopup innings. Sonnanstine yielded five more runs, and the Red Sox staff took care of the rest in a 12-5 win.
Ryan Kalish blasted his second career grand slam, hitting it off Sonnanstine in the fourth inning after Jed Lowrie scored a run with a bases loaded walk. The slumping Kalish bounced back in a big way Monday, going 2-3 overall with three runs scored, four RBIs, and a walk.
Jon Lester continued his strong season with another solid outing, as he allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in six innings pitched. For the third straight start, Lester struck out 10 batters, giving him 196 for the year as he goes for 200 strikeouts in back-to-back seasons.
Kalish’s grand slam has already been featured in this write-up, so let’s give a shout out to Big Papi, who went 2-3 with two walks, a run scored, three RBI, and a home run that got things started in the first inning.
Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Anderson. Lars went 0-4 with two strikeouts in his major league debut at first base.
W: Jon Lester (16-8)
L: Jeff Niemann (10-6)