A four-game series sweep will be on the line when the Boston Red Sox host the Texas Rangers one final time for the season on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Sox are in the midst of a four-game win streak that started Wednesday at Minnesota. Their longest run since a seven-game streak from June 19-26 has followed three straight losses.
Boston was a 5-3 winner on Saturday as Xander Bogaerts posted his seventh straight multi-hit game, Rafael Devers had two more hits and Trevor Story’s two doubles brought him to 20 for the season and 200 in his career.
Bogaerts is the first Red Sox player to log multiple hits in seven straight contests since Adrian Gonzalez in 2011.
“(Bogaerts is) a perfect example of the players that we want,” Cora told The Boston Globe. “People should take a look at him. I’m glad that my boys, he’s kind of their favorite for other reasons. But when they start playing, it’s easy — just look at him.”
On top of the offensive highlights, Brayan Bello pitched six shutout, three-hit innings for his first MLB win.
The Boston organization’s No. 2 prospect, first baseman Triston Casas, reportedly will be called up from Triple-A Worcester for Sunday’s game.
Boston’s starter is unknown after Kutter Crawford was scratched due to a shoulder ailment.
Josh Winckowski (5-7, 5.83 ERA) could make the start if Crawford needs to be placed on the injured list, but that determination will be made before Sunday’s game.
“He wasn’t moving well today after he played catch (on Friday),” Cora said of Crawford. “So, we’re not going to push him. He’s down there with the trainers and see where we’re at. If it’s an IL thing then we’ll make a move, if not, then we’ll have to adjust (on Sunday).”
After a designated Saturday bullpen game, Texas turns to Dane Dunning (3-7, 4.16), a righty who is coming off his first loss since June 29 despite allowing just two earned runs and striking out five across five innings against Houston on Tuesday.
Dunning has given up more than three runs just twice since over the past two months, a span that included a stint on the 15-day injured list with a right ankle impingement.
He’ll look to play the role of stopper as Texas is on a seven-game losing streak and has lost three consecutive series. The Rangers haven’t been swept by Boston in a four-game set since 2008.
Marcus Semien and Nathaniel Lowe homered for the Rangers on Saturday, but three errors were the downfall in the latest loss.
“We didn’t do the things conducive to winning baseball,” interim manager Tony Beasley said postgame. “We gave them too many outs. We’ve just got to play a better brand of baseball.”
Dunning’s Sunday start will be his 26th of the season, a career high. He has also reached a new benchmark in strikeouts for the second straight year, totaling 117 in 134 innings.
“I know last year frustrated me a ton because (in) good games, I’m getting pulled out in the fourth and bad games getting pulled out in the third or fourth,” Dunning said. “It’s nice now that they’re allowing me to cruise through what I need to get done.”
Dunning is 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox. He worked 5 2/3 innings and struck out six in a May 13 start, but he was charged with five runs in the 7-1 loss.