By Sam Bush
Nick Pivetta cranked up the best start of his young career in a pitchers’ duel with Chris Sale, and pinch-hitter Ty Kelly doubled home the winner in the Phillies’ 1-0 victory over the Red Sox.
”It was the first time I faced a guy like that,” Pivetta said. ”It was really exciting. I tried to go toe to toe with him and stay with him as much as I can.”
Sale (8-3) was cruising until a one-out single by Andrew Knapp set the stage for Kelly’s game-winning hit that ended the Phillies’ eight-game losing streak.
Kelly lined a slider into the left-field corner. Andrew Benintendi’s throw sailed over the cutoff man and was a tad late, allowing Knapp to score from first for the only run of the game.
Kelly said the hit was in the top five moments of his big league career.
”It feels good,” he said. ”Maybe more of my friends will text me tonight.”
Sale allowed four hits with 10 strikeouts, upping his major league-leading total to 136. It was his 44th career double-digit strikeout game and ninth this season.
”He was outstanding once again,” Boston manager John Farrell said. ”He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.”
Said Sale, ”It was fun, but I would have liked to have gotten the win.”
Pat Neshek (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Pivetta and Hector Neris earned his sixth save in seven tries with a scoreless ninth to help Philly win its first interleague game of the season.
”That was nice to see,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The Phillies salvaged a game in the four-game home and home series with the Red Sox to improve to 1-8 in interleague games.
Pivetta went past the fifth inning for the first time in his seventh start. He allowed four hits in seven innings and nearly matched Sale with nine strikeouts against two walks.
”He just pounded the strike zone,” Mackanin said. ”He didn’t get in trouble and start nitpicking.”
The Red Sox threatened in the eighth against Neshek when Sale led off with a double, his first career extra-base hit that drew the large contingent of visiting Red Sox fans to their feet. Sale went to third on Mookie Betts’ lineout to right field, but Neshek struck out Dustin Pedroia and got Xander Bogaerts to pop out in foul territory to first baseman Tommy Joseph to end the threat.