By Ken Powtak, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts left the game after hurting his left side making a throw to home plate during a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday that cut Boston’s magic number to two for a third straight AL East title.
Boston can clinch the division at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three seasons, needing only one win during a three-game series that opens Tuesday afternoon.
Betts, hitting .337 with 29 homers and 72 RBIs, caught a fly ball from Jeff McNeil in the sixth inning and threw home as Austin Jackson held at third. Wilmer Flores followed with another drive to right, and Betts unsuccessfully threw home as Jackson scored on the sacrifice fly.
Betts went down to one knee, and the three-time All-Star was stretching his left side and back as a team athletic trainer and manager Alex Cora jogged to the outfield. Betts walked off slowly and was replaced. Boston says Betts has left side soreness and will be evaluated further.
Andrew Benintendi hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning off Seth Lugo (3-4) after a matchup of Boston’s Chris Sale and New York’s Jacob deGrom, both Cy Young Award candidates. Brandon Workman (5-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Steven Wright got three outs for his first big league save.
Sale allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, lowering his AL-best ERA to 1.92 and extending his scoreless streak to 32, the longest in the major leagues this season. He made his second start after a pair of trips to the disabled list caused by mild left shoulder inflammation limited him to one appearance over nearly six weeks.
DeGrom gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings with 12 strikeouts and one walk, his major league-leading ERA rising slightly to 1.78. He has gone a major league record 27 straight starts holding opponent to three or fewer runs, according the Elias Sports Bureau.
Boston took a 3-0 lead in the third on Betts’ sacrifice fly and Brock Holt’s two-run homer. New York closed to 3-2 in the sixth on Flores’ sacrifice fly and a double by Michael Conforto that bounced off the glove of Tzu-Wei Lin, who replaced Betts.
Rosario hit a tying single in the seventh against Joe Kelly.
Sale and deGrom became the first starting pitchers to face each other with sub-2.00 ERA and at least 100 innings since the Mets’ Dwight Gooden (1.74) and the St. Louis Cardinals’ John Tudor (1.95) on Sept. 11, 1985, according Elias.
AGAINST THE BEST
Boston is 4-0 in games started against NL pitchers entering with ERAs among the league’s top four, also winning in starts by Washington’s Max Scherzer, Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola and Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz.
Mets: Jay Bruce was the DH for the second straight day. Manager Mickey Callaway said it was a good way to get him off his feet during an injury-plagued season in which Bruce has been limited to 82 games.
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora rested both DH/OF J.D. Martinez and SS Xander Bogaerts. He said that INF Eduardo Nunez (right knee soreness) likely will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 3.23 ERA) is set to start Monday’s opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia. RHP Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.66) is slated to pitch for the Phillies.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22) is scheduled to start against his former team on Tuesday. LHP J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.75) is slated for New York.
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