BOSTON — Brock Holt followed up his pivotal two-run double in Saturday’s 5-3 win with a two-run home run off a 95-mph fastball from National League Cy Young-favorite, Jacob deGrom, on Sunday.
Holt is 4-for-10 with a double, two home runs and seven RBI in his last five games, all of which Boston has won.
“Yeah, it’s been a good week,” Holt said, after helping the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Mets on Sunday. “We won a lot of games and had some fun doing it. It’s been a good homestand for us and we’re going on the road happy right now.”
Holt’s home run followed up a sacrifice fly from Mookie Betts, which scored Rafael Devers after he singled and advanced to third on a hit-and-run play by Christian Vazquez. (Betts would later leave the game with “left side soreness.”)
“We made up our mind before the game as soon as somebody gets on, we (were) going to put a hit-and-run on,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “You have to do it. I was asking if any team has three hits in a row against (deGrom). Nobody answered that question throughout the day, so we made up our mind.
“That’s what we do, too. We try to put pressure on aces because if you just sit back and relax and wait for the home run, it’s not going to happen. Honestly, I know voting and stuff and all that, but he should win the Cy Young in the National League. No doubt about it.”
After Boston’s bullpen coughed up the 3-0 lead, the Red Sox scratched across one more run off Mets reliever Seth Lugo in the eight. Tzu-Wei Lin doubled to start the inning, then advanced to third on a Holt flyout. Lin would then score on an Andrew Benintendi sacrifice fly.
Boston was able to scratch across three runs against deGrom despite playing without J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, who were being rested.
While the Mets’ ace continued to make his case as the top N.L. pitcher, the Red Sox’ ace, Chris Sale continued his climb back from left shoulder inflammation. The lefty threw 42 pitches (27 strikes) over three innings, doubling his pitch count in his previous one-inning appearance on Tuesday against Toronto. Against the Mets, he allowed only one hit and struck out one batter.
Sale pitched at around 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball but touched 96 and even topped out at 97. Prior to his stint on the disabled list, Sale was generally 97-98, topping out at 100 with some frequency. Cora stressed after Sunday’s win that Sale’s velocity is not a point of concern at this juncture.
“I think it’s more about his mechanics. The first day it seemed like he was trying to create; today was better as far as release point. I feel that 98, 99 will come with time. Especially when the calendar turns over to October.
Sale expressed a similar sentiment: his delivery is the point of focus at this stage.
“My last time out there I was trying to throw every pitch as hard as I could, trying to make everything as nasty as possible,” Sale said. “That’s not how you start games. This one I was a little bit more in sync. Just more rhythm to it and I was more under control today.”
Sale was relieved by Hector Velazquez, who threw a scoreless fourth. He was followed by Drew Pomeranz and Heath Hembree, who combined to give up three earned runs, two and one, respectively. Joe Kelly entered the game with two runners on base and allowed one to score (Hembree’s run).
Brandon Workman threw a scoreless eighth and got the win, and Steven Wright also tossed a scoreless ninth and got the save. Craig Kimbrel, Bobby Poyner and Ryan Brasier were all unavailable on Sunday, according to Cora.
“We had four or five guys that were down today,” Cora said. “It’s part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”